As summer approaches, it feels appropriate to spend a moment speaking about summer work for our children. Children at each level of Inly have a summer work packet that our faculty has thoughtfully prepared. Each packet begins with the Inly Summer Work Philosophy that stresses the importance of family time and learning by doing. If you are mindful about reading to or with your child each day, playing games together that require sequencing, logic or strategy, and are having discussions at dinner, on the beach, in the car, or during summer travels, your child will be learning and will solidify the academic gains made at school. We encourage you to keep the joy of learning alive in your child and to embrace Montessori’s understanding of indirect preparation this summer.
“The way nature has of preparing the intelligence. In every action, there is a conscious interest. Through this interest, the mind is being prepared for something in the future. For example, a young child will enjoy the putting together of various triangular shapes, totally unaware that because of this work his mind will later be more accepting of geometry. Also called remote preparation. The deeper educational purpose of many Montessori activities is remote in time.” —AMI website
The summer work packets offer specific suggestions about developmentally appropriate activities, but are not mandatory and are not exhaustive. In the younger grades, they are meant as a resource to parents, in grades 4-8, there are work requirements that we hope you will encourage your child to complete a little at a time throughout the summer months.
For some children, focused time each week on specific literacy and/or numeracy skills will be required for them to retain what they have learned or to make the necessary gains to start the year feeling confident and prepared. If this is true for your child, you would have heard that from your child’s teacher at end of year conferences, and resources would have been suggested.
All Toddler through Upper Elementary students and parents were also given an Independence Guide. We consider this the most important work for both you and your child this summer. As the adult Montessori Guide this summer, your homework will be to prepare the environment and the time to allow your child to grow in independence. Help your child to continue the learning they do at school to complete practical life tasks independently. Create expectations and routines for care of self and care for the environment. Invite your child to participate in the family as a contributing member—not with incentives of reward or threat of punishment, but as a natural part of his or her day. This might be difficult and time consuming at first, but the benefits will last a lifetime.
“The essence of independence is to be able to do something for one’s self. Adults work to finish a task, but the child works in order to grow, and is working to create the adult, the person that is to be.” —Maria Montessori