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Incorporating Montessori Principles into Your Daily Life

Montessori is more than just an education style; it is a way of life that goes beyond the classroom walls. It’s important for parents to recognize this Montessori lifestyle, so that they can begin to build an authentic bridge that connects the gap between home and school. Here are some key Montessori principles you can incorporate into your daily life as a Montessori parent.

Environment

A Montessori environment is characterized by an unmistakable atmosphere of peace, which in classrooms, is marked by certain features such as the peace corner, the peace rose, or the peace table. Parents can cultivate this peaceful climate at home by getting into a regular rhythm or routine to avoid the anxiety that comes with worrying about what might happen next. Parents who practice and model meaningful, courteous behavior, such as saying “good morning,” “please,” and “thank you,” will help reinforce their child’s mindfulness.

A child’s sense of peace can also be improved by feeling a connection to nature. Parents are encouraged to take the time to stop anywhere with their child in order to observe and listen to nature, such as watching the sky change color as the sun sets or listening to an animal rustling through a bush.

Discipline

Positive discipline and child guidance are crucial Montessori principles to incorporate at home because they promote children’s self-control, teach children responsibility, and help children make thoughtful choices. A good example of a positive discipline technique that a Montessori parent can take to prevent misbehavior (in a child between the ages of 3 and 6) is acknowledging how the child feels, asking him how he thinks he would solve the problem, and then suggesting what they can do in future situations.

For instance, a conversation with your child might go something like this: “I see you’re frustrated because you wanted to have a turn playing with the truck. When you want something that someone else has, what can you do?” This problem-solving approach to discipline corrects the child’s misbehavior while effectively guiding him in direction of self-discipline.

Activities

There are five types of activities for young children that embody Montessori principles and aid in child development. These five activity styles can easily be incorporated into your daily life.

  • Practical life activities include tasks like cleaning, making their own snack, washing vegetables, watering plants, scrubbing dishes, and cleaning windows.
  • Eye-hand coordination activities include pursuits that work their hands in all sorts of different ways. Making a pasta necklace by threading, water pouring exercises, puzzles and a favorite for many children – locking and unlocking locks on a lock box or latch board.
  • Arts and crafts activities include drawing, sand and clay molding, cutting shapes, painting, and sewing.
  • Language activities include using baskets filled with classified objects in them and reading books, especially books that focus on daily life.
  • Gross motor activities include fun indoor activities like balancing and yoga and outdoor activities like swinging, running, jumping, and sliding.

These are just a few ways to help you get started on incorporating Montessori principles into your daily life. At Montessori Academy at Sharon Springs, our curriculum offers children a carefully prepared environment, rich in learning materials and experiences. We follow the eight basic Montessori principles that provide a foundation for the Montessori classroom experience: movement and cognition, choice, interest, avoidance of extrinsic rewards, learning from and with peers, learning in context, respectful teacher-child interaction, and order in environment and mind. We believe that what your child learns in class with the proper guidance can be reinforced at home with the proper environment, discipline, and activities.

Montessori Primer: Applying Montessori Principles at Home, Part 4

Today, we conclude our look at 8 principles of Montessori education and how they can be applied in the home, as explored in Angeline Lillard’s book, Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius. In our last three posts, we discussed Movement and Cognition, Interest, Choice, Avoidance of Extrinsic Rewards, and Interaction with and Learning from Peers. Today we conclude by examining the final three principles, Learning in Context, Communication, and Order the Environment and Mind.

Learning in Context

“Education is a natural process carried out by the child and is not acquired by listening to words but by experiences in the environment.” – Maria Montessori

Create a meal from scratch, or make ice cream from a recipe
Visit a museum – bring a sketch pad and colored pencils and have the child create their own art
Spend time in the garden studying bugs, flowers, and listening to the sounds of peace and quiet
Allow your child to have their own shopping list at the grocery store – have them record their prices and add their total

Communication

“If we could say, ‘We are respectful and courteous in our dealing with children, we treat them as we should like to be treated ourselves,’’ we should have mastered a great educational principle and be setting an example of good education.” – Maria Montessori

Have family meetings – discuss family expectations regarding behavior and academics
Create chore lists together where each person chooses their assigned chore(s)
Create an annual family newsletter
Involve your child in rearranging their bedroom or playroom
Do things you wouldn’t normally do or do not like to do – children need to see that you are flexible and willing to do new things or do things you do not like to do

Order the Environment and Mind

“The first aim of the prepared environment is, as far as it is possible, to render the growing child independent of the adult.” – Maria Montessori, The Secret of Childhood, 1966

Adopt the “ten minute tidy” to end of the day
Keep the environment clear of clutter
Have child’s belongings displayed on low shelves and not in toy boxes

Join us on Wednesday as we continue our Montessori primer!

