Greetings Pigeon Plum Families:
We have all made it! The first few weeks of school are already behind us and as much as we were all probably a bit sad to say goodbye to summer, for our returning friends, it probably feels good to be back into more of a routine; for our new friends, this has probably been quite a change! But all of the children are quickly settling in to their new classroom environment and beginning to learn our routine here at school. It’s amazing how much they can adapt to new people, new things, and a new environment in such a short amount of time.
Along the lines of change, people everyday are transitioning from one thing to another be it a new town, a new job, or returning back to work after a baby. In adulthood, many of us are able to easily cope with these evolutions and the feelings associated with them: anxiety, fear, excitement. However, children, especially toddlers, can have difficulty with them.
While a toddler doesn’t go through what an adult might consider a “life altering” transition, such as a new job, they have their own stages and changes to move through. For example, passing from diapers to underwear, starting school for the first time and being away from mom and dad, or from being non-verbal to verbal. Just like transitions in our adult life can lead to frustration, anger, sadness, or apprehension, your toddler can also feel these emotions. They are embarking on something completely new and foreign to them and it can be very scary, however, unlike adults, they don’t know how to deal with these feelings. As the parents and teachers in their lives it is important for us to be supportive and patient during these times; these are crucial teaching moments for how they will cope with transitions and change in their adult life. We can help them by identifying what they are feeling and modeling how to manage these feelings. Establishing and keeping a routine is also very important in helping a toddler through a time of change and newness. Doing the same tasks in the same order daily (not necessarily at the same time), will help a toddler feel safe and secure when big changes are occurring in their world. This is why in a Montessori classroom we are quick to establish our daily rhythm from the first day of school. Snack might not always start “on time”, but it will always be right after dance party, and knowing this helps our friends begin to easily transition from one task to the next, and feel safe in our guidance and care.
Transitions and changes are scary! They are times when we are going from the known to the unknown. Be patient with your toddler during them. Be supportive. And most of all, know that during these times, an extra hug or words of encouragement might be just what they need.
~Ms. Dori, Ms. Sarka, and Ms. Melanie