“Oh, Montessori? Yeah, isn’t that the super structured preschool?”
“There’s too much freedom in a Montessori environment.”
Ah, not really.
Montessori hit the mainstream hard and is still running. For the most part, thanks to articles with titles such as “Is Montessori the Origin of Google and Amazon?” the reputation is positive. No doubt, I’m thrilled that the education approach is getting attention and being welcomed with open arms.
Still, there is work to be done to protect the virtues and key aspects to the philosophy.
A Montessori Beginner’s Guide to Montessori
My goal for writing this guide is to pull together all that I have learned as a teacher and a parent to move the movement in the right direction. Montessori is a movement, a lifestyle, that can be, should be, and is being embraced by parents all over the world. I want to give you a blueprint, or a road map, to how you can bring Montessori into your family’s life.
Chapter 1: What is the Montessori Method of Learning?
The philosophy is the foundation, the stepping off point to teaching, learning, and creating an environment where a child can lead his development. Close attention on the development of the whole child involves allowing the child to work with his own instincts, to develop at his own pace, and to acknowledge all types of intelligence, especially the aspects of social and emotional intelligence (as evidenced in grace & courtesy). This section answers questions such as Why Montessori is So Expensive and examines topics such as Montessori Versus Traditional education (and why the former wins).
Chapter 2: Whole Child Learning
What does it mean to learn with a Montessori approach? You will learn terms such as False Fatigue, Normalization, and the 3-Hour Work Cycle, all key to understanding the philosophy. Without this knowledge, guiding a child in a Montessori way won’t be successful. Learning the Scope & Sequence is also useful. Big picture understanding of lessons and sequences helps guide the child in the best possible way.
Outdoor learning and education are emphasized quite a bit. Alas, I think these areas are all too often unnoticed. Nature was a key theme throughout Maria’s teachings. The importance of bringing the indoor and outdoor classrooms together should be paramount. The same goes for combining learning & movement for optimal brain development among many other positive impacts.
Chapter 3: Living
I believe 100% that Montessori is a lifestyle for adults and children. Building a bridge between home and the classroom is critical is moving Montessori ahead in the world in an authentic way. Learn how to create a Montessori bedroom, how to involve kids in the kitchen, and how to prepare children to use tools traditional only accepted for adult use. One of the most critical components of the Montessori early childhood classroom is the peace curriculum. This part of the curriculum should be embraced by families within and outside Montessori communities. Montessori developed her peace curriculum while exiled from Italy in India. Peace has three areas of focus: world, community, and self. The big topics such as war and politics are a start but much of the teaching comes at the classroom or community level and within inner self. The peace corner, peace rose, and peace table are examples of this learning in action.
Chapter 4: Parenting
There is such a term as Montessori Parenting. I don’t believe I made it up but if I did more power to the approach. Simply put, it requires a knowledge of child development, positive communication, how to resolve conflict, positive discipline, and how to integrate Montessori into the home to offer your child respect and true ownership of his development. Positive discipline & positive communication are big components are Montessori parenting.
Chapter 5: Materials
Materials are high quality and ascetically pleasing to the eye. They are simple and neat. There is a great sense of order to the presentation of the materials on the shelf and to the layout of the classroom in designated areas for Practical Life, Sensorial, Culture, Geography, Math, Language, and so on.
Control of Error and Isolation of Quality are key components of the materials. Within Practical Life, a spill on a tray exemplifies these concepts. Within Sensorial, the inset not fitting the template does the same. A map is also a good example. If you take a wrong turn, you’ll need to make adjustments if you are to get to your intended destination. The child leads learning with his own “hands” by way of a “control of error” built into the works. Control of error is an automatic feedback mechanism that enables auto-education.
Chapter 6: Role of the Teacher
The teacher has a special role as observer and preparer of the environment. Maria wrote extensively on the Role of the Teacher in the classroom and the spiritual journey a teacher must go on before and during her time in the classroom. She viewed the teacher as a scientist, needing not to teach children but to be the one that connects children’s potential with their environment. The emphasis she placed on the spiritual and scientific training of teachers is paramount to the philosophy. You should definitely check out 5 Habits Every Montessorian Should Develop to get you started on this mindset.
Chapter 7: Ultimate Resource Guide
This section includes my top recommendations for homeschooling curriculum, materials, lessons, and many other go-to resources such as books and blogs.
Within the pages of this blog, you will find lessons, a focus on outdoor learning, parenting, and Montessori in the Home. I am thrilled to have you part of this community. I look forward to getting to know you. Please take a moment to subscribe to my weekly newsletter and join our communities on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram for the latest information, inspiration, and behind the scenes.