Montessori at home: Learning activities
If you’re interested in incorporating techniques related to Montessori at home then we will give you an insight into how you can go about doing this.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t homeschool your children; the ideas that we will provide you with are excellent for children who are preschool age and even for encouraging play in children of different ages.
It is not difficult to include learning activities related to Montessori at home and you don’t need to necessarily be creative or spend a lot of money in order for your child to benefit from Montessori based principles at home.
Montessori Methods Explained
Maria Montessori created the Montessori method. The idea behind the Montessori environment is to allow children to learn all about the world in which they live by using their senses.
The objective is not to just teach children facts, but to embed a love of learning. The materials used in Montessori teaching often focus on a single function.
Step-by-step these build upon each other and abstract ideas can become easily understood through the use of concrete objects.
Children work independently and only focus on one single task.
Using Montessori at Home
If you want to create a Montessori inspired environment at home, these are the aspects that you could consider:
- Smaller furniture and materials
Montessori principles are based on child-led learning.
It is important that children are independent and free and by carefully exploring their environment a child should have an opportunity to naturally and spontaneously make discoveries, which in turn should foster a love for learning.
One of the first aspects that you could look at is to create an environment that is easily accessible to a child. To do this you could look at acquiring:
- Smaller tables and chairs
Tables and chairs need to be as lightweight as possible so that your child can easily pick them up and move them to a different area of the room.
If budget for new furniture is an issue then you can always look to upscale an old piece of furniture.
- Small bowls, tongs, spoons, scoops etc.
These tools can be used in the practical life skills area as well as the pre-writing area. For instance, a child could attempt to transfer some grains of rice with a spoon from one bowl to another.
This also begins to develop the writing grasp. The aim of this is that these tools should help your child to achieve what they set out to and not frustrate them.
- Low Shelving
Avoid using bins and large containers to store materials and also don’t place materials out of reach. Instead, you need to put everything out on display.
What you decide to put on your shelves depends on the age of your children, as well as the amount of space that you have available.
- Different sized baskets or trays
Each activity needs to have its own home i.e. a basket or a tray.
Once you introduce an activity to your child, children should then be allowed to take the activity to their own worktable and attempt to work on the activity until they feel they have finished.
Your child needs to know that they need to return the activity back to its allocated place once completed.
An important aspect to bear in mind is that your child needs to be able to carry the activity to and from their work area with no issues.
- Teach courtesy
You need to teach a child how to respect and look after the materials provided as well as their own work.
Although it is fantastic to be able to work independently, the freedom of doing this does come with some responsibilities.
For this reason, we need to ensure that our children are polite, behave correctly and are courteous. Consider adding some rules to your environment:
- Keep the area tidy.
- Be gentle in how you speak to each other and how you care for the animals, plants and materials.
- Choose one activity at the time.
- Use quiet voices.
- Move about slowly.
- Use words to express how you feel in a clear and calm way.
If your child is not following these rules then you will need to remind them of the rule that they are breaking.
If they continue to break the rules you will need to sit them down on a chair until they are ready to go back to their work.
- Allow your children to self-correct
If your child didn’t understand a concept after you have taught it, then they might not be ready for it. The best thing to do is to just leave it for that day.
A lot of Montessori materials either include a controlled element of error or can self-correct self. This means that a child is able to work out if they have done an activity correctly.
Children are motivated to get things right naturally and not because they will be rewarded/punished for doing so. It is worth keeping a record of the skills that your child has achieved.
You could look to create a key so that you can keep track of where your child is and this way you will know when they are ready to move onto a new skill.
- Create a love of nature
Maria Montessori believed that a link between the child and nature should be encouraged.
She believed that this could be developed through the care of animals and plants, as well as by creating an appealing environment.
You could consider creating a nature table and do this by filling different sized containers with the various natural materials that your child is able to play with and touch.
Consider updating your nature table depending on the season:
Include items such as seeds, petals, indoor plants, twigs, pictures of butterflies and frogs.
Include items such as flowers, boats, fish, shells and sand.
Include items such as leaf rubbings, acorns, apples, twigs and books related to fall.
Include items such as figurines of animals that hibernate, snow globes, evergreen and paper icicles.