Helloooooo everyone! I hope you are all enjoying the start of June! I am VERY happy it is (finally) here! April and May were a little crazier than I would have liked 🙂 Anyway, I have been wanting to write a post on how I integrate the Montessori Method into our home as it has been super successful for us. I studied the Montessori method heavily both in undergrad and graduate school. I am a Montessori graduate myself, which initially sparked my interest, BUT I am also a HUGE public school proponent (separate post on that for another day) so because I am not sending my littles to a Montessori school, I decided to integrate some of the facets of the Program into our home. I think they will be useful for any little, so feel free to reach out if you have any questions, etc.!
OK, so to start with a basic understanding, we can turn to Wiki for some help 🙂 Montessori education is an educational approach developed by Italian physician and educator Maria Montessoribased on her extensive research with “phrenasthenic” or “special needs” children and characterized by an emphasis on independence, freedom within limits, and respect for a child’s natural psychological, physical, and social development.
So, one of the important tenants of Montessori is autonomy in children fostered by chores. For instance, children can help prepare their own snacks and food, etc. Here are 10 ways that we incorporate this into our lives:
- Food/Meal prep– I will have the littles help with preparation: spreading, counting, measuring, stirring, crushing ingredients (a favorite)…
- Unloading the dishwasher- When we moved, I purposefully put the kid’s meal supply drawer (decided on a drawer for ease of storage) at a level that they could reach and organized in a manner they could understand. It also is right near the dishwasher. So, I will have the littles unload their dishes and put them away. Don’t worry- our utensils are washed in a drawer in the dishwasher that they can’t reach.
- Closing the refrigerator door- Our fridge is tricky to shut properly and hence a little alarm sounds a lot. When a little hears it, they go and close the door. They love doing it and say they love “being a helper.”
- Taking shoes off once they come in the house- I have the littles take off then store their shoes in the shoe bin at the door.
- Taking their clothing off and putting in the hamper- That last part is important- they often forget said hamper 😉
- Putting their diapers in the trash- my littles still sleep with diapers so when they get taken off, the little has to put it in the trash (obviously if it isn’t soiled).
- Carrying– When we go to the grocery store, I will make a very light bag for the little(s) and have them carry it. They love feeling like they are helping and it gives autonomy. I will let him carry a bag with “his yogurt” etc.
- Putting clothing in their drawers- Sometimes (when I have a lot of patience, lol)- I have the boys put their clothing in the right drawer. Their drawers are super organized (type A), so it is good for their sorting skills. For instance, I will give them a set of pjs and say “OK, put it in the PJ drawer- the one on the top.”
- Cleaning up– I have them help clean up the messes they made before they move onto the next room. It really helps to try to stick to this even though it is super hard!
- Practice “please and thank you” (in this case when asking the littles to do something)– I really try to enforce the use of this for many reasons. I think it is easy to forget these simple manners (I know I do!), so we try to do this at home to show by example.