When choosing child care for their children, most parents love the way Montessori educational techniques emphasize values like independence, creativity, social responsibility, and the absorbent mind. In order to make the most of your child's Montessori education, it's a good idea to implement Montessori principles at home whenever possible. This will help deepen your children's Montessori experience and create harmony between home life and school life. Here are six ideas.
Create a Montessori-Friendly Bedroom
Montessori classrooms are set up to encourage creativity and learning in very deliberate ways that you can easily incorporate into a child's bedroom. Everything should be set up with your child in mind. For example, toys and books should be placed low to the ground where your kids can reach them easily, instead of up high where they have to ask for help getting them down. Desks, tables, and chairs should be child-sized and comfortable. Artwork and other forms of visual stimulation should be hung low enough for your child to see and enjoy it.
Keep Things Tidy
According to the Montessori philosophy, children are very sensitive to their environment and respond best to orderly, tidy, and organized surroundings, with "a place for everything and everything in its place." This is especially important if your child is easily overstimulated or overwhelmed by chaotic surroundings. Go through your home room by room and look for places to declutter and organize.
Donate or sell belongings you no longer use, need, or enjoy. Decorative baskets on shelves are a great way to neatly stash children's books, DVDs, throw blankets, and other miscellaneous items.
Give Your Kids More Responsibility
Montessori schools are built around the importance of teaching kids self-reliance and responsibility. By giving children tasks to complete instead of doing everything for them, you will help instill a sense of confidence and independence that will serve them well their entire life. Even young toddlers can help around the house by being encouraged to put away their toys at the end of a play session and brushing their own teeth. Older children can help with cooking and chores, getting their backpacks ready for school, and packing their own lunches.
Provide Plenty of Opportunity for Choice
Another way that Montessori encourages independence and self-esteem is to offer kids choices (within a reasonable range of acceptable, parent-approved options) and letting the kids decide for themselves. This may mean your child gets to decide what sort of fruit they want for a snack, whether they'd rather do homework before or after dinner, or what they'd like to wear to school that day.
Focus on Child-Led Parenting
Montessori is a child-led educational movement. This doesn't mean that the kids are totally in charge but rather that the way each child is taught varies depending on their unique needs, strengths, and personalities. You can incorporate this idea at home by really noticing your child as an individual instead of trying to assign them an identity and molding your parenting style to each child. For example, just because your oldest child loves to play sports doesn't mean your youngest needs to. If you notice that they prefer dance or art, encourage these interests at home.
Montessori also places a heavy emphasis on the importance of movement as a way to actively engage children. Make sure that your kids are encouraged to get away from the TV and up and moving as often as possible. Make this fun by dancing with your children around the kitchen or going for a fun bike ride around the neighborhood.
Once you begin incorporating Montessori principles at home, doing so will soon become second nature. By focusing on Montessori at home as well as school, you will help your child become a confident, well-rounded learner and young citizen.