Supporting Montessori at home

Montessori isn’t just for the classroom. You can easily bring its principles into your home – and doing so can be an invaluable bridge to reinforcing what your child learns at school.

Preparing your home and preparing yourself are two ways of building that connection.

GETTING ORGANISED

Encouraging order, independence, and self-motivation is fundamental to the Montessori approach. At school, carefully designed classrooms allow students to develop competence in caring for themselves and their surroundings. You can prepare your home in similar ways.

Having a place for everything, on a child-friendly scale, means that children know where to find what they need, and have a place to put things when they’re done. An ordered environment also has fewer distractions, allowing children to focus on the task at hand.

“To assist a child, we must provide him with an environment which will enable him to develop freely.” Maria Montessori.

• Simplifying your home

Simplifying your home environment enables your child to understand what is expected of her. With your support, encouragement, and consistent, gentle reminders, even toddlers are capable of returning items to their rightful places.

For example, limiting toy choices and providing open shelves (instead of toy boxes where toys are heaped in a pile) at your child’s eye level allows her to see all of her choices and return objects to their correct places. Sorting smaller items, such as puzzles, art supplies, and blocks by category into trays or baskets makes them accessible and your child can easily put them away.

Keeping extra toys in storage to be swapped out when you observe your child growing tired or bored with the items currently available will keep her interested in playing with new and familiar favourites, and ensure a space that is not only neat and tidy, but also highly valued and cared for.

While the Montessori approach to the home environment can be used in any space, it’s particularly useful for children’s bedrooms and the family’s shared space in the kitchen. It can even work in teenagers’ rooms!

• The Bedroom

Bedrooms for children of all ages should be free of clutter with clearly designated places for rest, self-care, and dressing.

To nurture independence and self-esteem, furniture for young ones should be child-sized and accessible. For example, a closet with low-hanging clothes and limited choices will enable your child to make his own clothing choices for the day and put away clothes independently, setting the stage for maintaining tidiness and organization later on.

For older children, including “tweens” and teens, bedroom space should provide a place to sleep, play, and work, and should allow your child to feel ownership of her own space. The bedroom can be an expression of your child’s unique personality and interests, such as by allowing her to choose her own artwork and paint color, so that she feels pride in caring for her own domain. All areas of the bedroom should provide opportunities for clutter control to reinforce the value of organization and care of the environment, and your child should be fully responsible for maintaining tidiness in her own space. Particularly when your child is older and is responsible for completing independent reading or homework at home, her workspace should provide a clutter- and distraction-free workspace for focused concentration.

• The Kitchen

Welcoming young children into the kitchen is one of the easiest ways to support your child’s growing independence at home. Groceries can be placed on low, easy-to-reach shelves, so your child can make choices and be responsible for replacing items to their correct places. A stool placed near the countertop will invite help with washing dishes or food preparation.

If there’s enough space in your kitchen, consider a table and chairs that are child-sized, so that your young one can take part in meal preparation, sit comfortably for snacks, and clean up easily.

“Our weekly menu has a few consistent items: fried rice on Mondays, butter shrimp on Wednesdays, and scrambled eggs with fresh biscuits on the weekends. My 3-year-old twins prepare these dishes all by themselves. They also sweep the floor and wipe down tables afterward. It may seem that I am talking about a magical, mythical fairyland that parents can only dream about. But this fairyland is real, and it is called Montessori.” Stefanie Woo, Montessori Life.

Consider using quality silverware, dishware, and other kitchen utensils that are appropriately sized for your child, as opposed to plastic “toy” kitchen items, that allow her to learn proper use of “real” objects for mealtime and food preparation. For example, using a child-sized pitcher and small drinking glass allows your child to pour water when she is thirsty, teaches her to exercise care using real dishes, and supports her growing autonomy in taking care of her needs. As children grow older, the home environment should grow with them, with care given to supporting their independence in accessing and caring for the space.

The key is including children in your family’s day-to-day activities at home – whether they are toddlers or teens – as an expectation from the very beginning.

THE PREPARED ADULT

In the classroom, the teacher is the prepared adult. At home, it’s you. What is your role in supporting the family’s Montessori practice at home?

• Observe

Take time to observe your child at home, without interfering in her activity. Is she able to maintain a reasonable level of order? Are materials put away in their designated places? If not, you, as parent—like the Montessori teacher—should consider the child’s environment: Are there too many choices? Are the choices available no longer interesting or challenging? Is it difficult for your child to put items away properly?
The ability to focus and concentrate is an important skill for learning. You can help develop your child’s concentration at any age by observing what sparks her interest and providing opportunities to pursue it. Set her up with the materials to explore what has piqued her interest, and let her work without interruption until she is ready to choose another activity.

• Model, Invite & Practice

Modelling to successfully manage household tasks and providing assisted practice from the earliest ages will result in capable young ones, preteens, teenagers, and adults.

