The Montessori Lifestyle

One of our most popular parent education topics is “Montessori in the home”. I think it’s wonderful that there’s a desire for consistency between home and school. Parents are very curious as to what their child is doing in the classroom, but more importantly, parents want to know what they can be doing in their home environment to continue to help their child thrive. Consistency is key!

Montessori is a wonderful concept that can easily be incorporated into any home setting. Focus on your child’s independence above all else. Do they have everything they need to succeed independently? For example, can they choose their own clothing in the morning, is there a stool in the bathroom so they can brush their teeth or wash their hands on their own, do you have an area of the kitchen set aside for them to grab eating utensils or a drink of water whenever they feel thirsty or hungry, do they have works and activities that stimulate their senses while strengthening their concentration and inner motivation? There are several factors to consider while implementing Montessori in the home. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

Develop a Routineimage (19)

Children have a great need for order and routine. The child’s sense of order is similar to a child’s thirst for water, or hunger for food. A child cannot succeed until there is order in their life. E.M. Standing said that “everything in [the child’s] environment should be kept in its accustomed place; and that the actions of the day should be carried out in their accustomed routine.” (Maria Montessori: Her Life and Work) It’s really no different than us adults needing routine in our life.

When a child knows their routine, and can predict what’s going to happen next, they’re able to be more independent. Place a few baskets in their closet, filled with clothes for the day so they can easily put them on, on their own. Offer choices as to what they would like to eat for breakfast, encourage them to help prepare the food. Place objects around the house to help them easily access the things they need (for instance, a stool in the bathroom to help them reach the sink).image (21)

Transitions are part of the child’s routine. Explain everything that you’re going to do, before you actually do them. This will help your child know the expectations, and not be surprised at the sudden change of activities.

Responsibility

Children want to have responsibility; to feel needed in their home environment. How much responsibility does your child have throughout their daily routine?dsc_0260

Encourage your child to make their bed every day, put dirty clothes in the hamper, fold/put away clean clothes, feed pets, put away toys or works after each use, help set the table for meals and clean up dishes afterwards, sweep/mop/vacuum floors, and so forth. These responsibilities don’t just come at a certain age, they can be provided as soon as your child shows an interest, or “readiness” to help around the house. Model for your child how to carry out each task, and share in their enjoyment once complete.

“Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed.” (Dr. Maria Montessori)dsc_0306

Grace and Courtesy in the Home

Grace and courtesy is a major component of our Montessori environment. Grace and courtesy lessons give the child the vocabulary, actions, and steps required for him to build his awareness and responsiveness to those around him. When we sneeze, we cover our mouths. When we have a runny nose, we use a tissue and throw it away afterwards. We say “excuse me” when walking around others who might be in our way. We say “thank you” when a friend helps. We know not to interrupt a guide during a lesson, but to wait patiently instead. The same practice can be done so at home. If you wish for your child to say “please” and “thank you”, you must do the same.

You can provide activities to help your child learn grace and courtesy. For instance, practice setting the table. Ask your child to help bring a few dishes, napkins, silverware, etc. to the table, remember to say please and thank you after each exchange. Practice different scenarios where your child would need to use grace and courtesy to achieve the end result.

Care of Environment/Care of Self

Our children are constantly tidying up after one another. When we spill water, we clean it up. We wash our own dishes after meal times. We clean the tables and chairs whenever needed. We care for plants through watering the soil and polishing the leaves. Often times, you might see a whole classroom full of toddlers cleaning or doing “practical life” works. This is very normal. Through care of environment, the child learns self control, scope and sequence, control of error, discipline, focus, and so much more.dsc_0226

You can encourage your child to do the same at home. Allow them to tidy up after themselves. Remind them to put away works when they’re through. Clean the table after mealtime. If you have a garden, allow your child to help water and harvest. Encourage them to help bathe themselves during bath time, brush their hair, teeth, and so forth.

There are so many other things that you as a parent can do to help your child succeed, while implementing Montessori in the home. Practicing Montessori in your home is a beautiful gift that you can give to your child. By doing so, you’re allowing your child the opportunity to grow and flourish successfully in an environment prepared specifically for them.

It’s that time of year again!

Help spread the word! Our 7th Annual HBMH Fall Festival is coming up on November 5 and we’re super excited! This is a community event – everyone is welcome to come! Join us for games, prizes, tractor rides, bounce houses, petting zoo, and our 2nd annual chili cook-off! We hope to see you all there!

