Montessori is a method of education designed by an Italian physician Maria Montessori. It mainly focuses on educating children with specially designed materials that represent real-world scenarios and information.
There is no pressure of grading or scores due to which children are unable to learn important concepts and don’t feel to be in a race. This education method if efficiently practiced provides an environment where children love to learn about their surroundings.
Parents should consider this way of education because it helps exploration of surroundings through interesting playful activities. In this article, you can find the best information about Montessori education and how it can be done.
What is the Montessori method of education?
The Montessori method provides an ability for children to grow and learn at their own pace. Instead of bombarding facts and figures on children they are given a chance to foster the love for understanding, information, and regard.
Though this education method is more student-led there is also guidance and assessments from acknowledging and well-informed teachers. Students work individually choosing any activity based on their interest.
And also they work in groups developing teamwork, socializing abilities, and respect for others. Children learn skills about daily life, its different phases, and then applying knowledge in different areas of the real world.
A unique environment of Montessori education displays:
- Different tasks stations for children to pick from and stay busy all day without getting bored.
- Teachers are not just standing and addressing all the class all the time rather move from group to group and help and guide.
- No grading and scoring but time to time assessments.
- Not subject-based focus on the student but as a whole human being with physical and mental requirements and education.
Understanding Montessori at home
Montessori at home or a Montessori Home is a concept of arranging things at home from a child’s perspective. Children can crawl and start walking. They love to touch and explore objects.
They look at the family members and try to imitate every action such as using the toilet, changing clothes, working in the kitchen, cleaning, etc. They have a natural urge to know about each and everything in their surroundings.
So a Montessori at home means keeping things that children can easily use for their daily tasks and in their reach so they learn more and develop skills. The adults have to step back and give a free hand to children in a well-protected and safe environment.
Montessori style parenting
So if you like the Montessori education method and you are planning to start from home here is the first step. There is a need to first change the parenting style to the Montessori style.
You must be thinking “What is Montessori parenting style?”. Don’t worry you will find about that also.
Following are the principles to start Montessori parenting.
1. Stop hasting
Due to many things on the to-do list parents are mostly trying to finish everything fast. But if you are bringing the Montessori method home you have to slow down.
Give the child ample time to move, converse and explore. Let them experience new things at their pace and find solutions.
2. Regard children
Take out time to listen to them and speak to them nicely and respectfully as you want from other adults. They are little but individuals and they also need respect from elders to be able to respect others when they grow up.
3. Provide an environment of experiments
Create an environment where they can participate in real-life activities or little experiments to gain knowledge and make discoveries on their own.
For this parents need proper guidance so one can find many books, online videos, or an experienced Montessori parent.
4. Let the child lead you
Follow the children and observe what they like and find interesting to play with. Based on their interests arrange activities and toys.
Think about more ideas to provide them various opportunities to learn through their interests.
5. Let them participate in daily chores
Children love to do the chores that they see their parents or helpers doing at home. It’s a good way to teach them responsibilities as they want to help in the preparation of food, vacuum, mop, sort out the laundry, etc.
A very interesting way is to get a small broom or a mop to clean their place after eating or get safety tools to work within the kitchen. Parents can find many interesting tools specially designed for kids to help them with the house chores as per their ability.
6. Step into children’s shoes
Try to develop a view of children to understand things and create a suitable environment for learning and developing skills. This will help parents get a good understanding of children’s behavior and their perspective to regard their feelings.
7. Something different than penalty and prize
Rather using penalties for wrong actions or a reward system for obeying or behaving nicely develops a whole new perspective. Though it takes time, in Montessori parents work with children to understand the behaviors and emotions.
Help them through the process of overcoming a particular situation and guide them to get control over actions and reactions.
8. Observe the patterns
Don’t assume things or judge the situations and children’s behavior and plan actions according. But observe the patterns carefully and daily to make better strategies.
