How to Align Your Parenting Style with the Montessori Philosophy


baby with teddy bear

The Montessori method is becoming more and more popular, so it’s easy to see why parents around the world are curious about it. In order to strengthen the teachings of Montessori in the classroom, it’s important to uphold the philosophies of Maria Montessori at home too.

We put this article together in order to share nine of those philosophies—and to explain how you can extend the Montessori method into your home, where you can integrate it into your parenting style.

 

The Principles of Montessori

To follow are nine important principles of Montessori—philosophies that Dr. Maria Montessori believed in. By understanding these principles, you can learn how to navigate the world of Montessori with your child through parenting.

 

1. Provide freedom within limits.

Montessori places emphasis on freedom in many things. The freedom to explore, to be independent, and to be creative. But that allowance of freedom shouldn’t be confused with letting your child go wild.

In order to find a balance between an environment that’s too strict and once that’s uncontained, you must provide your child with safe opportunities. This is how your child learns to respect their surroundings and belongings and control their natural impulses. Children will learn to exercise freedom within these set limits.

 

2. Create a prepared environment.

Creating a prepared environment involves crafting an organized, purposeful space. This encourages freedom, and it also prompts children to get creative in a space where they feel comfortable and safe.

You can prepare an environment like this by setting up options for your child to play with and explore. For example, you could set up your child’s playroom with open shelving and organized toys so they can see their options in a clear and concise manner.

 

3. Practice observation.

Observation is a main point of the Montessori teachings—in fact, the entire method was created by watching children at play. As you observe your child, you can see how they’re developing, learn about their special interests, and understand what they are trying to learn.

Observing means viewing the world from your child’s perspective. This will give you insight into what’s going on inside their mind.

 

4. Provide a realistic world.

According to Montessori, children need to have a firm grasp on reality before they can understand fantasy. In order to give them this foundation, you can model everyday life and involve them in tasks like cooking, cleaning, reading, and playing outdoors.

 

5. Know that less is more.

It’s natural to want to give your child the world, but did you know that you can actually do more by providing them with less? If a child has fewer toys, they will get to know the ones they have much better. Also, too many toys can be overwhelming for a child, and they will spend less time playing/exploring than they will choosing what to play with.

Also, with fewer toys, children respect the value of them that much more.

 

6. Resist punishments and rewards.

Dr. Montessori held the viewpoint that punishments and rewards are not effective for children. Instead, she believed in “inner discipline,” which a child eventually learns through their burgeoning sense of responsibility.

When a child feels they are respected, they will respect their parents in return. While it’s okay to point out when a child has acted poorly, it’s more important to rely on the natural consequences of that action. For example, if they break a toy, they will no longer have it to play with.

It’s also not necessary to praise your child every time they do something good. Children are born with the innate desire to learn; they don’t need external motivation.

 

7. Emphasize natural materials.

Children have a natural connection to their senses, one that’s much stronger than that of adults. This is why Montessori teachings focus on items made of natural materials like wood and fabric over plastic. By supplying your child with a variety of items of different weights, sizes, colors, and textures, you can refine their senses and ignite their curiosity.

 

8. Implement work periods.

In a Montessori school, children focus on their work in periods up to three hours long. During this time, they can work at their own pace and do what feels right to them. By implementing times like this at home, you are helping your child’s concentration grow.

 

9. Understand sensitive periods.

Sensitive periods are when a child’s ability to master a skill increases dramatically. By recognizing these sensitive periods, you can feed into them and provide your child with the resources they need to nurture the information they are trying to gain.

 

Montessori at Home

In a Montessori school, these principles are put to work every single day, and you can do the same thing at home. By implementing these practices, you are strengthening your child’s independence and responsibility and nurturing their natural curiosity.

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