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You might have heard of Montessori creches or playschools. Your child might even attend one. There are lots of them in Ireland and all over the world.
The Montessori method is very child-centred and encourages freedom of choice within a safe, planned environment. It was invented by Maria Montessori, an Italian doctor and educator in around 1910. She valued the whole child and worked out ways to encourage not only language and maths skills, but also sensory, social and practical skills. Maria Montessori was way ahead of her time.
The website The Montessori Notebook has lots of useful ideas and suggestions including this one on Montessori for babies.
Sharing stories play an important role in a child’s development. They not only help children learn language and reading skills but they also have an emotional quality which can help children make sense of their feelings. Reading to babies and young children, and giving them time to respond, will help make the most of this opportunity. Recognising shapes will help your child to learn to read later on.
The most important thing is that reading is fun and enjoyable for both of you – five minutes can be enough. Just turn off the TV and find a quiet place so there are no distractions. And remember stories are not just found in books, it’s just as good to tell your child short, simple stories you know.
Remember, you’re not teaching your child to read. You learn to talk a long time before you learn to read, and sharing stories and giving your child time to respond is a wonderful way to help your child’s language development.
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