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.