The Montessori education method is developed by Italian psychologist and educationist Maria Montessori. So when it comes to Montessori education, what comes to mind first? I think many people’s first thought is “environment”. Yes, the most representative of the Montessori education method is their unique educational environment. Montessori’s educational environment is a well-designed open and safe space, using a wide range of professional materials so that children can learn and explore the surrounding environment every day, and get discovery and growth from it. If you are interested in Montessori education, you can try to create a Montessori environment for your children at home. Through meaningful games, you can cultivate your children’s inner ability to understand the world and their learning ability in the next few years.
So how to create a Montessori environment at home?
First of all, you need to be clear about the stage your child is in. The environment that infants and primary school students need is different. Then we should decorate the environment at home according to the age of the child, choose the appropriate furniture and teaching aids, and arrange all the things that the child needs within his reach. The most important point is to respect children’s independence. The characteristics of Montessori’s education law lie in emphasizing independence, limited freedom, and respect for children’s natural psychological, physiological and social development.
Now let’s take the infant stage as an example to prepare a Montessori environment
First of all, we should provide a safe enough environment. Safety is the foundation of everything!! Nail the furniture on the wall or try to choose heavy furniture that is not easy to dump, cover the power socket, remove all sharp objects, and try to create a safe environment for children to move and explore freely.
Then prepare furniture suitable for children’s size, such as a low floor bed, so that children can complete the transfer from the game area to the rest area. At this stage, remember to put toys of the right age within the reach of children, such as small baskets with different materials, low-hanging toys, and other sensory toys. You can use this way to encourage children’s curiosity about the world. You can also prepare a mirror with an armrest so that children can see their actions and become aware of their actions. A set of children’s size small tables and chairs is also a good choice. Put them next to your dining table, so that children can practice eating independently from eating solid food.
Please note that we respect children’s independence, but independence doesn’t mean letting go. The best game for children is to communicate and interact with their parents and the world. Please take your children to nature for more activities, even if it’s just basking in the sun?
We just gave a brief introduction to the Montessori environment as an example. Now let’s summarize.
1. To identify your child’s developmental stage, Montessori has four distinct periods. Each stage has different characteristics. Montessori education encourages different education methods for children at different stages, so distinguishing your child’s stage is the first step.
2. Choose the right furniture, toys, and teaching materials. Furniture should be selected according to children’s age, height, etc. try to choose low furniture, so that children can complete their daily activities without the help of others, or furniture that can help children complete their daily activities independently, such as learning tower and bathroom stool. Choose toys made of natural materials, such as wood and metal. Natural materials can stimulate children’s senses through appearance, feeling, and smell. Pay attention not to choose plastic products. Choose toys and teaching materials based on real-life to help children learn to be based on reality rather than fantasy. Choosing nonpassive toys can stimulate children’s ideas, make decisions, and firmly follow their wishes. Finally, don’t prepare too many toys at one time, which will distract children’s attention. It’s difficult for children to make decisions among many choices. You need to observe the changes in children’s interests and preferences from time to time and adjust and replace toys based on them.
3. Choose the right shelf for your toys. Choose a low, solid, and stable cabinet made of natural materials. It’s better to have a certain weight or be nailed to the wall. It’s not easy to overturn. It can also help your child stand and learn to walk, and it can easily get what he wants. Put the teaching aids neatly on these shelves, pay attention not to put too many at a time, and pay attention to timely replacement. After using the teaching aids, teach the children to put the teaching aids back in place and cultivate good habits. At this stage, children don’t like to use tables, they prefer to play with their toys on the ground, so remember to prepare some activity mats on the ground to help them distinguish the work area.
Some people may have a question: why should we educate children in infancy? In fact, children have begun to absorb all the knowledge around them in their early childhood. The environment they live in is the source of their learning. Therefore, early education has many advantages in cultivating children’s behavior, self-confidence, curiosity, communication skills, learning enthusiasm, and so on. As we all know, the most famous Montessori education method is early childhood education, which is a teaching method summed up by Dr. Montessori in the 50 years of teaching. It can promote the development of children’s critical thinking in the collaborative hands-on learning environment, and it is a teaching method that focuses on children’s whole physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development. If you are interested in the Montessori teaching method, you might as well try to create a Montessori environment at home and try it yourself.