As a Primary teacher, parents often ask me what they can do to support their child’s Montessori education within the home environment. It comes as a surprise to many of them when I say that there is no need for purchasing Montessori didactic materials or numerous educational toys, either are the shows or apps that abound commercially a necessity . Here are three basic principles parents can successfully adopt in a home setting whether or not their child attends a Montessori program.
1 - Foster Independence
Young children have a natural inclination to do things on their own and parents can foster this by involving them in the family’s daily life activities. Once you find ways to involve your child in food preparation, dishwashing, recycling, sorting silverware, polishing surfaces, sweeping, mopping, gardening, setting the table, making the bed, sorting laundry and folding etc… you will notice that they take pride in being part of this. They are also very much capable of taking care of themselves, it may take longer for them to brush their hair and put on their clothes, socks or shoes, it will surely take a lot of practice and patience from the adult to coach them as they learn to effectively brush their teeth, wipe their bottoms, blow their noses, wash their hair etc.. And the end result is well worth it, as your child gains more independence, she/he will feel capable and empowered.
2 - Encourage Concentration
In her writings; Maria Montessori often mentioned the powerful effect concentration plays in self-formation and skill building. When a child is absorbed in a cycle of activity, one should abstain from interrupting him as it is through concentration that they find satisfaction in learning. Often times, well-meaning adults rush by making comments or lending a hand to the child breaking the child’s concentration. Other times, the distraction comes from the background TV noise or other electronic devices our modern time homes host. When parents become aware of this, they can encourage concentration by taking the time to observe their child engage fully in an activity and reducing the sources of distractions and over stimulations in the home environment.
3 - Nurture Social/Emotional development
As human beings, we are all built to connect with each other and this is particularly crucial for children in their first plane of development (birth to 6), there is no educational toy or interactive app that can replace the interaction one has with their child. Connecting with the child through daily special time, storytelling, reading books, playing together, engaging in conversation, modeling appropriate behavior and problem solving, establishing routines, acknowledging feelings, expressing affection and caring for self and others are great ways parents can nurture their child’s social and emotional development at home.