Asked • 10/15/20

How do I incorporate the Montessori method into my kids home school routine?

Where to start with Montessori at home- How, why and where. Hooray soon you shall play!


Montessori is becoming increasingly popular as people recognise the limitations of traditional education. It’s also well-reported that creative successes like Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Wikipedia’s Jimmy Wales attended Montessori school. And Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin credit their success to having attended a Montessori school:

They don’t credit their success to drive or brains. They say it was nursery school…We both went to Montessori school and I think that it was part of that training of not following rules and orders and being self-motivated and questioning what’s going on in the world. Doing things a little bit different. (Larry Page)” . So are you wondering what Montessori is then?

Parenting Montessori-style

Here are 10 things you can try at home to apply Montessori principles at home.

1. Slow down — plan less, explore life with your child at a slow pace, and allow time for movement, conversation and gaining cooperation

2. Respect the child — speak and listen to your child as you would an adult

3. Hands on learning — provide concrete experiences for them to make discoveries by themselves, look things up at the library, ask a neighbour or expert, do an experiment etc

4. Follow the child — ask ourselves, “what are they interested in right now and how can I provide opportunities to follow this interest?”

5. Include them in daily life — young children like to be involved in food preparation, setting the table, cleaning, doing laundry, doing the shopping and more

6. See things from the child’s perspective — to understand our child’s behaviour and acknowledge their feelings

7. Use alternatives to bribes, rewards and punishments — move from extrinsic motivators to ways to work with our child and solve problems together; instead of time out, we help them calm down, then make amends

8. Observe objectively rather than making assumptions or judgements — look how they move, the communication they make, the activities they are working to master, their social interactions, and how they eat/sleep

9. Be the guide — we are the adult guiding them (give as much help as needed and as little as possible) rather than being their boss (do as I say) or being their servant (I’ll do everything for you)

10. Prepare ourselves — to look after ourselves to have patience, to fill our own bucket, to understand our own triggers, and find ways to come back to calm when needed

Set up our home

To start using Montessori at home, we can set up our home to make the home more accessible and inviting to our child. Here are some ideas to get you 

Try some Montessori-style activities

It’s fun to try some Montessori-style activities at home. I love how they are hands-on, build concentration, scaffold skills as they master activities, and how they address the needs of the whole child basically encouraging children to be curious learners and explore the world around them. 

Here are some ideas for young children:

1. Music and movement — dancing, singing, banging/shaking instruments, running, skipping, climbing, swinging, biking

2. Language — books, rich language in daily life, baskets of classified objects (with cards)

3. Art and craft — scribbling, painting, cutting, gluing, sewing, clay, stamping

4. Practical life (activities of daily life) — preparing snack, helping prepare meals, cleaning, baking, watering and care of plants, gardening, making the bed, helping with laundry

5. Eye-hand coordination — threading, sorting, posting (putting things through slots and holes)

My favourite places to find out more

 

In person

I highly recommend visiting a Montessori school to observe how it works in practice. You can also visit an open day or parent workshop. And, if there is one nearby, attend a parent-child Montessori class.



1 Expert Answer

By:

Elizabeth M. answered • 10/16/20

Tutor
New to Wyzant

Homeschool ( particularly Montessori)

Elizabeth M.

