WHAT IS MONTESSORI & 5 EASY WAYS TO BEGIN

This post is part of a 4 part series that starts today! In the next 3 weeks, I will be talking all about Montessori. Going through the basic philosophy, prepared environments, age-appropriate toys, and materials.

Montessori for toddlers and 5 easy ways to get started.

 

I was lucky enough to be introduced to Montessori by a friend early on in my daughter’s life. My friend told me it was all about letting your little one learn at their own pace, make their own decisions and when you get the choice choose natural products and activities. Noting that “You’re probably already Montessori and don’t even know it”. She was right.

Now that I’ve been consciously practicing Montessori for awhile I hear a lot of talk about what toys are appropriate and doubt about making your environment perfect. We are all on our own journey here and there isn’t a standard we all need to meet in order to practice this lifestyle.

You don’t have to go to church every Sunday to be Christian, likely you don’t have to include Montessori in every part of your life to practice Montessori.

 I’d like to think Montessori is more about the interactions you have with your child on a day to day basis, the way you act when given a chance to educate your child and how your child learns with a hands-on approach.

What is Montessori?

Montessori is a form of education that offers a broad vision of education as an “aid to life”. It draws its principles from the natural development of the child. Letting each individual child’s inner directives freely guide them toward wholesome growth. Here is a great place to learn more about Montessori.

 

5 EASY WAYS TO GET STARTED

Ditch the plastic.

Donate all the flashy, noisy plastic toys. I know this is by far the hardest step to follow through with. Truth be told we still have a few flash toys hiding away here that I just couldn’t bring myself to give away.

 Respect your child.

Yes, you are the adult but you can still show your child respect. Talk to her like you would an equal. Talking to the child, not AT the child.

 Allow your child to make decisions.

This works best when given 2-3 choices as not to overwhelm your child. For example, ask them whether they would like to wear the blue coat or the red coat today. This helps them with confidence and independence.

 Let your child help you.

Children want to learn. They want to help. It is very hard to let your child make a mistake that you can foresee but it is very important for them to learn the consequences of their actions. Obviously, if your child is in danger you should intervene. Helping with laundry, cleaning, cooking, and gardening are all great ways to incorporate your child in everyday tasks.

 Try not to say “No”.

This one can be difficult. Instead of saying “No” you can say “We don’t play with those Tommy. How about we read a book.” It is always best to tell them exactly what they shouldn’t be doing and then give them a new activity to focus on. Try to create more “yes” spaces in our house. This allows the child to explore worry free.

 

You don’t have to do everything perfectly to consider yourself Montessori.

There are several guidelines but at the end of the day, you need to find a parenting style that suits you. So if you have to change the guidelines a bit to meet your needs then don’t stress. The Montessori police won’t be knocking at your door.

If you’re struggling to find the right materials or toys for your child you can use a delivery service such as Monti Kids. They help take the guess work out of which materials are right for your child specific to their age. Want to learn more about Monti Kids? Just click here and use the promo code TODDLER30 to get $30 off your first order.

Ready to take the next step into Montessori living?

Join us in The Montessori Learning Center to learn everything you need to know about Montessori with your family! Click the image below to learn more.

Do you practice this lifestyle in your home? What benefits have you experienced from this form of education? Leave me a message in the comments I’d love to know how your journey is going!

Holly

Holly is an education consultant for modern-day moms, using step by step guides to bring Montessori into more homes. Holly blogs at This Toddler Life where she shares her love for Montessori. When Holly isn’t helping other moms she’s spending time with her family. Their love of nature and travel takes them on many adventures around the world.

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Shoshanah Leibowitz - December 9, 2018 Reply

While I will agree with most of what you said, Montessori was not anti-plastic. She was an educator of opportunity. Her glass beads were formed because of a local glass shop. However, she was anti-distractions.
In terms of education, I think any materials would be fine as long as they fit into the Montessori thought process.

    Holly - December 10, 2018 Reply

    Thank you for that comment. I have generalized plastic because the majority of non Montessori toys are made with plastic these days. Often plastic toys are easy to break and are not of good quality. That being said there are some wonderful plastic materials out there so I do agree with what you are saying. Thanks again for reading! Holly xx

Damion Thomas - December 2, 2017 Reply

I’m a single father to an 11 month old girl. She basically has the freedom to do whatever she wants to do.. Within reason. I just close off the areas which I’d like her not to go into, ie. The kitchen. And anything that’s at her level is fair game. She loves to read and make a mess of magazines. She’s on the waiting list for a Montessori daycare. Her home nurse and everyone who meets her falls in love with her and constantly mention how happy and advanced she is, for an only child

    Holly - December 3, 2017 Reply

    That is so great to here Damion! I’m glad you have been able to naturally implement Montessori at home. Your daughter will surely be very independent and confident with the environment you have prepared for her. Well done!

