Montessori is a philosophy of education for children from birth to age 18 that emphasizes freedom in learning, respect for the environment, and peace. Montessori at home is the best way to give your child a great start in life.
It was Dr. Maria Montessori’s observations that helped us to understand how children learn in the environment. Montessori education helps children to develop healthy coping skills, use their whole body while learning, and be more self-reliant. Children learn best in an environment that allows them to grow naturally and freely.
Montessori method of education is based on which theories and principles?
Montessori method is based on two theories:
A. Theory of Learning: Children learn by using their senses and taking in the world around them. They also use their own minds to overcome challenges, make sense of information, and solve problems.
B. Theory of operant conditioning: is a behaviorist theory that states that an individual’s behavior is controlled by the consequences and behaviors that follow it. Behaviorists believe that this is how humans learn. In other words, we have a choice to make, and what happens to us afterward determines whether or not we act again in a similar way.
The Montessori Method is based on four principles:
Learning by doing: Children are encouraged to explore and discover knowledge on their own, without direct instruction.
Independence: Children learn how to do things for themselves and are not dependent on adults.
Sensorial learning: Children use all of their senses while they explore the world around them, which helps them gain knowledge about themselves and the world.
Self-discipline: Children are encouraged to develop self-discipline through completing tasks by themselves without help from an adult.
Things to remember while setting up Montessori at home
Montessori preschools and kindergartens provide children with a warm, safe space that promotes harmony, security and development through play. The aim is to foster independence in the early years so that children will grow into productive members of society. This theory works by encouraging children to learn through play by providing them with a variety of interesting choices that are achievable and within their capabilities.
It believes practice comes from making mistakes and dealing with the consequences. Each child will be given a chance to try before they fail, giving them the opportunity to learn through trial and error. It is hence achieved via a positive atmosphere where children are encouraged to work at their own pace and at their own level of ability.
In the same way, Montessori environments at home are highly recommended not just when babies first start developing but also even years after that.
A list of some easy ways to incorporate Montessori at home:
Surfaces for cleaning tactile materials should be large handling containers should be free from lids or other security components or intricately shaped edges and never have pot handles.
Use as many natural textures in a single area as possible; introduce echolalic games such as clapping, songs, look and find with images, etc.
Make sure that they feel independent by providing supplies like child-sized dish brushes to prevent hand fatigue because the activity might make them sleepy later on in the day.
Constantly provide a variety of interesting choices that are achievable and within their scope of development for activities like playing with different types of balls or exploring different textures and surfaces.
A list of some complications that can be seen in Montessori at home:
Different reactions from children from varying developmental levels, sizes, temperaments, and gender.
The need for safety and protection.
Overwhelming amount of information to be learned.
Creating a fluid environment for children.
Ensuring attention is paid to all children equally.
How to set up Montessori at home?
Most parents are curious about implementing Montessori principles in the home but don’t know how to start. It begins with a shift in mindset. The first thing you need to understand as a parent is that children – even the youngest ones – are capable of much more than you realize. As soon as you acknowledge this, you can make a few changes around your home to make the Montessori experience a success for both you and your child.
To set up a Montessori-inspired room at home, think about what type of learning goes best in a particular room. For example, if you are planning on setting up a room for your child who is still learning their letters and numbers, you would want to place many blocks and other stacking materials all over the floor. You might also want to consider using activities that require movement, such as having the child work with play-d oh and produce art. For a child who is learning about colors, you might want to use lots of different colored crayons for them to color with. Ask yourself questions like:
Questions that help to set up Montessori at home
What type of learning environment is it?
Learning Material-What are the materials or tools you can use to support learning? Puzzles, building blocks, play-doh, and colored crayons.
Activities – What activities might be helpful in this setting? Coloring, drawing, block-stacking, building with legos, building with blocks, play-doh, puzzles.
Learning Style-What sort of learning style is present here?
Montessori -Prefers self-paced, active play and exploration, self-guided and organized learning and hence prefers hands-on, in-person learning, discovery-based and discovery play. or
Preschool -Prefers exploration and child-paced, more rules and structure in learning.
The ideal Montessori room for a child is a room with windows for ample natural light. It should have enough space to move around in while also offering things to explore and learn. It should be divided into two sections: 1. is where the children learn and play using activities, and 2. is a nook or library where children may read books or do quiet work.
Incorporating Montessori principles at home
Here are a few ways to create a Montessori environment at home for your kid:
1. Organize Your Environment: create a place for everything and everything in its place.
A place for everything is one of the key principles of Montessori at home. It will be easy for your child to learn where everything belongs when you designate a place for everything.
Having everything in its place is another essential tool to teach kids to take responsibility for their belongings and clean up their mess.
Thus, make things more accessible for your child. It means placing toys or activities on a shelf that is accessible to the child. By accessible, it means:
easy to reach without adult intervention
Visible to eyes to choose from.
2. Rotation of toys and activities
The Montessori approach also encourages parents to rotate their children’s toys and books regularly. These rotations are intended to keep their curiosity alive and prevent boredom.
Organizing shelves may seem overwhelming to some parents, but rotating items based on the seasons and your child’s current interests is the best way to go about it. The key is to promote creativity and exploration.
Ask yourself questions such as what they like. Do they get excited about dinosaurs or robots? Start with the things that interest them and place the activities/toys associated with them on the shelves.
3. Emphasize Life Skills
Young children can help around the house if they are given the opportunity. Teaching your child to be considerate and capable of handling their own space at an early age will prepare them to be considerate and capable adults in the future. Eventually, your child will be able to put their cups in the cabinet on their own, but their minds are so absorbent that it won’t take long to develop the ability.
Make sure their activities match their ability and age. For example, children with age 3-6 years can learn to water plants, feed pets, wipe the table after a meal and pick up their toys. While children aged 6-12 years can incorporate more complex tasks into their routines, such as taking out the trash, meal preparation, and basic home maintenance.
3. Concentration and patience
Most parents believe children are incapable of concentration. Children indeed cannot focus on something for the same length of time as adults. According to the Montessori pedagogy, your child can develop this skill from an early age. Want to know how?
Well, you can accomplish this by finding out what their interests are and providing them with the materials and space they need to pursue them.
4. Focus on Inner Motivation, Not Rewards
The Montessori method does not emphasize extrinsic rewards for good behavior, such as stickers or candy, or any other reward. It’s important to give verbal praise in moderation, however. Learning something new or completing a task should prompt your children to feel a sense of pride and pleasure.
5. Having materials that are easy to store.
Yes, you read it written; you don’t need to buy expensive apparatus to teach your child the Montessori benefits. Look for alternatives that are pocket friendly and solve the purpose. For example, for bead bars, number rods, moveable alphabets, grammar symbols, sentence analysis materials, and many more, you can buy alternatives in a printable form.
The benefits of Montessori education are endless, but there are some basic things you can do to incorporate it into your life at home. You don’t need special materials to do so. You can use whatever you have present at home, such as opening and closing containers, opening and closing buttons, locking and unlocking locks, transferring water from one container to another, and transferring food items from one owl to another. The list is endless and there is no rule about which practical skill to be introduced first.
Just a simple mantra: introduce a variety of activities to them, let them choose, and allow them to explore, and follow your child.