With a second lockdown well underway in England, we know parents and practitioners may be concerned about how this will impact young children’s development.

While schools and nurseries are remaining open throughout this period, it’s important to remember that learning happens everywhere, not just in the classroom. In our latest survey, the Montessori Group identified five key traits that are crucial to young children’s development: Independence, Leadership, Problem-solving, Curiosity and Creativity.

As a child-led approach to education, the Montessori method actively supports the development of these traits and encourages children to take on tasks and challenges on their own, helping them to develop these skills. Activities such as playing with household objects and encouraging children to do what they enjoy are typical of a Montessori education.

Here’s a selection of five simple activities that children can do in the home that will ensure they continue to learn and develop, wherever they are during lockdown:

 

Hanging up clothes on a child-height washing line

37% of children like choosing their own clothes. Hanging up clothes on a child-height washing line allows children to take full control of a task, boosting their independence and self-confidence. Ensuring the washing-line is at a height they can reach makes the activity accessible and encourages children to continue to take on little challenges that help their development

 

Washing windows

Giving young children the sole responsibility of a task, such as washing windows, provides them with the opportunity to take ownership of what they are doing, improving their leadership skills. 42% of parents admit that they often don’t have the patience or time to let children figure things out by themselves, but encouraging children to perform small tasks and rewarding them for completing them instils a sense of achievement

 

Cleaning the home

Encouraging children to clean up after themselves will help them to develop responsibility and key problem-solving skills, as they understand that actions have consequences. A water spillage needs mopping up and dirty dishes need cleaning in order to be used again. Helping children to decide what needs to be used for each cleaning task and how it needs to be done encourages them to problem-solve and think in a logical way

 

Caring for indoor plants

Watering and nurturing plants will help children to understand the role of caring for another life-form and familiarises them to nature’s lifecycle. It may be difficult to spend time outside right now, so indoor plants are a great alternative way for children to experience nature. Doing something new like this can also help bring out your child’s curiosity and will introduce them to a new aspect of the environment

 

Choosing what to play with

Children love exploring and trying new things, with 52% of children preferring to decide what to play with on their own. Giving children the space and opportunity to play freely, and allowing them to choose what they play with encourages them to be creative with their choices