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February 24, 2020

Freedoms of a Montessori Classroom to Try at Home

Happy Montessori Education Week 2020! In the United States, people across the country are celebrating Montessori Education Week. Here in Minnesota that includes a proclamation by the governor and celebrations across Montessori school communities. My kid's schools are celebrating and so are we at home. This celebration has me considering the ways that we have incorporated Montessori principles into our home. 

In particular, the freedoms of a Montessori classroom that have become cornerstones for our way of life. While there are many freedoms in a Montessori classroom, I've chose three that are central to bringing Montessori home. 

3 Freedoms of a Montessori classroom to incorporate into a Montessori home

Freedom of Movement 

I've talked a lot about the freedom of movement and the importance of valuing movement at home before. Maria Montessori was very clear that movement is central to the Montessori method. She said, "This is both education of movement...and through movement." Movement happens through the work in the classroom - small movements and big movements. Movement happens as child decide where to work - at small tables, chowkies, or on the floor. Movement happens when they find and return work to shelves. Movement happens through practical life - sweeping, scrubbing tables, gardening, and playing outdoors. 

The same should be true in our homes. Children should have the opportunity to move continuously from birth. They should be given access to your home. Devices that restrict movement should be avoided including baby containers. And, as the adult we need to recognize and accept our children's need to move. Often this is more about our own attitude toward movement and by shifting our perspective we can understand how essential movement is. 

Freedom of Choice

The freedom of choice is another fundamental part of a Montessori classroom. Children are free to choose what work they want to work on, where they want to work, and how they want to complete the work. Maria Montessori said, "Free choice is one of the highest mental processes." She knew that children were capable of making choices and following through on the choices that they had made. Now, these choices were limited by the environment and children were not just set free to make any choice that they wanted. 

But, these limits must be scarce and necessary. Dr. Montessori went on to say,  "the child whose attention has once been help by a chosen a delivered soul...from this moment theres is no need to worry about him - except to prepare the environment which satisfies his needs, and to remove obstacles which may bar his way to perfection." 

At home, we can carry out these same principles by offering choices to our children - even to our babies and toddlers. Once we give a choice, we need to respect that choice and try to understand it. When children have made a choice of activity, respect it and trust it. 

3 Freedoms of a Montessori classroom to incorporate into a Montessori home

Freedom of Repetition 

In Montessori classrooms, children are free to repeat a work for as long as they like and as often as they like. It is through this process of repetition that mastery is achieved. A child can work at their pace and if that means do nothing but one work for a week straight, then we accept that. If a child wants to follow the same routine of work, we accept that. Maria Montessori said, "repetition is the secret of perfection." It's through repeating and repeating those choices, that movement, that a child will perfect that skill they are working on. 

In a home, we also need to respect this need for repetition. We can't rotate toys too quickly. We need to keep a routine and rhythm for our home. We should avoid forcing a child to share before they are done with a toy. Allow and respect repetition. Create opportunities for repeating. Give your child enough time to repeat work. '

This Montessori Education Week, I hope you can look for opportunities to allow these freedoms in your home. If your child goes to Montessori school, look for these freedoms in their work at school! 

3 Freedoms of a Montessori classroom to incorporate into a Montessori home

Have you incorporated these or other Montessori freedoms into your home? 


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