Montessori Primer: Applying Montessori Principles at Home, Part 3

Today, we continue our look at 8 principles of Montessori education and how they can be applied in the home, as explored in Angeline Lillard’s book, Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius. In our last two posts, we discussed Movement and Cognition, followed by Interest and Choice; today we move on to examine Avoidance of Extrinsic Rewards and Interaction with and Learning from Peers.

Avoidance of Extrinsic Rewards

“The prize and the punishment are incentives towards unnatural of forced effort, and therefore we certainly cannot speak of the natural development of the child in connection with them.” (Maria Montessori, The Montessori Method, 1912)

Challenge children to reach goals
Praise effort in completing a task. Do not over praise; authenticity is important.
Ask the child, “How do you feel about accomplishing…?”

Interaction with and Learning from Peers

“There is a great sense of community within the Montessori classroom, where children of differing ages work together in an atmosphere of cooperation rather than competitiveness. There is respect for the environment and for the individuals within it, which comes through experience of freedom within the community.” (Maria Montessori, The Essential Montessori, 1986)

Host playdates with friends from school
Schedule outings with other families and observe how the children play together
Host family game nights with another family

Join us on Monday as we continue our exploration of the 8 principles of Montessori education and how they can be applied in the home!

Montessori Primer: Applying Montessori Principles at Home, Part 2

Today, we continue our look at 8 principles of Montessori education and how they can be applied in the home, as explored in Angeline Lillard’s book, Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius. In our last post, we began with Movement and Cognition; today we move on to examine Interest and Choice.

Interest

“An interesting piece of work, freely chosen, which has the virtue of inducing concentration rather than fatigue, adds to the child’s energies and mental capacities, and leads him to self-mastery.” (Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind, 1995)

Have different genres of books readily available in basket or on low shelf
Play educational board games focused on language or math skills
Take mini field trips to pet store after researching an animal
Write letters to family members in other areas of the world
Have a basket of interesting pictures available during dinner time and discuss the pictures together
Allow children quiet time to think and develop their own interests

Choice

“No one can be free unless he is independent. Therefore, the first active manifestations of the child’s individual liberty must be so guided that through this activity he may arrive at independence.” (Maria Montessori, The Montessori Method, 1912)

Place a few choice shirts, bottoms, socks, and underwear in drawers the child can reach and allow the child to choose his own clothing
Place a basket in the refrigerator with snack items from which your child may choose
Allow your child to set the table for meals by making place settings (plates, bowls, utensils, cups) available in a low cabinet
Allow your child to serve himself food (small pitchers make serving himself easier)

Join us on Friday as we continue our exploration of the 8 principles of Montessori education and how they can be applied in the home!

Montessori Primer: Principles of a Montessori Classroom (and How They Can Be Applied at Home)

As we’ve discussed in earlier posts, at its core, Montessori philosophy celebrates and nurtures each child’s authentic nature, his part in a bigger picture, and his intrinsic desire to learn. Montessorians view Montessori philosophy as a way of life; carried throughout all facets of the child’s life. So if Montessori isn’t just something that happens at school, how can it be practiced at home?

To help build a bridge from home to school, let’s begin with a look at 8 principles of Montessori education. In Angeline Lillard’s book, Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius, she discusses Montessori’s holistic approach to educating the child. Today, we begin with the first principle of a Montessori classroom, as explored in Lillard’s research on Montessori education, Montessori’s thoughts, and ideas for the home.

Movement and Cognition

“The child needs activity concentrated on some task that requires movement of the hands, guided by the intellect.” (The Science Behind the Genius, 1966)

Tips for the Home:

Dance to music in the house – count the beats
Ride bikes together
Play at the local park
Count the number of steps up to the slide
Play hopscotch
Play I-Spy
Explore unstructured art and crafts
Work with mazes
Try intricate coloring patterns
Play together with wooden blocks and games: pattern games, Legos, etc.
Develop structures, pulleys, vehicles
Allow your child alone-time to explore his own creativity

101 Things Parents Can Do To Help Children

Parents often wonder what they can do to reinforce Montessori principles in their home and daily routines. This list, 101 Things Parents Can Do To Help Children, was written by Early Childhood Montessori Guide Barbara Hacker, and is full of practical tips for all facets of life.

101 Things Parents Can Do To Help Children

The Montessori “Solar System”

Have you ever wondered how Montessori theories translate to the classroom experience? This Montessori “Solar System” graphic, created by Mark Powell and shared by Trevor Eissler on the Montessori Madmen blog, gives a great overview of how Montessori principles work together in the day-to-day classroom.