Many of you want to use the Montessori method at home but you don’t know where to start. I receive many questions from wonderful readers that ask for help. I decided to write this post so it can be a starting point for your journey.
I contacted Montessori teachers, parents, experts, bloggers and asked them a question:
“Please give one practical advice to a person who wants to start using Montessori at home. Where should the person start?“
The Montessorians were very kind and eager to share their precious knowledges. I devided their answers in two posts so it would not be too much information.
Imafine as if you visited a Montessori conference and asked all of them this question directly.
I want to ask you to use these advices. Please prepare a notebook where you will able to make some notes that you would consider important for you. I hope this will be useful for you.
These advices should help you to find the right direction and to understand the Montessori method more.
Junnifa Uzodike: “I think setting up the environment is a good place to start. This does not mean a complete overhaul at once but can be small changes that support the child’s development of independence and allows him to act on his human tendencies. It could be putting toys on a shelf instead of a toy box, putting some things that he uses frequently like his plate, cup and utensils at a level where he can reach them and maybe set the table, or just providing a stool/stair that allows him to reach the work surface in the kitchen and work side by side with you“
I am an Montessori trained educator for the 0-3 and 3-6 levels. I have also raised my boys using Montessori principles from birth. Please visit me at www.nduoma.com
Susan Mayclin Stephenson: “Read the book “The Joyful Child: Montessori, Global Wisdom for Birth to Three” by Susan Mayclin Stephenson. This book is an overview of the AMI Montessori Birth to Three, Assistants to Infancy, course. It was written for parents based on many years experience working with parents and teaching Montessori with students from age two through high school“
When I was in graduate school to be a philosophy professor I put my first child in an AMI Montessori school. This was in 1969. The changes in her personality and happiness were so profound that I decided that being a Montessori teacher was more important for the world then being a philosophy professor. I asked for the best place to learn to do this. Thank goodness I was told to take AMI training, specifically at MMI (then MMTO) in London, England. Mine was the 58th course and this was in 1970-1971, so there had been many ears to refine and perfect training of teachers. Over the years I received AMI training at 3-6 and 6-12 levels, used the information as a parent, taught in schools, lectured at universities, and so on. For more information, as I do not like to talk about myself, please go to my website: www.susanart.net
Sid Mohandas: “In my own experience, I would say the the home environment must be above all a haven of trust, empathy and compassion. A place of deep knowing, listening and growing freedoms for the child. This relational aspects, I believe is fundamental to our family life. In all things, like Dr. Montessori said the happiness of the child is the true indicator. When it comes to the physical environment, I believe in keeping it simple and accessible to the child. The challenges in the environment must reflect the skill levels of the child. When this balance goes wrong, we will have either a bored or stressed child. Like I said earlier, it must be a place of growing freedoms, that would mean offering choices based on how your child is able to handle that freedom. Lastly, the home environment is not just yours, it belongs to all those who dwell in it, so co-construct beauty, co-construct guidelines, and co-construct knowledge“
I am currently a research student at the University College of London (UCL). I have been a Montessori parent and teacher for a number of years, even though I do tend to appreciate other pedagogical approaches and draw aspects of Reggio and Te Whariki in my own practice. Please visit me at www.themalemontessorian.com
Carolyn Lucento: “Environment makes a big difference. Order, simplicity, predictability can help you immensely. Don’t forget the aesthetics: low shelving & tools that are child-size, wood & natural materials, plants, natural lighting, a few famous Art prints at child’s eye level, so that child can enjoy freedom & choice that is limited by the well-prepared environment instead of the adult in charge.“
I am a seasoned Montessorian. My first training was completed in 1980 and I trained again in 2005. I have been an assistant, head teacher, school owner, site director, and now I train teachers in an AMS training program in SF Bay Area. In 2013 I left my site director/head teacher position to become a music specialist in Montessori schools throughout SF Bay area. Nowadays I teach 32 classes a week in 8 different locations…about 800 children from 3-9 yrs old. Please visit me at http://www.magicalmovementcompany.com
Angela Hardy: “Find a Parent/Child class in your area and join if you can. If one is not available, find a school to observe. Start talking to the early childhood teachers and absorb everything you can.“
Once, a child told me she wanted to change the world because of me. You can inspire children without knowing anything about Montessori, but Montessori does a great job of exploiting all the best ways of inspiring individuals.
