The Montessori Method at Home
By Alejandra Guzman
Click aqui para español- > El método Montessori en casa
As an economic developer and because of my personal and professional interest in human development, I’ve always been aware of the relevance of early childhood education. With the birth of my daughter, I have experienced how critically important it is to be intentional about the opportunities we offer to children in their early years.
The human brain undergoes the most growth during the first three years of life. Babies must receive the most attention since they are developing the foundations of critical, emotional, social, and cognitive skills. Babies grow healthy attachments to their parents and caregivers in these first years. The experiences in this crucial time will shape their emotional intelligence and self-confidence.
I discovered the Montessori method in my quest to find information on what type of toys or experiences I should offer my daughter to help her develop. The Montessori method mainly focuses on promoting independence, hands-on learning, and providing a suitable environment for child development. Maria Montessori created this method. She was born in Italy in 1870 and was one of the first women to attend the University of Rome Medical School. Because of the positive outcomes, this method has become famous worldwide. This method emphasizes freedom within limits, independence, and respect for the social and natural development of the child. Finally, it pushes children to work with different materials to develop the power of self-discipline and concentration. The difference between the traditional educational method and Montessori is that formal education focuses on transmitting knowledge. In contrast, Montessori focuses on the natural development of children and leverages their genuine interests.
The Montessori method is easy for parents to learn and adapt to the home environment. There should be an emphasis on mutual respect between child and parent. Montessori recognizes each child as a special individual with unique needs, abilities, and learning styles.
As we apply this method at home, we have changed our environment to allow our daughter to move freely and feel the space as her own. We ensure everything is safe, from the furniture to securing cabinets, covering electric outlets, etc. We also organize her play material to be easily accessible for her and display them in a way that’s naturally inviting to play. We also limited the number of toys and intentionally chose them depending on their purpose and the skill they help develop.
We have evolved based on our observations and following her natural inclinations. She loves animals, so we offer material around this theme for her to remain engaged and excited about educational toys. We have also adapted the kitchen and bathroom to her size and further involve her in our daily routines. There is so much to discover with this method, and it can get overwhelming when you are balancing work, life, and the many different challenges that come with parenting. Finally, I found helpful websites that offer practical advice on adapting Montessori into our lifestyle, including The Montessori Notebook and Montessori in Real Life.
My journey as a parent has just begun, and I’m excited to continue learning and growing with my daughter. It makes me happy to be able to share my experiences and hopefully help other parents in their journey.