The Montessori way of life isn’t just for at school and in our classrooms, it can be implemented at home too. By doing so it creates an invaluable bridge reinforcing what your child learns at school.
Here at Sunny Side we have carefully designed classrooms which allow students to develop competence in caring for themselves and their surroundings – this environment can be set up at home too.
A simple, prepared and organised environment is key! Having a specific place for everything allows children to find what they need with ease. Keeping the home environment simple and organised makes it easier for children to return objects to their rightful places. It’s recommended to keep a few toys available on a low shelf and the rest packed away out of sight, then every so often to swap them for something different. This will help keep the environment neat and tidy as well as the items being highly valued and cared for. Observe your child in the home environment and make sure there aren’t too many choices available, determine whether items are still challenging and interesting and if your child is struggling to pack items away properly.
Furniture for young ones should be light weight making it easier for the child to move them around and small sized so that they can sit comfortably. This will make it possible for them to use the furniture easily without an adult’s assistance, this will help them feel more independent and improve their self esteem.
Having your little one help in the kitchen is a great way to get them involved. Having a low table is ideal for your child to take part in meal preparation and to sit comfortably for snacks. A little step in the kitchen will invite your child to help wash dishes or prepare food with you. Consider having utensils and dishware on a low shelf for the child to reach when they need them as well as a little jug of water and a glass so that they can help themselves when they’re thirsty.
Share responsibilities! Giving your child daily tasks allow them to help in the running of your household and children LOVE helping. They can sort out laundry, help wash dishes, sweep (a mini broom, brush and pan is a good buy), pack their cupboards, spray and wipe tables etc. These activities help them to become more independent too.
Allowing children to decide what they would like to wear each day is an awesome way to encourage independence. Having a low shelf with a few clothing items makes it easier for them to decide what to choose (and minimises chaos).
As children grow older, the home environment should grow with them, with care given to supporting their independence in accessing and caring for the space. Children generally love being involved in day-to-day activities at home.
As Montessori educators we know how the Montessori environment is key to helping children learn and develop, both at school and in their homes equally. If you need any tips – one of the wonderful things about our Sunny Side community is that we’re always willing to help answer any of your questions. Good luck!