Tere - October 30, 2017 Reply

Montessori can definitely be a way of life, however the philosophy is so much complex and deeper than wooden toys and giving your toddler choices. I suggest reading some of Maria Montessori’s books on the philosophy before giving advice on it. It does a disservice to Montessorians to make a profit on the Montessori name by giving inaccurate advice. My 2 cents. 🙁

    Holly - October 30, 2017 Reply

    I appreciate your comment. I do disagree, of course. I think that if you are able to practice even just the smallest amount of Montessori you should be proud of yourself. The philosophy is complex and deep which can be overwhelming to most. I don’t agree that you must read and fully understand Montessori before practicing. I believe we are all on our own journey learning as we go. Did you become an expert before applying the principles in your home? It takes time to learn a complex philosophy, using wooden toys and giving your toddler choices is a beginning phase, hence the article, 5 EASY WAYS TO BEGIN.

      Antonia - November 9, 2018 Reply

      Hi Holly!!! I just wanted to share that I have read all of Maria Montessori’s books and completed my AMS certification, and I adore your website and am so thankful for your guidance and service here! Thank you so much!!!! xoxox Antonia

        Holly - November 11, 2018 Reply

        Antonia I’m so glad to hear you are able to find guidance here! Thank you so much for the wonderful message. 🙂 Holly xx

Alexis Robby - October 12, 2017 Reply

Both of my children go to Montessori and we love it. However, I was wondering what age group would you introduce the book Hatchet by Gary Paulson?

    thistoddlerlife - October 13, 2017 Reply

    I am so glad you and your children are loving Montessori. As for the book, I am not an expert in young adult Montessori. It would be a good idea for you to ask in a Montessori Facebook group. There will be several Montessori mothers who can help with this. All the best!

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Megan - March 26, 2017 Reply

I’ve been real interested in doing this with my 16 month old. Is there an online store or a place I can buy cheaply toys that follow these guidelines?

Nour - March 13, 2017 Reply

Thank you so much for this post. As you said it looks like i have been doing Montessori without even knowing it . Thats why i would love to learn about it more . Theres only one thing that i find so much difficulty at which is allowing my 22 month old help me in the kitchen because of all the mess that she makes….i never get mad at her if she dirtied herself or the house but i try to avoid it as much as i can. How can i get myself to the point where i can let her do things on her own ? Are there any tricks to avoid having to clean up for an hour after certain activities? Thanks!!

    thistoddlerlife - March 14, 2017 Reply

    I am so happy you want to learn more about Montessori. I too am awaiting the day when my girl doesn’t make a mess in the kitchen. I am also waiting for the day my husband doesn’t make a mess in the kitchen but that will probably never happen. I can suggest putting towels down when using liquids to help with the floor mess. As for the rest, I think time and practice are the only things that will help. Make sure to include your child in the cleanup process this may help them realize how big of a mess they are making. Practice with how to properly use utensils will definitely help with the mess as well. Maybe give your toddler things to do such as washing veggies or cutting fruit that tend to be a little less messy. Keep the big messes for once a week or every other week so you don’t get too stressed out. Good luck mama!

katie - March 2, 2017 Reply

I love this idea. We do some of this at home now. I really like the idea of getting rid of those plastic toys… will have to make sure my MIL gets the memo 😉 This is a very helpful post for anyone looking to take the first steps!

Emmi Cobb - February 28, 2017 Reply

My daughter is only 6 months but i love the idea of montessori. Can you give me info for starting out this early? If im a stay at home mom and dont wish to put her in any daycare montessori or not, how can i do daily activities myself from home? What are some good learning activities and toys? Any creativity tips for games and for the house? Thank you for your time!

    thistoddlerlife - March 1, 2017 Reply

    Hey Emmi! I’m so glad to hear you love the idea of Montessori. It truly is a wonderful form of education. We didn’t actually start our Montessori journey until my daughter was 9 months old. I wish I would have started sooner! Here are a couple of places to look for help. This is a blog called How We Montessori following her child’s progression with Montessori starting from birth. There are loads of activity suggestions for every age on her site. Also, when I was starting out Montessori 101 a Facebook group helped me so much. They will answer any questions you have and you can find other mamas with the same age baby as you to relate with. I hope you enjoy your journey with Montessori and hope to hear from you again. 🙂

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