How can I start Montessori at home with my child? Is there a public guideline for teaching the Montessori way?-Woodmam
To start Montessori at home with your baby/child, you first need to have the right environment setup and the proper tools to promote Montessori learning. Here are some guidelines on how to modify your home to achieve greatest Montessori learning for babies and young children. I actually followed the guidelines for my own toddler, and it’s working great!
The Perfect Montessori Home Design
When designing the perfect Montessori home for your growing child that promotes development and independence, you can follow the three main Montessori principles:
- Respect all babies as individual human beings,
- Allow them as much freedom of movement and choice in their activities as possible,
- And help them to become independent by creating a safe, child-friendly environment that makes it easier for them to explore
Child-Friendly Montessori Home Design
Even in the early days, babies and small children should enjoy a strong sense of belonging in the family home. When thinking about how to make our homes more in keeping with the Montessori approach, keep two objectives in mind:
- Organize your home to help your child become more independent and self-confident, always keeping health and safety in mind.
- Design a home that conveys a sense of beauty, order, and calm throughout.
Take a look at the size of things in your home. Most often, the furniture we use at home are designed for adults – sink and toilets, tables, chairs, sofas, and beds are all at a height intended for adults. But babies and young children are very small. Without costly renovations, try to modify the rooms where your family gathers to accommodate the needs of your youngest child.
The Montessori Nursery
Infants absorb everything that surrounds them in their environment. They are acutely aware of colors, patterns, sounds, textures, and aromas. When planning your baby’s first bedroom you will want to provide an environment that is filled with beauty. To boost your infant’s brain development, the room should be bright and colorful, clean and orderly. Here are some important areas to pay attention to when designing the first Montessori bedroom for your baby.
Visual Stimulation for Babies
Hang a mobile over your baby’s bed and his diaper-changing area so he has something to observe. Homemade mobiles with objects that can be changed give your baby fresh things to look at from time to time.
Quality Baby-Friendly Artwork
Decorate the walls of your child’s room with pictures hung very low on the wall (equivalent to eye-level when he is old enough to toddle). Try to avoid the typical cartoons and commercial images from TV and movies. Instead, choose framed art prints or posters that show lovely scenes with children and animals. During these years of acute sensitivity, it is exposing your child to good art and beautiful objects.
Music should be an important part of every child’s life. Select music that has simple melodies and clearly defined instrumentation when possible, such as classical music, nursery rhymes, lullabies, etc. Play music at a moderate volume – don’t overstimulate your baby with loud music.
Quality Montessori-Inspired Toys
Infants do not need many toys in the early months, other than a few rattles and a soft toy or two. Look for toys that are well-constructed, attractive, and which your child can stack, assemble, or interact with in one way or the other rather than passive battery-operated toys. Choose well-made wooden toys over the plastic variety. Also, instead of using a toy box, keep toys neatly on open-concept shelves. If a toy consists of lots of small parts, keep them together in a basket.
Montessori Floor Bed
For your baby’s first bed, consider placing a small futon or mattress on the floor. A low bed of this sort will be just the right height for your child to crawl out of and back into when she is old enough to move around.
Montessori Wall Mirror
Infants and kids love seeing themselves in the mirror. By having a full-length mirror in their play area, you are:
- Promoting visual tracking.
- Promoting concentration – along with the mobiles you can see long periods of concentration in a very young child.
- Bringing joy – often when you see a mirror in a store or even in the bathroom this will please the young infant, they may smile or may even laugh. Babies often love to look at faces, including their own.
- Promoting independent play – the child is not reliant on an adult to entertain them.
Montessori Home for Growing Child
Try to arrange the rooms where your child spends most of her time to make it easy for her to maintain a neat, well-organized atmosphere. It is surprising what an impact this can have on her developing personality.
It could be your family room, living room, parlor, or playroom – plan yours with your child in mind. It should include accessible shelves where she can keep her books and toys neatly and attractively organized. Provide a child-sized table and chairs where your child can work on neat projects. Include a basket holding some small rugs that can be spread out to define your child’s work areas when she chooses to play with her toys on the floor.
Once your child reaches about two years of age, make room in your kitchen for a child-sized work table for young cooks. A child-sized work table in your kitchen allows your child to work and play alongside you. Use a bottom drawer to store forks, knives, and spoons and a low shelf to hold your child-sized plates, bowls, glasses, and napkins. Set aside the bottom shelf in your refrigerator for your child. Here you can store small drink pitchers, pieces of fruit, and the ingredients she might need for making snacks.
Look around your bathroom to see how you can make it easier for your child to use what she needs to. She should be able to reach the sink, turn on the water, and reach her toothbrush and toothpaste without help.
Make your hall child-friendly by providing a low bench where your child can keep her shoes neatly clipped together and position coat hooks at a level that she can reach by herself.
Montessori Bedroom Design for Toddlers
As your child reaches age two, you could either continue to have her sleep on a futon or buy a bed for her that is low to the floor. This makes it easy and safe for your child to get into and out of bed on her own and helps to give her a sense of independence.
In addition to providing child-sized furniture, make sure your child can reach doorknobs and light switches without help.
Provide a place to play with toys, and an art table for non-messy artwork. Hang a bulletin board low on the wall so your child can pin up her best pieces of artwork. Small shelves and tables also make good display areas.
Provide a collection of favorite music and songs on a player in the bedroom and show her how to use it carefully and sensibly.
Avoid clutter. When everything has its set place your child can easily maintain order in her room. Have a look at the shelves in the Montessori classroom and try to duplicate the look.
Small baskets are ideal for toys with lots of pieces and enable your child to tidy up herself.
Provide space for a small nature museum where your child can collect natural objects she finds.
Instead of a chest of drawers, install a low shelf unit on which you can place small baskets for socks and underwear.