9. Take control but be the mentor
Parent’s behavior should not be very lenient so that children blackmail them to do anything and everything. But the behavior should not be very bossy so that children are scared and can’t flourish.
Be the mentor and show them you can help them in every situation but also let them solve problems on their own to learn coping mechanisms.
The last point but the most important one is that parents should know everything about their temperament. They should work on their coping mechanism and develop more tolerance power so that Montessori is carried on smoothly and happily.
Major Areas A Montessori School Follows
The ideal place to get help about the Montessori method is a good school that follows the Maria Montessori education method. Where we can find different areas to be covered for better real-life skills.
1. Practical Life
As the name tells this is the area where children find the activities from practical life. Here the main focus is to teach care, respect, responsibilities for themselves and others in society.
The activities in this area are, for example, cleaning, cutting things, sorting, serving food to others, etc. And for all these activities there are real-life objects that are safe and small in size.
This will teach kids to concentrate, be independent, be hardworking, be kind, have working habits, and develop collaboration.
2. Sensory Area
Here children will explore the senses they have to learn about nature. Using their senses they can make themselves ready for further education in reading, writing, maths, and science.
The sensorial activities are focused on the development of hand-eye coordination, developing a good pincer grip. The skills of listening and differentiating among sounds to implement in the understanding of phonics.
Explore their senses to use them in learning patterns, shapes, textures, sounds, smell to use the neuro intelligence.
In the Montessori method, children get knowledge of the language by starting with the recognition of alphabet phonics. So they learn the sounds and trace the alphabets with their fingers.
Once familiar with the letters they can move on to make words to learn about the language we speak. They can have alphabet blending exercises and movable letters to work on this area.
Starting with the number recognition exercises children work through to learn complex concepts. The materials mostly used are small bricks or bars, counters, number frames charts, and sandpaper numbers.
5. Culture related
This area is further divided into science, geography, history, and nature. A globe or continents chart is there to teach geography.
With different images and objects like calendars, seasons charts, history is taught to convey the ideology of change through time. For nature and science, there are many objects included from nature in our surroundings.
A complete guide to set up a Montessori at home
Now after providing a lot of information about “what is Montessori?”. Here is our complete guide for parents to start a Montessori at home. This section is divided into categories to make it more understandable.
The following categories are basically about the age-appropriate Montessori environment. After reading this guide you will be all ready to start and will know clearly where to start from.
Montessori setup for infants
Montessori doesn’t only start after the age of 4 or 5 but it can be started from the first month of an infant. It will be good to start early as the child will already be adjusted to the environment and will have smooth transitions forward.
1. Play gyms
When babies are lying all the time they don’t need to be bored, with not much in the surrounding. Most parents think there could nothing be done at that time as infants are unable to see or listen.
But that’s not true! Infants develop slight sight within 3 weeks and can engage in looking at the objects’ sound. The best items to be added to their environment would be black and white graphics which according to science are the first colors visible to the infant’s eye.
2. Mirror in the play area is a must
Adding a mirror to the infant play area is a staple. Baby love mirrors and they get fascinated.
Mirrors an interesting object that helps babies with vision and can be added to their space from birth time. This helps develop concentration and exploration, looking for hours to their body parts and objects in the surrounding.
3. Calm sounds in the surrounding
Very much noise is not good for the sensitive ears of babies. So keeping calm sounds that are not very loud but pleasant is good for babies hearing development and paying attention to stimuli in the environment.
4. House should be baby-proof
When children become mobile and roam all around the house there is a need for:
- Covered electric outlets
- Baby gates on the stair area
- Every danger should be removed from child level
- Safe floor for easy mobility
This way they can move around independently and parents will not be worried about any hazards so they can sit back and provide toddlers freedom of exploration.
5. Create a fenced area
When babies have not started to walk on their own there is another better idea to create closed and protected baby play areas with fences. It provides an environment for children to play with the objects available and concentrate for a longer time.
