The educational philosophy pioneered by Dr. Maria Montessori is rapidly gaining popularity. And while sending your child to a Montessori school can be a great way to put these methods into practice, you can also use Montessori at home. Using Montessori principles at home can help your young children get a head-start on independent learning, support kids enrolled in a Montessori style school, or become part of your homeschool curriculum. Get started with these four helpful tips.

1) Begin With Research

It’s hard to add Montessori principles to your life if you’re not sure what they are. Simply put, the Montessori approach to education is child-centered and focuses on supporting children’s natural search for knowledge. But you’ll want to know more than just the basics. Take some time to read about the Montessori method and learn how it works. As you research, take note of the aspects of the Montessori method you think will fit your child best. Maybe you’ll be a Montessori “purist” and focus on recreating as much of the system as possible in your home. Or maybe you’ll mix-and-match, taking what works for you from Montessori and blending it with other education philosophies. Either can work.

2) Scale The Environment

Scaled-down furnishings are one of the most noticeable elements of a Montessori environment. We hang artwork at eye level for the children, provide floor beds so children don’t need help getting in and out of bed, and use child-size furniture including low storage shelves. It’s much easier for children to interact with their world if they’re not trying to work with adult-size objects all the time. While your home still needs to cater to the adults who live there, you can use Montessori principles to set up your child’s room even from the time they’re an infant. As your child becomes mobile, you can extend Montessori principles throughout the house by providing cupboards in the kitchen they can access, toilets with a child-size seat and foot stool, and child-size tables to eat at.

3) Prepare For Exploration

Though Montessori education is child-directed, we don’t just turn kids loose without structure. In fact, Dr. Montessori believed that placing appropriate limits was an essential part of supplying an environment where children are truly free to explore. Offering children a prepared environment is a key principle of Montessori education. You’ll want to structure this environment to promote freedom and exploration. Use real-world objects, preferably child-size, and try to avoid clutter. Kids need enough room to move around. Also, it’s better to have some open space on your storage shelves. This makes it easier for kids to choose an activity to focus on and to put things back when they’re done.

4) Work With Your Child

Child-directed learning doesn’t mean you’re hands-off. In addition to preparing the environment so children can choose what they want to work with, you’ll also want to “follow the child.” Be ready to introduce new concepts, but don’t push kids to move forward until they’re ready. For example, you can offer a child who’s using tongs to move blocks around a chance to work with tweezers. Just don’t offer rewards or punishments as incentives to make them move on more quickly than they’re comfortable with. Montessori parenting requires a lot of patience. If you’re going to let your child self-direct their toilet learning, for example, that will often involve cleaning up messes and resisting the urge to try and make the child learn faster. A willingness to work with your child will go a long way toward successfully using Montessori methods at home. Still have questions? Holistic Montessori Solutions offers in-home consulting for families who desire to practice a Montessori lifestyle at home. We can advise parents about their child’s developmental stages, needs, and appropriate learning environments. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your family live Montessori.

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