Last night I attended our first parent education workshop of the year hosted by our very own Toddler four and five teachers, Maggie and Meghan.
I love the workshops we present at the school. It’s not only a chance for for parents to connect with each other and their teachers, but it’s an opportunity to go over challenges that sounds similar to what parents may be experiencing at home. A common phrase said at these workshops is, “Yes! My son does that too!”
Maggie and Meghan did a fantastic job of discussing ways to prepare the home environment and how to instill independence. Even though I’ve seen this workshop presented several times in my seven years of being here, I enjoy it each time!
Each year we hear similar questions about the bedtime routine or eating habits. Last night a new question was brought up, one that I thought was so interesting. A parent asked, “How do I, in the Montessori way, teach my child the value of money.” Such a fantastic question! Maggie asked more about what the parent wanted out of the situation and discovered that the parent wanted the child to understand that we, adults, don’t simply receive something on a whim, it takes hard work to earn money to then buy the things we want and need.
The parent then brought up if chores was an appropriate response to this and how should she implement them or if she should start an allowance. What an fantastic question!
The value of money can’t be taught until the child first understands what money even is, and they can’t understand this until they comprehend the values of quantities such as “this symbol represents 10, this symbol represents 25.” This concept isn’t introduced until they are well into their Primary years, when they are given lessons on the golden bead material (the bank) or the Stamp Game.
But, I think what this parent was asking falls more in line of how to teach the child the responsibility of money. For the children at our school, whether toddler or primary aged, this is developmentally not appropriate.
Instilling the responsibility of “chores” is appropriate. Absolutely your child should have expectations of caring for themselves and their environment. They have similar expectations here at school. I expect for them to clean up after themselves, to throw away their lunches when finished, to dress themselves when appropriate. At home you may expect that your child brings dirty clothes to a hamper, that they set the table for dinner, that they help unload the dishwasher. These are their “chores.” Like all expectations, they do not receive a reward. Sadly, as and adult I do not receive 50 cents for doing the dishes. This is just an expectation of life.
Last night we relayed this to the parent and then added: when the child reaches the elementary age, it is appropriate to introduce allowances for larger chores… such as raking leaves, or washing the car. These are bigger chores that the child would do on top of their normal expectations in the house.
This question just goes to show that even after seven years of Montessori in the Home workshops there is still something to learn, think about, and discuss.