6. Child-friendly bedroom from smooth transitions
The bedroom should have floor bedding and there should be low-level shelves with few interactive toys. When kids are ready to crawl and sit on their own or start walking this setup will help them to have relaxed naps and sleep.
So when they get up from sleep they can move around and grab toys and get busy rather than waking up and crying until somebody comes in.
7. Start sleep routine
This is a good time to start the nap and nighttime routine as it will take some time for infants to get adjusted to it. A better way is to keep the baby in bed when dizzy and let them sleep on their own.
Then they can also slowly learn to sleep back again if they wake up during sleep. They won’t need any external help to sleep and will sleep like a peaceful child and with better sleep, they grow healthy.
8. Best time to bring the baby to the dining table
Baby weaning is already a plan in parent’s minds after 6 months. For this, start bringing the baby to the table where all the family sits.
Get a good comfortable baby chair that comes exactly to the level of your food table. Get nice baby food dishes like a bowl, plate, a small glass, a spoon, and a fork.
Start with the safe finger foods and then gradually introduce the table food. Let them explore the textures and flavors and don’t rush.
Some Montessori toys guide for infants
Since babies can’t hold heavy and complex objects and there are few toys that they can play with, below is the guide that shows ideal toys for babies to hold easily and make use of them.
Birth to 4 months
- Black and white or prominent color attractive mobile hangings. That is easy to grab as well.
- Soft small blanket or stuffed animal toy or doll
- Small sensory ball for touch and feel or may be safe to use as a teether as well.
- Small bells on ribbons or socks or wrist bands.
5 to 10 months
- Textured squishy balls suitable to hold.
- Object permanence box is a must and it is found in almost all Montessori schools as well.
- Some musical instruments like tambourine, maracas, etc.
Montessori inspired books for babies
- Black and White Board Book
- Global Babies
- Touch and Feel Farm
Montessori setup for toddlers
A toddler is a child between the ages early 1 to 4 years. The toddler is in an age group where he/she can easily walk, is much more independent, and has learned many skills.
For a toddler, the Montessori setup is very interesting and can be easily provided at this age.
1. Bring in child-sized furniture
At this phase, children are very much interested in imitating adults and doing their tasks themselves. With the right size furniture, children can take interest in daily life skills and be active throughout the day.
A nice size table and chair that provides a place for mealtimes, snacks, and different activities is a great way to start the organization. This can help avoid the mess around the house.
2. Create a child level bathroom space
Between 1 and 2 years of age children start getting potty training. This is a very sensitive time and it needs to be handled carefully and efficiently.
To help kids with potty training a nice idea is to introduce a child-sized potty seat or a step stool in the bathroom. A small sink with easy faucets and low hanging towel bars and mirror is also a good idea to foster their curiosity.
3. Footwear area all set up with child’s perspective
To make leaving the house time hassle-free and time-saving, provide a small stool with only two or three pairs of shoes just next to the house main door. Keep a small storage at the child’s level so they can store and take out their selected shoes for going out.
One or two small hooks, on a low level, on the wall for hanging coats or hats or bags would be perfect to always remember essentials.
4. Easy Clothing storage
To make daily tasks easy and interesting for kids this is a good start. Keep only a few clothing options with clearly labeled drawers of the storage with clear images also.
Children will feel more control as they will choose their outfit. And as they grow up they will be automatically tuned in for this habit of changing clothes on time as part of routine.
5. Low-level toys and bookshelves
This is the age when children are going to have good use of toys and books. They will take an interest and would develop a love for specific toys and books.
So keeping toys and books on a child-level encourages children for self-play time and quiet time. Once parents teach them how to use certain toys and objects, children can play without the need for parents to sit by their side.
Keep the shelf organized with baskets and trays for different types of toys. Keeping toys in their right place will teach them everything has its place and cleaning after play or work is a good habit.