For young children, rather than labelling shelf spaces to signal where items go, demonstrate to your child an object’s proper place and practice putting it away with her. You may need to demonstrate a new skill a few times, but soon your child will have memorized the routine and mastered it herself—and she will take great pride in being able to do it on her own.

The same goes for older children—demonstrate how to perform a new activity, such as separating laundry and loading and running the washing machine, and invite your child to practice with your guidance. Soon he will be independently doing the task himself, and meaningfully contributing to the care of your family’s home!

• Adapt

Based on your observations, make changes to the environment to ensure your child’s success, interest, and independence. For older children, work together and include them in the decision-making process. Give choices, but be sure that you are comfortable with all of the available options, so you support the child no matter what choice is made.

• Practice Real-Life Skills

Montessori students learn to take care of themselves and their classroom and to be helpful to others. They wash tables, organize shelves, prepare meals, and assist younger children. In addition to the satisfaction of mastering real-life skills, they come to see themselves as valued members of the community.

Creating an environment that encourages your child help at home can bring similar rewards. Young children can peel vegetables, fold their clothes, match their socks, and care for pets. Tweens can sort the mail and take out the recycling. And adolescents can read to younger siblings, help with home repair, keep family computers up-to-date, and manage their own bank accounts.

• Nurture Inner Motivation

Children are most willing to apply themselves when they feel there is intrinsic value to their work. Some parents use external rewards such as an allowance, gold stars, and merit-based privileges. But Montessori is based on the belief that pride and pleasure in one’s own work has lasting, and meaningful, effects that external incentives do not. In Montessori perspective, even praise is given sparingly—saved to acknowledge a child’s effort and encourage dedication and commitment to accomplishing a task, rather than the outcome of her work.
By expressing encouragement and appreciation for your children’s efforts at home, you -like their teachers – will help nurture an inner motivation that will serve them for life.

Source: https://amshq.org/Families/Montessori-and-Your-Child/Montessori-at-Home

The Montessori Advantage in today’s world

Dr. Montessori talked about her philosophy of education as being “education for life.” What does that mean today? Is a 100-year old approach to educating children still relevant in our fast-paced, ever-changing 21st century world?

The answer is a resounding yes. A recent Gallup study, conducted by Microsoft and Pearson Foundation, identified collaboration, problem solving and innovation, self-regulation and communication as some of the 21st century skills needed. In fact, those individuals who exhibited high development of these 21st century skills were twice as likely to have higher work quality.

Sadly, another finding was that a majority of respondents felt they developed these skills outside of their school setting.

In a Montessori classroom, development of these 21st century skills is built into the fabric of our curriculum. Curiosity and joy of learning are fostered, with student’s passions fueling discovery and exploration. Students take charge of their own learning. They work collaboratively with their peers to uncover solutions. In fact, the process of trial and error oftentimes is the very doorway for finding a new way to approach – and solve – a problem. Our students learn for the sheer joy of learning! A comment from a recent alumni is a testament to this: “I want to know this information because I’m curious, not because it’s on the test.” Not words you typically hear from a teenager!
Our classrooms are learning communities, with students being a vital and integral part of something larger than themselves. Students bring forth their own unique contribution to the community, as well as uphold their responsibilities to their fellow students and teachers. Developing the ability to articulate one’s thoughts and ideas strengthens a child’s confidence and prepares them to be active members of whatever community for which they are a part.

Is this a different approach to learning? Definitely! Is it an approach that prepares children to be confident, successful, responsible contributors in the 21st century?

From: https://www.wsmontessori.org/article/montessori-advantage

People Educated at Montessori Schools

Larry Page and Sergey Brin - founders of the Internet search engine Google.com, have stated many times that their years as Montessori students were a major factor behind their success. They say that going to a Montessori school taught them to be self-directed self-starters that could think for themselves. They also state that a Montessori education gave them the freedom to pursue their own interests allowing them to "think outside the box".

“Montessori has helped me become the person that I am today,” says the Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry, the best 3-point shooter in a single season in American national basketball history.

Jeffrey P. Bezos - founder of Amazon.com Inc., the most dominant retailer on the Internet, attended a Montessori School. By his mother's account, the young Jeffrey got so engrossed in the details of activities at his Montessori school that teachers had to pick him up in his chair to move him to new tasks.

Famous People Educated at Montessori schools:

  • Larry Page and Sergey Brin – founders of Google
  • Jeff Bezos – founder of Amazon.com
  • Stephen Curry– sports star
  • Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis – former first lady (John F. Kennedy)
  • Helen Keller - the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree.
  • Julia Child – author, chef, TV cooking shows
  • Elizabeth Berridge – actress
  • Sean ‘P.Diddy’ Combs – singer
  • Melissa and Sarah Gilbert – actors
  • Anne Frank – author, diarist from World War II
  • Prince William and Prince Harry
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez – Nobel Prize winner for Literature

Montessoriand Early childhood development

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Montessorisystem of learning: Why it works

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Supporting Montessori at home

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