Dear Aidan Community,
It is with great excitement and the giddiness that our young children so often express that our school community welcomes its students back with open arms. I am thrilled to see light at the end of the tunnel and welcome your families back in-person for another fantastic year. The last 18 months have inspired so many of us to transition, pivot, adapt, and reflect. If this year has taught us anything, it is to expect the unexpected, be resilient, and trust the process—ironically, three things young children do naturally.
This year I will be wearing many hats. As your new Head of Lower School and Director of Education, I want to officially welcome you to a year filled with optimism. A year where we feel somewhat “normal” again and continue to learn and thrive with a common goal: your children’s growth. As a Montessorian, I want to celebrate you for choosing this life philosophy where we follow your child, offer freedom and limits, and provide experiences that will construct your child. Along with your child’s Directress, we will support your family and guide you every step of the way. As a mother of two young children, I want to remind you to trust the process. No matter what, the children have this!
Here are some suggestions to help you prepare your young child to start school:
- Establish a routine: A simple morning routine can make a big difference. When your child knows what to expect, they will feel safe. Can this routine be bumpy at first because your family just got back from vacation or is still in summer mode? Absolutely! However, just remind yourself to be patient during this transitional period—things will smooth out with a bit of time and practice.
- Sleep: Do your best to create a nighttime routine that gives your child enough sleep. Young children are recommended to sleep a total of 11-14 hours (toddler age) or 10-13 hours (ages 3/5).
- School and home: Help your child connect to school by reading books, mentioning their teacher’s names, and casually talking about Aidan Montessori School. These small practices can make all the difference during the transition period!
- Trust the process: Our goal is to provide a safe, loving, and enriched space for your child. If your child cries, that is ok. If your child says, “I don’t want to go to school”, that is okay. If your child walks in happy as a clam, that is okay. Some children will adapt quicker than others and we must trust the process. After a year of many challenges, this is a new routine and environment to which they must adapt. Your partnership is essential and we encourage you to build relationships with your Guides and communicate as needed. Remember, no news is good news.
Learn the Montessori lingo: To maintain consistency between home and school, we invite you to use some Montessori-based language:
- Classrooms are called environments.
- Teachers are called Guides or Directresses/Directors.
- Children love to work—therefore, they work inside the classroom and play outside.
- We have materials in our environment. We have toys at home.
- Children get lessons. Our environments are designed in a way that your children’s needs are met through many activities. In order to learn how to use the materials, the adults deliver lessons.
While the start of the school year is often bittersweet, it is always emotional. So, I encourage you to be present and compassionate in the midst of it all. The following words have resonated with me time and time again: “We control what we can—we control ourselves and we control the environment, and we create the conditions for success. We set high or low expectations, responding to the needs of this child, this group, this moment.” Attitude is everything, especially when we confront both challenges and “AHA!” moments each day.
Let us respect the unique needs of each family and child. Let us welcome the year with gratitude and enthusiasm. And, most importantly, let us support each other and extend grace during this time.
Cheers to the 2021-2022 School Year!
Head of Lower School & Director of Education