Montessori Basics


Lifestyle / Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

What is the Montessori Method?

So with all this talk about how we discovered the Montessori method, and now that you’ve seen Gregory’s floor bed set up, I think it about time to start elaborating more on what exactly Montessori is. The Montessori Method is an educational approach developed by Dr. Maria Montessori. An Italian mother, student, physician and educator.¬†This educational approach is child-centered and focuses on providing a child with a safe environment that allows independence and stimulates education. All with respect of the child’s natural mental, psychical and social development.

Scientific Observation Approach

One of the amazing things about the Montessori method is that it is ever changing and molding for the individual needs of a single child. Montessori is based on the Scientific Observation approach. Meaning while based on science, the care and education is modified and improved as you observe and learn more about the individual child. We are all individuals, we all grow and learn at our own pace in our own ways. I think it is extremely important to understand that everyone is an individual and deserves the respect to be understood. Children don’t know how to properly express their thoughts and feelings, by constantly observing and letting them guide you in when they are ready for something gives them the chance to feel secure in their world. That understanding and trust is something many children lack from their parents/educators. I know I lacked it from many adults while I grew up, and I hope Gregory doesn’t have the struggle I did of having no one listening and understanding what the problem is.

Early Influences

Maria Montessori graduated from the University of Rome in 1896 and started working with children with mental disabilities. She studied the works of Jean Marc Gaspard Itard and Edouard Seguin at this time and applied their methods to how she studied and educated children with disabilities. She later also consulted Fredrich Frobel and Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi, all of these people focused on sensory play and Maria incorporated many of these activities into the Montessori method.

4 Developmental Phases

There are 4 main developmental phases that we all go through while growing up, and I’m not surprised whatsoever that I am actually still going through the final phase myself. Although I hope to never stop learning, I am glad I am still in my prime and can hopefully learn some methods to help me grow and develop further as a person. Gregory is in the first developmental phase, birth- 6 years. The ¬†other groups are 6-12 years, 12-18 years and 19-24 years old. Montessori education mainly focuses on the first two phases, but Dr. Maria Montessori continued to write papers and give lectures on the latter phases. I’m unsure if there is any further information on them, if there is, it was not developed during Maria’s lifetime.
I will most likely focus any blog posts around whichever developmental phases Gregory is currently in. Depending on how long I manage to run my blog for, hopefully we manage to explore more than just the first phase. It looks promising, as I love that I can look back at any information I have and refresh my memory.

Montessori Parenting

Education starts from before birth, and while the Montessori method and programs were developed for education systems, they are highly compatible with everyday childcare in general. Montessori is more adaptable than you might imagine, remember that it is a scientific observation approach to learning that we are doing here. You observe what works for the child, and what doesn’t, and modify it to work. That’s what Montessori Parenting is all about! Here are 3 tips to introduce Montessori in your home.

START SMALL

Do a little research and pick something you feel comfortable starting with. If you continue reading my blog I am sure you will find something that you find intriguing, my rad family started with a floor bed. It was unintentional the first time, and intentional the second time around when I realized Montessori was a thing and I didn’t have to use a crib. The more I discover about Montessori the more I realize I have already been a Montessori parent for some time, and now I’m learning how it benefits Gregory while how to improve on what we are already doing. Chances are the more you discover Montessori the more natural it will feel because you already do these things.

USE WHAT YOU HAVE

Everyone wants to start a new parenting style and see if it works for their family, but they are hard to follow as it is often expensive to buy into it. Montessori, thankfully, doesn’t require anything fancy and can originate from what you already have in your home. Pick a shelf, add a few books, a basket of blocks and maybe a stuffed animal toy. Put the rest of the toys away and voila, you just started your Montessori home. Simple as that, using what you have. Montessori isn’t about giving more, it’s about letting them discover what they have without being distracted or interrupted.

GET LOW

I saved the best for last, and as usual, the best is the most simple. Get down on your hands and knees to see the world from your childs view. Experience it and understand what works, what doesn’t, what’s dangerous, what’s fun. Follow your child around and learn how they play and where they play, Montessori is about adapting with the young ones and providing an environment that helps them discover their world. The only way you truly understand what you are observing is by trying to experience it as much as possible. You might be surprised at how the world looks from two feet off the ground.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this introduction to Montessori and are inspired to continue to learn more with me, or on your own. Montessori works for my family so far, let me know if you’re a Montessori parent and how you got started. If you aren’t a Monty-parent yet, let me know how you plan to start, a bookshelf, a floor bed, drinking from a glass instead of a sippy cup? Let me know!