6. Rotating child’s activities
It’s good to keep limited choices on the toy shelf so that the place doesn’t seem cluttered and it doesn’t reduce the attention span on one activity. Plus the activities should be changed on a daily basis or weekly so that children don’t get bored with the same activities and also get to explore more and more.
5. An organized workplace
With child-sized furniture keep a neat and organized work-place where they can do fun play activities or have some educational work activities. With a nice storage children can find necessary work and art supplies, such as pencils, washable safe markers, paints, paper, safe scissors, some glitter, glue, and other materials, in reach for easy access.
6. Some physical activity structure is needed
It’s always necessary to encourage kids, of any age, to have physical activities so that they become physically strong and all the body develops nicely. So having a little climbing structure appropriate for the space available is great for fun as well.
7. Hang artwork somewhere all the time visible
Art is a great way to involve all the senses to explore the world around us. It nourishes creativity and gives an ability to become a great thinker.
Children use their imagination and bring interesting and smart ideas to represent different objects in nature.
8. A lot of sensorial trays
For each day include as many sensory activities for children to have as possible. Sensory activities give children a chance to calm themselves and it actively involves the brain.
Sensory activities are not just for fun but they help in learning other areas like language, maths concepts, science, and others.
Best Montessori Toys for Toddlers
After their first birthday and till the age of 4 children are more capable of playing independently and are interested and working on more things to develop more skills and find more about the world and all in it.
Some great toys for this age could as follows:
- Stacking toys that come in different colors, different sizes and different shapes. There could be stacking cups, stacking donuts, stacking triangles.
- Some color, size or shapes sorting toys.
- Start with two or three-piece small animal-based or shape-based puzzles.
- Wooden peg dolls, or counters.
- Some wooden vehicles to explore about transportation.
- Real babies like dolls that teach more about care and responsibility.
- Some push and pull toys to teach self-control while walking or running.
- Lacing toys with easy-grip objects so that it’s not very frustrating to do on their own.
- Some building toys like wooden blocks or magnetic tiles.
Montessori setup for school going children
If you have already started Montessori with your infant at this age you just need to make some changes in the activities and toys. If you are planning to start now that is even not a big problem.
The best way is to watch online resources that help you to implement the best curriculum for school-age children. Some major areas to be covered for this age are as follows:
- At this age, there is a need to develop more literacy with keeping objects and activities that increase the capability of language learning.
- Involve kids more in daily household chores like laundry, cooking, cleaning, table setup for mealtimes, etc. These chores include many tools and help in the development of major skills like respect, care, organization, self-control, good manners.
- Keep more building toys, puzzle games, arts and crafts activities, and educational objects to learn more concepts.
- Involve science through little experiments in proper adult supervision.
- The activities should be designed around the child’s interest so that they initiate the participation and daily work and learn with fun.
Seven rituals for Elementary Montessori phase
Seven best tasks to follow each day in an elementary Montessori, school-aged children, helps to achieve many goals of Montessori method.
1. Read a poem or a short passage from a book to start off the school time of the day.
2. After little reading moving on with a nice little motivational song or singing a poem is a refreshing activity.
3. Writing the date each day is the best practice that teaches many rules of language writing, the concept of time, and familiarise with the days, months, and years.
4. Another best practice for a day is to do editing of a sentence or two. This is necessary for learning grammar and rules of a language. So writing the sentence wrong with capital letter mistakes and punctuation marks missing will help learn the rules properly.
5. If you have only one child for this age Montessori or more children with little age gaps, it’s good to make them have a presentation of the concepts they have already learned. This helps in the assessment of how a child is working in the home school, revise the concepts, gather more information during the process of making presentations.
6. Provide some time for silent reading during the school work time. Let the child choose their favorite book and a place where they want to sit. They will be able to concentrate and develop the love for reading, which is the best hobby at any age.
7. At the end of each school day read aloud something so that the child or children listen to you quietly and attentively. This could be for even 20 minutes or may be 15 minutes and any content can be read from even books a little higher than the child’s level.
