Parents of Montessori students are often surprised when they hear their toddler say things like, “At school, I’m allowed to pour my own juice,” or that “I hang up my own coat when I go to school.” As a parent, this may give you the realization that there’s something to learn from the Montessori education—something that can help improve your home and the discipline and education of your child. We wholly agree with this and believe that the Montessori method is an effective way to instill your children with discipline, independence, self-efficacy, a love for learning, and much, much more—read more about the benefits of a Montessori education.
In today’s article, we at Omaha Montessori Education Centers would like to share with you some tips on how to implement some of the Montessori education’s most valuable principles into your home. If you are interested in learning more about our schools, our location, or you would like to take a tour of one of our Montessori schools, contact us today!
Below are some tips to bridge the gap between home and education.
Keep Your Home Organized
If you have ever visited a Montessori elementary school, preschool, or daycare, you may have been struck by how orderly yet self-motivated the classroom is. This is a key principle within the Montessori education—everything has its place. Not only is everything ordered, but it is also made to be easily accessible and intuitively found. This type of tidiness and order eliminates distraction. When a toddler is swept away by a curiosity and is in pursuit of a material to help with the exploration, they know where to go. They don’t have to dig through a box of toys or tear apart the classroom—a search that would invariably lead to them being distracted by some unexpected find.
To maintain a Montessori-like orderliness in your home, consider doing the following:
- Provide low shelves and rods that allow your child to reach their clothes and get ready without your help
- Keep a step stool near the sink so your child can reach the sink
- Categorize and organize toys and activities so that your toddler can reach them and knows where they are
- Arrange healthy snacks so that your child can easily access them
Teach Practical Skills
At Montessori elementary schools and preschools, the curriculum goes beyond math, reading, and science. A crucial part of the Montessori education is that the value of real-life activities and skills should not be overlooked, which is why children in Montessori elementary schools are taught real-life practical skills, like meal preparation, cleaning up, self-care, putting away shoes and coats, and much more. In addition to making toddlers responsible for these tasks, the older students are expected to help the younger ones master these real-life skills. This is a great way of not only boosting independence, responsibility, and self-efficacy, but it can also be an effective method for enhancing self-esteem and making children feel like they are a valued part of a community.
There are a number of tasks and ways your child can help out around the house. Below are just a few ideas to help you in your search:
- Peel vegetables
- Fold clothes
- Care for pets
- Do yard or garden work
- Take out the trash
- Get the mail
If you have multiple children, having the older one help the younger one with these real-life skills can be a great way of reinforcing their importance and boosting self-efficacy. Additionally, when teaching these new skills, be sure to break down the job into small steps and be clear with your expectations.
Demand Personal Responsibility
Working independently, taking responsibility, and being held personally accountable are key parts of a Montessori education. Impressing these values on toddlers can instill them with self-worth, self-efficacy, and independence. Of course, these principles are not confined to just the classroom. Take any of the above practical skills, for example. Establishing these tasks and rules and then letting your children know that you depend on them to carry out their job can help strengthen their personal responsibility. Whether it be getting ready by a certain time in the morning or feeding the dog every day, set clear expectations and hold your child accountable for fulfilling their duties.
While children can have very different learning styles, one thing that remains constant is that all toddlers need to be able to concentrate. Facilitate this need, and create an environment that is free of distraction, a place where your child can explore and pursue their curiosity uninterrupted. At our Montessori elementary schools and preschools, this is something we strive to achieve. We want our facility to be organized in such a way that children know where to go to find the materials, knowledge, and experience they seek.
Nurture and Support Passion
Children are naturally curious and vibrantly inquisitive. They are fueled by a voracious curiosity that routinely rewards them with exciting discoveries. When your child demonstrates curiosity, fuel that fire. When children are able to follow their inherent intrigue, they naturally see the intrinsic value of something. While some parents will use external rewards to encourage learning—just as a lot of traditional schools do—this can be an unreliable incentive. The best incentive is true inner motivation. When your child asks questions or shows interest, encourage active learning and help guide them to explore the answers to their questions.
Why Montessori Education?
Montessori education is more than a teaching method. It is a guide to helping each child to embrace their individual learning process and reach their full potential. Because Montessori education is focused around the end goal of helping children become more rational, caring, well-rounded, confident, curious, and social adults, the principles of the method are not confined just to the classroom. They can be implemented in all of the areas of life. However, to accomplish this, it is important for parents to be disciplined and resolute in their approach. Keep these tips in mind when seeking to implement more of the Montessori approach into your home.
Would you like to see a Montessori daycare or Montessori elementary school in action? Book a tour of one of our Omaha Montessori Education Centers today!