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Oh, That Groundhog! Independence and Winter Gear | February 9, 2022

Feb 9, 2022 12:06:07 PM / by Maura Barrasso


If we believe Punxsutawney Phil, we are in for six more weeks of winter. Arghhhh! We New Englanders are rugged, and at Kingsley we go outside at all temperatures above 20 degrees. For our young friends, this means a lot of layers and moving parts. As a parent and teacher, I have learned that the greatest gift for our children is TIME. There is always such a short supply of it, especially on crazy weekday mornings when everyone is trying to get out the door. 

When my son was three, his preschool teacher shared that he was the only one in class who could get on his snowsuit. While my now college senior doesn’t believe this tidbit defines him, I am still one proud parent! I thought I might offer some tips to make these winter mornings run a little more smoothly.

In a Montessori school adults are there to lend support, but the students are responsible for their own transitions. That means that implementing these strategies may actually take some responsibilities off of YOUR plate. I hope you find them helpful!

  • TIME. Allow for plenty of time, especially for our youngest friends. I know—where do we find it? Perhaps it means starting the mornings ten minutes earlier.
  • CREATE A PREPARED ENVIRONMENT. For non-Montessorians, this means having all the materials necessary to complete a work ready. Gather all of those winter materials near the door, and leave plenty of space to complete the work.
  • ORDER OF OPERATION. Practice putting on clothes in order: snowpants, boots, jacket, hat, mittens/gloves. When coming in, just reverse the order. Some of our Kingsley classes use songs or visual aids to remember the steps, which can be helpful.
  • MAKE IT A GAME. See if the work can be done before a favorite song finishes.
  • GET READY WITH THEM. Doing things together makes the work meaningful, and observational learning is a lifelong skill.
  • THEY CAN DO IT! Usually, they just need time. Allowing more time will de-stress you because again, it takes the task off of your plate. As Dr. Montessori reminds us, “Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed.”
  • CELEBRATE THEIR PROGRESS. Celebrate when students improve on various skills, even if they are not yet able to complete the entire work.
  • DON’T CORRECT. It’s okay if the boots are on the wrong feet! Leaving space for errors and student-motivated correction is something we practice at school.
  • THANK YOU. When parents encourage student independence, it helps us teachers with transitions at school. And, it allows everyone more time outside to play.

Thank you for reading, and I wish you all a peaceful and productive end of winter. And yes, my son has maintained this life-long skill, and I still believe he does it pretty well!



Maura Barrasso, Montessori Early Childhood Teacher


Topics: toddler, independent, parents as partners, early childhood

Maura Barrasso

Written by Maura Barrasso

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