MONTESSORI AT HOME
Implementing the principles of the Montessori approach at home can benefit your child greatly. A few suggestions to get you started are listed below.
Include your child
Allow them to join in what you are doing. Remember they are learning about life itself and the independence and self-confidence to carry out simple tasks for themselves:
Preparing food is an occasion for education
Provide a small cutting board, safe knife, serving tongs and small spreading knife etc. for the following activities:
· Washing, peeling, grating, cutting fruit and vegetables
· Shelling peas
· Peeling and slicing hard-boiled eggs
· Lunch/snack from a tray of things you have put out – rye “cruskits”/bread, butter, fruit, cheese, etc.
· Setting their own or the family table
It is truly amazing how much more willing children are to eat well when they have a hand in preparing their food!
Cleaning the house
Little children love to do what they see you doing. Activities that can be set up with ease are: Dusting, sweeping, mopping, polishing, washing windows
Provide a small laundry basket, low wash-line, pegs etc. tasks they can be included in:
· Carrying laundry basket
· Sorting into piles and placing the items of clothing into the washing machine/dryer one by one
· Hanging items of their own clothing on a wash-line
· Folding and packing away
Take children to the supermarket and involve them in the process as you are shopping, they can:
· Place items in the trolley as you name them
· Carry a little shopping basket into which they put a few small things you need
Children love being in a natural environment, try a few of these activities:
· Pulling out weeds
· Watering the plants (with a small watering can they can walk back and forth to a tap filling the can over and over again happily for hours)
· Digging holes
· Sweeping up dirt
Remember always to:
Name the item – the implements, the vegetables, the clothes, whatever you are using and dealing with
Demonstrate the activity with slow and deliberate actions using minimal language while showing actions
…and always in the spirit of not attempting to “teach” them, but rather to give them the opportunity to observe and imitate in a supportive, loving environment.
Use child sized utensils and equipment
Offer a simple and ordered environment, using the following essential aids:
A lightweight, well balanced 2 step stool for the kitchen and bathroom; a 1 step stool for the toilet and climbing into the bath, a dressing stool in the bedroom and or bathroom to enable your child to operate more easily in the adult sized environment.
Aim to have children’s toys, art and craft, puzzles, etc. laid out on low shelving rather than toy boxes or trunks (make it almost impossible for children to easily find things and difficult for them to pack away). You can even have a small dustpan and broom, cleaning cloths etc. for tidying up afterwards.
It is far better to have just a few toys out than an overflowing, jumbled, cluttered mass. A good idea is to put some toys away and rotate them monthly (or as dictated by the children’s interest). Doing so means that there is also always something “new” to play with.
A work table
Have a child sized table and chairs where they can work.
Locate items they use within their reach
· Access to crockery and cutlery for food preparation, table setting and snack/meal times
· HEALTHY food and drink (eg fruit, yoghurt, water, cereal) – on low shelf in the pantry and fridge. A limited specific number of treats/day can also be made available
· Access to cleaning items such as cleaning cloths for spillages
· Provide appropriate and accessible clothing
Buy practical clothes your child can handle themselves, eg: Velcro fasteners, easy zips, elasticised waists, pull on tops. Avoid braces, buttons and especially jeans at this age. Collaborative dressing should be introduced from when your child can sit. If clothes are kept simple self-dressing skills will increase daily. Demonstrating with slow and deliberate movements with minimal language will assist in this process!
· Have open shelves and low hanging rails. If they have lots of clothes, the rotation technique mentioned above can work well. Alternately, you can layout only 2 or 3 items the night before on a bed or shelf or rack. Offer limited choices and let your child choose what to wear.
Parents are first and remain the most important educators of their child. Therefore, providing for your child’s growing developmental needs and increased skills at each stage is vital.
