Dear Crescent Montessori Families,
Many of you may be wondering what you can do in order to provide your child with an enriching experience during this stressful time. While it may be unsettling to enter this uncharted territory, we are also faced with the perfect opportunity to look for practical and realistic ways to implement Montessori in home environments.
First, you can start with practical options to bring Montessori into your home:
- Reduce clutter and rotate out toys and activities
- Have a place for everything- you can use baskets or cubbies within your child’s reach
- Provide realistic tools for jobs such as cleaning up, gardening, and cooking
- Remember that too much help is a hindrance to their development!
Children are driven by an innate desire to help and participate in daily activities. Below are some ideas to provide them with purposeful work.
Practical Life is easily considered the “heart of the Montessori classroom”. While it is unrealistic to replicate the classroom environment in your home, children can still have an enriching experience on a daily basis if provided with purposeful work with items you may already have on hand. Here is a list from Three Minute Montessori to get you started:
Expand your child’s responsibility based on their readiness and interest level. You can find some examples here.
Create an Inviting Space for Artistic Expression
You don’t need to devote an entire room or a whole section of your living space to a child’s “art studio”- you can utilize a corner in your kitchen or patio outfitted with a child-sized table and chair. A low bookcase or a cart is useful to contain art materials that your child enjoys using. Try to limit the number of materials available at any given time. Designating a specific area and setting clear limits will allow your child the freedom to express their creativity, while minimizing the risk of getting paint or glue on your carpet or rug.
When supplying art materials, only provide enough that your child should use that day. Each day when we set up the classroom, we pour out measured amount of paints and glue and replenish as necessary.
Try to keep art projects open-ended, rather than directed towards a predetermined outcome. Below are some activities (with links) to try with your children:
Leaf rubbing (you can use crayons or oil pastels)
Toilet Paper Roll Painting – If you don’t have paintbrushes at home, you can repurpose toilet paper rolls!
…or you can even make stamps out of them!
Marble Painting (Be sure to contain this work in a baking dish or a cardboard box. The child should be able to lift the container to roll the marbles.)
Salt Dough (Get a head start on making ornaments!)
Four Seasons Tree Art (Children can trace their hands for the tree trunk and branches and paint cotton balls or tissue paper for leaves.)
Lacing Cards (Lacing is an introduction to sewing- a key life skill! Make wall decorations with these printable lacing cards)
Encouragement, Not Praise
Lastly, you can provide continuity for your children by using these simple statements they hear from teachers at school daily, which are intended to provide opportunities for your children to reflect intrinsically on their effort.
- I appreciate how you put your books back on the book shelf.
- I noticed that you were focusing on your work.
- What was your favorite part of the art project?
- I see that you paid attention to the details in your work.
- Thank you for helping to make mashed potatoes for dinner.
- You worked on that for a long time.
Be well and enjoy!