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Canyon Heights Blog

How to Bring Montessori Into Your Home: 4 Simple Tips

In the Montessori classroom, children are able to learn and grow at their own pace in a carefully prepared environment that is suited to their needs and desires. Students are free to explore what most interests them. In doing so, they not only develop a natural love for learning but also demonstrate the skills and desires to complete tasks independently. 

While a Montessori education is definitely a one-of-a-kind approach to learning, the great news is that Montessori isn’t confined to the classroom experience alone. As parents, you have the amazing capacity to extend this kind of environment into your own home so as to help your child continue to cultivate the fundamental skills that a Montessori classroom encourages. Check out these practical tips and methods collected by our Montessori preschool teachers about how to support your child’s learning by incorporating the Montessori philosophy into your daily life at home.

 

Importance of Bridging the Relationship between Home and School

At Canyon Heights Academy, we truly believe that you as parents are the primary educators of your children. We respect this role as an extraordinary gift and responsibility, and we want to support you in every way possible to help your child best fulfill his or her potential. In this light, our teachers, faculty, and staff consider themselves as partners on the journey of your child’s education, prepared and specially trained to help your child grow and flourish.

This partnership between parents and teachers is achieved in a variety of ways. First, it is essential to understand that the home and the school should work in unison. What happens inside the classroom only goes so far if the lessons learned aren’t being reinforced and modeled at home. A Montessori education, then, is actually strengthened when parents make an effort to bring elements of the Montessori classroom into their homes. Not only does this create a level of consistency and continuity for your child, which is essential especially in the early years of growth, but it also naturally compliments the learning that your child does at school.

Frequent communication is also key. Children should know that teachers and parents are in constant communication, as this knowledge builds awareness for the child that he or she will be held to similar expectations both at home and at school. It also helps create a unified and sustainable educational approach.

Four Practical Tips for Creating a Montessori-Friendly Home

You can best support your children’s continual academic, emotional, and social development at home by striving to emulate the qualities of the Montessori classroom: providing a nurturing and stimulating environment, engaging in active play with them, and encouraging their sense of curiosity and exploration. Eager to get started? Here are four specific ways that you can help your child make the most of Montessori education from the comfort of your own home:

1. Embrace Mistakes

Bringing Montessori into your home requires an environment in which your children can continue to learn to love the very process of learning itself. It is best to heed the words of Maria Montessori: “To assist a child, we must provide him with an environment which will enable him to develop freely.” One major way to instill this disposition of freedom is often a hard one for parents–namely, let your children make mistakes! After all, mistakes are an unavoidable part of human life that happen to all of us. When a child makes a mistake, it is important that he or she can learn from the experience, especially since practicing a skill will ultimately enable the child to do better next time.

One tangible way to cultivate a home environment that embraces mistakes is simply to let your child know that it’s okay if he or she breaks the object or item that he or she is using. It is important for young children to use real-world materials (real glasses for drinking, real plates for eating, metal utensils, etc.) so that they build confidence in mastering real-life skills, without the added pressure of fearing failure. Another tangible way to embrace mistakes requires some humility on your part as a parent: if you are able to admit to the fact when you make a mistake, your child will become more and more aware that mistakes are okay. Moreover, by pointing out your mistake and modeling a healthy response to it, your child will learn to react in a more positive and curious way to the mistakes that they will inevitably make as they learn.

2. Encourage Wonder

Another way to cultivate a genuine love for learning is to ask your child questions instead of just giving them answers. In this way, you will begin to develop real, authentic communication and dialogue with your child that promotes a healthy sense of self-discovery and exploration, rather than build up an unrealistic expectation that they will always easily find the answers to their problems. Asking questions often takes more time than simply providing a solution, but doing so is bound to increase your child’s resilience, perseverance, and overall sense of wonder. The next time you’re tempted to answer your child right away, try instead to ask him or her questions like: “What do you think it means?”or “What do you think it is?” or even “Why do you think…?” You’ll be sure to stimulate their little brain waves!

3. Simplify Your Space

Even your home itself can be arranged in ways that mimic the prepared environment of the Montessori classroom! You don’t need to go crazy and buy all new furniture; in fact, it’s often the opposite action that will have the greater effect. For example, by decluttering rooms, putting up simple shelves, and limiting the number of toys or jobs available to your child, you will help create a neat and ordered space that promotes responsibility and independent learning. Less is more here!

Keeping things at eye-level is also a helpful trick: this arrangement will help allow your little one to clearly see his or her choices, as well as encourage them to return objects to their correct places when they are finished using them. Another helpful tip is to observe your children as they work and play in the environment you prepare; you will then be able to rotate and/or switch the toys or jobs according to how their interests may evolve over time. This method will prevent boredom, as well as will help keep your child consistently engaged in their work (and is often a more affordable option for parents, too!).

4. Foster Independence and Order

Perhaps the most important thing that you can do to support your child’s Montessori education is to foster your child’s thirst for independence. This often means that as parents, you must try to surrender control and resist the urge to love your children by doing everything for them. Instead, you can take practical steps like:

  • Letting your kids dress themselves! It’s okay if they have shoes on the wrong feet or if they are wearing their pants backwards. Children should feel encouraged and empowered to complete these tasks on their own, even if imperfectly.  
  • Try letting your children feed themselves. The process might be (okay, definitely will be) messy at first, but it is truly the only way for them to master the skill.
  • Give your child choices! Incorporate these simple choices throughout your child’s day, such as what to wear, what to have for snack or lunch, etc. 
  • Create opportunities for children to take on more responsibility at home. Children should know they are expected to treat the home and their possessions with respect and care. Examples include hanging up their backpacks in a designated space, putting their shoes away, cleaning up after play time, helping prepare meals in the kitchen, etc. In this way, children will start to feel a sense of ownership at home and will develop a sense of orderliness that helps teach them how to self-regulate.

Making a Difference in Your Child’s Education

Montessori education is a wonderful way for children to develop independence, learn fundamental social and emotional skills, and cultivate a positive relationship with learning itself from a young age. When you make an effort to incorporate simple Montessori elements into your home and daily routine, your child is sure to grow. Whether you make a minor change to your furniture or create some new expectations at home that require more responsibility, you are helping your children to nurture their independence, to take charge of their education, and to become the people they were made to be. 

Interested in learning more about our Montessori program? Come visit us to see our Montessori classrooms in action! Our Montessori Preschool is open to toddlers aged 18 months to 6 years old, and we accept applications year-round. We can’t wait to meet you and help your child grow!