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Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Montessori "Areas" to Focus On at Home

As many parents are settling into a new reality around the world, we are all trying to find our balance. There are those that are used to being at home with their children but who are now completely confined to their homes. There are those who are trying to work from home without childcare. And there are some for whom those changes are coming soon. 

While we are all at home many parents are feeling an intense need to "homeschool" or teach their children. Others are feeling like this should just be a time for relaxation and connection. I'm sort of taking a middle ground here. Yes, we will have learning with Montessori and Montessori inspired materials we will also have lots of slow time to just be together in a relaxed and fun way. For the first couple of weeks our lives will be more about finding our rhythm together here at home, then we will add more and more academic work into the equation (especially for my 9yo Henry.) 


If you are feeling like you're in the same position, and you're looking for Montessori help, here is the one area I would focus on for each of these age groups. That isn't to say there aren't other things that you could focus on but this is one approach. Remember that it's most important to follow your own child and their individual path and interests.

Babies to 1-year-old 


Movement. As much as possible look for opportunities for movement with your baby. Whether you have a newborn or an 11-month-old, babies are called to move in order to develop themselves. So, how can you incorporate movement into your day? 


1-year-olds 


Language. At 1-year-old, toddlers are rapidly acquiring language. Any opportunity to play with and explore oral language development will be a huge hit with this age group. So look for opportunities to label things in the environment, to match pictures, to interact and play with language. 

2-year-olds


Practical Life. 2-year-olds love practical work! They want to do what you are doing and they want to do things for themselves. Create opportunities for them to do things around the house, care for themselves and care for their environment. 

3-year-olds


Fine Motor. 3-year-old are getting ready to write and move their hands in really awesome and exciting ways. Focusing on developing that hand strength is so important to take greater leaps into academic work as they get older. This can be done with language work (like sandpaper letters) but also through practical life, and simple fine motor trays. 


4-year-olds

 
Mathematics. Little children have a beautiful mathematical mind and around age 4 they really become interested in counting, and understanding numbers. This is a good time to play with numbers, introduce big numbers and math concepts. 

5 and 6-year-olds


Language. I've grouped these last couple ages together because change happens more slowly at these ages. We are back to language here but this time an intense focus on writing and reading. It's at this time that an explosion into writing and reading often takes place. Working on simple reading, writing, book making, and creating. They especially love any practical applications to their new found skills. 


7 to 9-year-olds 


Culture. By this age, children are often intensely interested in the world around them. Culture is a broad category in a Montessori classroom that includes science, geography, history, zoology and more. At this age, children can dive deeply into passion areas to explore their interests. This often happens in the form of research and then some big project to share and explore the topics further! And, bonus it's through these cultural studies that they will practice math, language, and other really important academic skills! 

There are so many activities that you could try with your children, here are some Montessori areas that you might want to focus on for each age

I hope this helps you narrow your search for learning activities as you are home with your children. Even if you are taking a more relaxed approach, let these guide your play choices!
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