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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Music Lessons with Ms. Marlie

Today’s music lesson: Ukulele.

It’s always wonderful when our teachers share their love of music with our students. This afternoon, we got the opportunity to listen to Ms. Marlie strum a few tunes on her ukulele, while experimenting with the strings ourselves. One of our friends even knew the names of all the chords! We played a few familiar songs, and even made up a few original tunes of our own.

picture2guitar_2 imageMusic is a beautiful thing to share in the classroom. It allows for an opportunity to meditate, or self-reflect. Music brings forth a great deal of concentration, self-discipline, creativity, and helps strengthen gross and fine motor skills (among many other things). Find any opportunity to share music in your classroom, and at home!

“There should be music in the child’s environment, just as there does exist in the child’s environment spoken speech” – Dr. Maria Montessori

 

 

Happy International Day of Peace!

“…establishing peace is the work of education” – Maria Montessori

This week, and every day, we celebrate peace. Peace is a fundamental principal integrated into our daily curriculum in the Montessori classroom.

On Wednesday, we celebrated International Day of Peace. We talked about ways we can help be peaceful in the classroom and at home. We made special “peace pinwheels” to carry on our peace parade. A few children pin-pricked peace doves or peace signs to help commemorate the holiday. We read books, practiced yoga, sang songs and enjoyed special works that promote peace and self-reflection.

We started the morning with a special peace parade to the flag pole, where we sang the “peace song” and recited the peace pledge.

DSC_0114“I pledge allegiance to the earth and to all life that it nourishes, all growing things, all species of animals and all races of people. 
I promise to protect all life on our planet, to live in harmony with nature and to share our resources justly, so that all people can live with dignity in good health and in peace.”
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dsc_0784dsc_0791We discussed ways to practice peace… Continue reading

Montessori Schools Offer Big Lessons For ‘Managers’

Article Credit, Ashoka, Contributor Group for Forbes

Montessori Schools Offer Big Lessons For ‘Managers’

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“No one could have foreseen that children had concealed within themselves a vital secret capable of lifting the veil that covered the human soul, that they carried within themselves something which, if discovered, would help adults to solve their own individual and social problems.”  — Dr. Maria Montessori

Did you know that children at Montessori schools regularly out-perform those who graduate from traditional schools? And that some of the leading innovators in the world, including Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Wikipedia’s Jimmy Wales credit their ability to think differently to their Montessori educations?

Founded in 1897 by Italian educator and physician Dr. Maria Montessori, the Montessori approach challenged predominant educational theories by giving children the freedom to grow, learn and contribute in the classroom.

Interestingly, although Dr. Montessori’s methodologies were developed for children and education, her philosophy was based on the science of life. So it makes sense that studies challenging the paradigm of ‘management’ today would echo several Montessori principles. The studies show striking parallels between the nature of children and adults, the environments needed to unleash potential in the classroom and the workspace and the role of teachers and leaders. Continue reading

146 Times Around the Sun: Happy Birthday, Dr. Maria Montessori!

146 times around the sun; Happiest of Birthdays, Dr. Maria Montessori!

Today is a day we celebrate the life and legacy of the most important, influential developer of the Montessori pedagogy.maria-montessori

Our Primary community celebrated by participating in a traditional Celebration of Life for Dr. Montessori.DSC_0710A few friends were chosen to walk the earth around the sun, signifying the years of her life. Naturally, we didn’t make it around the sun 146 times, however we did talk about significant milestones in her life after each lap.

Students were asked “What do you like most about Montessori?” One child said they thought she had good ideas about children. Another reflected on how she worked in a hospital. We learned lots of interesting facts today!DSC_0715Following tradition, we baked muffins for the occasion, and shared them as a class.

Happy Birthday Dr. Montessori!DSC_0721

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Biography

A physician, scientist, educator, innovator, child rights advocate…

Dr. Maria Montessori spent a lifetime developing an educational method focusing on the way that children learn. This method is still widely known and practiced today.

Dr. Montessori was born on August 31, 1870 in Chiaravalle, Italy. She later graduated from the University of Rome in 1896, becoming the first female doctor in Italy. She chose to focus on pediatrics and psychiatry as her specialties.

Maria Montessori became the director for the Orthophrenic School for developmentally disabled children in 1900. It was there that she began her research on early childhood development.

The first Montessori home was developed in 1907, called Casa dei Bambini (Children’s House). This is where Montessori first practiced her pedagogy, preparing each classroom environment to promote creative learning and exploration. Her methods soon became internationally recognized.

Around 1940, the Montessori movement began to fade, and Maria was forced out of Italy. She fled to India, where she developed a program called Education for Peace, which earned her two Nobel Peace Prize nominations.

In the years following, Maria Montessori continued to advance her approaches to education. She lectured all over the world, documenting her theories in books and articles. She developed a program to prepare teachers in the Montessori method; through her efforts, her pedagogy was adopted worldwide.

MONTESSORI READING: A JOURNEY OF SELF-DISCOVERY

MONTESSORI READING

Article credit, voilamontessori.com 

For conventional educators, reading is a skill that must be taught by means of drills, homework, and tests.  Yet, most children who go through authentic Montessori programs are not taught to read; they discover reading on their own!

How do Montessori children learn to read without direct adult instruction, and is it possible to give your child the same experience at home?

In a Montessori environment, preparation for reading is everywhere.  It’s in the left-to-right hand and eye movements required to wipe a shelf; in the rhyming songs we sing; in the vocabulary we give.

Presentations that guide a child towards reading start around 2 ½ years. With a fun group activity called Sound Games, children realize that words are made up of individual sounds.  Each sound is then associated with a symbol when Sandpaper Letters are introduced.  These symbols – the 26 letters that make up our alphabet – become the plastic (or wooden) letters of the Moveable Alphabet. Continue reading

Photo of the Day: Plant Care

I spy with my little eye… #plantcare #montessori #toddler #plants #magnifyingglass #floormat #sointrigued

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Photo of the Day: Fresh Vegetable Cutting

Fresh veggie cutting. #Hbmh #Montessori #veggiecutting #radishes #carrots #kale #cuttingboard #primary #veggiechopper #garden

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Photo of the Day: Getting in Touch with Nature

DSC_0471Education is a natural process spontaneously carried out by the human individual, and is acquired not by listening to words but by experiences in the environment.” – Dr. Maria Montessori