The Montessori Philosophy was founded by Maria Montessori. She was Italy’s first female physician whose scientific approach to education was to teach to the individual needs of a child. Her goal was to develop children and their individual personalities using a system that’s focused on using the intellect of a human. She has revolutionized a way to teach young kids that are still used in schools worldwide today.
A school following the Montessori philosophy has an easy-going environment that allows children to learn and see the world around them by using their senses. The system does not aim to teach the children facts, rather, it aims to cultivate to them to a life-long love of learning. The system is built on three primary principles: observation, liberty, and environment. This design is a safe environment for children to freely choose from different activities that will develop their senses appropriately.
A child also grows academically in a Montessori environment. They’ll discover that they have the ability to solve math problems, name countries and continents, identify shapes, like scientific concepts and write beautifully. Building up a child’s creative intelligence is important. While it’s great for children to learn these concepts in classrooms, the Montessori Philosophy can also be applied at home. Here are a few easy ways to apply this method at home.
Use furniture and materials that are scaled down to the child’s size
Montessori is child-led learning, so creating spaces and objects that are accessible to them is key.
- Lower shelves and openly display some work materials and other materials depending on the developmental level of your child. Show your children how to handle these materials and how to take care of them.
- Have small tables and chairs which they can easily move around to sit where they like. Kids can use them to prepare and eat snacks or to do art projects and be creative.
- Have small bowls, pitchers, tongs, and other utensils. These are used on a daily basis to practice life skills in Montessori. Take for example transferring dried lentils from one bowl to another using a small measuring spoon. This starts the process of developing a proper writing grasp for children. These tools will be helpful for children in the long run.
Teach your children to love nature
Dr. Maria Montessori made it a point to emphasize how important fostering a connection between child and nature is in their growth. One thing you can do t is to create a nature table at home. Fill up baskets of different sizes with different kinds of natural materials your children can touch and hold. It can be miniature objects or artificial plants. You can also change the objects depending on the season. Here are some seasonal items you can use:
- For fall, use apples, pumpkins, leaves, sunflowers, acorns, etc. These can be real or artificial.
- For winter, use evergreen, bare branches, plastic icicles, images of winter landscapes, snow globes, paper snowflakes, photos of furry animals, a wool snowman, etc.
- For spring, use seeds, small plants, miniature water picture, assorted flowers, birds, eggs, nest, twigs, magnifying glass, rocks, petals, animal cards, green leaves, bugs, etc. These can be real or artificial.
- For summer, use starfish, shells, ocean animal photos or figurines, miniature boats, flowers, fruits, planets, etc.
If you do not have a space for a nature table, a nature tray can be enough. You can even make a terrarium!
Let children self-correct and learn from their mistakes
If you’ve been teaching your kids something that they just can’t get right, it means that they’re not ready. Relax and let them take their time. The motivation to learn and get things right comes from an internal drive to learn. Montessori materials are self-correcting so when the child is doing an activity, they can test themselves to see if they did the right thing.
It’s easy to correct your child but it’s better to observe them first. You can track your child’s progress by writing it down. Be encouraging and supportive so that progress will naturally unfold.
There are so many ways to incorporate the Montessori philosophy at home. There are blogs like this one, to help guide you on how to do it. Don’t be afraid to experiment and research more. A child’s learning capacity at a young age is great, and you’ll be surprised at how the Montessori method works so well.