Montessori Method Overview
Maria Montessori created Montessori education to help children achieve their full potential in all aspects of their life. Montessori’s eﬀorts are recognized worldwide by parents and educators. Montessori’s education is not just for the classroom. Parents all over the world have successfully implemented Montessori methods in their homes. Montessori promotes and instills independence in children throughout the Four Panes of Development—from birth to adulthood. Parents love the Montessori idea because they get to see it work for themselves. The children are observed throughout all levels of development. A Montessori environment is equipped so that children do not have to ask for help. Instead, they have the tools to figure it out by themselves. A Montessori environment can be set up in all rooms in the house and practiced by all family members.
Montessori methods can work from birth, starting with weaning. It is best to wait until your baby is at least 6 months old before starting the weaning process, as their bodies need to have developed enough to handle solid food. You can begin weaning your baby when they can sit up on their own. Be mindful of what you feed your baby and introduce allergy-risk foods one at a time. Start with blended foods and introduce lumpier foods and finger foods as your child progresses. Encourage your child to drink out of an open cup from the earliest possible age. Provide a water jug and a clear glass so your child can pour their drink by themselves—they learn motor skills and mathematical concepts. Provide a child-sized table and chairs so your child has the freedom of movement and is not restricted to a high chair. Allow your child to eat with you as much as possible, as they will observe you and will
mimic your actions. When feeding your baby, provide them with child-sized utensils so they can watch you and learn how to feed themselves. Equipment needed for Montessori weaning includes placemats, mugs, glasses, pitchers, bibs, low table and chairs, clear containers, and a toddler kitchen.
In Montessori, children can engage in real-life activities such as cooking, cleaning, and arts and crafts. Reality is preferred over pretend play, as children have fun learning practical life skills. The children can move around freely and have access to functional materials that serve a purpose. Children are allowed to choose what activities they would like to partake in and have the option of working alone or as a team. The materials present obstacles that the children can work out for themselves. The children are encouraged to engage in activities for the experience rather than a result. Children are not told what to play with; they decide for themselves while being carefully observed by the teacher or parent. A Montessori classroom is a quiet and peaceful environment. The children are encouraged to have respect for one another and to look after their surroundings. Children can tidy up after themselves and put all items away in their dedicated space.
A Montessori playroom is just like a Montessori classroom. All methods are the same, and the environment is straightforward and suitable for the child’s size and needs. The children have access to all of their toys and cleaning materials and an area for preparing food. Toys are kept to a minimum and are rotated or changed as a child progresses. The space is open and tidy, and everything has a place. Other rooms such as the nursery or bedroom and the bathroom will have to be adjusted to suit Montessori methods. Consider creating an area in the house that you
can dedicate to calming down and thinking. Allow your child to become a part of your day-to-day activities such as cleaning, vacuuming, food preparation, and laundry. Learning these skills early on will help them later on in life.
In the playroom or classroom, most Montessori toys are made from natural materials like wood or metal. They are designed to help children focus, engage, and learn. The materials provide a learning experience and are not just entertainment. They help children to develop their sensory, academic, and practical life skills. There are many Montessori toys to choose from; I have provided a list of my favorites to make it a little easier for you.
The Montessori approach to sleeping includes letting your child sleep on a floor bed in a babyproofed nursery or bedroom. Your child is allowed the freedom to move around the room. They have access to low shelves that hold appropriate toys and books. The space is calm, relaxing, and free of obstruction. When putting your child to bed, leave the room calmly and allow your child to self-soothe. Give your child 5 to 10 minutes to calm down before you go back into the room. You can observe at a distance or through a baby monitor. Your child may get out of bed and find a toy or book to play with, and they may fall asleep where they are playing. As long as your child is comfortable, once they are asleep, try not to disturb them. A Montessori bedroom may include a floor bed, a low shelf, art and decor, a pull-up bar, and a mirror.
It is best to wait until your baby is ready until you start potty training. At around 1 year old, your child may begin to show interest in the potty. When their diapers are dry throughout the day, this is a sign that they are starting to control their bladder muscles. You may be able to introduce underwear once your child has started to dress themselves. Once you feel your child is ready, you can begin training.
Throw out all diapers as soon as you start, and try to avoid switching back. Talk your child through every step from pulling down their pants, sitting on the potty, wiping, pulling up their pants, and then washing their hands. Once you’ve put the potty contents into the toilet, you can allow your child to flush. Make sure your child always has access to their potty throughout the day. When accidents happen, remain calm and let your child help with the clean-up process. When your child’s diaper or underwear is wet, change them right away so they appreciate the feeling of being dry. Observe their bowel movements, and set reminders for certain times of the day. Be consistent and stick with it.
In Montessori, there are no rewards or punishments. Children are encouraged to learn self-discipline. Show your child respect using respectful communication. Demonstrate politeness and manners, and your child will follow suit. Try not to get involved in disputes between siblings; allow them to work it out for themselves. Instead of punishing your child when they won’t do something you’ve asked, oﬀer them alternatives and try to figure problems out together. Try not to disturb your child when they are playing and learning, and only oﬀer help when required. Provide a safe and secure environment, and let your child choose their activities. Help them to communicate with others, and explain processes to them as you go along. In your house, set simple boundaries and try to stick to them. Encourage your children to respect the house rules.
There are many benefits to educating and rearing a child using Montessori methods. Children grow a natural love for learning. They work oﬀ of instinct and have the tools to develop essential life skills. Montessori children become confident, respectful, independent members of society. This book has provided all of the information required to start implementing Montessori methods today! You can now go ahead and see what works for you and your child.