Updated: Sep 17, 2020
In the United States, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all kids over the age of 2 wear face coverings to help reduce the spread of Covid-19. This is easier said than done, as any parent knows that kids don't like this new attachment on their face. We are pleased to see at HMS nearly all of our students over 2 are wearing a mask. Kuddos to our parents for encouraging this important safety protocol. Here is a list of things to continue to practice to make the challenge a little easier as we accept this new reality.
Explain What's Happening
Using concepts and words to make kids understand the importance of masks will differ for every child. Explaining why masks are necessary, rather than saying "just do it", shows respect for the child and allows them to develop their natural empathy and motivation, a core Montessori focus. Exercising kindness is an important incentive to demonstrate that it's about helping and protecting all the kids and families in the world.
Engage Them In The Process
Core to the Montessori approach is taking responsibility and developing a sense of self. Parents are already used to this tactic when approaching challenges such as getting kids to eat certain foods, or to take care of their things. With mask wearing, this can be as simple as letting kids select their own masks or more adventurous by inviting kids to help make masks.
Practice Makes Perfect
“Consistency is the calming factor” is one of Dr. Montessori’s guiding principles. Practice the same routine every day as you leave the house, and return. Your child will know what to expect, and this continues when they are in the classrooms, as we consistently implement mini-routines and structure as part of the authentic Montessori approach.
Parents can try having kids wear their masks in the house for short increments to feel more comfortable. Another fun activity is to have kids look at themselves in the mirror to get familiar with the different permutations of their expressions while wearing a mask. Ask them to do their best version of "smiling with their eyes".
Role Model For Your Kids
“Children become like the things they love” is another of Dr. Montessori’s guiding principles. Each adult in a child’s life is leaving a lasting impression that builds over time. Role model for your child wearing a mask yourself. Show your child how to put on and take off a face mask safely, show your child photos of loved ones wearing their masks, or Zoom with your loved ones to show off each other’s masks. At school, all adults in the building will role model proper face mask use and wearing at all times.
We are thankful that adapting this new ritual into the child's day has been just another practice they can embrace and make their own, understanding it's part of a new and safer community!