The Easy Way To Start Montessori At Home
When I first started thinking about bringing Montessori into my home, I immediately thought of all the classic Montessori toys I could purchase. I quickly learned, however, that Montessori is much more than colorful wooden toys and climbing triangles. Although these things can be engaging additions to a Montessori at home setup, the principles that guide Montessori teaching have a far wider application. You can start parenting the Montessori away with little extra time or money. Here are a few strategies to help you with starting Montessori at home:
Four Tips for Starting Montessori at Home
Approach Everyday Tasks as Learning Opportunities
Viewing everyday tasks as learning opportunities is one strategy for starting Montessori at home. The Montessori teaching method emphasizes the importance of practical life skills. Teaching practical skills builds independence and confidence in children. It also reduces their reliance on adult caregivers. Examples of practical life skills that kids can practice include pouring water, setting the table, and grocery shopping. Additionally, teaching kids self-care skills like dressing and brushing hair are Montessori-inspired lessons.
Viewing everyday tasks as learning opportunities has been a shift in my parenting. Instead of busying my kids with activities while I fold laundry, for instance, I may recruit them to help me fold clothes and put them away. Using this approach, I’ve learned to slow down and accept imperfect results. Of course, I do not bring my kids along with every task. Since I understand the value of teaching kids practical life skills, I look for small, doable ways to include them in these tasks.
Observe Children and Follow Their Interests
Montessori teaching is child-led and gives kids the freedom to follow their interests. Taking this approach is one way to bring Montessori into the home. There are many ways to develop kids’ curiosities and pursue the topics that interest them. In my experience, a helpful way to start with this approach is to pause and observe kids. I ask myself, “What activities are they drawn to?” “What topics seem to bring about enthusiasm and interest?” Paying attention to the activities and subjects that my children talk about spontaneously has also been informative.
My son has participated in several activities over the past few years, including soccer, swimming, and art. Above all the other activities, baseball seems to really light him up. He frequently asks when baseball practice is and wants to play at home. He has also already talked about playing baseball next season. This is one interest of his that I can help him follow. We can read books about baseball and learn the history of the sport. We can go to a professional game in our town.
Of course, the interests of a child may have nothing to do with organized activities. My youngest son is 4 and is drawn to sensory experiences. He loves playing with sand in our backyard sand pit. He also likes playing with water in the bathtub and pieces of fabric with different textures. Knowing this interest, we continually look for ways to engage his senses. Blowing bubbles and digging in the garden are examples of sensory experiences.
Giving kids the freedom and support to pursue the topics that interest them is one strategy for starting Montessori at home. In some cases, this may just mean making small adjustments to activities you are already doing!
Consider Your Home Environment
Preparing the home environment and making small changes over time is another strategy for starting Montessori at home. The Montessori classroom provides a prepared environment for kids. The children’s materials are accessible and tidy. Instead of large bins full of toys and activities, teachers carefully select a few materials to present at a time. There are also precious and beautiful materials.
For busy parents and caregivers, it is often not reasonable to make drastic changes to the home environment. In my experience, making a few small changes to our home environment has a positive impact. Having fewer, more quality toys is one change our family has made. Making those toys accessible to my kids lengthens the time they spend playing. Choosing Montessori at home toys made from natural materials is another way we have brought Montessori into our home.
Try Some Montessori Activities
Trying some Montessori activities at home is a fun way to introduce parents and kids to Montessori-style learning. You can start with Montessori activities using what you already have; examples of these activities include exploring objects that sink or float, are magnetic or not magnetic, and can open and close.
Additionally, the Montessori by Mom Toolboxes are an easy way to try Montessori at home. These Toolboxes are specifically designed for parents and kids at home. Each Toolbox has a specific theme, such as “Mad Scientist” and “Space Explorer.”
Choosing an activity theme in line with your child’s interests is a great way to “follow the child.” For instance, if a child loves dinosaurs, the Dinosaur Discovery Toolbox may be a great option. The box features a dinosaur dig kit, a classification set, a make-your-own fossil kit, and more.
Starting Montessori at Home Today
No matter which strategy is most appealing to you, I encourage you to just start bringing Montessori into your home. In my experience, there is no perfect time or perfect strategy in parenting. Incorporating practical life skills and child-led learning are two ways to start incorporating Montessori principles at home. Additionally, considering the environment and utilizing one or more strategies from Montessori classrooms are potential first steps. Montessori activities like those in the Montessori by Mom Toolboxes are a fun way to start.
There are many Montessori at home benefits for both parents and children, in my experience. Taking the time to slow down and observe has brought me opportunities to connect with my kids. Additionally, teaching practical skills and valuing my kids’ interests reveal opportunities for learning. There are many ways to add Montessori into your home. I encourage you to just start!
Kelly Marie is a former scientist and mother of three young kids. She enjoys writing about her experiences in parenting and regularly creates free printable resources for parents and teachers for her blog Hey Kelly Marie. She currently lives in Kentucky with her family.