My Experience With Montessori Education At Home

crochet-balls-7Having moved to another country on the other side of the world and not having my mum around to give all the advice that you sure need when you have your first baby, looked like a very hard task at the time.

My daughter was 10 months when I decided to go back to work, as the idea of being at home with no friends and family around was very difficult, so I was very, very lucky to get a job where they had Childcare in the premises and where they run a program called MONTESSORI, which I never heard of. Everyone kept of telling me how wonderful the experience was and I wondered what was so special about it.

My daughter had been at another childcare just for 2 weeks before I got the job, so I can say from experience that it was very, very different. The whole environment was just beautiful and I was so excited about the surroundings that of course a baby had to be too! I liked the Montessori approach very much, as it is simple and logical, as my grandma would have done it in her time.

I read a couple of Montessori books that I was recommended by one of the teachers with the idea of how to set my home to be as interesting, safe and beautiful as the classroom. The books were very good; they explained the different stages that babies go through from 0 to 3 and, the most important thing, what they need to develop to their potential. That gave me a completely different perspective, my daughter was not a little baby that needed me to do everything for her, she did not need all the expensive toys that the shops and ads make us believe they need, she just needed me to know what she was experiencing at every stage so I could be there to give her all my support and help.

From then onwards, I modified some things around the house to adapt to her needs and tried to copy some of the things I saw at the childcare too. I was amazed to see all the things that babies can do, if you allow them to! They sit at tables and drink from glasses and lots of other things as early as 7 months! At the time, when she was not walking, I moved the furniture around my living room, so there was more room to move around and also surfaces where she could try and pull herself up. Nothing is engaged in my house, there is no room that she cannot access, and we even have stairs that she loved to use when she started crawling. I have never used a playpen or any other confined space.

I bought a table and chairs for her size, and I put it in the kitchen so she would not sit in the high chair to eat, in most cases when she sat in the highchair she would throw the food to the floor, to see how it landed from high up. I bought small glasses that she could handle easily and a little jar to pour the milk and water from (which she can use perfectly now at 21 months).I used, instead of plastic cutlery, the coffee spoon and dessert forks. I have been changing things in the kitchen since then; I designated a cupboard to be hers, so she has her plates, glasses and cutlery, an apron to help me with some cooking, some table cloths and napkins, so while I prepare her breakfast in the morning she sets the table. There are also cloths to help with spills on the floor and a little brush.

On her table she has a small basket with fruit so she can chose the piece that she will have as a snack on the way home. We spend most of the time in the kitchen and we have a great time preparing salads and peeling boiled eggs and other activities.

I bought some floor cushions and put them in her room where she could sit to get dressed or put her shoes on, and in the living area where she could sit comfortably to read a book or play with some toys. I learnt the lesson that less is more, and stopped buying her every toy I liked and started thinking what that toy would help her understand, so a little toy with music and lots of lights did not mean anything to her at the time, and she wasn’t even interested, so I got her real things, books with real pictures (which she adores) and wooden toys that would last for a long time, and are beautiful as well. In the living room there is a whole cupboard for her with books, crayons and paper, and loves going through it to fins the activity that she wants to do.

Her room is simple: there is a cot, a rug where she loves to do some Yoga poses, and the floor cushions. Her wardrobe is set up so she can get her shoes and daily clothes easily and the dresses and other special clothes are hanging higher. There is a side table with her precious things and photos of friends and family. In the bathroom she has a bowl with her toothbrush to wash her teeth, with a little toothpaste and a glass for rinsing, now at 21 months is her favourite activity. There is a basket where she has her towels and her brush and a small mirror at her level so she can see herself easily.

All around the house I put pictures and things that she has painted at her level, and loves looking at them and recognizing the faces! Outside, in the garden, she has her small watering can to help Dad with the plants and loves taking the tomatoes and peppers from the plants once they are ready. When I tell my mum about all the things she can do she is amazed. When I look back over the last 2 years I can say have not missed any of her big steps and I have helped her with her development as best as I could have, and HAD A LOT OF FUN on the way. Now most of my friends have kids in their “terrible two’s” like me and all I can think of is that we do not really know what the kids are trying to do and need. I don’t know everything myself either, but one thing I can be sure of, I am trying my best and my daughter is a very happy girl, and I like to think that Montessori helped me achieve this.

Guest article by: Gemma (Thanks!)

15 Comments on My Experience With Montessori Education At Home

  1. My son is almost 7 months amd I have started to incorporate some aspects of Montessori into our home but would like to do more. Is there a fairly cheap, but durable, brand or material for plates, bowls, etc. that you would recommend? I gave my son a bowl and a spoon, but after just a few minutes the bowl wound up broken on the floor.

  2. Hi,

    My child is 13 months which she is trying to express her emotion. As my observation, she usually screamed out whenever she felt discomfort and try to throw everything she has or someone else gave in her close distance. I try to explain her but seems it is quite difficult to understand it is bad behavior, even when I try to make her stand up for 1 minute without doing anything, she just cry and everything was not work. Can I have some ideas to get overcome this situation? Thanks a lot.

    • Hello Lihn,
      the main to understand that no one ever has “bad behavior”. Is the way individual chooses to be, which is usually PRESSED from outside by it life circumstances.
      Your little one has some frustrations left deep in her. I would recommend a few parent child play therapy sessions with a good children phsyhology doctor. That shall help YOU to uncover her hidden “weak spots”, like: hidden fear, supressed frustration. Think. If to many of us seeing something which overwhealms us, brings tears to eyes and bursts with loud exclamation…how this little humanbeing should feel, dealing on daily basis withan EXTREME amounts of own feelings, your feelings and all surrounding feelings and smotions altogether?? Will make any of the EXPERIENCED adult to scream and hit and run…don’t you think?
      Throwing. One throughs somethins from: a) desire, passion or: b) frustration (here is this word again) and FEAR. Fear of the situation, sound, people, own parental reaction, which is UNLOGICALY “predicted” by childs mind. Just take this as a most important challenge for you to learn about in order so you could HELP your child to LEARN (not to overcome) from her emotions and immediate frustrations. Learning is the word for all. Best wishes.

  3. hi…what a beautiful way to talk about what u have done. i am a montessori mom and also a student of the montessori method. i am very very passionate about it and started on it before my child was born. i read and researched on it. So when my daughter (now 3 yrs) was born, our whole home was structured with her in our minds. and the progress is mind-blowing. she also goes to a montessori preschool, i was adamant abt that or then i’d have home-schooled her, and together…it’s amazing!! i urge everyone to give it a try!! it really is the BEST for the child =)

  4. my son is 2yrs and 3 months old.he speaks few words but not full sentences. i am worried about his communication skills plus wanna increase his vocabulary!!!

  5. assalam o laikum i m from pakistan i have one son he is very naughty boy i read ur article i like it will u plz give me some more ideas and books for him he is 15 months old
    thx
    Allah hafiz

  6. HI , Thanks for sharing such a great experience!! Keep the hard work mom!! cheers to you.
    I am really interesting in the Montessori program. Would you recommend me some good books? thanks a lot

  7. Hi, do you have any pointers or tips for changing from a crib to a cot at 10 months? That is my daughter’s age now- I would like to do it but would like to have a better idea of how it “really” works! She goes to bed and naps very easily- no rocking, nursing. She says nite nite. I think this should make it easier. Any comments are welcome!

  8. Hi Gemma,

    This is a great article, it nicely describes the benefits and practicality of Montessori education at home environment.

    thanks!

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