Skip to main content

Why choose Montessori at Home?

I've been thinking lately a lot about why we use Montessori at home. Why don't we just leave Montessori in the classroom? Why bother when the children leave their prepared environment at school? In a lot of ways it would be easier to just forget about it, wouldn't it? It would be easier to try not to fight the tide of commercialized products that seems to stream in from everywhere. Or, to not invite my children to participate in daily tasks. Or, even to parent with incentives. 

Why doesn't Montessori stop at the doors of the classroom? Thoughts on why we use Montessori at home.

But, I still feel called to Montessori. And, in the end, I don't think any of these things would be easier. Or that my life as a parent would be more fulfilling. Here are some reasons I use Montessori at home, despite the short term challenges, and despite the fact that my children go to Montessori schools.

Child Development

Montessori is a method based on the scientific observation of children. The method is rooted in following the development of the child. And, a child's development does not start and stop at the doors of a school. A child carries with him/her the same sensitive periods, the same needs, desires, and interests all throughout the day. As Maria Montessori said, "a child is always busy working on his own development." I see my role as a parent to support this development, to nurture my children's body, mind, and spirit. 

Why doesn't Montessori stop at the doors of the classroom? Thoughts on why we use Montessori at home.

Maria Montessori said, "A child's soul freed form impediments was seen acting according to its own nature. The characteristics of childhood which we isolated belong quite simply to the life of the child, just as colors belong to a bird and fragrances to flowers." We can't separate these qualities from who are children are.  They are present whether our child is at school, at home, or in public. We have to recognize that Montessori speaks to the essence of the child, something we cannot take away. 
"One becomes a well-balanced adult only if one has fully been a child." Maria Montessori


Montessori at its core is about respecting a child. Maria Montessori really meant this. Respect all children. At all times. Not when it was convenient, not just in schools, not just in the prepared environment. She meant, respect all children. She said, "I mean it literally: children must be respected as social, human personalities of the first order." It doesn't matter if a child is at home or at school. They should still be given respect. And, I cannot imagine parenting with showing this great respect to my children. 

Can you imagine a situation where it ended at the doors of the school? As if Montessori expected this respect to not permeate every aspect of a child's life. If you can only choose one part of Montessori to incorporate at home, this is it. Because with respect comes so much more. In the words, of Maria Montessori, "along with the acquisition of a truer and deeper respect for the rights and needs of the child, we shall find that our own attitude toward him with also change considerably. Harshness, stern commands and arbitrary prohibitions which are often given more because we are in a bad humor than with an educational purpose, will disappear." 

Why doesn't Montessori stop at the doors of the classroom? Thoughts on why we use Montessori at home.


And, finally, I use Montessori at home because of the joy. Joy cannot be separated from Montessori. Children that are respected, children that are allowed to follow their own development, and children that have their own prepared environment are children that are full of joy. I don't mean short-term fleeting happiness. I mean deep and meaningful joy. I want my children to feel that! I want to give them all the joy I can. And, Montessori does this in the most meaningful way. Montessori observed this in her early environments saying that the children were "filled with life and resembled those who have experienced some great joy."

Why doesn't Montessori stop at the doors of the classroom? Thoughts on why we use Montessori at home.

So, that's why I choose Montessori at home. This is why I cannot let Montessori stop at the classroom. It's why I prepare my home and why I watch my children. And, it's why I think you should use Montessori at home too!

Why do you choose Montessori at home? 


Popular Posts

The Ultimate Montessori Toy List -- Birth to Five -- UPDATED 2017

When you are interested in Montessori, it can be difficult to know exactly what types of products you should get for your home. Or which types of "Montessori" materials are really worth the price. There are no rules about types of products can use the name Montessori which can add to the confusion. Not to mention, every toy manufacturer slaps the word "educational" on the package for good measure!

2017 UPDATE: This post has been updated to include a variety of brands and new product finds! Just a reminder that no one child will be interested in all of this or needs all of this. These toys are just here to spark ideas and give you a feeling for some Montessori-friendly options available! 

So, with this post, I'm going to try to help with this confusion! Here's a list of Montessori-friendly toys and materials for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. 

First, let's clarify that there is no such thing as a "Montessori toy." Montessori never created to…

Which Open-Ended Toys are "Worth it?"

As a Montessori parent, I try to provide a mix of materials in our home to engage my kids! That work that will spark joy, concentration, and repetition. It's not always an easy task, as Maria Montessori said, "Life is mysterious...only the choice of life can choose the work that the child truly needs. Therefore, the teacher respects this mysterious process and knows to wait with faith." So, there does sometimes feel like there is a bit of trial and error when it comes to choosing materials that your children need. 

For us, the right balance is easier to find when I spend time deeply observing my children. Watching their interests, sitting on my hands if I have to, letting them struggle a little with things, and letting them get bored. And what I have personally found is that here at home, a combination of open ended materials and more structured work have been the right balance. Open ended toys wouldn't necessarily be found in a Montessori classroom, but they are perf…

A Montessori Approach to Purging Your Toys

Becoming a Montessori family has been life changing in so many ways, most obviously with the amount and type of materials we use in our home. Once you see why having so many toys is a problem, or when you make the decision to move towards Montessori, it can be completely overwhelming. But, taking a Montessori approach to purging your toys is possible! And, it doesn't exactly mean that you have to throw away everything you have and start over with only expensive wooden toys. It will mean taking a hard look at what you have and whether it really fits with Montessori.

One note, however, Montessori is at its core about following your child's own path and respecting your child as a whole person. So, if your child has a toy, lovey, book, or whatever that your child super loves or is super attached to, but it doesn't fit Montessori ideals, don't take it away. Follow your child, that is more Montessori than whether or not you own some specific consumer product. 
How to Purge You…