Smiling like Sunshine: What is the Montessori Method and How to Start Using Montessori At Home

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

What is the Montessori Method and How to Start Using Montessori At Home


I get asked this question a lot:  "What is Montessori?"
Some people think the Montessori method is too structured whereas others think children are allowed to do whatever they like! 

I am passionate about Montessori and it is so difficult to summarize it in a few sentences. Each and every time, I feel I have left something out;  I have forgotten to say this or that.
So today I would like to share a Youtube video that sums it up really well.



Maria Montessori believed that each child is unique and therefore we have to observe and follow the child's abilities and interests. We can then prepare the favorable environment where the child is free to explore and learn at his/her own pace. The Montessori method puts utmost importance on independence and on self-discipline.
The teacher prepares the environment, observes the child and facilitates the connection between the material and the child. The teacher does not dictate, the teacher does not lecture. The teacher shows the child how to work independently. The teacher shows the child how to control his work. The environment is set out as such that the child can choose any activity independently, without asking for help from an adult.

When we try to create this environment at home for our children, whether we are homeschooling or not, things might get a bit tricky. But there are wonderful resources online. Here a few of my favourites.

Aubrey  at Montessori Mischief shares : Montessori 101.
Deb at Living Montessori Now shares her tips on how to get started with Montessori at home.
Ideas and examples of how to prepare a Montessori environment at home.
Everything you need to know about how to Montessori at home.
Free Montessori at home videos.

Montessori materials can be very expensive but some of  them can be prepared at home. Also, you might not have the perfect room that you see in some the photos in the above links, you might not want to invest in all or some of the materials. Montessori is not just about the materials.

What matters is the philosophy! Are we respecting the child? Are we following his interests? Are we encouraging self-discipline?
Are we teaching them  how to be independent? How to focus on an activity for prolonged periods? Do we encourage exploration? Can they follow their interests? Are they able to take initiative? Can they take responsibility? Are they resilient? These are just some of the qualities that will enable our children to be successful in the future.

I am going to share more about the  Montessori method on a fortnightly basis so if you'd like to learn more,come back soon.

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