Welcome to Part III of our three-part Montessori Parenting Series, where we highlight ways you can practice Montessori methods of child development and education at home with your preschooler.
Equally important is developing a sense of independence for your child. According to Dr. Maria Montessori, founder of the Montessori method of child development and education:
“Any child who is self-sufficient, who can tie his shoes, dress or undress himself, reflects in his joy and sense of achievement the image of human dignity, which is derived from a sense of independence. We must support as much as possible the child’s desires for activity; not wait on him, but educate him to be independent.”
Creating a Montessori lifestyle at home includes designing a stable environment where the child has purposeful activities that inspire discovery, teach self-reliance, and build self-confidence. Dr. Montessori believed that a child inherently wants to do things for themselves. When a child focuses on understanding and completing a purposeful task, they are fine-tuning concentration skills with the intent of accomplishment.
As a parent, there are many ways we can encourage constructive behavior and habits at home. Below are a few examples:
Getting dressed in the morning and preparing to go to school are activities that a child can learn to do on their own. Encourage your child to lay out their clothes and put the items they need for school in a backpack the night before. Your child will learn to think for themselves and plan ahead. Being prepared saves so much time and effort in the morning, avoiding unnecessary delays and confusion. Children need stability, consistency, purposefulness, and calmness in their environment, whether at home or in the classroom.
Every member of a family has responsibilities, including your child. You can help your child be a contributing member of the home by assigning tasks that are age-appropriate. Start small and build a foundation of purposeful activities. Setting the table for meals, watering plants, dusting, putting away toys, or caring for a pet are easy, simple tasks that your child can accomplish on their own. You’ll see the pride they take in performing each task successfully and the enthusiasm to do more.
Praise efforts, as well as the results
Everyone, including your child, wants to feel acknowledged and appreciated. It’s important to recognize the effort that went into the task or behavior, not just the end result. That’s why you should praise the effort that went into completing a school project, participating in a competition, or acting in kindness to help another person. Your child may not always “win” at an activity; it’s “trying their best” and acting with integrity that is truly the life lesson. You’ll teach your child perseverance, humility, and compassion.
Develop problem-solving skills
As a parent, we sometimes feel compelled to remove any obstacles or problems in our child’s path. However, it’s essential for children to learn how to deal with conflict and find resolutions. You can help them cope and face their fears by taking time to talk through a problem your child may be having and help determine possible solutions. For example, if your child is having difficulty working as part of a team with classmates. First, understand the cause of frustration or anxiety. Is it shyness, fear of trying something new, or lack of interest in the activity? From there, you can identify ways to solve the problem and encourage your child to act on positive solutions.
While the Montessori philosophy encourages freedom of movement and inspires a child to express themselves, some boundaries must be established to maintain discipline, harmony, and respect for others. To be a part of a family, classroom, or community, parameters must be defined to ensure the well-being of all. If your child wants to do something outside of the rules you’ve set, explain why it’s important that they abide by your wishes and what the benefits are to everyone.
At Apple Montessori Schools, we believe that we are a partner in your child’s development, creating a bridge between home life and the classroom to do what’s best for the child. We focus on each stage of development, providing the welcoming environment and opportunities for discovery and exploration that spark your child’s natural curiosity and intellect to be a confident, respectful, and independent person. Watch our videos.