Montessori Education Teaches Valuable Life Skills
It goes without saying that building strong academic capability ranks high on the priority list for parents and educators. Research shows there is an additional set of skills with equal, or possibly, greater importance when it comes to fostering individual growth and potential in children – emotional intelligence (EQ). EQ can be described as the ability to be aware of and express emotions, and to manage relationships with empathy. This set of skills impacts much of our everyday behaviour and is a significant factor in our ability to be happy, successful individuals.
The ability to put yourself “in someone else’s shoes” both intellectually and emotionally, is a critical skill that greatly impacts EQ. Kendalwood provides students with opportunities to further develop their emotional intelligence skills in practical ways. One program which supports this important aspect of Montessori education is our community outreach program. Kendalwood elementary students visit Community Care Durham, a Whitby retirement residence not far from the school, once every month during the academic year.
Our community outreach program provides Kendalwood students an opportunity to demonstrate patience, compassion and empathy. Students plan and present a themed activity during each visit to the seniors’ residence which could include a game, sing along or presentation and our music teacher Mr. Linderman brings along his guitar so the kids can sing to the residents. Many of the Community Care residents have vision and hearing challenges and students often show a natural desire to assist. It is heartwarming to see children act as the eyes and ears of those struggling in order that the seniors may participate fully in the planned activities.
Residents look forward to seeing the children each month as they collaborate to plan exciting activities and share their own stories and experiences with the children. Our students are always captivated by the narrative residents share on these visits. Listening to stories from a time not so long ago, yet so very different form our present day, is a wonderful way to learn perspective and to become more sensitive to the needs of others.
To feel for and with others is much more than an admirable quality. Fostering skills to develop emotional intelligence builds compassionate, resilient adults with the capacity to reach their own unique potential in all aspects of their life – something parents and Montessori educators alike want for our children.
Kendalwood Montessori Community Service Program