What is Montessori?
Montessori is a form of education that offers a broad vision of education as an “aid to life”. It draws its principles from the natural development of the child. Letting each individual child’s inner directives freely guide them toward wholesome growth. Here is a great place to learn more about Montessori.
I first started hearing about Montessori when my friends started having babies. One enrolled her daughter in a Montessori preschool because she had trouble concentrating in a normal preschool environment. My other friend actually taught at a Montessori preschool where her child attended. It was this friend who truly introduced me to the world of Montessori.
She told me it was all about letting your little one learn at their own pace, make their own decisions and when you get the choice choose natural products and activities. Noting that “You’re probably already Montessori and don’t even know it”. She was right.
Now that I’ve been consciously practicing Montessori for awhile I hear a lot of talk about what toys are appropriate or doubt about making your environment perfect. We are all on our own journey here and there isn’t a standard we all need to meet in order to practice this lifestyle.
You don’t have to go to church every Sunday to be Christian, likely you don’t have to include Montessori in every part of your life to practice Montessori.
I’d like to think Montessori is more about the interactions you have with your child on a day to day basis, the way you act when given a chance to educate your child and how your child learns with a hands-on approach.
5 SIMPLE WAYS TO GET STARTED
- Ditch the plastic. Donate all the flashy, noisy plastic toys. I know this is by far the hardest step to follow through with. Truth be told we still have a few flash toys hiding away here that I just couldn’t bring myself to give away.
- Respect your child. Yes, you are the adult but you can still show your child respect. Talk to her like you would an equal. Talking to the child, not AT the child.
- Allow your child to make decisions. This works best when given 2-3 choices as not to overwhelm your child. For example, ask them whether they would like to wear the blue coat or the red coat today. This helps them with confidence and independence.
- Let your child help you. Children want to learn. They want to help. It is very hard to let your child make a mistake that you can foresee but it is very important for them to learn the consequences of their actions. Obviously, if your child is in danger you should intervene. Helping with laundry, cleaning, cooking and gardening are all great ways to incorporate your child in everyday tasks.
- Try not to say “No”. This one can be difficult. Instead of saying “No” you can say “We don’t play with those Tommy. How about we read a book.” It is always best to tell them exactly what they shouldn’t be doing and then give them a new activity to focus on. Try to create more “yes” spaces in our house. This allows the child to explore worry free.
With Montessori, my daughter is a much more confident and independent child. I am so happy with her progress I want to share my success with everyone. People starting their journey should know you don’t have to do everything perfectly to consider yourself Montessori. There are several guidelines but at the end of the day, you need to find a parenting style that suits you. So if you have to change the guidelines a bit to meet your needs then don’t stress. The Montessori police won’t be knocking at your door.
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Do you practice this lifestyle in your home? What benefits have you experienced from this form of education? Leave me a message in the comments I’d love to know how your journey is going!
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