The Importance of High-Quality Preschool for Life Readiness
Did you ever consider that your choice to send your child to a Montessori preschool would be the very foundation that prepares your child and sets your child up for success in life? Montessori education is so much more than a preschool; it is an education system that develops the whole child, body, mind, and spirit, unleashes his full potential, and prepares the child to handle life!
“The most important period of life is not the age of university studies, but the first one, the period from birth to the age of six. For that is the time when man’s intelligence itself, his greatest implement, is being formed.” – Maria Montessori
So what exactly is required to be life ready?
Well, according to UNICEF, UNESCO, and WHO, the top ten life skills needed to be successful in life are;
2. Critical thinking
3. Effective communication skills
5. Creative thinking
6. Interpersonal relationship skills
8. Building skills
10. Stress management
Montessori and Life Readiness
So how does Montessori education develop these core life skills and prepare your child for life? Montessori education addresses all of the top ten life skills needed to succeed in life; let us look at how.
1.. Problem-solving – One of the core principles of Montessori education is ‘help me do it by myself.’ This principle allows the child to develop problem-solving techniques as he faces each challenge independently along the way. The Montessori prepared environment provides the child with the opportunity for independent sequential skill-building that he can problem solve and master step by step. Each skill builds upon itself and sets the child up for success.
2. Critical thinking – In a Montessori environment, a child is encouraged to ask lots of questions. The adult may not directly answer his questions, as he is likely to be guided further into deeper inquiry and discovery. This approach provides the child with the opportunity to develop critical thinking skills
3. Effective communication skills – In a Montessori environment, a child is respected and heard and thus develops the ability to listen to others. The atmosphere is supportive and nurturing and encourages a child to express himself freely. When a child feels loved and accepted, self-confidence grows, and he becomes more at ease at communicating his needs, thoughts, and feelings.
4. Decision-making – A Montessori child is allowed to face many decisions daily. Decisions empower a child to feel at the helm of his own life. It is essential that a child feels actively engaged in directing his development as it allows him to hone his discernment and decision-making.
5. Creative thinking – Montessori Guides expose children to many different creative mediums. The purpose is to open the door for open-ended child-directed experimentation and exploration. A Montessori child is self-directed and allowed to lead his learning; thus, his ability to expand his creative play and think creatively ‘outside of the box’ becomes unlimited.
6. Interpersonal relationship skills – Children work together on projects and help each other. This collaborative approach teaches children how to work together towards a shared goal. Children are vertically grouped in age ranges so that there is a more natural tendency towards collaboration and mentoring.
7. Self-awareness – Children develop a deep self-awareness as they are freely allowed to follow their natural development path. This awareness allows a child to listen to his inner guidance and strongly hone his ability to discern for himself. Freedom allows the child to become aware of his likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, and develop himself accordingly. A self-aware child is likely to have high self-esteem and confidence.
8. Building skills – Montessori education focuses primarily on cultivating independence, and thus Montessori children become proficient in mastering advancing skills that lead to greater autonomy. This approach empowers the child, sets him up for success, gives him a solid skill foundation to build from, and helps him progress in his abilities and competencies.
9. Empathy – Montessori education teaches children how to express their emotions freely and positively. As a result, the child develops emotional intelligence that helps him feel compassion for others as he is in touch with his own emotions. Montessori focuses on respecting and caring for the world, including oneself. This care develops empathy as a Montessori child will be concerned for the welfare of all, including himself.
10. Stress management – There are many ways to alleviate stress and handle strong emotions. Self-care practices are vital in managing stress. Healthy eating, drinking lots of water, exercises such as yoga and nature walking, breathing, and mindful awareness are ways to cope more easily with everyday pressures. Children need a calm and grounded Guide, someone who implements stress-reducing practices into their daily life and can role model these skills to the children. Thankfully Montessori Guides are dedicated to their spiritual development and diligently work on remaining calm and centered for the children.
So will Montessori education prepare your child for life? Absolutely! More than that, Montessori education will prepare your child to have positive social relations, be curious about life, treat others with kindness and respect, and care deeply for the wellbeing of others and Mother Earth.
“‘The education of even a small child, therefore, does not aim at preparing him for school but life!‘ – Maria Montessori