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?
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
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.