Sunday, March 15, 2015

I can do it myself.

Never help a child with a task at 
which he feels he can succeed.
-Maria Montessori

One of our major goals is to help build self-confidence in the children and provide time for them to practice important life skills. 

Here are just a few of the daily routines, where the children have a chance to gain independence.

Getting dressed

The children are reminded and encouraged to do as much of their own dressing and undressing for outdoor play as possible. We give reminders to the children to guide them to remove their own shoes and jackets. Sometimes they need help with the velcro, laces or zippers, but then they can actually remove the item and put it away themselves. When getting ready to go outside, they are asked to put on as much as they can and then approach us to be zipped, buttoned, tucked etc. Often we will hook their zipper and have them pull it up themselves.



In the bathroom children are encouraged to be as independent as possible. If the child is still in pull ups (or diapers), they are expected to pull everything down and then back up after they have been changed. These are the beginning steps to helping themselves in the bathroom. In order for children to feel successful they need to have stretchy clothing on. Things that discourage independence in the bathroom: tight fitting pants, buttons, snaps, belts and overalls. These can also be a problem if a child is rushing to the bathroom in an emergency and can’t get onto the potty in time.

At the table.

Children pour their own water and pass the water pitcher to their friends. They ask to “clear” or to be excused when they are finished. They sometimes have to make two trips to the kitchen, but they scrape their plates and put them in the sink. As the year goes on children are provided with more opportunity to serve themselves. We have recently started experimenting with occasional buffet style meals.


There are lots of different experiences for the children on the playgrounds. Some of the elements are simple and some requires a bit more balance and physical ability. The general rule at Inch By Inch is once they can safely get on and off by themselves, than they are ready to use it. If a child climbs onto something and needs assistance to get back down, than they are redirected to something easier that can strengthen those same skills. Teachers act more as observers on the playground, allowing the children the time and space to explore and problem solve on their own.

I think that being in a social environment is a great place for children to practice these skills. There is often more time for practice at preschool than there is at home. The children are usually more willing to try for another adult besides their parents. And of course, most importantly, they are learning from and watching each other succeed. Self-motivation is the best motivation.