Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Implementing the Montessori Method

Learn how to implement Montessori at Home

It is very easy to implement the Montessori Method at home. All of Dr. Montessori’s work was based solely on observations of the child in his or her environment. Dr. Montessori viewed the child as the future adult and, like adults, the child’s personality, thoughts and movements all depended on the early environment – or the home environment. The early environment should reflect the individual needs of a child.

It is important to realize that Montessori was the name of a person. Dr. Maria Montessori was a physician from Italy who observed children in her care. Dr. Montessori developed a teaching method based on her observations. This teaching method is what we refer to as “Montessori”; and it is important to remember that this is a teaching method, not a philosophy.

In a Montessori classroom, the teacher is not the center of attention, but, rather, an observer. The Montessori teacher is referred to as the “adult” and only directs classroom activities when the children need assistance. Children in a Montessori classroom are encouraged to work in groups or individually. When in groups, children are encouraged to work collectively, by working together to resolve issues. If there is a difference of opinion or a conflict between children, they are encouraged to resolve their issues on their own. If the adult is required to intervene, he or she helps the children work through the problem by stating the facts and never taking sides. The autonomy of the child in a Montessori classroom teaches the child independence and increases self confidence.

As a parent, you too can increase your child’s independence and self esteem at home by following these easy steps:

  1. Be patient with your child and meet your child where he or she is developmentally;
  2. Be honest with your child and communicate to your child what you value in him or her;
  3. Observe your child carefully and ascertain where they are developmentally;
  4. Own up to your mistakes and apologize to your child when you are wrong;
  5. Model and teach your child grace and courtesy;
  6. Allow your child to speak for themselves rather than speaking for him or her to develop communication skills and confidence;
  7. Refrain from material rewards and excess praise;
  8. Establish a routine in which children wake up, eat and go to bed at the same time every day;
  9. Teach your child responsibility by getting them a small pet, such as a fish or a turtle, and show your child how to care for the pet;
  10. Dress your child to facilitate the freedom of movement, decrease distractions and develop independence; 
  11. Increase self esteem and confidence by making everything easily accessible – place your child’s toys on low shelves they take toys from and put back, place a sturdy stood in front of the bathroom sink allowing your child to wash his or her hands by himself or herself, and etc;
  12. Sort laundry with your child and make it fun by teaching your child how to sort and fold clothes, talk about colors, shapes and textures, and etc;
  13. Allow your child to cook with you, but peeling egg shells or cutting vegetables (if your child is old enough to use a butter knife safely);
  14. Refrain from doing things for your child and give your child enough time to do things on their own (for example, allow your child the extra 10 minute in the morning to button their own shirt, zip their jacket and/or tie their shoe laces); 
  15. Recycle and rotate your child’s toys;
  16. Collect “treasures” with your child and have a place to store them. To your child, “treasures” may include: rocks, scraps of paper, buttons, and etc;
  17. Teach your child the basics – right and left, crossing the road, and etc;
  18. Introduce the letter sound and make it a fun game;
  19. Teach your child to appreciate their surrounding by taking walks together, exploring your back yard, watching the sunrise and sunset, or gazing at the stars. Take walks throughout the year, allowing your child to experience the characteristics of the different seasons.
  20. Watch television with your child;
  21. Listen to music with your child, including children’s songs you can sing along and other genres – such as classical, jazz, show tunes, etc – to introduce your child to a broad range of musical experiences;
  22. Introduce your child to art by making it fun – visit the museum together and pack a picnic lunch, read children’s books about art, complete art projects together, etc;
  23. Teach your child to appreciate silence and how to sit patiently and quietly;
  24. Share interesting news with your child, such as the birth of a tiger at the zoo, a new dinosaur fossil found or the weather forecast;
  25. When taking long trips with your child take the bus or train to introduce your child to new and exciting experiences;
  26. When traveling without your child, share your travel plans and leave notes to be read to your child every day;
  27. Most importantly, don’t forget to enjoy the time you spend with your child. Before you realize it, your child will be all grown up!