Child Development through Play, School and Montessori
Your child has started walking and exploring the world for themselves. What’s next?
With similar trends seen across the globe between toddler and pre-school children behavior, there is a lot you can expect from your child as they begin to transition into the next phase of their life. Playschools, more commonly known as play groups, are designed especially for children who are too young to start attending elementary school.
Despite the variations in what is deemed an acceptable age for children to join playschool, the age is known to vary between 18 months to three years old. Montessori, on the other hand, has a broader definition and can even accept children up to five years old. Once your child begins to take their first unguided steps and you begin to wonder how time flew so fast, plenty of developmental changes can be anticipated.
Social Development through Friendship
The shift from complete dependency on adult guidance and constantly being under surveillance from parents to choosing to interact with other people is a big step in the life of a child. Being surrounded by children their own age has a lot of effects which tend to manifest themselves on a child once they are of play-school or Montessori age. Your child can be expected to interact with more people outside the family, young and old alike, as they develop their initial concepts of friendship. Children, thanks to these newly acquired social skills, tend to become more verbal and expressive about what they feel.
Most children of this age also grow increasingly in touch with their imaginations and begin to engage in fantasy play with other children, strengthening their bonds of friendship in the process. Through games and increased interactions with children their own age, your child may also begin to grasp the concept of sharing, as opposed to the self-centered attitude young toddlers generally have. In social settings with other children their own age, play school children also begin to grasp the idea of conflict and problem solving with growing feelings of autonomy and less reliance on their parents to resolve the pettiest of matters.
As they grow, children may also become more interested in qualities of leadership and teamwork through their friends and may be found enthusiastic about the idea of responsibility.
Since playing and physical activity is encouraged in children, they become more and more interested in individual activities from hopping and running around to competitive sports such as short-course races. Your child should also learn how to throw moderate sized objects and kick them to a considerable distance. Controlled freedom, here, is the key. Even though children may not engage in vigorous sports, it is still very likely that something as simple as a fall may destroy the child’s motivation to continue engaging in play, adversely affecting their physical wellbeing.
The immune system of a child should be one of the primary areas of focus for parents. Without a strong immune system, the child will be susceptible to several diseases, a large number of which could have been prevented by strengthening the child’s immune system in their growing years. Most childhood diseases begin around the ages of 3-5 which is what makes it essential to constantly keep a lookout for any symptoms that a child may show. Even though a child may begin to be prone to diseases during these years, it is the same phase of a child’s life which can be used to develop their immune system by giving the right types of supplements.
Most toddlers are not resistive to change and comply with the few commands given to them. That, however, is quick to change. As children learn how to walk for themselves and can take a few steps without falling, they love to discover things and become defensive. Anyone who questions their limited sense of independence is a threat to their explorations.
Naturally, in the process of trying to do everyday tasks without reliance on external help, children often fail, causing plenty of mishaps and aggression as a direct result. During this phase, outbursts of anger are common which should be disciplined by maintaining healthy conversation with the child. In their early childhood stage, individuals often associate their parents with safety, security and are inclined to trusting them more than any other people in their lives. Therefore, it is essential to develop a strong relationship with your children in these core years.
Depending on the maturity level and age of your child, there are several intellectual milestones your child should be able to achieve in their early childhood. From indecipherable words, to short sentences, to lengthy conversations about anything and everything under the sun, pre-childhood is the ideal phase in the life of a child to help them develop a love for words. Initially, toddlers may not even understand what a number is, but this limitation in the child’s understanding and ability changes in a short time.
Appreciation for words and music begins, and is cultivated during this phase in a child’s life. Children of the playschool and Montessori age group try to satiate their curiosity and quench their thirst for details of the world by asking what seems to be an infinite number of questions. Varying, of course, due to several factors, the average child should be able to understand the concepts of counting, know a few hundred words, and can formulate stories before they are ready to join elementary school.
It is around this age in a child’s life where the most fundamental of changes take place. It is important to invest not only financially in your child’s life, but also through your own time and by sharing experiences as it is this phase which sets the basic tone of development for the life of your young one. The developments made in these years will go a long way.
© Teresa Boardman, Nanny Options 2017.
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