“Any child who is self-sufficient, who can tie his shoes, dress or undress himself, reflects in his joy and sense of achievement the image of human dignity, which is derived from a sense of independence”. Maria Montessori
Around the age of 3, children often want to dress and undress themselves, and these inclinations should be encouraged. Complicated or tight fitting clothing can be a discouragement to even the most enthusiastic of learners. They’re just too hard to deal with. Independent dressing is an important developmental milestone as well as a confidence booster. Little hands develop crucial motor skills, and young minds learn logical thinking, concentration and order.
Suitable clothing consists of clothes that promote freedom of movement. Clothes worn to school should minimise distraction. Children have a lot to take in at school and we are responsible for removing obstacles that might hinder a child’s discoveries. Children in today’s world are bombarded with commercialisation and distracting media. By limiting superheros, sparkles, lights etc. on the clothing the children wear to school will limit their distraction and help their concentration. This will enable children to “work” better. Fictional characters on clothing take away children’s focus in their work at school.
Some ideas to help your child:
- Think of choosing comfortable clothing free from complications; buckles, belts etc.
- Think of helping them choose “tops and pants”; onesies and pyjamas are not appropriate to wear at school.
- Think about the distractions of clothing that has movie or television characters on; dress ups and costumes are for parties and home time.
- Think about changeable weather and ask the child if they have a jumper to put on if they would need one.
- Think about their shoes they wear when they come to school.
- Strapped sandals and running shoes protect the feet and promote movement.
- Thong sandals can be dangerous and are unsuitable for school.
- Wellingtons/gum boots are for outdoors and are quite uncomfortable for children to wear indoors especially when they have to work on mats on the floor. Pack some comfortable shoes for children to wear indoors.
- Please save heels, flip-flops, backless shoes, etc. for home use. No shoes with wheels, lights, etc.
- Think about your child’s hair;
- Is it out of their face? Children can’t work properly if hair is constantly hanging on their face; clips, hair ties, elastic bands and SIMPLE headbands will keep hair out of their eyes.
- Think about their school bag;
- a good sized comfortable school bag which children can carry themselves, open and close it themselves and a bag that will support their back. Look out for animation and cartoon characters which could distract them.
- Think about jewellery;
- Bracelets that keep jingling,
By limiting commercialisation and distracting media children will feel more comfortable and will be able to focus better on exploring their learning environment.
Ayesha Meer – Children’s House Program Coordinator and Seahorse Teacher