The holiday season is right around the corner for the students of Springdale Academy, and it’s time for a well-deserved rest. Traveling offers everyone a chance to break out of their routine, explore a new place, and get out of their comfort zone. This is true for most of us, but what about our young ones?
Parents strive all year long to maintain a fixed schedule for their children because it brings consistency to their lives. For better or worse, children are confronted with change daily, including the suspiciously shaped vegetable you might be trying to include in their diets. After all, the very definition of growing up is that the body is constantly changing. A predictable routine allows the child to feel safe while also developing a sense of mastery over their lives. So, what happens when you decide on a family trip that throws this schedule right out the window for a few days?
The good news is that the principles of Montessori education can be adapted to your travel plans. It will give them a sense of normalcy in a new environment while encouraging them to get excited about the adventure they are about to embark on.
You can start by including them in the planning and sharing the details with them right from the get-go. In our classrooms, children are frequently involved in planning field trips. This gives them a sense of responsibility, so why not let them foster that through their vacation planning as well? You can give your child an idea of what to expect when you talk about what time your flight is, what you will do at the airport, or when you arrive at the destination. As an added benefit, this also helps ease their anxiety.
Montessori education highly values independence, so try to do the same for the trip. Help them pack their carry-on bag. When you arrive at the hotel, designate an area for your children. This will enable them to access their clothes and toys. This will save them from having to ask you repeatedly to do it for them. Additionally, this also provides them with a sense of order that can be comforting for little ones.
Nature offers children a rich sensory experience. During the outdoor sessions at Springdale Academy, children are encouraged to explore and fuel their curiosity, so even if your destination is not nature-oriented, look up if there are any parks or playgrounds where your children can have their nature appreciation time. Furthermore, focus on making a list of possible activities you can enjoy instead of having a fixed schedule. Do what our Montessori teachers do: observe the child to gain insight into their current mood, development, or capabilities. By doing this, you can determine what your child is interested in and plan accordingly.
In its role as an accredited Montessori school in New Jersey, Springdale Academy focuses on the holistic development of students. They are encouraged to be independent and follow their natural curiosity. They engage in activities that interest them at their own pace. This approach can easily be transitioned to their vacations as well. Traveling can create a wealth of learning opportunities like those in cuisine, local languages, geography, and history. All you need is patience and understanding on your end, and you will create memories that they will remember as life skills. What’s not to love about that?