Living the Montessori Way
Our Modern Montessori Life?
“Impressions do not merely enter a child’s mind; they form it.”
~ Maria Montessori
We choose to incorporate the principles in our every day life, practice the values of peace, and shed the light on self value and self intrinsic learning, live and be one with our mother earth. I grew up being told that I could, not that I couldn't; yes instead of no, and try it, I trust you, instead of that's too dangerous. Do you know what that does for a little human?
My oldest child is 18. We've been encouraging her to explore her strengths and her challenges equally. There are struggles for us as parents every day too. The world we now coexist in can be scary, how do we teach our children that they don't have to be afraid of what's around the corner? It's different for each family, we choose to share a sense of calm, a sense of self knowledge and self worth. We also choose not to shelter our children. Again, parenting is just another hat some of us wear, another journey we are on. I think one of the tricks is to learn every day, and welcome it without frustration and anger, but a sense of wonder.
I have provided these services for friends over the last 10 years and even though it's not a full time business it's one of my passions in supporting families to become their dream family. It's tough being parents in today's world and I love helping to make it a little bit more fun and easier to function as you wish. I look forward to working with you!
firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 303- 668-3597
What exactly is Montessori?
Montessori is an extremely popular educational philosophy developed by Dr. Maria Montessori in the early 1900's. Through her way of education, children receive knowledge and the ability to learn encompassing the whole child in a safe and prepared environment. She believed, with her son Mario, that children were worthy of respect. That we as humans could develop a love for learning from a very young age, provided the proper parameters; including the natural outdoor environment, music, exploration, beautiful and realistic educational materials, and peace education. Through her work with many young orphans, and countless hours of observation she recognized that not all children are the same and delineated their development into three stages:
1) Children in the age range of 0-6 are considered, in Montessori terms, to be in the ‘Infancy, First Plane of Development.’ The Construction of Individuality and the Absorbent Mind. This period is an unconscious time of growth, and the body is developing from head to toe. This phase is all about constructing the individual self. ‘Windows of opportunity’ open specific innate learning doors as they get older, allowing certain skills to be learned more easily than at later times during their education.
2) Children in the 6-12 age range are in the 2nd plane of Montessori development, called the 'Reasoning mind: Acquisition of Culture and The Cosmic Plan.' These students are very social beings developing a sense of fairness, a desire to follow rules, and experience many periods of learning. These periods can be very sudden and end as quick as they began. During these times children absorb mass amounts of information which becomes stepping stones for further learning. This is not mastery, but helps the child toward building a solid foundation.
3) 12- 18 year olds are in the 3rd stage of development; the 'Development of the personal self and earth surroundings.' The children are entering into their adolescent years and are working hard on social consciousness, this is a wonderful time for children to work in their community and to continue practical life skills building the knowledge for future independence. This would include cooking, cleaning, and also discovering artistic tendencies.
“If puberty is on the physical side a transition from an infantile to an adult state, there is also, on the psychological side, a transition from the child who has to live in a family, to the man who has to live in society . These two needs of the adolescent: for protection during the time of the difficult physical transition, and for an understanding of the society which he is about to enter to play his part as a man[…..]This means that there is an opportunity to learn both academically and through actual experience what are the elements of social life. We have called these children the ‘Erdkinder’ because they are learning about civilization through its origin[…]they are the “land-children.” ~ Maria Montessori
Montessori is now offered all around the world for ages 6 weeks of infancy all the way through high school. Families are adopting the principles as a way of life and schools are waking up to the possibilities. Schools could be private, some public school districts are implementing Montessori values, and many charter schools. Montessori has been adapted to grow with our societal needs, remember, the philosophy is malleable, carry the principles on and enjoy the way of life!
Personal Opinion- Montessori materials are a very hot topic for young children. I personally love Waldorf style materials to help build imagination from 0-5 years. The natural materials hold a value to none other. I am not a fan of plastic, light up, battery operated items. I want quality, an earth connection, beauty, and the items to be open-ended for creativity.
Montessori homeschooling can happen and
I can help you figure it out.
“The child will develop a kind of philosophy which teaches this unity of the universe; this is the very thing to motivate his interest and to give him a better insight into his own place and task in the world and at the same time presenting a chance for the development of his creative energy.” ~ Maria Montessori
What does living a Montessori life look like at home?
As a family we choose to mostly follow the main Montessori values, some are obviously easier than others.
For us that means that we try to live using these principles. It helps us to set our family values, choose our behavior and how we treat others. For some religion plays a part in this as well. Montessori is not religious based in any way. Maria Montessori was a scientist.
clean and green, we live as green as we can affordably and we try to eat to feed our bodies and minds with healthy foods
we value and respect planet Earth and all living things
learn through all experiences
give grace and courtesy to ourselves and everyone we come in contact with
In the early days... our choices
As a baby we made sure to have a safe environment to allow our growing child to feel safe and fully explore the surroundings, including the babies bedroom. We chose cloth diapers, a calm birth, breastfeeding, baby wearing and mostly co-sleeping. There was a bed on the floor and a pull-up bar with a mirror to allow for standing and visual exploration. We only used soft and wooden toys that were stimulatory but calm in color (black, white and red) and without batteries. We used soft clothing and organic cloth when we could.
Spending time exploring outside was a must including feeling the natural environment with all 5 senses. We showed our baby how we do things, talked to him as we did things and prepared him for what was happening around him. From the first moment we expressed respect for this little human, respect for their body, time and needs. We never forced the baby to cry it out and we were very intentional with how we reacted to their behavior. We didn't want our fears to hinder their learning opportunities as they grew and tested their limits. We baby wore and respected that leaving him with people he didn't know was scary.
Dad was just as much a part of his life as mom, except mom was the main food source due to breastfeeding. Dad was also very instrumental in helping to care for Mom due to so much of her time being taken up with solo care. As he grew older we showed him how to do things, allowed for normal child behavior and abilities without unreasonable expectations. We shared normal frustrations and modeled intentionally things that were important for him to see. As a family unit we all worked together towards a peaceful, balanced and well rounded life.
We communicated with friends and family about how to help us and play with our child appropriately. We set boundaries when needed for the safety of our child. As a family we worked really hard to help our children grow to be independent, resourceful, kind, giving people. Overall we want them to be happy and good people right? Now that our oldest is 18 and living on her own successfully we truly feel that either we go lucky or we parented intentionally.
There is no parenting script, no rules. We all do our best and sometimes it's not so good. Reach out for help, educate yourself, communicate and don't sacrifice your values.
Our choices were based on experience, much research, luck, constant hope and family support. Raising good humans is possible!
Elements of a Montessori Home-
Play Items- manipulatives to learn from
Food- children can be part of food preparation
Furniture- ease of use for small people
Color- soothing, non abrasive and developmentally appropriate
Outside Environment- a lot!
Discipline- gentle, calm redirection modeling at all times