How To Use The Montessori Method At Home: You'll Love It!
The Montessori method is a gold standard in childrearing and education. Its aim is both simple and challenging: to provide favorable environments that promote independence and balanced development in children.
Believe it or not, this is something you can do at home. The experience is sure to be enriching. However, there are some things that you must take into account before trying to apply the Montessori method at home.
You will need knowledge of the method, as well as special materials. This will help to ensure that your children can reach their full potential at home, at school, and in any environment.
Montessori pedagogy has been criticized by some, and praised by many. This unique approach seeks to encourage children to feel that they are competent. It is absolutely not about letting them do whatever they want. In fact, Montessori-based childrearing is highly demanding for parents.
Under the Montessori method, parents are guides; the everyday architects of their child’s discoveries. If you decide to apply this strategy at home, you will realize just how much potential it has. You will raise children who are more autonomous, more creative and happier.
Now let’s see how.
Basic characteristics of the Montessori method
Before explaining how to apply the Montessori method at home, we should first go through a basic outline of this pedagogic approach. First of all, we need to understand the objectives of this method.
A child’s mind holds great potential
- Children learn every day, often without realizing. The more stimuli, learning opportunities and experiences they are exposed to, the greater this potential will be.
- Every child learns at their own pace, and we must respect that.
- The best way for a child to learn is through joy. If your child feels happy, respected, safe and well cared-for, they will be ready to absorb everything around them.
- Sensitive periods are the stages at which children can easily pick up a new skill. Generally, they are between 0 and 3 years of age, 4 to 6 years and 7 to 9 years.
- These are the best times for children to learn to walk, talk, relate to others, be autonomous, and more.
A suitable environment
- The Montessori method requires a highly structured environment. The materials and spaces used should encourage independent learning, discovery and growth.
- Spaces for learning should provide opportunities for the development of social, emotional and intellectual capabilities.
The role of adults
- Adults have an essential role within the Montessori philosophy. They should guide the child with love, respect and security, affectionately encouraging them to discover the world around them.
- As adults, we are observers, but we must also be magicians. We help the child to connect to their environment, empowering them in their physical, emotional and intellectual development.
Strategies for applying the Montessori method at home
The first thing to keep in mind: children should feel that they are part of the family and the household. This means that little ones should have their own role to play in every activity around the home.
We know it might sound strange, but to raise capable, independent children, there is nothing better than giving them responsibilities. So don’t be afraid to include them as much as possible in every activity.
Let’s see how:
Furniture that fits them
- Furniture should be made just for them. For example, a small dresser or set of shelves will help them to tidy away their clothes and toys.
- A table and chair in their size will let them be near you when you are reading or cooking a meal.
The importance of structure and stimuli
A well-structured home with plenty of stimulation will help children to take in information in the best way possible.
- Children should understand that this structure is not to be broken. Their room should be clean, their toys should be put away. Clothes go in the closet, not on the floor.
- A home with stimuli is a space to learn every day. A great idea is to have a garden where they can plant seeds and see how flowers grow.
- Make sure that there is a corner for drawing and painting, a corner for games, and a place where they can cook with mom and dad. Avoiding any risks, let your child help you make a cake or prepare a salad.
The best games to play at home
- The best games are those that are related to real life. Building, touching, smelling, feeling, making…these are everyday tasks that children should experience.
- The Montessori method recommends playing with puppets. These can help children learn to socialize and communicate.
The treasure chest
This is an idea that is fun and practical. In your living room, have a “treasure chest” for your child. This can be a wooden or cardboard box.
- Every day, put in something new for your little one to discover and interact with.
- Always choose objects that are stimulating, with bright colors.
- Avoid plastic objects. Choose wood, cloth or other alternatives.
- Another suggestion is to add foods, so that your child can try new flavors. If they are learning to read, you can put in affectionate notes to stimulate the process of reading.
Whether or not you are a believer in the Montessori method, we are sure that these tips can help you with parenting.