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Aiding to the Construction of the Child’s Intelligence through the Education and Exploration of the Senses

When infants first interact with the world, they don’t have words to describe what they encounter, so they absorb their surroundings and new information through their senses. They experience the external world through the use of their senses. Our eyes help us see, our ears let us hear, our hands help us feel, our noses let us smell, and our tongues help us taste. feet

Children are spontaneous learners. Every day is a new opportunity for a child to learn. You can use almost anything surrounding you to help stimulate a child’s senses. Begin by experimenting with different smells, watch their expressive language for likes and dislikes. Visit a park, find nature objects to touch, taste, smell, using language to describe what you’re experimenting with. Children respond differently to sensory experiences. These experiences can greatly improve their motor skills, raise awareness of the world around them, and contribute to language acquisition. They can also be quite therapeutic. Enhancing and building upon the child’s senses helps improve their social, emotional, cognitive, physical and language development.basil

Continue reading

Soft Skills, by Peter Davidson, Montessori Blog

I had an interesting conversation with a prospective parent recently who teaches at a local college. She shared that she and her colleagues are constantly discussing “how underprepared kids are for college in terms of ‘soft skills.’” By soft skills she meant skills other than the purely academic — the personal qualities, habits and attitudes that make someone a successful college student and, by extension, a good boss or employee later in life. She had just come from an observation in toddlers and primary and was surprised to have seen that in Montessori, “starting in toddlers students develop the self-motivation, independence, and follow-through that many college students lack!” In other words, beginning at these very young ages, Montessori children are already developing the soft skills that will benefit them so greatly later in life.

It was a pretty astute observation for a prospective parent seeing Montessori for the first time, and it got me thinking. When I talk to parents, I often describe a Montessori learning material, like the binomial cube, detective adjective game, or golden beads, that leads to the acquisition of academic or “hard skills.” Obviously, hard skills are important, but soft skills are equally so. Continue reading

An Inside Look Into Toilet Learning the “Montessori” Way

Did you know that potty training, or “toilet learning”, as we call it, should start before 18 months of age? In our school, children begin the toileting process as soon as they can pull themselves up and support their bodies. It’s not about setting high expectations, assuming child will learn how to use the toilet and control their bladder right away, but more of establishing a routine, and providing all of the tools the child needs to succeed. In time, they will recognize that using the toilet is a common routine. They will internalize the concept, ‘my urine goes in the toilet, not in my diaper or on the floor’. They recognize that you respect their time and space by providing a safe place for them to fulfill their bodily needs. Each meticulous step in the toileting process, is a step towards the child’s overall independence and self confidence.

Learning to Walk

Parent Discovery Session: “Third Year Montessori”

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“At the end of the day, the most overwhelming key to a child’s success is the positive involvement of parents.” – Jane D Hull

We had a great turn out for last night’s Discovery Session, “See. Experience. Believe. Third-Year Montessori.” Families from all our classrooms came to witness our senior primary students presenting lessons in the classroom. Our friends were very excited to display works that they’ve been practicing for many months now! This was truly an enlightening, informative night!

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One of our friends showing the short chain of 1-5 to her parents. The beads allow the child to visually see number quantities, and skip count (3…6…9…and so forth). This is an important step in learning enumeration; a lesson that is taught all throughout their three-year primary cycle. It was so neat to witness our young friend teach her mom and dad this special lesson!

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Everything the child learns as a young infant, prepares them for works such as this. When they first enter the primary community at age 3, they’re given the opportunity to explore and discover their new community. The second year is a time of solidification, further refining these new-found skills. And the third year (5-6 years old) is a time for application. Each lesson builds upon itself, ultimately preparing the child for the last year in our primary community.

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I practiced for such a long time on the Map of Europe. My muscle memory allowed me to do the entire puzzle off the board, and without a control chart. I was so happy to include my mom and dad in this work!

Thank you, parents, for supporting your young ones, and being a big part of their educational development!

Summer Camp at HBMH – 2016

Summer Camp at HBMH – 2016

PEN, Third Year Montesssori

Join us tomorrow for a special Primary Discovery Session…

“See. Experience. Believe. Third-Year Montessori”

5:00pm in the library

Hosted by Ms. Geetha and Ms. Patti

(lessons presented by children 5 years and older)

This parent workshop is applicable to ALL our HBMH Families! We encourage everyone to join us!

Our Primary program is structured in a way that the 3 year old child, or “first year” is a time for discovery. The “second year” is a time of solidification. The 5/6 year old, or “third year” is a time for application for all the child has learned since early infancy. Our goal is simply to enlighten you and help you experience what your 5 or 6 year old child will be doing during their “third primary year” in Montessori. You’ll have the opportunity to witness lessons being given by some of our older, third-year students. We don’t always offer an opportunity like this, so now is your chance!

**Not all children will be presenting lessons. Classes will combine in Apple for those not participating in the workshop. Please RSVP if you plan to attend.

“Montessori children are encouraged to observe, explore, question, and investigate everything. They are allotted the freedom and time for the conception of a problem or situation and the discovery of its solution. This gives them the opportunity to produce ideas through flexibility which allows for the ability to switch from one perspective to another.” – Tami Kinna, Owner/Director HBMH

Hope to see you all there!