Montessori Parents: You are the Bridge

Now that you’ve chosen a Montessori education, do you wonder how you can help your child with the Montessori curriculum?

Now begins the real work! As a Montessori parent, you are the bridge between the school and the home. You should know that every activity can become an engaging learning experience for your child.  

You might be asking yourself questions: How exactly is Montessori different from a traditional learning experience?  What do I need to know to fully embrace this learning philosophy?  How can I tailor my home environment and my own actions to mirror my child’s learning environment at school?  

One of the most important tasks you can undertake as a Montessori parent is to embrace the aspects of this approach at home...carry over what the daily classroom environment is like at home.  Here are some quick tips to do just that.

Establish order within your home.  Minimize clutter and maximize organization.  Arrange the rooms in your house so that everything your child needs is within their reach.  This will help build independence and increase a child’s concentration and focus.  (Place snack foods at their level; keep a small step stool near the sink for handwashing; lower or install shelving at the child’s height.)

Allow children to be helpful around the house.  Be sure to allow them to help with a variety of activities from folding laundry to dusting tables, to raking leaves or weeding a garden.  Start every task with a “lesson” just like guides (teachers) do in the classroom environment.  Be patient and understand that allowing children to be helpful builds responsibility and independence.  Don’t criticize a child’s first attempts at helping, but instead focus on their effort and encourage their motivation.

Enjoy nature with your child.  Be sure to spend plenty of time outside not just at a playground, but walking through the woods, examining leaves or plants, growing and tending a garden, or even drawing birds and other wildlife.

Encourage your child to be independent.  Allow your child to do tasks independently, especially when he or she shows an interest in something.  This helps instill not only a sense of independence, but also self-reliance.  Always take into account the age and stage of development of your child, but even very young children can be independent with a variety of tasks.

Instead of rewards and extrinsic treats, use encouragement to help foster a sense of value in the work that needs to be accomplished.