The parent looked at me with concern. “Is that safe?” she asked and gestured to our new playground. It was a beautiful day; sunny, just the hint of a breeze. I turned to look at the reality of my vision and smiled.
Since the 90s, swing sets have been removed from playgrounds. Straight slides were removed because they picked up too much speed. The term ‘helicopter parent’ was introduced into our vocabulary.
We can all remember playing in the vacant lot until sundown, walking through the woods with neighborhood kids, and taking a stroll to the corner store. A lot of people say, “Those were the days… but it’s a lot different now.”
And it is different. Today, children have learning challenges, emotional issues and heightened sensory awareness. ‘Back in the day,’ it was rare to hear about these issues.
Psychology Today reported on a study where rats were prohibited to play during “a critical phase in their development.” This made the protected rats “emotionally crippled.” When they were finally placed into a common environment, the protected rats “overacted with fear and failed to adapt and explore surroundings.” Furthermore, protected rats were shown to react inappropriately and with aggression.
The same study notes that over the last 60 years there’s been a “continuous, gradual but dramatic increase in childhood mental disorders, especially emotional disorders.” Experts philosophize this is because of prohibited and protected play.
Another fear factor introduced into our generation of helicopter parents is the continuous need to be plugged in to the media. Are there more pedophiles today than 20 years ago? Or have the horrible stories been made more known, thanks to the ever-present media?
According to the Huffington Post, “If there was a kidnapping or case of child abuse or child murder in one part of the country, those at a distance would never hear about it. But in our Internet-fueled world, we hear about threats daily, however distant they are,” says the Huffington Post. “It’s not surprising that many parents are terrified for their children’s safety.”
Psychology Today says children climb trees to “scary heights” to get a bird’s eye view of the world…and they get a thrill out of it. They ride skateboards at high speeds, swing too high and whiz down slides …just fast enough to “produce the thrill of almost, but not quite, losing control.”
When you let your child make their own mistakes, they learn from them. They discover limits and push boundaries. Their self-esteem is put on hyper-speed when they learn to do things themselves, on their own terms.
There’s no doubt you feel different now that you are the age you are. You have life experience. You’ve had your heart broken. You’ve fallen and gotten back up. If all “the bad things” that happened to you never happened, you wouldn’t be the person you are. You wouldn’t have common sense and know what ‘feel right’ and what ‘feels wrong.’
It’s not easy to let your child walk home from school. It’s scary – for you. And you will feel an absolute moment of relief when you see her come around the corner. But know, that your child just had a little adventure, and adventures are exciting because they’re a little bit scary.
This article appears in 425 Magazine
I am excited to share that an article I wrote, along with MCH Marketing/Advertising Coordinator Georgie Hockett, will be published in the June issue of 425 Magazine.
The article is on the importance of Risk Play. We decided to tackle this subject in conjunction with the opening of our elementary nature-based adventure playground. I am passionate about the subject matter because risk play is so important to a child's development during their school age years. Please enjoy the following "sneak peek" from the soon-to-be-published article and look for it in the June publication of 425:
There has been a lot of buzz lately about “free-range kids,” “free-range parenting,” and risk play. We can all remember playing in the spare lot until sundown, walking through the woods with the neighborhood kids, and taking a stroll to the corner store with our best friend. A lot of people say, “Those were the days… but it’s a lot different now.”
And it is different.
Children these days have learning challenges; emotional issues and heightened sensory awareness. ‘Back in the day,’ it was rare to hear about these issues. Some researches say that’s because we, as a society, became all too protective, and all too plastic.
According to Psychology Today, children climb trees to “scary heights” to get a bird’s eye view of the world…and they get a thrill out of the view (wouldn’t we all?) They ride skateboards at high speeds, swing too high and whiz down slides …just fast enough to “produce the thrill of almost, but not quite, losing control.”
Twice a year, the Elementary students here at Montessori Children's House host two Continental Breakfast events. We invite parents to come into the classroom for an hour in the morning, enjoy food made by the students, and see what they are working on in the classroom.
During the breakfast event, children typically give their parents a "tour" of the work in their folders and binders and show them a favorite or recent work. Everyone eats from a continental breakfast spread prepared by the Elementary students, including freshly baked breakfast pastries, bagels, fresh fruit, juice and coffee. It's an informal social time for parents to connect with each other, their children's friends, and of course, the teachers.
This year, we are hosting our first Elementary Continental Breakfast on Friday, January 30 with a second one scheduled for Friday, May 1 (we'll have a May Day theme for this one!). The event starts at 9:00am and we look forward to seeing parents and preparing the breakfast menu.
Check back on this post; after the January 30th breakfast, we will update the blog with pictures from the event. Additionally, we encourage you to LIKE us on Facebook where we post pictures, video and new information daily -- another great way to connect with Montessori Children's House and see all the latest news and information.
Thank for being part of the vibrant MCH community!
As we near the close of Winter Break, it’s a great time to step back and take a look at the school year so far.
With our new building effortlessly moving into its first complete school year — and our second playground nearing completion — MCH is hitting its stride. We welcomed a handful of new teachers this year and by this point in time, students and new teachers have created a bond and establishing formative relationships.
Already MCH has welcomed some exciting after- school learning programs such as Ms. Amy’s Music Club (or Rock Star Training, as some say), ceramics, art by Ms. Michelle and Spanish lessons hosted by Sponge.
The elementary and kindergarten students have attended several art and theatrical programs such as Dick Whittington and His Cat (at Seattle Children’s Theatre) and The Nutcracker by the Pacific Northwest Ballet; the last year that the Sendak version is being performed.
As we look forward to Winter Break and 2015, we look forward to even more exciting ‘field trips’ (such as the Reptile Man and the Pacific Science Center's Outrageous Owl Exhibit), Kindergarten students preparing for their annual Tea and graduation event, and elementary students beginning their Passion Projects, where they put together an in-depth presentation about an interest of their choice.
All of us at MCH wish you and yours a very happy New Year. See you on Monday!
The Nature of Nurturing begins with you, and is continued at Montessori Children’s House – a nature-based school that focuses on emotional, global and educational intelligence. At Montessori Children’s House, students experience a prepared environment which encourages developmental as well as intellectual growth. In this atmosphere of individualized learning, children grow and develop at their own pace according to their inner needs. At MCH we foster the fullest development of a child’s potential and provide a foundation for a life of joyful and successful learning.
Located on a five acre farm-like campus in Redmond, surrounded by forests and protected wetlands and staffed
by dedicated professionals, Montessori Children’s House is uniquely and wonderfully equipped to educate the whole child. We have built a special community in which children flourish, guided by a caring experience created for children from infancy through elementary.
Our Open House is a special opportunity to learn more about MCH programs and the Montessori philosophy. Guests will also tour the school and meet the lead teaching staff.
Saturday, November 15, 2014
Group Tours from 10:00AM to 12:00noon
Click here to RSVP