If your toddler or young child is very shy and reluctant to break routine and try new things, you may be concerned about ways you can build his or her self-esteem without forcing your child into situations that cause long-term emotional turmoil. Fortunately, there are a number of preschool and elementary education programs that are designed to appeal to a child's senses and encourage learning through play and collaboration. Read on to learn more about Montessori education and how this type of environment may help your shy child gain the self-esteem and independence he or she needs to shine.
What is Montessori?
Named for the Italian philosopher and teacher Maria Montessori, this school of thought focuses on building independence at an early age by spending their days engaging in play, experimentation, and collaboration -- how children naturally learn about the world around them. A Montessori school will group children into loose age groups based on skill, rather than having classes filled with children all within one year of age. These groupings can allow the older or more capable children to teach younger children, building self-esteem in the teacher while helping the younger gain a new skill.
A typical day in a Montessori school might involve some sensory play (such as sand art or modeling clay), followed with story time, songs, coloring, and a variety of other activities that appeal to each of the senses.This helps ensure all areas of your child's brain are stimulated each day, helping facilitate the learning process. Children will be left to operate fairly independently, and teachers may allow your child to struggle to solve an issue for a few minutes before stepping in to help. This also builds self-esteem by letting your child know others are confident in his or her capabilities.
How can Montessori help your shy child?
Even with a heavy emphasis on social collaboration, Montessori schools are a low-key, pressure-free environment. Your child won't feel pushed into a rigorous schedule or forced interactions, but will be permitted to develop at his or her own speed and gradually make connections with other students when it is comfortable to do so. This type of education is a great way for a shy child to break out of his or her shell without being forced to do so. If your child is one of the older children in a class, he or she could also discover a new love for teaching or helping younger students, building his or her self-esteem and identifying a tangible skill and interest. Contact a local trade school which focuses of building self-esteem in children, such as Aikido Northshore, for further assistance.