I was so touched by everyone’s comments about the Montessori method on the first Montessori Inspired post. It seems like a good extension of our parenting, and we hold high hopes that there will be space next school year for our three boys in the school in which we have been hoping to be accepted (there’s a stinkin’ wait list).
In a nutshell, the Montessori method strives to educate children through a framework of independence, freedom within limits, and respect for a child’s natural developmental stages. Uninterrupted work time, usually for blocks of up to three hours, are common. These principals appeal to me on so many levels, as I strongly feel that in our day and age, the emphasis seems to be on rushing through tasks to complete others; shuffling our kids from place to place, activity to activity, class to class; and cramming as many extra curricular activities into the daylight (and nighttime) hours as possible.
I know that every family is different, but what I’ve learned in mothering our three boys so far is that they seem happiest and most at peace when they are given plenty of freedom to engage in the activities they choose. They seem to thrive with plenty of fresh air, little-to-no screen time, and a framework of independence within structure.
Their abilities continue to amaze me. With art supplies, cups, bowls, and silverware within reach, they get their own snacks and drinks, start their own art projects. Often when they ask for something, Andrew and I gently encourage them to figure out a way to do it themselves, or to help each other do it. Of course, if they need help, we don’t deny them that. But it is mind-blowing what children can do for themselves when we only allow them!
Giving your child the space and ability to clean up after himself afterwards (even though it won’t be perfect) is a crucial step in the process. Keeping a dust pan and brush where your child can reach them encourages him to go and get it without prompting!
If you are interested in exploring Montessori at home, here are a few basics to get you started. Right now I am reading everything I can get my hands on and hoping that we will be doing it for real next year!