The Montessori method is a true reference in the field of education. Its objective is simple and, at the same time, stimulating. In fact, applying Montessori at home is about providing an appropriate environment that encourages the independence and integral development of the child. Believe it or not, this method really works. However, there is one aspect you need to consider. The Montessori method requires adequate knowledge on the subject, as well as suitable equipment. The goal is to ensure that our children reach their full potential at home, at school and in any environment; while respecting their abilities.
Indeed, the Montessori pedagogy is criticized by some and praised by others. This distinctive approach seeks to inspire children to feel competent. It is not at all a question of “liberating” them. In reality, the Montessori method demands a lot from us, as mothers and as fathers. We are in fact the guides, the daily architects of the discovery of each of our children. So if you decide to apply Montessori at home, you will find that you have great possibilities. You will raise more independent, creative and happy children.
Find out in the rest of this article how you can apply Montessori at home, for a better future for your children.
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What is the Montessori method?
The method developed by Maria Montessori in the early 1900s, is a specific teaching method that encourages the independence of children and students . According to Maria Montessori, children learn best when they choose what they want to learn and this approach is brought to the classroom, in children’s homes, where there are:
- Various activity stations that kids can choose to do,
- Teachers are not the center of the classroom; but they move around, just showing how an activity is done and then leaving the child free to do it alone,
- A simple and organized environment, where children can find everything they need and where they can participate in the various activities of the day; including age-appropriate practical life exercises.
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How to apply the Montessori method at home?
The Montessori Method cannot only be applied at school, but you can also apply Montessori at home, in everyday education. With small precautions and changes, it is, in fact, possible to bring Montessori principles into the family; and it also represents a reinforcement of what children learn in a Montessori classroom. Here’s how to introduce the Montessori method at home and become a Montessori mom.
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Play games in a Montessori house
According to Maria Montessori, “ play is the work of the child ” and that means that the child, to learn, grow and perfect his skills; he likes to play with simple things, just like the Montessori triangle or pikler’s triangle , adapted to his age to immerse him in the real world. Therefore, all the toys we are used to are banned (plastic, colors, lights, sounds, excess stimuli and artifacts) and the green light for games such as:
- A basket of treasures (a basket with many small objects of different materials and textures),
- The color wheel to learn to distinguish the different shades,
- nested games,
- wooden games,
- Colors, brushes, canvases,
- Fasteners and loosenings,
- A play set with animals,
- Fabrics and accessories for dressing,
- Stackables and puzzles,
- Games with laces, ribbons, locks.
All games should be placed on low shelves, easily accessible by the child independently.
The Montessori method with newborns
Maria Montessori wrote that children under the age of three have “absorbing minds,” meaning they don’t need to consciously learn; but that they already absorb everything around them and that their environment is part of who they are . You can apply Montessori at home from birth; for example, by arranging the right environment in the bedroom, paying attention to two aspects: sleeping and playing. So, instead of the crib, you should put a low bed (some just put a futon) with protection adequate; and also with the possibility for the child to go out when he begins to crawl and to lie down when he wants.
In fact, the games are selected in a chosen way and inspired by Montessori principles, placed within the reach of the child.
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The fundamental characteristics of the Montessori method
Before delving into how to apply Montessori at home, it is necessary to define precisely the basic lines of this educational system. Let’s first see what its objectives are.
1. Children’s minds have great potential
Children learn day by day without realizing it. The more stimuli, learning opportunities and experiences there are, the greater the potential. However, it must be taken into account that each child has his own rhythm, which must be respected . At the same time, the best way to learn is joy. If your child feels happy, respected, satisfied and secure, he will be ready to “absorb” everything around him.
2. Skills acquisition during sensitive periods
Sensitive periods are the phases in which children can acquire a skill with great ease. In general, they are included in the periods ranging from zero to three years, four to six and seven to nine years. These are times when the child has the greatest opportunity to learn to walk; to speak, to communicate, to be independent.
3. A suitable environment
The Montessori method requires a very structured environment. Materials and spaces should encourage self-learning, discovery and growth. In these spaces, it is necessary to create favorable conditions for the development of social, emotional and intellectual aspects.
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4. The role of the adult on the child
In the Montessori philosophy, the role of the adult is fundamental: he must guide the child with affection, respect and security, to make him know the environment with love . When you ensure that the child comes into daily contact with the environment, to promote his physical, emotional and intellectual development; you are observers, but also “magicians”.
Strategies for applying the Montessori method at home
First of all, this concept must be very clear to us. The child must feel integrated into the home and the family. This means that the little one has his own space in every activity that takes place at home. There is nothing better than giving them the responsibility of raising independent and competent children . So do not hesitate: make him participate in all the dynamics as soon as you can.
. The appropriate furniture
The furniture must be adapted to its height. For example, low shelves will allow him to better organize his clothes and toys. A small table and a chair will allow him to stand next to you when you read or cook.
. The importance of order and stimuli
A well-structured house equipped with the right stimuli will allow children to properly integrate information. They must understand that this order must not be broken. That you have to take care of the rooms, that the toys are put away. Let the clothes go in the closet . In reality, an inspiring home is a place to learn every day. So feel free to set up a space with plants, where they can plant seeds and watch the flowers grow. For this reason ; allow the presence of a corner dedicated to painting, one to games, one where you can cook with mom and dad. Without taking any risks, let the child help you prepare a cake, a salad.
. The most recommended games for home
The most appropriate games will be those related to practical life. Building, touching, smelling, feeling, manipulating… These are fundamental tasks that children must experience. For example, the Montessori method recommends playing with puppets. This can be useful for socializing and communicating.
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. The treasure chest
This proposal is both extraordinary and fun. In the living room at home we will always keep our “treasure chest” (it can be wooden or cardboard). Every day we will put something new in it, so that the child can discover it and interact with it. Always choose stimulating and intensely colored objects. In addition, we suggest that you put food so that the baby can try new flavors. If your children are learning to read, introduce love notes to stimulate learning to read.
We are convinced that these suggestions can be of great help in the education of your children. And once you can apply Montessori at home, you will have amazing results when it comes to developing a clear mindset and physique in your child.