Montessori At Home

1) Respect and independence

Children who spend their time in Montessori schools learn to think of the world as an exciting place full of possibilities. They begin to know themselves as powerful people who can do all sorts of things for themselves. They think of adults as helpful friends who are always there if needed, but who never try to overly interfere or control their activities.

Your child needs you to slow down to his or her timetable, to spend time sharing the things that he is excited about or interested in. Depending on the projects they are studying many Montessori children become incredibly knowledgeable about such things as the different types of beetle, the shapes of leaves or the names of geometric shapes! It can be crushing if a mum and dad are too busy or tired to share in their childs new knowledge or excitement.

2) Nurture Inner Motivation

Children are most willing to apply themselves when they feel there is intrinsic value to their work. Some parents use external rewards as motivation, but only pride and pleasure from within has lasting and meaningful effects. Montessori teachers refrain from using traditional classroom rewards such as gold stars and merit-based privileges. Instead, they focus on nurturing each child’s personal sense of accomplishment

By expressing encouragement and appreciation for your child’s efforts, you like her teachers -help nurture an inner motivation that will serve.

3) Create an Ordered Environment

Having a place for everything, on a child-friendly scale, encourages both independence and self-discipline. Children know where to find what they need, and where to put it when they’re done. An ordered environment also has fewer distractions, allowing children to focus on the task at hand. To make things accessible to your young child:

• Provide low shelves or drawers for clothing; lower the rod in the

bedroom closet. Keep a small step stool in the bathroom and kitchen so your child can reach the sink. Arrange toys and games on low open shelves with a particular place for each. Sort smaller items into trays or baskets by category, such as puzzles, art supplies, and blocks. Put healthy snacks and foods on a low pantry shelf so your

child can help himself. • Pour drinks into small, manageable pitchers placed on a low

refrigerator shelf. Keep cups within your child’s reach-along with a sponge to clean up spills.

At school Montessori children can access all the things they need without the help of adults. At school they learn that everything can be found in its own place and that it helps others if things get put back again in the same place.

If you can provide the same thing at home it will help your child to maintain the same level of consideration and independence. Special cupboards and shelves, all easily accessible, and beautiful materials and activities, all carefully laid out in boxes and trays, help the child feel that his or her work really matters. Many of the activities that are provided at school can easily be duplicated in the home.

4) Teach Real-Life Skills

Montessori students are taught to take care of themselves and their classroom and to be helpful to others. They wash tables, organize shelves, prepare their own meals, and assist younger children. In addition to mastering real-life skills, they come to see themselves as valued members of the community.

5) Promote Concentration

The ability to focus and concentrate is an important skill for learning. You can help develop your child’s concentration by observing what sparks her interest. Set her up with the means and materials to explore it, and let her work without interruption.

While your child’s work environment should be free of distraction, it doesn’t have to be away from family activity. Some children prefer working at the kitchen table or reading in a cozy corner of the living room to holing up in a bedroom or study. Observe your child’s response to various environments, ask questions, and make adjustments as needed.

6) Holding your ground

We live in a world that is full of pressures and external expectations. The early years of life are recognised as the very foundation upon which everything else follows. Each child is full of natural curiosity and the desire to learn and needs only to be set free within the right environment. Montessorians think that this is the most important quality that we can preserve in our children.

But all too often this precious natural resource is threatened by pressures from outside: pressures to learn all your numbers faster than anyone else, pressures to be able to write your name, to colour shapes in accurately, to draw things that look acceptable, to count to ten, to sit still and wait to be told what to do. And pressure on boys to do all the things that girls do, even though we know that boys and girls are very different in their learning processes.

“Whereas pressure from the inside is a good thing and makes us want to explore the world and learn more, pressure from the outside can be very dangerous.” It can interfere with all our natural processes and make us fearful rather than the wonderful risk-takers that we naturally are. It can tell us that we are only valued by our results and can make us see work as something that you only do if you have to, rather than something that excites us and makes us feel good. So we ask Montessori parents to really trust their children, to try to ignore such outside pressures, and to celebrate the very individual talents and abilities that their children possess and enjoy.