Montessori learning is not new and has been around now for over 100 years!
It has been growing in popularity for the last several years and within the last 10 years sparked a new interest again among parents.
You know those beautifully designed classrooms & playrooms on Pinterest and on Instagram? Well those are typically Montessori inspired rooms.
I know that is what caught my eye at first.
Seeing beautifully made toys displayed out in the open along with cozy textiles alongside some greenery is calming to my mind. I find these spaces cozy and an invitation to explore.
I began to want to explore how a child would interpret this type of environment and what else this style of learning had to offer.
Would children also find it calming & inviting?
If you are interested in learning more about the Montessori practice and how to apply it in your home I highly recommend you read:
What is “Montessori”?
Montessori is a system of learning for young children that seeks to develop natural interests and activities rather than the typical use of formal teaching methods.
This approach allows the child to take the leadership role in their learning process.
The learning process often takes place hands on rather than textbook format. Their play becomes their work.
You can create this environment by providing several inviting activities that are age appropriate and allow your child to take it from there. Providing assistance when asked but allowing them space otherwise to explore freely. Setting necessary safety limits when necessary.
This process guides the child to genuinely enjoy the learning process throughout life.
I love this philosphy because it empowers children, teaches them skills, and allows children to feel valued.
The History of Montessori:
The Montessori ideology was developed by Dr. Maria Montessori around the 1900s. Maria opened a “Children’s House” for children who were supposedly unfit to learn.
After having some time to adapt to the enviroment that Maria had created for them, she saw the children take interest in their learning. They were working with puzzles, preparing meals, tidying their space, and actively being hands on with the material they had on hand.
Dr. Montessori saw the transformation in the children to peaceful behavior and periods of deep concentration. Noting that the children absorbed knowledge from their surroundings, while teaching themselves through their play.
Utilizing scientific observation and experience gained from her earlier work with young children, Dr. Montessori designed unique learning materials for them, many of which are still in use in Montessori classrooms today, and created a classroom environment that fostered the children’s natural desire to learn.
Dr. Montessori believed that children learn better when they’re choosing what to learn, and that philosophy is present in Montessori environments today.
A Montessori classroom/playroom likely looks a lot different than what most childcare facilities or homes look like.
Montessori Respects Your Child
If I asked you, do you respect your child? Your answer would most likely be of course I do!
But sometimes we do not have the same level of respect for our children’s needs and desire as much as we should.
It can be so easy to get overwhelmed and frustrated with all the to dos of life that we sometimes take it out on our children.
I once heard a mother say that we should speak to our child like a friend or co-worker. If we wouldn’t say it to them then it isn’t respectful enough to say to our child either.
I like that.
Our children are the most important people in our lives and they truly deserve as much respect as any other adult.
Montessori emphasizes the importance of respecting the child as the indiviudal they are. Allowing them the space they need to learn and discover the world in their own unique way.
As adults we have too many built up judgments about how things should be done. Often times, we cast these judgements onto our children, taking away their ability to explore for themselves.
By taking a step back and respecting our child’s space and need for discovery, we offer a whole new world to them.
A good place to start learning about how to respect your child is respectful parenting or positive discipline strategies.
What makes Montessori environment unique?
- Multiple activity stations for children to choose from throughout the day.
- Displayed on open shelves
- Items/decor at child height level
- Natural material & various textures (wooden toys, linen, wicker baskets etc.)
- Lots of natural light
- Plants at child’s reach
- A focus on the learning as a whole (social, emotional, intellectual and physical development are all considered)
- Curriculum follows the child’s lead
Examples of Montessori Activities At Home That You Can Do:
Flower Arranging – You can grab stems at your local dollar store and a pot then fill with beans or rocks.
Sweeping/Mopping – Melissa & Doug has a child size set that is great for this.
Assisting with Folding Laundry – Start them with pairing socks, towels, & putting it away in correct location.
Watering the Plants – Every child loves to tend to nature whenever possible, child size water can or a cup would be perfect!
Wiping Windows – Spray bottle & a rag is all you need.
Washing Dishes – Pull up a chair to the sink or provide a small tub with some water and soap. Kids love this one!
Pouring Own Cereal & Milk – I found appropriate size containers at the dollar store that was perfect for Melina, who is 3, to handle.
Self Care – hair brushing, teeth brushing, hair clips, & nail polish. Provide easy access to grooming materials.
Getting Dressed Independently – Child level wardrobe & allow them to select outfits when possible.
If you are not familiar with this type of parenting/education style it can be quiet a adjustment. I really recommend exploring more about this way of learning for children.
There are so many benefits that children and really the whole family receives with this style! Relieves unnecessary stress and strengthens your connection with your child.
Are you looking to apply Montessori in your home too?
Here are some additional resources to help you learn even more about Montessori!
THE MONTESSORI FAMILY, THE ULTIMATE STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE FOR AGES 0 TO 5 Create an Empowering Montessori Home Environment and Help Your Child Grow Their Independence, Creativity and Confidence