This month Otto will be eighteen months old. At the same age, both Caspar and Otis started at the local Montessori School attending a Parent-Toddler Class. Our first Montessori Parent-Toddler Class was life-changing, for the first time I could see and connect with a genuine Montessori environment, Montessori teachers and parents. I feel disappointed that Otto will not have the same experience. So what can you do if you can't get to a Montessori Parent-Toddler Class? Here are a few things I'll be doing:
- Don't replicate a Montessori classroom at home. It would be easy to think if we can't get to a Montessori class we will create a class at home, but it's missing the point. We can use Montessori classrooms to inspire us and to give us ideas but our home environment needs to remain a home, we don't need all the materials or every practical life tray.
- Read about the Montessori approach to toddlers. Going to a Parent-Toddler class gives you regular access to a Montessori trained teacher, it's easy to ask questions about your child's stage in development. If you can't get to a parent-toddler class I recommend reading and re-reading as your child ages (as I often do):
- The Montessori Toddler by Simone Davies.
- The Joyful Child: Montessori, Global Wisdom for Birth to Three by Susan Mayclin Stephenson.
- The Absorbent Mind by Maria Montessori.
- Visit a Montessori Parent-Toddler Class. If you haven't been to a Montessori class before try to visit during a school's open day, perhaps make a special day trip if there isn't a school near you or see if there is one near friends or family next time you visit them. I've visited/observed in a total of seven Parent-Toddler classrooms. Each class I've been in has left me feeling refreshed and inspired. Every time I visit a Montessori classroom I get new ideas for working with my own children.
- Have a look at Montessori Parent-Toddler Classes online. I get lots of ideas looking at classrooms online, there are a few really nice Parent-Toddler Classrooms you can follow on Instagram including:
- Seek out like-minded parents elsewhere. As we don't have a Parent-Toddler class or a Montessori community here I've found other places to connect with like-minded parents. For us it's Forest School, it's not Montessori but I have a lot in common with the other families. Many Montessori parents will find they have a lot in common with Waldorf, RIE or attachment parents. Look for alternative groups or playgroups and share what you have in common.
- Look at our previous Montessori Parent-Toddler posts including:
When observing or reading about Montessori Parent-Toddler classrooms see what appeals to you, what resonates. In one classroom I noted the flow of the snack area, how children seamlessly moved through the area with everything they needed. What stands out in every Parent-Toddler classroom I've been to is the materials. Most of the materials I see in the classrooms are handmade or affordable. Think puzzles, matching activities, posting, threading, sorting activities and lots of practical life. Teachers are often very resourceful and creative and it's what makes each classroom environment special, it's the personal touches.