Exposing your child to a few Montessori-inspired activities can make all the difference prior to starting preschool. Montessori education is centered on preparing the whole child–both emotionally and physically. Here are five Montessori based activities to prep your toddler for preschool.
Care of self is one of the most important foundations of Montessori education. Any action we perform as a part of our self-care can be turned into a fun and engaging activity for young toddlers. Set up a toothbrush station for your child to practice good oral hygiene. Begin by demonstrating the process from start to finish and move on to allowing your child to try the action independently. Other ways to integrate self-care can include hand washing, hair brushing, getting dressed, and similar daily routine activities.
A great way to practice developing fine motor skills while your child is young is through food prep. While perhaps too young to physically prepare meals, children can learn how to chop, slice, serve, clean, and make simple dishes. Children safe knives and kitchen tools will allow your child to participate in their own snack making. Chopping celery, spreading peanut butter, and placing raisins on top is a great multi-step activity with a delicious ending.
A simple sorting activity can be as easy as separating a basket of shapes cut from paper. Children will be highly engaged in making sense of these shapes. Have your child separate the shapes into individual piles or baskets. Triangles, squares, rectangles, and circles can be the first shapes introduced and from there the sorting can increase in difficulty.
Montessori education aims to develop children’s physical skills by working to build their fine motor skills. Grasping objects like the handle of a pitcher takes hand control and coordination to pour the contents from the pitcher to another receptacle.
Pouring activities are super easy to setup and young children love to engage in real work that can produce immediate results. Small pitchers work best for little hands, so try to find the appropriately sized vessel. Boost the fun by adding a little food coloring to your water–this will help the child see the liquid more clearly when pouring from one vessel to another.
Introduce the primary colors (red, yellow, blue) and later advance to secondary colors (green, orange, purple), and so forth (pink, brown, black, white, gray). Activities should place an emphasis on colors, not objects–meaning matching similar objects like jelly beans by color, rather than a hodgepodge of random objects. This is a great way to individualize learning by choosing objects that draw your child’s interests, be it cars, foods, flowers, or anything else that they enjoy.
When preparing your child for preschool you can begin introducing skills that boost their independence in taking care of their own physical needs. While adults have a responsibility to assist, ultimately it is the child that must achieve their own self-construction. When we let go, children are more likely to grow and learn independently. This type of learning leaves lasting impressions and builds self-confidence. Practicing these Montessori based activities at home will have your child prepared for preschool and ready to learn from the very first day they step into the classroom.