Living the “Montessori philosophy” at home with children can seem daunting.
Educators get special training in this curriculum after all, so you might ask yourself – “How could I possibly use this philosophy at home if I don’t have a special degree?”
While it’s true that educators need to have a well-rounded and complete understanding of the pedagogy in order to run a classroom, there are some things you can do at home without years and years of study.
To help you get started, here are four elements of Montessori philosophy that anyone can use while interacting with children.
We respect our elders, we respect our partners, but the thought of respecting children seems a bit strange at first. After all, they are still new to this world! But that’s all the more reason to show children respect in daily interactions. They will feel heard, they will feel loved, and they will learn how to respect others through your example!
Example: If your child wants your attention but you ask them to wait a moment, make sure you turn to them when you’ve finished your task. Say “Thank you for waiting, what can I help you with?” This shows them you respect what they have to say!
Non-infantilization basically means not treating young children as though they are infants. This can be difficult, especially when you care deeply for a child. Of course you don’t want to see them struggle! But giving children the opportunity to become independent through mastering new skills is a gift that will serve them for life.
Example: Let your child dress themselves. It might take longer, and the clothes might be mismatched, but in the end they are learning fine motor skills, step-by-step logic and decision making!
Freedom within limits
A delicate Montessori concept, ‘freedom within limits’ means letting your child guide their own daily activities based on their interests. However, setting limits are important as they help your child understand what is and what is not acceptable. Any activity that hurts themselves or others would be an example of when to set limits.
Example: At the park, let your child decide how they would like to play. Set some limits before you go, “It’s not ok (it’s unsafe) to go outside of the fence onto the busy road.”
Time and Space
Lastly, an element of the Montessori philosophy that you can use at home is giving your child ample time and space to explore. Children run on a different internal clock than grown-ups, and it can be difficult to take a step back to appreciate that. Make sure you consider your child when making your daily schedule!
Example: Rather than rushing through a trip to the library, leave enough time for your child to explore the books on the shelves or ask the librarian questions.
While the Montessori curriculum is best left to a school environment, that doesn’t mean you can’t use the philosophy at home to create a caring and supportive environment for the whole family.
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