Pamela Green: “To start from learning the philosophy, which extends then into the areas of preparing our environments for independence, freedom of choice, the materials, etc. But, it is the understanding of the child, and most especially, our inner preparation to learn about ourselves and our child through observation“
I am a Montessori Guide, Consultant, parent educator, workshop facilitator, childbirth educator, Birth Doula, and Assistant Midwife. Please visit me at Anandamontessori.com
Yuliya Fruman: “I suppose before we can teach children, we should prepare ourselves. I would say first and foremost, it is important to educate yourself and prepare yourself. How do you see Montessori in your home? What are your expectations? The second very important task to do is to prepare your home, I would say. Make sure that your home is truly accessible for your child. As someone who uses a wheelchair, I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to make sure your home is set up to allow for independence. In my own experience, going somewhere and not being able to do something for myself is really devastating. I can imagine that our children experience something similar – so where you can (and where you can do so safely), set up your home in a manner that facilitates your child’s independence. Allow them to be able to get their own snacks, their own clothing, their toys. Prepare your home by keeping artwork and visually appealing decorations at their eye level, etc“
I am a mom, raising my two children in a Montessori inspired home. My son is 4 years old, and I present Montessori style activities for him at home. Please visit me at http://www.welcometomommyhood.com
Jeanne-Marie Paynel: “Preparing the environment for the child to easily adapt to their time, place and culture as well as preparing ourselves to guide this precious new life. Simply get down to their level and crawl around your home to see it from their perspective”
I am a Montessori Parenting Mentor and Home Consultant, founder and owner of Voila Montessori, empowering parents to nurture their children’s full potential with joy and confidence. Please visit me at http://www.voilamontessori.com/en/
Tammy Oesting: “Bringing Montessori into your home isn’t about the “stuff”, it’s about how you apply an approach; reflect on your own upbringing and define your parenting values you want to instill. Make sure you and your parenting partner are on the same page! Working on your own understanding of why, then how to shift your approach leads to behaviors such as preparing your home for your child’s independence and meaningful engagement.“
Twenty-five years ago I stepped foot in my first Montessori classroom as an assistant and never imagined my journey would drive me to pursue my training as a 3-6 then 6-12 teacher, Director of Education, teacher trainer, and now, the founder of a professional development company. From my dogma as an intern fresh from training to my seasoned view of how Montessori is applied around the world, I am more than convinced that this methodology serves children and the advancement of humankind. Please visit me at www.classroomechanics.com
Patricia Taylor: “Prepare places in the home environment where the children may function independently, with age appropriate activities that are directly or implicitly Montessori, provide your children with furniture suited to their age and functionality, learn how to present Montessori lessons on the materials as well as grace and courtesy , and love them by treating them with respect … involving them in all aspects of life – taking them to the store, work, bank, relatives [explaining the whys, the proper behavior at each, teach and maintain boundaries between adult oriented and child oriented aspects of normal and specific cultural/religious life … ; ] So much to share about!“
Now I am 72, my eleven children are grown, see grandchildren seldom if at all, rent rooms in two homes [“Prepared Environments”] to keep ownership and earn more than just SS, widowed 18 years, as a watercolor artist, I teach children techniques in art, seamstress, and Montessori mentor to all I meet by chance, but on Craigslist I advertise my Montessori classroom for parents to utilize in a program that engages them with their children in learning how to present lessons and carry them into their homes – my life style centers around Christ’s and Montessori principles.
Carine Robin: “Setting the environment to allow your child to be as independent as possible. When the child can reach sink, mirror, tools to take care of himself and his surroundings, most issues are reduced or disappeared“
I’m a Montessori teacher for children aged 3 to 6. I work for myself now, I run a parents/toddler group and I offer private support to help parents to incorporate the Montessori principles into their family life. Please visit me at www.montessori-family.co.uk
Read the second part of the advices in the next post here – PART 2.