Many parents find the child-centered approach of the Montessori method works best for their child in school. Montessori isn’t just for school, though! Whether you’re interested in trying out the Montessori approach with your child, getting your child ready for Montessori school, or just using your methods at home to reinforce the teachings of your child’s Montessori classroom, the principles of Montessori can easily be adjusted to fit your home life.
Independence is one of the hallmarks of a Montessori classroom. Children are encouraged to do almost everything for themselves, from cleaning up toys and spills, to choosing their own activities.
It may require you to reorganize your child’s closet or make changes to your schedule, but you can encourage similar levels of independence at home. For instance, your child can:
- Choose his own clothes and get dressed
- Get ready for the day or get ready for bed
- Clean up toys, spills, etc.
- Help with cooking projects
Use Child-Sized Furniture and Accessible Storage
If you walk into a Montessori classroom, you’ll immediately notice that all of the furniture is child-sized, and all of the art supplies, manipulatives, and toys are stored where they are easily accessible to the children, helping children be more independent by removing size-related limitations.
You can help your child be more independent at home too by buying things that are just their size, such as:
- Table and chairs
- Supply shelves and storage bins
- Art supplies, such as scissors
- Kitchen gadgets and utensils, such as scoops and pitchers
Create a Work Area at Home
In a Montessori classroom, children have what is called the “prepared environment,” where they have everything they need to do their work, from books to art supplies to manipulatives. You can bring home this same principle by creating a work area in a corner of your child’s room, the playroom, your office, or even a dedicated art room.
Here are a few things your child’s work area should include:
- Child-sized table and chairs
- Supplies such as pencils, crayons, markers, paper, etc.
- Child-sized equipment such as scissors and glue
Follow the Child
Finally, another one of the most important principles of Montessori is the idea of following the child. This means that instruction is child-centered: The teacher may choose the topics, but children decide how they want to explore them, based on their own interests and talents.
Obviously you can’t always “follow the child” at home, but you can set aside specific blocks of time when your child gets to choose what they want to do. Have outings where your child gets to choose where to go and what to do. When outings aren’t possible, let your child engage in free play.
Bringing Montessori Home
Montessori school works wonders for a lot of kids, but there’s no reason the advantages of the method have to be limited to school. With some minor changes, your child can benefit from the greater freedom and confidence at home too. The teachers at the Montessori School of Flagstaff Switzer Mesa Campus will work with you to make small changes at home, which will assist in reinforcing the Montessori method your child is experiencing while at school. Contact us today to set up an appointment and learn more about the Montessori method.