Dear Readers, This is an entry from 2011 that I liked so much I wanted to share it again with you today. The photograph is recent, a collection of items from Otis's messenger bag.
When we first started implementing Montessori principles in our home we really focused on the physical things, furniture, materials etc. It was only after time that I began to pick up on some of the other concepts of Montessori such as peace, respect and true love for the child. Here are my top five ways of introducing Montessori concepts into your home without spending a cent.
"The child builds his inmost self out of the deeply felt impressions he receives, and this is especially important in the first part of his life" - Maria Montessori - The Absorbent Mind.
1. A positive home environment
I feel that a positive home environment should come naturally. However in our home it is something I reassess frequently. I strive for a home that is not too serious and is filled with joy and playfulness. Remember this needs to be genuine, we can provide this stable environment even in times of stress.
2. Surround the child in beauty
The beauty that Montessori was referring to was that of nature. We use natural materials and fibres when possible and try to look at our surroundings in a simplistic way. Beauty is not that of having a lot of things, it is having surroundings that inspire (you and the child) and promote a sense of well-being and calm.
3. Experience nature
Montessori believed children (and possibly adults too) need direct contact with their environment and suggested long nature walks regularly. We try to follow this and take slow walks near our home. She suggests to put your self at your child's disposal, see what captures his attention, be guided by the child.
4. Allow the child to concentrate
This is on the list because it is something I struggle with. Montessori once said that interrupting a child is one of the most harmful forms of repressive action we can take. At school, at home, doing puzzles or just putting on shoes - allow the child to concentrate, don't interrupt. Once I stopped interrupting Caspar I realised that most of the interruptions were completely unnecessary, unhelpful and didn't contribute towards him completing the task.
5. Contribute to family life
If you have read this blog before you will know that I take every opportunity to allow my children to make a meaningful contribution to our family life. It is very empowering for a child to make meaningful contributions to their social groups including the family. There are so many ways that children of all ages can do this and most can be practical life exercises - watering plants, setting the table, contributing towards a meal.
There are also many other principles which we strive towards. Some come really easy and others we have to work at, it's a journey after all!