So, Just How Do You Become A Montessori Mummy?

“If a child can't learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn.” M.Montessori.

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Maria Montessori
I've had my teacher hat on again (it must be because I've started doing some tutoring!) and been thinking about Mo Mo's schemas- and how to develop them and the playroom to interest and challenge her (see my blog post on schema). I'm also tired of the amount of plastic toys we seem to have collected, despite my best intentions! I'm looking for something more meaningful, hence some research into how I can use some Montessori methods at home. So, here's what I have found out.  It is merely a drop in the Montessori ocean and I am by no means any sort of authority on the subject, but I am going to try out some of the ideas and continue to read up on it.

What does Montessori Education mean?
Montessori is a child-centred approach to learning started by Italian physician Maria Montessori in the early 1900s.  The Montessori Method was developed through observation of the child and her discovery that children learn directly from their environment and relatively little from listening to a teacher talking to a class. Maria Montessori gave the children an opportunity to care for, and maintain, their own environment; she showed them how to look after themselves; and she provided them with interesting and well-constructed materials. Montessori Education is devoted to helping each child achieve their potential and foster a lifelong love of learning. This is accomplished through the preparation of an attractive, stimulating and ordered environment which encourages a reverence for nature; a love of silence and spontaneous self-discipline. It is also established through unique learning materials, with the Montessori teacher acting as a source of guidance and gentle direction- a facilitator and observer rather than the traditional teacher model.  The pupils are granted the authority to follow their natural instinct to gravitate towards wanting to learn. 

Practical life exercises are of prime importance in Montessori methods. Why is this? Mo Mo is definitely drawn to practical life activities. She loves to arrange her tea sets and help to make a cup of coffee or load the washing machine. I think she enjoys doing these tasks as they satisfy her need for meaningful activity. She also sees them as grow up things to do, and she gets to feel success from them and share in them with the adults.  They are easy to understand and they have a concrete purpose and visible movement. She likes order and neatness (and so do I!)From a parental point of view, they develop motor control and organisation, leading to self discipline/ independence. The skills aquired through these practical tasks can then be applied to other experiences.

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Table Setting

"Practical life exercises are those simple activities performed daily by adults in their environments ... the purpose for doing those daily tasks is purely conservative and utilitarian. The child carries out these same exercises because the child is attracted to them and they are constructive and developmental for the young child... the child at a very early age, shows a strong urge to associate herself with these activities. She ... tries to take  part in them, and constantly offers to help...  these exercises create a unity between the thought, the will, and the action of the child...These activities are truly constructive to the child himself."

What Can I do At Home?
  • The Montessori Curriculum is generally comprised of- Practical Life Activities, Sensorial, Science, Maths, Language, Art  and Cultural studies. A hands on approach to all of these is key.
  • Learning practical life skills is important- for example: 
Early Tasks (Age 3-6)

  • Dressing oneself: buttoning, zipping, snapping, buckling, bow tying
  • Learning home phone number
  • Pouring liquids without spilling
  • Carrying objects or liquids without dropping/spilling
  • Walking without knocking into furniture or people
  • Using scissors with good control
  • Using simple carpentry tools
  • Putting materials away on the shelves where they belong when finished
  • Working carefully and neatly
  • Dusting, polishing, scrubbing and washing just about anything: floors, tables, silver
  • Sweeping and vacuuming floors and rugs
  • Flower arranging
  • Caring for plants and animals
  • Table setting, serving yourself, others, table manners. Great ideas for table setting here on Pinterest.
  • Folding cloth: napkins, towels, etc.
  • Courtesy: eye contact, handshake, introductions, greetings, offering assistance, getting the attention of someone engaged in a conversation
  • Simple use of needle and thread
  • Using common household tools: tweezers, tongs, eye-droppers, locks, sponges, basters, spoons
  • Increasingly precise eye-hand coordination
  • Simple cooking and food preparation
  • Dish Washing
  • Weaving, bead stringing, etc.
  • Spooning/Scooping
  • Dry Pouring   
  • Handwashing
  • Containers & Lids
  • Shoe Tying.
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      Counting Cards

      6-12 years old        
      • Caring for animals
      • Working with tools
      • Making simple repairs
      • Getting around on their own: bikes, running, hiking, buses
      • Self-defense
      • Making consumer purchase decisions, comparison shopping, budgeting
      • Earning spending money
      • Mastering test taking strategies
      • Caring for young children
      • Making clothes
      • Running a small business enterprise
      • Gardening
      • Sewing
      • Solving computer problems
      • First Aid/CPR Training
      • Wilderness survival
      • Cooking complex meals
      There are four distinct groups of exercises of practical life. They are:
      -care of the environment
      -care of self
      -development of social relations
      All images on this page can be found on my Pinterest page-

      And more on my 'Inspirational Blogs' page!


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