When you think of Montessori, you probably picture a school environment. Schooling is a significant part of the Montessori Method, but it’s not the extent – you can also cultivate an effective and practical Montessori space in your home for your child. We’ve compiled six simple tips to make this possible – no renovations or significant purchases are required.
Keep the Space Organized
One key idea of Montessori ideology is “a place for everything and everything in its place.” Subconsciously, children absorb all of their surroundings, so keeping things organized and orderly will help your child feel more at ease and in control. Designating a place for everything helps children to learn to be responsible for their belongings and to clean up after themselves. Also, incorporate the mantra, “less is more.” Promoting a sense of physical order is an easy way to help your child and may even give you more peace of mind.
Build Freedom into Your Child’s Personal Spaces
Giving your child a sense of freedom and personal choice is also essential in Montessori thinking. This doesn’t mean leaving them unsupervised or having no rules but instead giving them ways to make their own decisions at different scales depending on their maturity. One example of this is to put their clothing in a location at their height so that they can pick some of their own clothes, or, if they are old enough, allow them to help you decorate their room.
A more ambitious but equally effective idea is playing around with your child’s bed choice. If the room is baby proofed, you could give them a mattress on the floor, so if they wake up early, they have the freedom to crawl and play before their parents enter the room. While this may seem scary, it is a way to give them freedom and choice early on in life, which will make a lasting difference in their childhood.
Emphasize the Use of Life Skills
Teaching your child to take care of themselves and their space will set them up to become a capable adult later on. This might sound like something only for older kids, but even young children can pitch in around the house in their own ways. As mentioned earlier, they can understand how to pick up after themselves. You can also show them simple tasks, like folding their laundry or wiping down the table after a meal. They will learn quickly, as children’s minds are incredibly absorbent.
Foster Areas That Allow Your Child to Concentrate
“Children can’t concentrate.” This is a common misconception we hear all of the time, but the Montessori method emphasizes the skill of concentration from a young age. The first step is to determine what your child is interested in, A.K.A., what they will want to concentrate on. Then, set up a space with the materials where they can explore it. Give them the space they need to be able to concentrate, but don’t default to isolating them. How children work best varies from kid to kid, so play around with different settings and see what drives the most success.
Keep Books Handy
Reading is essential for children, and keeping books handy everywhere is a great way to facilitate a love for reading from a young age. Keep a stash of books in their bedroom, your shared spaces, and the car. Take them to the library (this is another opportunity to give them a sense of freedom and choice) and let them pick out a book or two.
Give Them “Children’s Versions” and Put Items at Their Eye Level
Similarly to a sense of choice, establishing trust is also crucial to Montessori thinking. One way to do this is to make your child feel like they can do anything you can do. You could give them their own shelf in the pantry, their own safe kitchen cabinet, a small laundry basket, or coat hooks and mirrors installed at their eye level. The possibilities of this tip are endless and give you a chance to find the options that work for your spaces and your family.
The Montessori method is a way of thinking that can be applied to every aspect of your child’s life, not just education. Click here for more information on Grace Montessori School’s guiding principles and philosophies.
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