Tips for using the Montessori approach at home
Montessori educators Robin Bylenga of Montessori School of Greenville, Jennifer Kelly of Upstate Montessori Academy, and Heather Gentry-Sham of Wheatley Montessori all agree that the Montessori approach is a unique program which fosters child independence at home.
“It does not have to be expensive,” says Bylenga.
One of the key ideals of Montessori is to maintain order and let children do things on their own. At home, here are some things you can do to create a Montessori environment for your child.
• Have a place for everything which makes it easy for a child to help. At home the best thing you can do to create a Montessori approach is to “bring things to their level,” says Gentry-Sham. That may mean buying a child-size broom or simply putting the silverware and cups down below waist level so your child can get drink when they need and help set the table. By having a place for everything, young children know and can help keep their own areas organized.
• Be patient. Amita Devaraj says they “learned to slow down and wait” on her daughter so she can accomplish a task independently. That may mean giving an extra 10 minutes so your young child can button a shirt or put on a jacket.
• Let your child choose. Kelly encourages parents to let your children be independent and do things for themselves. Even if they don’t match, let your young child choose what to wear all the way down to the shoes. They quickly learn to dress for the weather and develop their own sense of style.
• Encourage a sense of community. “Allow your child to set the table, pour the water, get a stool to help with the dishes so they feel a sense of contribution to the family,” Bylenga says. Kelly agrees, adding, “Children love to partake in real world experiences.”
• Get outside. Go for a walk with your child to identify colors and shapes. If you bring home fall leaves or fun rocks they use them to count and sort. Bylenga says that nature walks “can teach them to care for the environment and be a part of a larger community.”