The Montessori method is a way of teaching children of young ages practical skills by letting them take the lead in learning and exploring their environment on their own.
Simply put, it's a method that encourages learning by doing rather than telling. Even though it was initially designed for the classroom, you can also implement the Montessori ideas at home.
However, creating a functional Montessori home requires following some rules. In this article, we'll share the main tips for creating a Montessori home and the most common mistakes to avoid.
Why Use Montessori in the Home?
Bringing the Montessori method to your home is a great way to help your child learn about the world through meaningful play.
In a Montessori home, we pay attention to the child's needs and try to help them grow and become independent by creating an environment that encourages routines, good habits, and a sense of responsibility.
The things your child experiences early in life are important and can affect how they develop later on. That's why creating a home where they can learn comfortably is key to setting them up for a lifelong love of learning and exploring.
5 Tips For Implementing Montessori at Home
The Montessori method was initially designed for the classroom. Yet, it’s also widely used in households as it’s an excellent method to help your child become more independent and disciplined early on.
Here are 5 tips for creating a well-thought-out Montessori home.
1. Create a prepared environment: the key to the Montessori method at home
Maria Montessori’s “prepared environment” offers your child uncapped opportunities to develop self-discipline by contributing to the house’s cleanliness and organization.
The main principle of the Montessori method at home is to assign a designated place to every item in the space so your child can learn how to look after their belongings by putting away their books and toys after every activity.
Having an organized space where everything is within your child’s reach will boost their independence and sense of exploration. Filling the room with child-sized furniture and accessories will allow your kid to freely access everything they’re drawn to.
In a Montessori home, the bedroom should be as minimalistic as possible. Its design should consist of a carefully separated resting area and playing area to avoid overstimulating your child and disrupting their sleep.
Of course, safety is a crucial aspect of designing a Montessori bedroom. Ideally, you want to create a space where your child can be left alone without supervision.
The Montessori method assumes that your little one should feel free to observe, converse, and even contribute to everyday chores - and the kitchen is an ideal place for them to participate in the daily chore routine. Even though the kitchen is meant for your entire family, it should cater to your child as best as possible.
A well-thought-out Montessori kitchen should contain a few age-appropriate plates and cutlery to familiarize your child with the ins and outs of kitchen duties.
If you don’t have child-sized furniture and seating to place in your kitchen, invest in an age-appropriate stool. This stool can be placed by the sink for your child to wash their kitchen tools or by the kitchen counter to assist you while you cook.
The bathroom is the one place in your home to teach your child the importance of personal hygiene. Keep a kid's stool by the sink so your little one can easily brush their teeth and wash their hands.
A Montessori-friendly bathroom is a great place to lead by example and show your child how to properly keep clean by washing your hands and face and brushing your teeth in front of them.
2. Practice real-life skills
Montessori encourages the development of practical life skills by creating an environment that encourages your child to help around the house from an early age.
Whether it’s a Montessori bedroom or a Montessori playroom, each room in the house should provide opportunities for your child to learn and participate in everyday chores like peeling vegetables, folding their clothes, and picking up their toys.
The Montessori method encourages parents to opt out of toys in favor of safe, real-life objects suited to their child’s age and abilities.
3. Nurture self-motivation
An important life skill for your child is to rely on inner motivation rather than external rewards.
A well-designed Montessori home is set in a way that encourages your child to complete tasks out of sheer routine. In the long run, it teaches your little one the importance of self-motivation and dedication and instills a strong sense of responsibility.
However, remember that the design of the environment is only a tool for you to encourage your child to complete their daily routines and tasks. It creates a perfect opportunity for you to teach them that the satisfaction and sense of accomplishment of completing a task is enough of a reward.
4. Foster independence and autonomy
In a Montessori home, there are plenty of opportunities to motivate your child to become more independent. Using age-appropriate tools and a mindfully designed space that is also safe for your child to explore unsupervised will encourage their sense of autonomy and assertiveness.
A prepared environment is an excellent way for you to show your child how to complete certain tasks and teach them practical life skills by doing rather than telling. A Montessori home encourages your child to choose their clothes, prepare themselves an easy snack, or put their toys away.
5. Set up a routine
Routine and consistency lie at the core of your child’s development. Knowing what to expect and how to do things on their own, without your constant help, instills a sense of safety and security in your kid.
Whether it’s bedtime, meals, or tidying up, following set routines allows children to develop healthy habits and regulate their emotions.
4 Mistakes to Avoid When Implementing Montessori at Home
Setting your home according to the Montessori principles may raise a lot of questions and make you wonder whether you’re doing it right. With that in mind, here are the 4 most common mistakes in Montessori homes you should avoid.
#1 Micromanaging your child's activities
Micromanaging your child’s every move is discouraged in a Montessori home. While keeping your child safe and establishing healthy habits is key, this doesn’t mean you should excessively control your child’s actions. Be vigilant, but leave your child some space for freedom and spontaneity.
The Montessori areas of your home are designed to be a safe space for your child and should require low supervision. You can leave your child to play and complete their chores by themselves without having to entertain them constantly.
#2 Overstimulating your child
One of the main Montessori home principles is minimalism. That’s because Montessori practitioners believe a child should have fewer items at their disposal than too many, as having too many objects around will overstimulate their brain and disrupt their focus.
An ideal Montessori area should prevent your child from becoming overstimulated.
For example, you can set up a low shelf or bookcase within their reach and keep a rotation of a few toys and books. Avoid letting the area be cluttered with toys and items scattered everywhere, as it can lead to a messy space and a distracted child.
#3 Mixing the sleeping and the playing areas
To support your kid’s growth, you should set up separate spaces for different activities. For instance, contrasting activities like sleep and play require a clear separation.
To create an optimal sleep environment in your child's bedroom, keep the atmosphere neutral and relaxing. While having a little workstation and a few toys in the bedroom is fine, avoid overwhelming the space with stimulating items.
Consider setting up a dedicated playroom in a common area or spare room where your child can engage in activities without distractions from sleep time. You can also set up an outdoor space for your child.
#4 Ignoring your child's preferences
The Montessori approach is, by definition, child-centric. Children have a far better chance of developing healthy habits and skills if exposed to material they are genuinely drawn to.
Along with considering your child’s preference in decoration and activities, it is also important to be receptive to their needs. Always choose age-appropriate props and activities and observe your kid’s reaction.