Creating a Montessori Home
Dr. Maria Montessori developed the Montessori Method after many years of scientific study of how young children learn best. One of her many remarkable discoveries was what she called “the Absorbent Mind” – a period between birth and age 6 that she observed was very sensitive.
What does that mean exactly? The child, during this period, absorbs much from the environment they live in. It is the period of the most intense growth of a human being. As you know, the home is an important place for a child and is arguably the most influential environment for the child. Parents, after all, are their child’s first and most consistent teachers.
Some people think Montessori is limited to the classroom. However, Montessori is more of a philosophy versus just a school curriculum. It is a way of life and benefits everyone – both parent and child. You can absolutely bring Montessori home and watch your child flourish and grow even more confident and independent.
Ways to Bring Montessori Home
To do so, it is important to have a basic understanding of the Montessori Method. In a nutshell, Montessori focuses on developing a child’s sense of independence through hands-on learning in an environment that is carefully prepared to assist a child’s growth during developmental stages.
The Montessori foundation includes the following principles:
- Prepared environment
- Hands-on experience
- Play is work
- Freedom within limits
These principles function the same way at home as they do at school. You can incorporate the elements of a Montessori classroom into your home easily if you keep these fundamentals in mind. Remember that the intention is to involve your child in the whole home rather than just a playroom or bedroom. You will be amazed at how capable your children are if given the opportunity to do rather than have things done for them.
“Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed.”
Order and Simplification
Your home environment will change as your child grows up. It is important to childproof your home once your child becomes active and mobile. Install outlet covers, remove sharp objects from their reach, consider padding corners of tables, and install baby gates to create a safe space for your child to explore.
As your child gets older, create spaces that are easily accessible to her. Set out a limited number of toys and activities for her on shelves she can reach. Having too many toys out at once can promote chaos and sensory overload. Choose 5 to 8 activities that require concentration and allow them to develop the skills to master those activities. Part of Montessori is observation – you will know when it is time to rotate the activities as your child masters them.
Organize toys/activities and books by subject on small trays and baskets that can be placed on shelves. Encourage your child to keep things neat. Montessori children know that everything has their place and should be returned to it before moving onto another activity. Have cleaning cloths and small dust pans and hand brooms available and give them the responsibility of keeping their space tidy.
Child-friendly Home and Kitchen
The Montessori Method teaches children practical life skills such as cleaning, preparing food, learning to dress, doing things around the house, etc. However, houses are built for adults, so it is important to find ways to allow your child to participate in everyday life activities. One of the easiest ways to do this is to set aside lower cabinet space in your kitchen with plates, cups, and flatware. Your child can help set the table for meals or set up snacks at a child-sized table in the kitchen.
Making an investment in a tower-type stool for your child to help at the kitchen counter is also a great way to bring them up safely to the proper height to help in the kitchen. Children can assist in washing and drying dishes, pouring ingredients, stirring, and even helping prep food (chopping, slicing).
Getting out the door can be harrowing and stressful as parents. Set out two outfits in the evening for the next day. Have your child pick one so there are no arguments in the morning over what to wear. Setting up an area near the door to help your child be more independent getting ready before leaving the house is a great idea. Place shoes next to a small stool or chair. Install coat hooks at his height for hanging jackets. Your child will want to do for himself, just give him adequate time to get ready!
Create a cozy corner for your child to relax, read, or just rest with blankets and pillows. Your child can read here or do soothing activities such as coloring.
Montessori is not just for school; it is a way of life that will set your child up for success and prepare them for their journey beyond the Leesburg area. These tips are just a few suggestions to get you started in setting up your Montessori home. Look at your home from your child’s point of view and see where you can make things more accessible for them. The main idea is to have a home environment that promotes independence and encourages growth and is an extension of their learnings at Villa Montessori Preschool.
Look no further for a “Montessori school near me.” Villa Montessori is a premier preschool in the Leesburg area where our focus is to nurture the whole child. If you would like to learn more about Montessori and Reggio-inspired curriculum, we invite you to schedule a tour by calling 571-280-5800.