common question that many parents often ask during our special events at school is “Where can I buy these materials from the classroom so I too can have them at home for my child?” Although it is wonderful that our parents want to enhance their child’s development at home in this way, it is not necessary. The Montessori Method truly does work best when all the adults in a child’s world work in partnership to provide optimal opportunities for the child. But what does that look like?
It is best to create a prepared environment for the child at home. This would provide the child optimal independence and opportunities for self-chosen activities that follow the child’s interests and create a way for your child to get what they want and need with as little help from you as possible. Home is the perfect place to broaden a child’s horizons with things not necessarily done at school.
Involve your child in activities of daily living: Cooking, clearing the table, laundry, and outside yard work. Let your child make the bed if he is able or help you in the process. Involve your child in the process of the laundry routine. Let your child help carry the laundry to the laundry room, sort it into appropriate piles, and work the machine safely. Once it is done, your child can help fold, sort it into piles for each family member, and put the bedding and towels away into drawers and onto shelves. This is an important classification work and helps develop both the mathematical mind as well as skills of self-sufficiency.
You can enhance your child’s connection with nature through time and outdoor experiences. Ideas for activities include nature walks, winter chores like shoveling snow, and in the summer planting plants, growing a garden, and picking fruits and vegetables. If you have not grown your own, visit a local farm that allows you to pick from their fields for a small fee. A child as young as three or four can benefit from this experience, and everyone in the family has fun in the process.
Provide books about anything that interests your child. Encourage them to spend time in a library looking at all the choices. As soon as your child is ready, help him explore a hobby and encourage its development. People often speak about how their early childhood experiences were a springboard for their hobby or passion. Consider experiences in things such as woodworking, handwork, crafts, bird watching, music, and art.
We do not necessarily want a child to learn academic information in a hurried fashion. We want the pace of learning to be comfortable and create an innate love of learning as well as self-discovery for your child. Your family will play a vital role in encouraging your child’s interests and widening his experiences. Have fun creating your Montessori home!
I greatly encourage you to read the book “How To Raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way” by Tim Seldin. This book is available through The Montessori Foundation’s bookstore (www.montessori.org) as well as through Amazon.com