Recommended further reading
Between Parent and Child (Dr. Haim Ginott)
How to Talk so Kids will Listen and Listen so Kids will Talk (Faber and Mazlish)
Liberated Parents, Liberated Children (Faber and Mazlish)
Siblings without Rivalry (Faber and Mazlish)
Brain Rules for Babies (John Medina)
Understanding the Human Being, the importance of the first three years of life (Dr S. Montanaro)
The Child in the Family (Maria Montessori)
At Home with Montessori (Patricia Orti)
Look at the Child (Aline D. Wolf)
The World of the Child (Aline D. Wolf)
Education for a New World (Maria Montessori)
Contact Tia if you are interested in attending a series of four parenting workshops, these are available to enrolled parents You come away with lots of handy hints and ideas on how to parent without so many pitfalls!
Here is a brief out line of areas we will ‘unpack’:
What are the qualities we want to see in our children? Is it more than to be happy and healthy? What do both of those look like anyway? What does being honest with your children really mean? How can you have boundaries and give independence, are these not opposites? The role of having expectations, leading by example, the mum and a dad unit. How to make simple rules to survive the supermarket and other non negotiable situations.
The importance of playing WITH your children, how to keep children challenged and thinking, then they are less likely to get bored and misbehave. What rules are important, why we set them up and how to enforce them, how to say no and mean it.
And what does independence look like?
Ask us when the next workshop begins....
Tia has a passion for sharing her 0-3 training with pregnant parents and particularly in doing mobile making workshops. See samples below.
This is an example of a mobile that moves constantly in the air, catching the babies interest. It is viewed from a distance.
To make this one, or one of leafs, birds or other shapes you are best to use holographic paper, and some holographic sticky backed paper, these get stuck back to back. Contrasting colours are perfect, like red and gold, silver and blue....
An A4 sized piece is perfect.
To hang all mobiles, invisible thread is great but hard on the eyes and tricky to work with. Silver or gold thread works really well. Or just white thread is also fine.
These figures can be hung from a length of light doweling, or from wires. I will have these at my workshop.
THE GOBI MOBILE
These are addictive but fun, a friend recently told me a fascinating story of how her grandchild loves the mobile I leant her and tracks his eyes from colour to colour.
1. To make you need 5 polystyrene balls, I will have some at my workshop.
2.You will also need the embroidery cotton, if you want to buy one and try your hand at wrapping the ball before you invest in all the colours, the workshop is the perfect place!
3.These are hung with the coloured threads, as in the first photo, or thread as described above, in the photo I used silver.
Colours: DMC brand
Green: 703,702, 701, 700, 699
Teal: 3811, 3766, 3810, 3809, 3808
Pink: 3608, 3607, 917, 718, 915
Cranberry: 816, 3831, 3832, 3833, 761
I will have a some butterflies available at the workshop, for you to purchase if folding paper isn't your thing! But you could also find other things to hang, like sparkly Christmas decorations. PLEASE REMEMBER SAFETY comes first.
INVERTED TETRAHEDRON MOBILE
These are made by folding squares of paper. For each shape you need 6 squares, the basic size is 10cm X 10cm, and for shapes makes a standard mobile, but you can also do one large tetrahedron say 20cmX20cm and balance that with two of the smaller ones.
1. Each tetrahedron is made up of six squares, so a combination of 2 of one colour and 4 of another works well.
2. These can be made from paper or light card, they can all be a couple of colours or each shape on colour. When a baby is very young they are attracted to contrasts and black and white are effective.
3. Please bring your own choice of paper already cut to size to save time at the workshop, contact me for paper samples if needed.
Then they are next most interested in the primary colours.
Any combinations can be created, patterned and plain look good together.
This photo shows some various combinations, but they wouldn't necessarily all go together on one mobile, they are just samples:
The Montessori Method boasts a 100-year track record of success that is revealed in the lifelong achievement of its students, who's intellectual, social and emotional needs were fostered with care and respect.
"How often is the soul of man-especially that of the child-deprived because one does not put him in contact with nature".