How to Create a Montessori Learning Environment in Your Home!
First of all, What is Montessori?
Developed by Maria Montessori, an Italian physicist and educator, Montessori education is the belief that a child is capable of initiating their learning experiences.
This child-centered approach helps your child develop independence, empathy, responsibility and life-long love for learning. Children are given the time, space and freedom to think critically, work with others and to act with confidence and enthusiasm. Montessori education is all about providing learning environments that promote proactivity and natural curiosity in children through meaningful play and activities; all qualities that challenge your child physically, cognitively, emotionally and socially.
If you are a parent new to Montessori or wanting to encourage that environment at home, you have come to the right place!
Rachel Schindler is a wonderful mom to two young children. She has created numerous Montessori inspired activities and toys all geared towards encouraging your child’s natural curiosity and instincts to learn.
Here are her thoughts:
1. How did you get into creating Montessori Inspired Activities?
"When I was younger, my siblings and I actually went to a Montessori school from two years old until kindergarten. I have really fond memories of the activities we did and the things I learned while I was there. So, when I became a mom, I knew that’s what I wanted to do for my children as well. I started my oldest with the Montessori principles at about 4 months and my youngest right off the bat!
I love creating my own materials because it allows me to customize them to fit my children and their current stages. But, part of creating, is also knowing where to look to buy certain materials when having open time is so valuable, as it usually is during home-learning!"
2. What inspires you?
"Most of the time I’m inspired by my boys! A huge part of Montessori, is observing and following the child. When I am able to sit back and just watch my 19 month old, I start to see things he naturally gravitates to, like stacking items or opening containers etc. Then, I create activities based off of what I see he is showing interest in.
I also try and work with an overall goal in mind. For example, if I want him to work on matching colors, I’ll start with two objects of the same color and help him notice the colors through modeling and talking. Then, I’ll work my way up to more. I find, working with an ultimate goal I want for my child, helps direct me in what I create as I’m deciding on activities!"
3. Any tips on creating an engaging learning environment at home?
"Creating a learning space at home is all about just that- actually taking the time to create a space. It doesn’t have to be a huge space, but a section of the home that is dedicated to learning and playing is, in my opinion, the best thing! I’ve found in our family, it helps us to have a space that’s close to the main living area of the family, so that its used as much as possible.
For the actual space, having art work or learning posters at child level is important to make the child feel as if it is their space too! It invites them in to their own special area, versus an adult area with child items. Additionally, I am not a big fan of mess, so making sure everything has a place when it’s done being played not only keeps the area clean, but it also teaches little ones to respect their materials. I also find that having items displayed out for the child, versus hidden in a toy bin or box, encourages my boys to come and pick up the item and engage with them. This also helps limit the “dump” game of just taking everything out and throwing it on the floor!"
"I absolutely love sharing with other parents and educators, I’ve really enjoyed starting our Instagram blog and getting to interact with others! I think the most amazing thing about our Montessori journey has been how it has really helped my husband and I slow down and truly engage in our little one’s learning and discovery of the world!"
Follow Rachel and her amazing journey on instagram @moose_andfriends.
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