It helps in increasing the analytical and logical thinking and allows to imagine if the books don’t have pictures. It will help with increasing vocabulary and knowledge.
Sensitive characteristics and implications at home
At the school-going age or specifically from 6-12 years of age there are some important phrases when children are ready to learn new abilities and skills but are sensitive to stimuli that can affect the process of learning those skills.
Following are the important abilities that need to be taken care of in the Montessori education method.
1. Writing – Learning to write down the expressions, thoughts, and ideas in language with correct grammar and language rules.
- Do: Give opportunity to express the thoughts and feelings and write with their curious minds. Appreciate how they are expressing themselves.
- Don’t: In early elementary years don’t focus on and correct the grammar and spellings. For older kids, give them a chance to go through their writing and find the mistakes.
2. Reading – By this time children are done with only the happiness of the ability of reading. And they are moving to develop the interest for particular kinds of books and increase their knowledge and information from those particular books.
- Do: Give time and space to children in their daily schedule for reading. Also be a model by taking out some time to read for yourself, as parents.
- Don’t: Make it a daily task of school work so that they lose interest.
3. Memorizing the concepts – Ability to memorize mathematics facts and concepts and learn the maths process in any form as it’s involved everywhere in nature.
- Do: Make it a fun play to memorize the facts with the child.
- Don’t: Lose hope and get frustrated if they take a longer time to learn some facts.
4. Phase of concept and reason – Children are ready for picking up certain ideas from events and use logic and reasons to create new concepts and make connections between them.
- Do: Involve children in solving small day-to-day problems of family to learn the process.
- Don’t: Make fun of their ideas or being critical of what they come up with.
5. Ethical and cognitive independence – Interest in developing an understanding mechanism of right and wrong and having their own perspectives and ideologies.
- Do: Discuss the events and ask for their thoughts on what is wrong and right.
- Don’t: Impose your own ethical rules and judgments on them.
6. Procuring the culture – Ready to accept and embrace social norms and values and keen to learn about the traditions.
- Do: Involve them to carry on the family traditions and celebrations and explain the reason for doing this.
- Don’t: Ignore the fact that they are observing and finding all about your family culture and traditions.
7. Mob Collaboration – They need to be gathered with other community members to learn more ideas and ways to process them.
- Do: Understand their need and ability to open up with their ideas among peers and foster this.
- Don’t: Stop them if they are less listening to you as they are finding more about what their peers like and want from life.
Advantages of Montessori at home
Montessori is a great environment that provides freedom with certain limits so that children develop great abilities and behaviors to move successfully in life.
Starting a Montessori at home doesn’t need to spend a lot of money for stuffing the house with many items. It can be created in a limited way as well, but with the right knowledge.
With Montessori, you can find many positive results in your child’s behavior and mental capabilities. You can find the following advantages if you start a Montessori at home:
- Children learn with interest and not with pressure, of getting good grades. They are learning to love the process of education that will allow them to perform amazingly in handling technical information.
- Children don’t need to go through separation anxiety at an early age as many children are not ready for going to a strange place with many strange faces. And can easily start learning in the presence of parents.
- They learn self-discipline instinctively and not with any external intervention.
- This education method nurtures and follows creativity.
- Children develop the skill of independent learning.
- Children get the benefit of getting all the emotional needs and more attention when having difficulties in some areas.
- Parents also get to know their children much better from every perspective.
- Children take more responsibility in the household and will learn to give more respect to family members.
The education system that starts with a strict syllabus of language learning, maths concepts, science, and other subjects is a cruel system that puts a lot of burden on children at a very early age.
The Montessori method on the other hand is a way to give more love and respect to the child. It’s a way to understand that children are going through a very tender phase of their lives where they need to understand many complex things. Montessori at home provides a flexible and more loving and caring environment where children can grow more and stay focused and motivated.
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 Gascoyne, Sue. Sensory play: Play in the EYFS. Vol. 1. Andrews UK Limited, 2016.