Are you wondering what does it mean to follow the Montessori method at home? The Montessori approach is not an educational method to be applied only at school, but it can inspire your parenting style.
Let's start with the difference between Montessori at home and Montessori at school. At school, the most obvious difference from traditional educational methods is the apparent lack of structure. There is no teacher at the centre of the class who decides the topic of the day that all the children should dedicate themselves to or the group activity that everyone should participate in.
In a Montessori classroom there are children of different ages, who move freely around the class, engaged in different activities, each following their own timeline and interests. The teacher prepares the environment with care and dedication, offering stimulating and satisfying activities, while guiding the children with kindness, establishing clear and simple rules of respect for others, the environment and oneself.
The Montessori method at home is only different on the surface. To start following this parenting style, you don't necessarily need to purchase the teaching material created by Montessori but you may need to adjust your parenting style and the organisation of your home.
Here are some basic ideas to start with to adopt the Montessori Method at home.
MONTESSORI AT HOME – THE PARENTING STYLE
- Observe and listen before intervening or judging. Often our prejudices prevent us from understanding the real needs of children.
- Follow and value their interests. Ask yourself “What do they like right now? How can I support and develop it?”.
- Respect their choices, opinions, needs. Talk to them as you would with adults and as you would like them to talk to you.
- Be a role model. Teach the behaviour you expect from them with actions before words. If you wish to hear “Thank you”, don’t forget to say it yourself first!
- Support their natural desire for independence. Try to do with them rather than instead of them.
- Trust them. Look at children for who they are, human beings who can be capable, resilient and self-assured.
- “Have faith in the child who is not there yet“. Every child holds an immense potential that can blossom in the right conditions and environment.
- Be a gentle and steady guide. Children don’t need either servants or dictators, but loving parents who know how to accompany them in their growth with compassion and firmness.
- Give freedom of choice, movement and expression, but set clear , simple and predictable limits.
- Be ready to question yourself. Continuous self-reflection is a fundamental part of the Montessori method at home and in school.
MONTESSORI AT HOME – REORGANIZING THE SPACE
- Less is more. Keep out just a few activities they show interest in and store away the rest. This helps develop concentration and supports their natural need for order.
- Rotate the activities. When the interest fades away, bring new activities out and store the others, possibly following the current curiosity of the child.
- Look at your house from the child point of view. Sit down, look around, notice what they can touch and should be out of reach and whether the environment looks attractive and what could be better.
- Involve them in everyday life. Children, especially toddlers, love to imitate what the adults are doing and want to be part of the family life. Every task is a chance for learning: dusting, cooking, cleaning, tidying up, doing the laundry.
- Child-size furniture and tools. If you can, add a small table and chair that reflect the size of your child and he can sit comfortably and independently on and tools (spoons, forks, broom, plates…) that are small and light enough for them to use.
Are you looking for more inspiration? Why not read the 10 Montessori Resolutions for the New Year, written by Miriam Capurso?