Dr. Maria Montessori, an Italian physician, and educator, developed the Montessori method. It is a child-led approach that emphasizes the importance of spontaneous, independent learning and creative discovery. The fundamental belief of the Montessori method is that “Children have a natural curiosity about the world, and when guided by their tutor or teacher to explore on their own, their curiosity will lead them to learn.”
While the Montessori method is commonly implemented in classrooms, it is also possible to apply the method at home. For parents wishing to start Montessori at home, here are seven tips for getting started that will help you make your Montessori discoveries at home more enjoyable and successful.
Why Should You Consider Implementing Montessori Principles at Home?
There are numerous reasons why parents should consider implementing Montessori at home. It is an empowering approach that helps children build confidence and develop an understanding of their own capabilities. Using learning materials based on Montessori principles can help your child’s critical thinking skills and creativity, which will help them in school and life. Additionally, using Montessori at home can be a fun experience for everyone, as you will notice that your children start to engage in a completely new way when they are given their independence.
Here Are Some Ideas To Help You Start On The Way To A Montessori Life At Home:
1. Organize The Environment
A place for everything and everything in its place. It is one of the important principles of Montessori at home. When you designate a certain place for everything, your little one will learn where everything goes. It is an essential tool in teaching children to be responsible for their things and clean up the mess they may make. To effectively order the environment, the most vital change you’ll make is to make all things accessible for your little one.
Re-imagine the layout of the house, and you will find some simple adjustments, such as:
- Arrange groups of toys like beads, flashcards, or blocks on trays. Teach children to clean as they go, returning one tray to its designated place before retrieving another.
- Mount hooks down low for your kid’s hats and coats.
- Stack up a few small rugs, and show them how to use one for working with blocks and puzzles. Toys tend to become strewn all over their room if you don’t help kids contain them.
- Add a child-sized table and chair in the kitchen so your little one can make their own meal and have a safe place to sit and eat. Creating this designated child space can also teach kids how to clean up after themselves after they’ve finished eating.
- In the Bedroom, Store clothing in low drawers, and move the rod in the closet down to eye-level so your little one can reach their clothing. It’s also advisable to stock your kids’ baskets and closets with seasonally appropriate clothing so you can prevent situations that require you to interfere with your child’s decision-making, such as if he wants to wear a winter coat in summer.
2. Give Importance to Life Skills
Many parents are concerned about their little toddler’s social growth, but it is important to consider the other side of the argument. One of the main advantages of Montessori at home is that it helps children develop essential life skills. For example, a routine of feeding yourself as well as cleaning up after eating your own meal can be implemented in a Montessori environment, which will help develop your child’s independence and coordination.
So, find ways to include your little one in practical life activities – from working on drinking from a small cup to wiping up a milk spill or even assisting in the kitchen.
3. Use Montessori Language
One of the most important aspects of the Montessori method is to use language that encourages the child’s independence and understanding. For instance, you can encourage your child to “decide which puzzle piece will go here” or ask children to “think about what would happen if you put that block there.” This language encourages kids to think independently rather than just following orders.
4. Equip Kids with Tools for Lifelong Success
One of the most interesting aspects of a Montessori classroom is the air of mutual respect and courtesy throughout. Teach kids how to
- warmly greet visitors to their house
- show compassion and respond politely when someone addresses them.
- Instruct children on how to push their chairs back into the table,
- how to answer the phone politely,
- and how to avoid interrupting conversations.
5. Focus On Motor Skills
Gross motor skills involve the body’s large muscle groups (legs, arms, and torso). Running and climbing are all examples of gross motor activity.
Encouraging gross motor development helps your little ones better control their body movements, which is helpful for both the development of life skills and academic learning.
Here are some ways to encourage gross motor skills:
- Break out the trampoline and ball pit. These toys will help children develop balance and coordination while letting loose and having fun.
- When you are outdoors, take note of the hills, slopes, and other inclines in your neighborhood. Go up and down them frequently with your little one to help promote gross motor skills.
Fine motor skills involve the smaller muscle groups of the body (hands, fingers, and wrists). Drawing, writing, and grasping are all examples of fine motor skills.
Just as with gross motor skills, encouraging fine motor development can be beneficial for your child long-term. With greater control over their small muscle groups, children can perform life skills such as dressing themselves more independently or cooking in the kitchen.
- Plenty of play using Legos and Play-doh is excellent for fine motor development.
6. Foster Learning
It is not surprising that Montessori at home promotes academic learning. By encouraging kids to develop academic skills independently, the child will be more motivated to learn and happier overall.
Here are ways that you can support your little one’s academic growth:
- Use flashcards and workbooks as an educational tools.
- Use a computer or tablet with appropriate software to access educational videos or games.
- Take a walk around your neighborhood and point out letters, numbers, or even names of other people on the street.
- Have your little one match objects with their picture on flashcards, like fruit or animals, to enhance their memory skills.
- Read aloud, whenever and wherever you can. Set up a comfortable reading station with pillows and a basket full of books.
- Introduce the alphabet to children using multiple senses. Your little one can feel sandpaper letters, listen to the sound a certain letter makes in a word, and visually rearrange magnetic letters to start making words.
- If your little one has been counting in sequence or trying to identify quantities, use items such as beads, raisins, or acorns to show children how different quantities look and feel.
7. Read Up
Reading books on Montessori methods is a great way to acquire new ideas and strategies to provide the best possible environment for your child’s long-term development. Reading more about Montessori is important because it helps you define your expectations of your child, yourself, and the learning experience.
Here are some great places to start:
- “The Secret of Childhood” by Dr. Maria Montessori
- “The Montessori Method” by Dr. Maria Montessori
- “The Discovery of the Child” by Dr. Maria Montessori
- “How to Raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way” by Tim Seldin
Implementing Montessori at home can be very rewarding, but it takes time and work, which will be great fun. When children learn that they are responsible for their own learning process, they will take it seriously and start to acquire all kinds of practical life skills. Montessori at home is unique because it emphasizes individualized learning rather than a fixed curriculum. The child is always the one who decides what they want to learn.
Here at Montessori Academy, we believe home is the best place to start a child’s lifelong education and learning journey. By incorporating Montessori ideas and techniques, such as creating a stimulating environment and encouraging independence, you can help your kids reach their full potential.