FOLLOW YOUR CHILD: A Guide to Montessori Principles at Home

Dr. Maria Montessori was a scientist who is known for “following the child”. She observed children and devised her approach to education based on a view that each child is naturally eager for knowledge and discovery. It is an approach that values and supports the development of the whole child—physical, social, emotional, cognitive.

Following the child is an endeavor that…

Excerpts from the: “Montessori Parent” article By Kathy Carey, MAT

“…entails much observation. And observation, as Montessori teachers know, is a skill and an art requiring knowledge, effort, and patience. Consider the following as some ways to be fully present with your children: 

  • Childproofing: We usually do a good job with outlet covers, drawer stops, and so on, for babies, but what about older children? Call it “preparing the environment”: Place and keep televisions, computers, tablets, and phones in public living spaces and set reasonable limits on their use; balance technology with exercise and indoor/outdoor play; and make time for reading aloud and silently in the presence of other family members doing the same.
  • Share meals together, especially dinner and its preparation, as often as possible, five nights a week at least. Share with each other your day as well as thoughts and feelings, and resist the temptation to teach: We learn more through discussion and modeling than through lecture.
  • Allow children to speak for themselves: Respect their feelings and their intellect, even if they are mistaken in their thoughts or behaviors.
  • Show rather than tell. It is the Montessori way.
  • Avoid comparison and competition between children, always and everywhere. Each child is entitled to his/her individuality.
  • Set up home environments and family interactions that allow choices and freedom to choose.Meals, weekend plans, vacations, and gifts for family members are reasonable areas of choice.
  • Understand that mistakes are opportunities for learning. All humans make mistakes; it is what we do with our mistakes that makes a difference.
  • Demonstrate active respect in thought, word, and deed for all life. Be the best model you can be. You are being watched. Children who feel loved and respected will develop their singular potential.

Visit the American Montessori Society for more family support materials.


The joy and smiles of our children strengthen our commitment to a Montessori learning environment. Westmont, founded in 1964, stands as one of the premier Montessori schools in NJ. We welcome you to discover our school.