Colette B. Cross
Parents often ask how they can support Montessori principles at home. One of my favorite quotes from Dr. Montessori is “Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed.”
Keeping this in mind, here are some tips from The American Montessori Society for developing independent, capable, responsible, young people in collaboration with your child’s Montessori school experience.
Create an Ordered Environment
Having a place for everything, on a child-friendly scale, encourages both independence and self-discipline. Children know where to find what they need and where to put it when they’re done. An ordered environment also has fewer distractions, allowing children to focus on the task at hand.
To make things accessible to your young child:
· Provide shelves or drawers for clothing; lower the rod in the bedroom closet.
· Keep a step stool in the bathroom and kitchen so your child can reach the sink
· Arrange toys and games on low open shelves with a particular place for each. Sort smaller items into trays or baskets by category, such as puzzles, art supplies, and blocks
· Put healthy snacks and foods on a low pantry shelf so your child can help himself.
· Pour drinks into small, manageable pitchers placed on a low refrigerator shelf. Keep cups within your child’s reach – along with a sponge to clean up spills.
Teach Real-Life Skills
Montessori students are taught to take care of themselves and their classroom and to be helpful to others.
Having your child help at home can bring similar rewards.
Take time to teach each skill separately and to repeat the lesson as needed.
· Each task your child masters adds to his confidence and self-esteem.
· Young children, for example, can peel vegetables, fold their socks, and care for pets.
The ability to focus and concentrate is an important skill for learning. You can help develop your child’s concentration by observing what sparks her interest. Set her up with the means and materials to explore it. And let her work without interruption.
While your child’s work environment should be free of distraction, it doesn’t have to be away from family activity. Some children prefer working at the kitchen table or reading in a cozy corner of the living room to holing up in a bedroom or study. Observe your child’s response to various environments, ask questions, and make adjustment as needed.
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