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Presented by WFM Primary Lead Teacher Ms. Maria, the Parent Coffee on the morning of October 25th focused on ways to introduce Montessori practices and methods into our homes without recreating the school environment.
To kickoff the discussion, Ms. Maria asked the parents in the room to create a piece of art that represents one of their children. Parents were given various art materials such as felt paper, stickers, glitter glue, popsicle sticks, markers and crayons. When finished we held up our beautiful creations to share with the room. Ms. Maria pointed out that each were different, yet beautiful in their own way - just like each of our children. Ms. Maria explained that in the Montessori environment children are viewed as unique as well and that each child is able to chart their own path, if given the proper tools and guidance.
Ms. Maria talked about the Montessori philosophy and principles, what they mean and how they manifest within a classroom environment. For example, independence is about letting a child do things by themselves even if it takes 20 tries. Another core philosophy of Montessori is respect. Respect not just for others but also for our surroundings and the environment. A child is taught to carry scissors slowly with care in a way that shows how to respect someone else’s space.
She suggested various ways to introduce Montessori methods into our homes. But in order to have a successful Montessori Home environment, we have to prepare ourselves with patience and allow the child to make mistakes so they can figure it out.
Key Takeaways Included:
Create a positive home environment
Making everything our children need easily accessible to them allows the child to be self-directed. Putting healthy snacks on a low pantry shelf and encouraging them to help themselves allows children to practice independence and make choices about the foods they eat. Having a place where everything goes helps create a sense of order in our homes so they know where to find and put things.
Surround the child in beauty
Ms. Maria suggested that replacing plastic with beautiful glass, chinaware or ceramics teaches children to appreciate beauty and allows them practice handling delicate things. It could mean they break a few things along the way, but they will eventually learn how to sweep up a mess and also the correct ways to carry different materials.
Being in nature allows children to experience the beauty of nature and real things. Going for a walk with a magnifying glass not only promotes language skills but also interest in their environment. Think of different things to do such as collect bugs and look at them. Collect stones, count them, order them and paint them. Sometimes rocks in the pocket can be a good thing.
Allow the child to concentrate
We have to think about how we can provide our children with uninterrupted work time. This is the time when our children develop skills, learn how to focus, practice and gain mastery over their tasks. When we interrupt someone’s work, we stop their concentration and put a pause on their interest in that task.
Contribute to family life
You model how you would like them to carry water step by step. Sometimes they may figure out a different way to do something that is as efficient. Let the child get involved in chores at home such as setting the table, laundry, dishwasher. Include chores directly related to their strengths. Create a job chart and have them take charge. You want to hear them say ‘I did it!’.
Follow the child
Follow your child to find what he is interested in and design the environment to promote that interest. If a child is interested in insects but not in reading, maybe a book on insects might motivate that child to read. Or if a child likes animals but not washing, maybe washing animals might be interesting to that child.
The Parent Coffee was very engaging and allowed this writer to come away with a better understanding of how to apply Montessori principles in our homes and everyday life without turning the home environment into a classroom. Thank you to the school for organizing and Ms. Maria for sharing her ideas and facilitating this fabulous discussion.
This blog written by our WSF-PR Wire Reporter Radhika T., T-1 & P-3 Parent