Dear Early Childhood Families,
It has been wonderful to be back at school with your children after our two-week winter break! The transition was seamless for students and teachers alike, and we were excited to get back to the very important work of exploring, learning and playing.
One of the most fundamental components of our first half of the year in Early Childhood has been to develop your child's ability to be independent in the myriad of tasks and opportunities they encounter throughout the day. Through consistent modeling, positive encouragement and gentle pushes, our students are demonstrating increased confidence and pride in their abilities to be contributing members of their classroom communities, to engage in serious intellectual explorations and to independently self-regulate.
As we move into our second semester, we would like to encourage you to partner with us as we continue to cultivate this type of independence in your children. Below are a few suggestions:
- Make a list of things that your child can do by themselves and include them in the creation of that list. At school, we know that most children can independently change from their boots to their shoes (even though they might need help with tying shoelaces!), hang up their own backpacks, throw away their garbage from snack and lunch and help with keeping the room clean and organized, just to name a few. Your list at home could include similar types of independent activities. Make sure you model what it looks like to complete these activities so you are sure your expectations align with your child's understanding!
- If your child is not used to doing things on their own, target priorities so they can see success. Start with one or two tasks and then gradually add more. The more success a child has, the more willing they will be to add to their list. Make sure to applaud success but, more importantly, reflect on the pride your child feels in being a helper!
- Give your child the appropriate time to complete simple and developmentally appropriate tasks on their own. As parents, we often do things for our children because we get frustrated with their slower pace or "stalling tactics." Start your routines earlier so you don't run into these issues and give your children fair warning about the time they have.
- Don't expect perfection in the tasks children attempt on their own. Allowing your child to pick out their own clothes and dress themselves may result in an outfit that you couldn't even imagine...but if they like it and feel comfortable, who cares? Instead of pointing out that their shoes are on the wrong feet, say "You put on your own shoes! Great job! Are you sure they feel comfortable?" Children will undoubtedly notice that they don't feel right and you can give a positive follow-up like, "I bet you'll get them on the right feet next time!" The confidence your child will gain in their competencies will far outweigh the negatives of any ill-matched items!
- If your child is working through a minor issue, encourage problem-solving rather than just fixing it. If they can't come up with a quick solution, give them time to think before offering up your ideas. Help your child to work on perspective-taking as you work together to come up with a solution.
- As always, please use us as a resource if you are struggling with any of these things at home. We are here to partner with you!
Head of Early Childhood