Education Hiking Rock Climbing Travel

Raising Claire Outdoors

Like most parents, we just want Claire to be happy, success and self-confident. With this in mind, Ernita and I try to provide an environment where Claire is free to explore and take risk so she learns. Learning is a process; a process that kids naturally favor until adults find a way to make learning a shore that is both dull and boring.

Some of the steps Ernita and I will use to ensure that Claire has what she needs to be happy.

Enroll her at Montessori Preparatory Academy

Bullhead City has a small Montessori School just a few minutes from home. When Claire turns three, we plan to enroll her. Montessori Preparatory Academy has a nice family feel. I think it will provide Claire with an environment that encourages discovery based learning with some well-trained guides. I also like that Montessori is full of color, versus the boring wall of schools designed by the same architects who design our prisons.

At the hearth of Montessori Education is helping the child develop a love of lifelong learning by guiding their natural desire to learn and create instead of memorizing and preparing for test or exams. Dr. Maria Montessori believes in what educator today call “Teaching the Whole Child.” Learning should be a balance of growth physically, cognitively, socially, emotionally and spiritually.

Take Her Outdoors

I realize, this one is selfish, but I also believe it’s healthy. I love the outdoors and I want to share that passion with Claire. While I do hope she develops a love of climbing, I’ll be extremely happy if she enjoys anything that gets her into nature. I read somewhere that adult remembers time they spent outside as kids more than the time they spent indoors or physical gifts they received.

What I’m doing now to encourage a love of the outdoors

  • Started Claire early. (She was two months old when we first took her to the crag.)
  • Invested in a Child Carrier (Two because of lost luggage)
  • Minimized the stroller. (At 26-months, Claire walked a 2 mile approach to the crag.)
  • Get outside often. (Walk the dog, visit local playgrounds, swim in the pool and picnic whenever possible)
  • Keep it fun (Easy now, but will become more challenging)
  • Get her the gear (Yes, good gear matters for kids too. We often buy it used) Claire’s Gear
  • Ask her where she wants to go instead of what she wants to do. (Words matter)
  • Token Economy (When all else fails, bribe her.)

Help Claire Develop a Growth Mindset

A person with a ““Growth Mindset believes that with practice and effort, her intelligence and abilities can be continually developed throughout life. What parent wouldn’t want this for their child?

Growth Mindset thinkers

  • Understand that mistakes are opportunities to learn
  • Separate performance from the self
  • Believe that hard work leads to success (Grit is a major factor in success)
  • Are inspired by those who succeed around them

While all of these are useful strategies, I also need to face the reality that Claire might not develop a deep love of being outdoors. All I can hope for is that she has access the option. Along with the self-confidence I want her to develop; I need to accept that she’ll be independent enough to decide what she wants to do on her own.


8 thoughts on “Raising Claire Outdoors”

  1. This is amazing and sounds VERY familiar! My parents loved to be outdoors, took us on so many camping trips growing up and had us on skis the moment we could walk. Not to mention, both me and my sister went to Montessori schools through the 8th grade. I am about to graduate with a degree in education, and after spending the last year student teaching in the public school system, I’m taking some time off and have definitely considered finding a job at a Montessori school. I don’t have a doubt that Claire will love climbing, what an awesome environment to grow up in! My sister and I went to Moab for thanksgiving and went climbing! She is a lucky girl to have you two as parents.

    1. After almost 20 years of teaching in American schools overseas, I am trying my luck in public schools. They are parts of the job I love, but I am not sure it’s the right move for me. I am looking into private schools so I can continue to be a teacher, but not have to put up with public school issues. I may also return to International Schools, might as well raise Claire outdoor, climbing and traveling internationally.

  2. Getting her outside is the first step and it is just wonderful how much thought and prep you’re putting into making the outdoors and all it has to offer available to her.

  3. It’s so wonderful to expose your children to your hobbies, and (I’m in the same boat) cross your fingers they love it as much as you do! But even if not, the experience of having a parent(s) with passions is invaluable.

    1. I agree, even if Claire doesn’t become passionate about rock climbing, I hope she understand the importance of having something to be passionate about. I spend a lot of time with kids, I’m amazed at how many have no deep interest in anything.

    1. @Elaine, thanks. I hope she’s happy, that for sure. Visited your blog/website. Awesome. I’m going to explore it and learn from your site. I’m also pushing the link out on my social media.

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