Skip to main content

The Other Side of Tot School

The week before last, Henry and I took a week off from tot school. Before the break, I was starting to get a little frustrated with Henry and tot school altogether. I needed the break to see if I wanted to continue tot school or take a longer break. 

Let me back up a second, Henry is in a very difficult period right now. I know what you're thinking -- "Hasn't Henry always been difficult?" The answer is of course, yes. Henry is, and will always be, high needs.

But recently, Morgan and I have noticed an increasing amount of frustration in Henry. As he has become more physically able to do stuff, his frustrations have turned to his inability to communicate. When Henry isn't able to express what he wants clearly, he gets very mad, very quickly. Same goes for when he is trying to say something, but we just don't understand what it is.

For tot school, an environment where I'm challenging him to do new and different things, this can mean a lot of tantrums. Not necessarily because he is mad, but because he hasn't mastered whatever we are working on. For me, it can become very frustrating. 

Also, as Henry has become more physically capable, he has become more mischievous. He intentionally likes to do things to get a reaction from Morgan and I. This includes putting things in his mouth (only when we're watching), or going places he knows he's not allowed, and playing with things he shouldn't. 

In our tot school classroom, I try to give Hen as few boundaries as possible. But even in tot school, there has to be rules. One, for his own safety. Two, because that's life...he can't always get everything he wants. When Hen and I disagree in this area, that's when we get the big meltdowns. Meltdowns that will carry on for an hour or more. Meltdowns that become physical (he hits, bites, slaps, pinches). Its frankly exhausting. 

With all of this, I started to wonder if Hen really even enjoyed tot school at all. Or if it was something I was just pushing.

With ALL that said. The week break really provided some clarity. Henry and I both missed our tot school time. He would ask to go to tot school and bang on the door to our classroom. We both sat bored during our normal time. Everything about the break just felt unnatural. 

So, I decided to continue with tot school for now. I've come up with a plan for the next few weeks. And some overarching goals I would like to keep in mind. But those, I'll save for another post...cause I'm mean like that. 

...and anyone notice the picture theme?
Pin It


Lindsay said…
Just this past week, I've started to notice Ethan will whine and get frustrated when he can't verbalize what he wants other than pointing and saying "DAT." If I guess wrong or give him the wrong thing, it's all over.

I'm excited to read more about Tot School! I think I bookmark 99% of your ideas!!!
Yes! Sometimes, I swear he is pointing at nothing! But meltdown city.

And, tot school really is a ton of fun! If you ever want more details about tot-school stuff, let me know, I love sharing!

Popular Posts

The Ultimate Montessori Toy List -- Birth to Five -- UPDATED 2019

When you are interested in Montessori, it can be difficult to know exactly what types of products you should get for your home. Or which types of "Montessori" materials are really worth the price. There are no rules about types of products can use the name Montessori which can add to the confusion. Not to mention, every toy manufacturer slaps the word "educational" on the package for good measure!

2019 UPDATE: This post has been updated to include a variety of brands and new product finds! Just a reminder that no one child will be interested in all of this or needs all of this. These toys are just here to spark ideas and give you a feeling for some Montessori-friendly options available! 

So, with this post, I'm going to try to help with this confusion! Here's a list of Montessori-friendly toys and materials for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. 

First, let's clarify that there is no such thing as a "Montessori toy." Montessori never created to…

Which Open-Ended Toys are "Worth it?"

As a Montessori parent, I try to provide a mix of materials in our home to engage my kids! That work that will spark joy, concentration, and repetition. It's not always an easy task, as Maria Montessori said, "Life is mysterious...only the choice of life can choose the work that the child truly needs. Therefore, the teacher respects this mysterious process and knows to wait with faith." So, there does sometimes feel like there is a bit of trial and error when it comes to choosing materials that your children need. 

For us, the right balance is easier to find when I spend time deeply observing my children. Watching their interests, sitting on my hands if I have to, letting them struggle a little with things, and letting them get bored. And what I have personally found is that here at home, a combination of open ended materials and more structured work have been the right balance. Open ended toys wouldn't necessarily be found in a Montessori classroom, but they are perf…

A Montessori Approach to Purging Your Toys

Becoming a Montessori family has been life changing in so many ways, most obviously with the amount and type of materials we use in our home. Once you see why having so many toys is a problem, or when you make the decision to move towards Montessori, it can be completely overwhelming. But, taking a Montessori approach to purging your toys is possible! And, it doesn't exactly mean that you have to throw away everything you have and start over with only expensive wooden toys. It will mean taking a hard look at what you have and whether it really fits with Montessori.

One note, however, Montessori is at its core about following your child's own path and respecting your child as a whole person. So, if your child has a toy, lovey, book, or whatever that your child super loves or is super attached to, but it doesn't fit Montessori ideals, don't take it away. Follow your child, that is more Montessori than whether or not you own some specific consumer product. 
How to Purge You…