Montessori theory is at the heart of everything I do. It drives the way I parent, the environments I create for my children, and the coaching I do with other parents. There is so much inherent wisdom in what Maria Montessori believed in, and children consistently respond so well to her principles. Here are a few ways you can bring her magic into your home. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
1. Allow your mundane to become their magical. Cleaning the windows with a spray bottle and cloth isn’t exciting to you? I guarantee your young child will approach that activity with gusto! Simple household tasks such as wiping up spills, sweeping the floor, feeding the pets, and making the bed give children a renewed sense of purpose and pride. Incorporate these into your daily life and watch your child flourish.
2. Give the gift of independence. Maria Montessori believed the greatest thing you could give to a child was the joy of doing it for himself. As parents, we need to get. out. of. the. way. Children need to do things on their own, and they need our blessing to do so. They do not need our hurried selves hovering over them telling them their shoes are on the wrong feet. Pants on backwards? Who cares?! What matters to your child is that he did it. He is transformed by those experiences of independence. Buy clothes that are a little bit big in order to support your child in the dressing process. Create an area with a basket of shoes and a rug where children can sit and have the time and space to work on putting them on independently. Place a few shirts and pairs of shorts in low drawers so that your child may choose his or her own clothes. These are self-realizing activities, and they are priceless.
3. Give them a boost. You can never have enough stools in your house. Children love the change in perspective from looking up into the world they are trying to be a part of to being right in the middle of it thanks to a little boost. This is especially enjoyable to children at the sink where they can wash their hands until their hearts are content. Pull a stool or chair over to the counter in the morning and have your child sprinkle the cinnamon and scatter the raisins into the oatmeal. Have a stool in the laundry room so that your child can help pour the soap and push the buttons. Don’t forget to have one by the bathroom sink so that brushing teeth and combing hair can be taken to the next level for our little ones.
4. Make things beautiful. Children appreciate fresh flowers on their kitchen table just like we do. They enjoy looking at art hung at their eye level. They like things to be neat, organized, and easily accessible. They work better in a peaceful environment just like us. They get overwhelmed by too many choices, pieces, parts, etc. Less is more for our little ones, and therein lies the beauty. Exposing children to things that are beautiful and helping them to find beauty in the everyday develops in their little spirits a sense of appreciation for the world around them and what it has to offer. Start with something simple and enjoy sharing that with your child.
5. Go outside. Montessori spoke often about the value of nature and its effect on the young child. Opportunities in nature allow the child the potential to experience unlimited creativity while building gross and fine motor skills, concentration, and problem solving techniques. If being outdoors is not your “thing,” then just follow your child. Children innately know what to do in nature. Often times it’s simply a walk with the time and space to stop and enjoy the treasures that they find. Give them a bucket or a basket to collect these treasures, and then explore them in more detail once you arrive back home. Most importantly, just be with your child, by their side and in the moment.
Maria Montessori’s theories and principles left us with infinite wisdom to store in our parenting toolbox. Everything she recorded, noted, and spoke about was based on her own observations of children all over the world. They were her greatest teachers just like they are ours. Go and learn from them.
Find the joy~