Have you ever wondered why Montessori education is becoming so popular these days? If you have been talking to other mothers lately, or been to a bigger toy store, chances are you have already heard about Montessori philosophy and its famous maxim: “teach me to do it myself”.
A few days ago I finished a very interesting book on this subject, which explained how little children’s mind is like a sponge, designed to absorb all kinds of useful information while they grow and their brains create new connections, and how to take advantage of this limited time window which lasts approximately from zero to six years.
Montessori is not just about collecting toys and materials, but an educative method which can become a way of life by itself. Actually using learning toy, toys for development, and children’s educational toys as an opportunity to teach important lessons. It is about respecting children and allowing them the ability to learn at their own pace, helping them to become independent and capable of thinking for themselves. Children who are brought up using the Montessori Method are usually capable of getting dressed or putting on their shoes from an early age. They are usually early readers and tend to be quite good at Math too.
Montessori activities can be very simple: even moping the floor or peeling a banana can become a learning opportunity, if we know the right approach. Children are always looking at us and learning from our actions, so it is important to pay attention to how we act when we are around them.
If you are interested in learning more about the Montessori Method and how to apply it at home I recommend you to have a look at the book Practical Guide to the Montessori Method at Home by Julia Palmarola, which includes an easy to understand explanation of what this Method is and isn’t, and a very helpful list of activities, with pictures and explanations and the recommended age window for each of them. It can be very useful for homeschooling moms too. You can start to use it even before your baby is born and it will serve you until they start school. One thing I like from this book is how it tries to use materials that you already have at home, which allows you to try Montessori at home on a budget.
An example of a Montessori activity you can try at home is transferring beans from one bowl to another, using your fingers or a spoon. Do it first yourself and then ask your child to try on her own. Such activities have many benefits, such as promoting children’s concentration and helping them learn to read and write later.
Have you ever tried Montessori activities at home? Do you own any Montessori or early learning materials? You can share your opinion in the comments!