8 SIMPLE STEPS TO START MONTESSORI AT HOME


Homeschool girl learning about sea animal

Montessori at home can be a beautiful experience for the entire family. The Montessori way of thinking adds depth, love, respect, and joy to the home. How can the Montessori method do this, you may ask? Well... it's important to remember that the Montessori method is a way of thinking... of educating, disciplining, parenting, guiding, and understanding a child.


Dr. Maria Montessori advocated respect for the child and laid out a blueprint for how to guide our children along this beautiful path.


"I have studied the child, I have taken what the child has given me and expressed it, and that is what is called the Montessori Method."


Many families have come to me and asked how can they start Montessori in their homes.


START WITH KNOWLEDGE


The best place to start any journey is to start with knowledge and understanding. I recommend that you start reading several of Dr. Maria Montessori's written work to begin to understand her beautiful way of thinking about the child's mind and developmental needs. My favorite book of Maria Montessori is the "Absorbent Mind." There are also other authors who write lovely books on the Montessori method. Two of my favorites are, "Montessori from the Start: The Child at Home, from Birth to Age Three" by Paula Polk Lillard and Lynn Lillard Jessen and "How to Raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way" by Tim Seldin.


DEVELOP A PLAN

Homeschool boy learning about roots

Many families decide to make Montessori a part of their daily life. They incorporate it into everything they do at home because they see it as a way of life. This means that children apply Montessori principles from the moment they open their eyes in the morning to the moment they go to bed at night.


Other families incorporate it into their homeschooling portion of the day. This means that even though they have Montessori materials, they only use those Montessori materials and the method for learning academic subjects. Either approach is perfectly fine. Some start with one approach and ease into the second one and that is ok as well.


So decide how you want to incorporate Montessori in your home? There is no correct way to do Montessori at home. It can be a little or a lot, and that is ok, because each family is unique in their needs and how they apply the Montessori method. The most important thing is that you are striving for what works best for your family.


Homeschool girl learning maths

PREPARE THE SPACE


"The objects surrounding the child should look solid and attractive to him, and the house of the child should be lovely and pleasant in its particulars; for beauty in the school invites activity and work." - Maria Montessori, The Child in the Family, p. 43


It's important to prepare the space for a Montessori home. Again, this is a way of thinking, and when we prepare a space, it simply means we are clearing the clutter and minimizing the distractions. Children, especially young children, learn best in a simple, clean, and beautiful space. An organized and decluttered space invites a child into that calm atmosphere.


It is best to have only a few toys out in a space and rotate the toys/materials. For example, Children 1-12 months: Have the number of toys per age in months on the shelf. This reduces the noise and the distraction level for the child so that they have an opportunity to develop the art of concentrating on only one thing at a time.


STORAGE


Plan a space in your home where you can store the "out of rotation" toys and materials. You can have a bookshelf or a closet to organize your items. I recommend getting plastic containers with lids so they can get stacked up and save space. You can store materials by subject and/or by age by labeling your bins for easy access.



BEGIN IN ONE ROOM


If you have younger kids that aren’t doing as much academic work yet, then opt for setting up "Practical Life" stations in or near your kitchen. Here are some suggestions for the kitchen: step stool to reach the countertops, a "yes" cupboard on the child's level, child-sized kitchen tools, a way for the child to make their own snack and pour their own cup of water.