When parents first learn about the Montessori Method, they cannot wait to bring it home and try it there. Yet, even with all the Montessori schools in PA, you may not understand how to create a Montessori-friendly home. Fortunately, you don’t have to make too many changes to your home and still create a successful environment that supports your child’s growth.
We’re going to discuss how to do just that.
What is Montessori?
Often referred to as the Montessori Method, this education approach was developed in the early 1900s by an Italian doctor and scientist named Maria Montessori. The method has become increasingly popular over the past 100 years.
By the most basic definition, the Montessori Method focuses on developing a child’s sense of independence through hands-on learning and a prepared environment that assists a child’s growth during developmental stages.
There are seven principles on which Montessori education is built:
- Hands-on experience
- Play is work
- Freedom within limits
- Prepared environment
You will notice that the principles function the same way in your home as they do in Montessori schools in PA and beyond.
What The Montessori Philosophy Looks Like at Home
In a Montessori classroom, you may notice that it looks little like a traditional school. The instructors are not the rulers of the classroom. Rather, the children are allowed to express themselves, pursue what interests them, and can choose which activities they would like to do as long as they clean up any of their work.
You can incorporate the elements of a Montessori school into your home rather easily when you keep the principles in mind.
Your child does not have to attend a Montessori school for certain applications to work at home either. Beyond mimicking the setup of a Montessori classroom for your home, you should also remember that the idea of independence plays a role in fostering a child’s growth. Create a home where your child can be curious and utilize all five senses.
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7 Ways to Create a Montessori-Friendly Home
Now let’s look at some ways you can apply the Montessori method to your household. Whether your child is currently 7 months or 7 years old, you can incorporate these tips.
1. Simplify Your Home & Designated Spaces
Depending on the age of your child, the ways you alter the home environment is going to change. Babies, for instance, do not need much to begin their Montessori journey. Their play area and sleeping area need a few simple items that allow them to interact with the world. This includes things like giving babies access to seeing a child-safe mirror, and keeping sensory toys within reach.
Do not forget to childproof your home for when the baby becomes mobile. You will need to keep sharp objects far from their reach, use baby gates to section off their area, cover electrical outlets, and anchor down heavy or wobbly furniture.
As your child gets older, they should have places within the house, such as their room and bedroom, where they learn to care for and value the space. Within the designated spaces, your child can express themselves while maintaining the cleanliness of the area.
Here is another example of designating space: In the entryway of the house, install a few low hooks for your child to hang belongings. Have a shoe rack and a clear spot for them to use.
2. Have a Child-Friendly Spot in the Kitchen
One of the best ways to bring Montessori into the home is to establish a bond of trust. Show your child that they can do almost anything you can do, especially in the kitchen. Give them a shelf in the pantry and refrigerator where their eating utensils are within reach, so they can reach these things whenever needed. You can also keep pre-portioned food and drinks available for your child that they can grab whenever they are hungry or thirsty.
Younger children can have their own table and chair set, where they learn to sit and eat their meal. You can forego the high chair once they can sit up on their own.
3. Organize Toys, Books, and Other Belongings
Less is more. You might think purchasing your child hundreds of toys is a great idea, but that could teach them to value such things less. Instead, swap out several toys every few weeks. Storing those items in designated areas on a shelf rather than using a toy chest helps promote a sense of order.
The same applies to books and other items. You can keep a small basket or shelf of popular books in the corner of the living room. If your child has a special interest, you can stock up on a few books pertaining to that and put it in their school bag or in the car or bathroom. Books should always be within reach!
4. Use Montessori Toys
We mentioned toys, books, and like objects and the importance of organizing them earlier. Now, we need to consider which toys are best for the Montessori method.
What might shock many parents is that not everything qualifies as a Montessori toy, especially when it comes to toys without a purpose. Since Montessori is all about examination, exploration, and observation, natural materials are best. Rock, cotton, wood, wool, ceramic, and metal are all favorable, because children can refine the senses by handling different textures.
Most toys are not complex. Passive toys are encouraged, because children can use their imagination to play. Similarly, choose realistic toys for children. Purchase toys that exist within the world.
5. Play a Supporting Role
Perhaps the most important piece involved in making a Montessori-friendly home is you—the parent. Connect with your child as much as possible.
Without interfering in your child’s activity, you should observe and figure out how to make the environment better for learning. Are there too many choices to maintain order? Are materials being put in their proper place? Are the toys no longer challenging enough? Or are those toys too difficult?
In doing so, you will learn what interests your child, and you can then incorporate things that spark their curiosity and desire to learn.
Always be willing to demonstrate how things work, where they go, and how to develop a routine to young children and adolescents. Invite your child to learn from you, and model the proper way to perform something before giving them a chance to try it on their own.
Never stop adapting to your child’s growth and their stages of development.
Montessori is not just for school, it is a way of life. It can go beyond the classroom, into your home. By keeping certain principles in mind, such as independence, observation, and acknowledging your child’s curiosity and need for exploration, you too can bring Montessori home.
Look no further for a “Montessori school near me.” We are one of the top Montessori schools in PA. So, if you want to learn more about Montessori, we invite you to give Fishtown Montessori a call at 215-821-1455 today.