Saturday, October 12, 2013

He is learning his lessons at Montessori

I am a little taken aback by how difficult this transition has been for Aidan in school. Going from the oldest in the class ( 3 year olds - Kindergarten) to the youngest in the class ( 1st - 3rd grade) has been quite the challenge. He was used to younger kids looking up to him and coming to him for questions they had. He was looked up to and he really enjoyed working with the little ones. Now he is " the low man on the totem pole" and he is having to find his way and find where he fits in. Some days he comes home sad and says that he sat by himself at lunch or no one would play with him. When I ask him who he asked to play with it is always one of the 3rd graders or even 4th or 5th graders. I have been encouraging him to ask the other 1st graders to play. It is difficult for him because his 2 best friends left and went to public school this year. As I reflect on his difficulties, I think it is a great life skill he is learning ( although this mama's heart breaks for him at times). Aren't we all just attempting to find our way in this world? Find where we "fit in"? For some people I think this comes naturally... People are raised and never leave the same town where they were born. They find where they "fit in" early in life. There are others of (us) who want and need an adventure in life and need to "test out" different waters. Sometimes our circumstances change- we move, get a new job, have a significant person in our life to die or maybe just become a stay at home mom., and again we are left  "finding our way" Anyway, this is not where I wanted to go with this post....

Back to Montessori and Aidan's transition.... This year there are a new set of expectations and skill sest for the kids. In biding by the philosophy of Maria Montessori the kids are allowed to choose their own activities... However, this DOES NOT mean that they can just play. Every day they have a morning meeting and they each have a goal sheet. They highlight the activities they want to get done for the day and each child is expected to fulfill a minimum amount of goals. As they finish the activities a teacher is to check the child's work and sign it off on their goal sheet. This means the kids are learning invaluable skills- how to self regulate, how to pace themselves, how to focus, how to work with a  partner, how to work within a group, etc....  I feel these are life skills of the utmost importance AND skills that are pretty tough for a 6 year old to learn..... especially MY 6 year old who is extremely smart and has an extremely difficult time focusing. I have no doubt that if my kid were in public school he would be struggling and  REALLY struggling.... He is a mover and doesn't have the patience to sit. He gets bored easily and has sensory issues. I have no doubt that he would be "labeled" in public school. I have no concerns for Aidan academically. Like I said- he is extremely smart and academically I think he will always be ok. However, I am so thankful for Montessori and for the lesson of focus that he is learning. Honestly, it is not going so great in that area but the teachers are patient and gentle yet firm and are working with him. All the kids bring home their goal sheets on Monday from the previous week. My kid ( and a few others) bring theirs home every day. I love this as it gives us a chance to talk about his day, what he was doing other than his work, and what he can do differently next time. We get to do a lot of problem solving ( another critical skill.) I have noticed a trend with his goal sheets- Monday and Tuesday are always great! He starts off with a bang and then by Wednesday or Thursday he is DONE! There were a couple of Thursdays that he had NOTHING signed off on his goal sheet. His teachers last year noticed this trend as well. so on Wednesday morning they always started him out with some "heavy work" such as scrubbing the tables so he could receive some good sensory input and his day went much smoother.  I can't tell you WHY sensory input seems to work so well with him ( something about the proprioceptors and organizing the brain) but it does work. Aidan is taking Taekwando and again we are testing that "focus" thing. It is hard for him to stand and not move unless the instructor tells him to. I have noticed if I let him jump on the trampoline for 10 minutes before we leave ( and receive heavy sensory input) his focus is ON!  I know there are medications out there that help with focus but I am not ready to go down that path... I feel there are to many kids that are medicated these days.

So Aidan's major lessons that he is learning is focus and self regulation. What that boy will be able to create when he pairs focus with his intelligence is anyone's best guess and I can't wait to find out! :)
I am off to bed. Aidan has his first soccer practice and game tomorrow, we also have a birthday party and are going to Brick or Treat tomorrow night at LEGOLAND. What a blessed life I have. :)

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