The Pink, Blue, and Green Series This sequence of concrete to abstract steps is then re-offered in sets of pink, blue, and green series reading tasks building the child's skills. The pink series are three-letter words with short vowel sounds, and encompasses the first hurdle of reading, that of managing the blending block. Having the children sing the sounds through a word is a quick way to overcome this hurdle, as the sustaining of sound while singing can't help but move them past the tendency to halt between sounds. Words are first presented with the sandpaper letters, then the moveable alphabet, then written by the teacher, and then written on little slips of paper and picked from a jar by the students. In each case, the student copies words onto his own paper, but he may begin using the moveable alphabet so mistakes don't become so frustrating and he has a chance to attempt several spellings without penalty. Again there is a progression of concrete to abstract, but the teacher must be sensitive to each student so she can pick the most appropriate presentation. The blue series encompasses the second hurdle, that of blending adjacent consonants, and consists of four-letter short-vowel phonetic words. The energy of the children is easily harnessed into teaching and practice exercises with each other, so that learning is not dependent on the constant input of energy from the teacher. The children enjoy the command cards, and quickly want to produce their own originals, furthering the experimentation and discovery of language. This led her to the discovery that children were discovering grammatical patterns for themselves, and she dared to wonder if teaching grammar could actually be an aid to teaching reading. Word Study & Grammar The command cards are followed by easy readers and eventually real books. Parallel to these activities are the lessons on word study and grammar. Word study enriches the child's language. He sorts cards that list the names of animals (something he enjoys learning about at this age), their homes, their voices, or their group names. By manipulating the cards in each group, he can experiment with his choices without the penalty of having to erase and rewrite. He experiences the mental challenge in a hands-on way, and follows up with listing words in his notebook, giving him a second kinesthetic way to develop his own mental bank of words. The Word Study Tower developed out of Dr. Montessori's noting that children 5-1/2-8 years old enjoy playing with words and in this way discovering their function. The tower consists of cards that are filed in tool drawers like the phonetic objects. These cards are available from Montessori Research and Development. Each set of cards has a specific concept to teach. Word study proceeds with a study of word origins, alphabetizing, and finally dictionary and research skills, so the child has the tools to study words for life. At first the exercises increase the child's vocabulary and spelling awareness. But as children continue, they find that certain words always imply action, while other words can be changed by certain variations to the beginning or end. Silly sentences are made by changing the word order. These experiences with words sets the stage for later learning and articulating why words function as they do in a sentence through grammar and sentence analysis. Grammar study is a parallel activity to reading and word study that begins in the Children's House. The Function of Words lessons are intended to help children appreciate the language they are beginning to master through reading and writing. They learn using key experiences and discover through the miniature environment and color-coded cards that certain words function in certain ways. For instance, to learn the concept of conjunction, we tied several objects together with a pink ribbon. Then we cut a piece of ribbon to remind us how it brought the objects together, and noticed that it was the same shape and color as the conjunction symbol in the grammar symbol box. Recently a student and I discovered that even though all the verb cards that go with the farm are red, she couldn't use all the verb cards to indicate the action of one noun upon another. Later she will learn about transitive and intransitive verbs, but in this exercise she could see that the verb cards weren't all alike. The student's sensorial (or somatic body feel) understanding of grammar is undeveloped in traditional school as grammar is introduced much later in school at a time when concepts must be moved through rapidly. Further, the best programs I have seen rely on repetition of analysis, but students don't get to play around with words and discover what happens when they change the order or build up sentences. Dr. Montessori points out that grammar is always taught from analysis traditionally rather than synthesis. The breaking apart of something is not nearly as satisfying as the act of creating something. I often give children a sentence pattern and let them create their own scene and sentence with the farm, an activity which they really enjoy. Since the farm and the grammar box exercises contain cards color coded by part of speech, students can try substituting a number of verbs, for instance, in a sentence, and enjoy the effect on meaning. Consistent to the Montessori method is the progression of the sensorial (manipulative) to interpretation (mental manipulation), again the concrete to the abstract. Subsequent grammar lessons are no exception and each part of speech is given its proper name and reintroduced to the child at the elementary level. Since the sensorial is in place, the connection to a name is easily made. The child is given a series of command cards that invite play and drama to knowing the parts of speech. This interpretive action gives the child a chance to play with these abstract concepts. Like the reading command cards, and in conjunction with them, the child can experience and demonstrate understanding of what a noun or a verb, etc are. Sentences that are acted out are next incorporated into the series of grammar box exercises that challenge the student to write out and analyze the parts of speech he has learned. However, unlike traditional grammar, rather than a sentence being given and taken a part, a sentence is given and then built up with individual cards that are color-coded. The sentence is transposed, really "played" with so the child can intuit what will alter develop into sentence analysis. The sentences are symbolized and written into their notebooks. Grammar is taught alongside of Writer's Workshop so that as students are developing their own sentences for their stories they develop a sense of the usefulness of words. Essentially they are coming into their birthright of the English language and using it with skill and energy, crafting themselves into writers and thinkers. As students are mastering the parts of speech, they also begin the process of sentence analysis. Up until now he has read sentences, and discovered the parts of speech that go into sentences but now, as Montessori says in The Advanced Montessori Method, "The child begins to see what a sentence is: that is, he begins to concentrate on this particular question. How many times he has read sentences, pronounced sentences, and composed sentences! But now he is examining them in detail, studying them. The simple sentence is a short proposition, with completed meaning, which expresses an action or a situation, organizing its different parts around a verb." The student discovers that a noun could function as a subject, an object, or the object of a preposition. They begin this process of sentence analysis in the Children's house not in an analytical way but sensorially. As he begins to master reading he absorbs that words in a sentence function in different ways, so he plays games such as "hunt the action" and are asked, "Who is receiving the action?" The lessons are best begun after the child has been given a lesson on the function of words focused on verbs. Students are then given sentence patterns (cards made from just grammar symbols) and invited to invent their own sentences using the moveable alphabet. More formal lessons are given the elementary child who is taught the names of the function a part of speech performs and that it depends on its position in the sentence. A noun preceding a verb has a different function than one that comes after it. Am hit Mary and Mary hit Sam are important variations depending on whether one is Mary or Sam! So the child follows the pattern to construct his own sentence based on a pattern, and then analyzes it he sees how the different parts of the sentence can be rearranged in relationship to each other. Now it's time for logical analysis. Here the student learns how the parts of speech affect each other depending on their relationship to each other in a sentence. More complex sentences are manipulated, and the goal is not syntax studies as much as a tool to facilitate clear thinking. Ideally, mastery at this level results in an intuitive feel for how our language is constructed. Then the more formal and logical work of True Sentence Analysis (typical sentence diagramming) is performed as a near mathematical formula without the mental blocks created by a lack of sensorial and experiential underpinnings. The student simply manipulates concepts he already fully understands rather than facing the head-banging frustration of trying to work with concepts not fully acquired. True Analysis is considered upper elementary work.
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10/16/20

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