“Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed.” Maria Montessori
Montessori in the Home:
Montessori, along with being a method of education, is also a way of life. Incorporating the Montessori philosophy in the home is about including your child in household tasks and allowing them to be as independent as they are capable and ready to be. This does not require spending a lot of money on “Montessori” materials! This can and should be done simply, with an emphasis on the attitude of “less is more.”
Many of the Montessori materials you will find in a Montessori Toddler or Primary classroom are designed to mimic activities the child would be doing at home. The Montessori classroom is designed to mimic a home! No need to try to mimic the classroom at home. Designing home environments that allow independence can be very simple. You can create a dressing table with a small mirror and chair, providing a hairbrush and washcloth so the child can wash her own face and brush her hair. You can use a learning tower or chair or stool so your child can stand with you in the kitchen and help with mixing, pouring, stirring, etc. to help with family meals. Another simple idea is to display play objects neatly on shelves. Keeping it minimal is all very simple and does not have to cost a lot of money. IKEA is a great place to find child sized furniture, but you can find great things at the Goodwill store and yard sales as well.
Young children want to do what they observe the adults around them doing. They can pretend, and of course they should and do! However, allowing them to do real, purposeful work- helping in the kitchen, sweeping, wiping tables and washing windows- allows them not only to participate, but to learn necessary practical life skills. This is emphasized in the Montessori classroom, and we allow them to perform tasks at their own pace, which means providing a demonstration, then standing back and allowing them to try, possibly fail, and try again. We intervene when the child let’s us know they need our help, and then we help as minimally as needed. All of this can be done at home with a little preparation.