Children are inquisitive creatures who are more capable than most people think. As parents, we have to guide and nurture them to set them on the right path. You can do that by enrolling the child in a school that implements Montessori guidelines. Yet, it might not be enough. You also have to use Montessori at home.
The great news is that it’s never too early to start! Your child can begin learning Montessori methods when they’re still an infant. You just have to provide them with the necessary tools.
So, let’s find out more about the home as a starting point for your Montessori child.
What Is a Montessori Home?
The Montessori method dictates that the child has a certain amount of independence to learn and grow at their own pace. This is achieved by having direct access to their belongings and doing the activities they enjoy doing when they want to do them.
A Montessori home is a place where they can do just that; by having their toys and learning material readily accessible, as well as having child-sized furniture, they can use without assistance from an adult.
It progresses as they get older to include engaging them in the decision-making process and encouraging them to voice their opinions.
What’s the Importance of a Montessori Home?
A Montessori home helps the child apply what they learn at a Montessori preschool or school in their own way. It also keeps them immersed in an environment where they feel confident enough to make their own decisions.
Even if the child isn’t learning at a Montessori institute, their time in a Montessori home can greatly benefit their sense of self and their ability to learn and accomplish tasks.
The Dos and Don’ts of using Montessori at Home
Here’s a list of “Dos and Don’ts” to consider when preparing to use the Montessori method at home.
#1 Do: Keep the Space Tidy and Neat
A clean and tidy space is essential to properly carry out the Montessori method. Your child spends a lot of time moving and playing on the floor, so keeping it organized is vital to their safety.
This means putting your child’s toys and belongings on eye-level shelves, so they have direct access to them. You can also use compartmentalized baskets where they can put back their toys when they’re done playing.
Photo by Tara Winstead
#2 Do: Put Your Child’s Toys in Rotation
Putting your child’s toys and books in rotation is a great way to spark excitement about their toys, even “old” ones. It’s also a great way to learn more about your child’s interests when they seem more interested in one toy over another.
#3 Do: Allow Space for Concentration
A common misconception adults have is that children are easily distracted. It’s true they can’t focus for long periods as we do. Yet, it’s also true that they can pour their attention into one task if it manages to capture their interest.
Your job as a parent is to help them find the things that pique their interest. Then, bit by bit, try to increase the amount of time they spend working on it.
#1 Don’t: Shift Too Much Toward Minimalism
Minimalism could be aesthetically pleasing, but it can deprive your child of the sensory stimulation needed to learn and grow. If you intend to reduce the number of your child’s toys and books, store some away, then switch back and forth between them.
#2 Don’t: “Correct” Your Child’s Technique at Doing Something
It’s a known fact that every child is different. Your job as a parent is to encourage their individuality and give them the freedom to do things at their own pace, especially in situations where there’s no right or wrong.
Unless they’re in danger of hurting themselves, don’t try to micromanage their behavior. The best you can do is model the behavior or task in front of them until they can do it on their own.
#3 Don’t: Overwhelm Your Child with Options
A considerable part of the Montessori method allows the child to make their own decisions. However, it can get overwhelming when there are too many options to consider.
Depending on your child’s age and decision-making abilities, you can pre-pick a handful of items and have them choose from those.
It could be that you put out a selection of their toys at one time. Also, when it comes to clothes, put out only weather-appropriate clothes within their reach at any season.
How to Create a Montessori Home
Here are a few simple tricks to help you apply Montessori principles in every room of your home:
Your child’s bedroom is their sanctuary. It’s where they sleep, get dressed, and spend much of their time.
Photo by Arina Krasnikova
One great place to start is by making their bed low to the ground. Try a floor bed or place a mattress on the floor. This way, they can reach their beds without asking for assistance.
Creating shelves for their toys and a designated play area is also essential. A great idea is to categorize baskets so that each type of toy has its designated place.
Lastly, their clothes should be on eye-level racks, and the dressing area should have a floor-length mirror. This can help them become more acquainted with their image and choice of clothing.
Kitchen and Bathroom
The kitchen offers many chances for learning and expanding the child’s skill set. You can start by including your child in simple tasks, like using a spoon to feed themselves.
Then, as the child gets older, they can help around the kitchen by clearing and wiping the kitchen table, or washing their own dishes and utensils.
Child-sized furniture, such as a small table and chair, is better than a high chair. It gives the child more freedom to move around as they please.
Photo by PNW Production
Step stools are also great tools to have in the kitchen and the bathroom for when they have to wash their hands or reach a high countertop.
The living room can have a miniature version of the bedroom sitting or playing area.
Try using yoga mats to create boundaries for where the child’s toys and books can go. This will help teach them the importance of tidiness and organization.
Exploring the outdoors creates a world of imagination and adventure. So, why not schedule outdoor playdates with your child?
Take them to discover different places that feature a variety of textures, sounds, and smells. You can even encourage them to collect things like pebbles, leaves, and pinecones to add to their treasure chest.
Just avoid items that can be toxic. Also, keep away from small items that can be choking hazards.
Montessori for Every Age
Children can benefit from Montessori at any age. Yet, it’s best to begin as early as possible.
From Birth to 3 Years Old
Montessori toddlers benefit from the following:
- Maintain a routine
- Make eye contact while communicating with the Montessori newborn
- Include sensory stimulation
- Improve gross and fine motor skills gradually
- Don’t overwhelm the child with sensory experiences
From 3 to 6 Years Old
Follow these tips to apply the Montessori method in early childhood:
- Encourage curiosity and exploration
- Include outdoor activities like walking, hiking, and climbing
- Get the child involved in family conversations
- Respond to their attempts to find letters and read
- Don’t force the child to write before they’re ready
From 6 to 12 Years Old
Children at the elementary level do best when they’re:
- Encouraged to try self-expression through writing
- Included in family activities
- Involved in real-life problem-solving
- Introduced to family traditions
- Shown patience if they challenge your instructions
From Ages 12 to 18 Years Old
Montessori youth have slightly different needs than the other age groups we mentioned, such as:
- Discuss causes they care about and encourage their compassion
- Talk to them about money and budgeting, as well as money-making opportunities
- Encourage journaling and respect their privacy
- Don’t criticize their passions and the things they care about
- Don’t force them to share, especially if they’re not inclined to
Are You Ready to Create a Montessori Environment at Home?
Here at MontessoriTips.com, we care about your child’s development. So, keep reading to learn more about the history of Dr. Maria Montessori and the revolutionary ways she’s made learning fun and exciting for children of all ages