The Montessori philosophy focuses on improving children’s’ hands-on experiences, academic skills, ethics, and social skills, creativity, and independence. To help further these abilities for your child, use the Montessori method at home! Your home should be consistent with the learning environment they have at school! Below are some quick and easy ways to incorporate the unique child-centered Montessori philosophy.
1. Educational Games
Letter matching involves letter identification. This can be your child’s first step to reading! To play this game, start with 52 squares of cardboard. Split these squares up into 2 piles (26 in each) and make sure to paint each letter on 2 squares. Your child can then try to match each letter by grouping the identical pairs together! As they do this, make sure to remind your child of each letter’s name and sound.
Sorting is also an important skill that can be taught using a game! It can help your child learn some early math skills. One type of sorting game consists of a divided plate. Offer your child a divided plate filled with different items. In the biggest section, the “entrée” part, create a combination of different types of buttons, beads, or cereals. Instruct your child to sort the items either by shape, size, or color into the side dishes of the plate. This sorting game can also be conducted using a silverware tray and having your child categorize the spoons and forks.
Another fun activity is lacing, which promotes fine motor skills. It also teaches creativity by introducing the concept of sewing. Your child can create their very own patterns! Lacing can be done using large beads and string. Using these tools, encourage them to make their own pattern.
Lock and keys can be used to create an activity specific to developing fine motor skills, a skill necessary for Montessori learning. Gather up various locks and keys, such as ones used for small padlocks and bike locks. Place the lock and keys in a tray to let your child try to figure out which keys match and how they work. This task might be tedious and frustrating for your child, but it can teach them motor skills, patience, and intricate cognitive skills, such as memory improvement and size-determination.
2. Ordered Home
A key Montessori method to bring home is rearranging your space. It is important for your child to have their toys, school supplies, and art tools neatly placed on a shelf or in a box that is reachable. Everything should have its own place to be very accessible. An easy way to do this is to buy a few stools and scatter them around the house. They can be put in front of bathroom sinks or the kitchen. This helps your child be more independent and develop important skills on their own. For example, with a stool by the sink, your child can learn to wash their hands by themselves, or they even help you cook some dinner. Another tip is to put your child’s silverware and bowls/plates on a low shelf or drawer so they can fix themselves a snack and feel a strong sense of accomplishment! You can also adjust your child’s closet to make clothes more accessible. This way they can choose their own outfits so that they can learn to express their individuality and create confidence.
Nature is perhaps one of the most important aspects of the Montessori method. It is important for children to learn the world around them and appreciate the Earth. This can be done in many ways! One way is to plant a vegetable garden in your backyard. Your child will not only enjoy digging in the dirt and planting seeds, but also learn about the importance of caring for nature. Plantlife cycles can be taught by watching the vegetables grow. They can even weed the garden and water the plants! This is an amazing way to educate children about the earth. Caring for plants also builds responsibility, work ethic, and character. Your child can also feel a strong sense of accomplishment when you use some of the garden vegetables in a meal! Of course, this activity is also better for the environment because it reduces the use of grocery stores and mass farming.
You can also add a compost pile to your home routine to reduce waste and create fertilizer for your garden! Simply add a bin in your kitchen and have your child discard their waste products in it. This activity also helps the environment because it results in less waste to be dumped in landfills. This will teach your child to be more mindful of their waste and how it affects the environment.
The easiest way to incorporate nature into your home life is recycling. It is another great method to help the environment and educate your child about the importance of reusing waste products. This will prepare our future generation to always be aware of recycling, which can hopefully create a habit that will continue throughout their lives!
4. Grace and Courtesy
Saying “please” and “thank you” is an underrated skill. Manners are used to convey respect for others. In the Montessori classroom, grace and courtesy are always used. However, these words are not just for your child to use. You must use them as well to show your child you respect and to set an example. When your child feels respected, they feel more confident in their unique qualities, which allows them to grow into people will healthy self-esteem.
5. Independence and Freedom
Along the same lines, independence and freedom are imperative to the Montessori method and they can easily be used in your home. Letting your child make their own decisions allows to feel in control of their lives, which builds confidence. To incorporate this, make sure your home is ordered (mentioned in #3) and easily accessible. When they can reach everything they need, try allowing your child to make their own snacks, choose their own outfits, and learn to brush their teeth by themselves.
A big part of independence and freedom is giving your child choices to choose from, even in day-to-day activities. You can also give them a say in their schedule or incorporate them into family decisions, such as what to have for dinner. This will also teach your child the importance of family and it will make them feel valued.
By giving them a say, or a choice, your child will learn how to communicate and express how they feel!