When my wife and I toured Stepping Stones for the first time, we couldn’t help but grin from ear to ear as we watched awesome young minds being supported in their individual development in a comfortable, independent, healthy way. We saw children learning social skills as well as respect for teachers and each other. We observed children with responsible attitudes (cleaning dishes, picking up after activities) who had a “flexible” structure, allowing their young developing, creative, and inquisitive minds to flourish. Our choice became simple.Read More
A Montessori classroom is a sight to behold. Far from being the stereotype portrayed by naysayers—that it's either a hippie commune or a moppet free-for-all—a classroom in a true Montessori school is the stage on which girls and boys develop a sense of responsibility, cooperation, and independence.Read More
by Elizabeth Topliffe, Head of School
Our blog post on developing focus and attention has generated some buzz. In order to keep the energy alive, we are proposing a Holiday Break Challenge! We are asking you (and every family at Stepping Stones Montessori School) to reduce screen time over the break. Or even have an unplugged holiday.
We know! You might be thinking this is the WORST time to do a challenge like this. There isn’t school. Electronics may be placed under a tree. It might be cold or inclement. We get it that the adults still have to go to work, and there may be babysitters and grandparents and extended family to contend with.
We are hoping you’ll reconsider. A break from school is a great time for families to connect. A school break is a great time to allow your child to be bored and to think for themselves how to spend their time. And when a child becomes whiny, looking for things to do, it is a great time to remind them that they are in charge of their own fun.
What are we asking?
Consider reducing screen time as an entire family by 50%. Start there. If you’re up for it go all the way!
Yes. Parents too. And we get it. You may need to check email or social media or other things on your electronics in order to do your work. If you can, try to schedule that time, and tell your kids that you have scheduled it and won’t be looking at other times. Eliminate electronics at the dinner table and in the bedroom.
Isn’t it Ironic?
To help you, we have a calendar with different themes for each day of break. Think about what these words mean to your family. Plan some time to think about how that theme plays out in your home. With older kids, ask them about the words.
If you’re up for a few photos, post some of you and your family to our Facebook, Twitter (@steppingstonesgr), and Instagram (steppingstonesgr). #SSMSFamily #MontessoriUnplugged. Yes, we know that posting photos to social media for the purpose of an unplugged campaign is ironic and even ridiculous. That said, we are stronger as a community, and this could be fun if we’re all in it together. Just post them during your scheduled adult screen time or if you’d rather, not at all.
That sense of community will be helpful for many during this challenge. We’re all in it together. Find out if friends in your child’s classroom are participating. It makes it more fun for children to know that their buddies are doing the same thing. Staying unplugged.
What should we do instead?
Instead of screen time, consider some of these ideas:
- Break out the blocks or Legos and build something.
- Play board games and family games.
- Give each child a random object and ask them to put on a play using those objects. When adults participate also, this can be a blast.
- For younger children, go on a walk outside where your child leads the entire walk. Pay attention to what captures his attention.
- Ask each member of the family to choose an activity for the break, and then make sure everyone participates in them. It could be going ice skating, going out for dinner, visiting another family, going to a museum, or any other adventure.
- Try some winter sports—go sledding, ice skating, tubing, show shoeing, or skiing.
- Talk to your child about your family traditions and break out the scrapbook to share them.
- Share your memories of holiday break. What did you and your siblings do? Children enjoy hearing from parents about their youth.
- Paint, draw, or create something together.
- Go on a letter hunt around town. How many “mmmms” can we find? Or how many “sssss” can we find?
- Cook or bake something as a family and enjoy it together.
- Go to a concert.
- Have a dance party in the living room.
- Go the planetarium or look at the stars.
- Talk about how you want to live as a family in the world.
- Visit an elderly relative or friend.
- Do family yoga. (Really. It can be fun and relaxing).
- Read a book together.