Montessori at Home
By: Gule Andrabi
Photography by Mai Le
Supporting independence, order, and self-correction are fundamentals of the Montessori approach. A carefully designed classroom environment allows children to develop competence in caring for themselves and their surroundings.
Whether your children attend a Montessori program or not, teaching Montessori principles at home can have a positive effect on their independence. Their home environment can also support the development of their intellect. If the home setting contains materials that fulfill your children’s inner needs during this important period of development, they will enthusiastically utilize them on their own, as well as with their parents or caregivers.
From the very beginning, Montessori children are taught to take care of themselves and their classroom. They set tables, prepare meals, serve, and clean up. As well, Montessori children assist younger children and those transitioning from the toddler to the primary environment. These activities give them a sense of belonging and increase their self-esteem and independence. Such experiences also allow Montessori children to see themselves as valued members of their classroom community. Similar can be done at home.
In preparing the home environment, giving your children the choice to be independent is key. Children also need order in their lives. The home environment must meet their need for order and independence.
The following are some ideas for bringing the Montessori principles of independence and order into the home:
Create an environment that has order and encourages independence.
Ensure items are accessible to young children.
Arrange toys and books on low shelves. Have small and separate containers for each item so your children can put their own toys away.
Ensure there are different types of objects/materials for the same exercise. For example, keep a supply of lima beans, pinto beans, and chick peas for counting and adding.
Children love practical life lessons. Prepare various cutting and pasting exercises for them, and involve them in cooking by letting them mix ingredients and cut up fruits and vegetables (under supervision).
Allow your children to help fold clothes, set the table, and load and unload the dishwasher. Each time your children master any task, it boosts their confidence.
Keep healthy snacks on a low shelf in the pantry so your children have access to them.
Keep a small step stool in the restroom and kitchen.
Have a cozy corner in your kitchen or living room where your family spends most of its time.
Encouraging independence and nurturing order help children grow into effective adults. By using the suggestions in this article, you will be well on your way to successfully applying the Montessori method at home.