Our families chose Apple because a Montessori whole child education matches their values. Our Parent Seminars were designed to further bridge the gap between home and school by offering topics in which our parents themselves have shown the most interest.
Bringing Montessori Home Seminar
Parents love that one of the many strengths of Montessori is how it teaches children to be independent and self-motivated. They often ask how they can bring Montessori principles and practices into their home. That’s why this most recent seminar focused on Practical Life and care of self and the environment. And it wouldn’t be Montessori if we didn’t make the lessons hands-on fun.
Practical Life Activities
Practical life activities are the routine things we do to keep the family and household running smoothly, like preparing meals, cleaning up, and getting dressed in the morning. Since so much of what children do in the classroom is based on daily life, it’s easy to apply the same principles at home.
Children love participating in these daily tasks. They can seem like boring chores to adults because we have grown so accustomed to doing them, but for children who haven’t yet had a chance to master them, they are exciting challenges. Children also love to imitate what they see in their environment and they like not feeling left out of the activities that take place around them, so getting to participate in the things that the grown-ups do is great fun for them.
And it’s more than just fun for the children—and nice for the parents to get a helping hand—it’s also a critical component of learning. While it’s great to see results like a clean stack of dishes, a hand-made birthday card for a relative, or a tidy floor, the really amazing stuff is what’s going on in the brain. Practical life tasks like pouring, scrubbing, and sorting all hep a child develop general skills like concentration, manual dexterity, and coordination. And on top of that, there are emotional benefits that come with taking an active role in the household, including developing confidence, independence, and a sense of responsibility.
The “Montessori at Home” Seminar
We held three 20-minute sessions during the seminar, each of which were focused on a different aspect of the Practical Life approach and some of the core skills involved in them. Our session on “Care of Environment and Self” gave advice on helping young children learn to do things like put on or hang up a jacket, pouring liquids or dry items, and caring for plants. The session on “Food Preparation” included spreading, setting the table, and opening and closing lunch containers. And, finally, the session on “Creative Art” went over activities like cutting, mixing colors, and dot painting.
Parents enjoyed hearing about 10 ways to bring Montessori home into your home like creating a child-sized environment to encourage your child’s independence. We also gave a room-by-room description of ways to prepare the home environment from a Montessori perspective such as setting up a snack station in the kitchen. While we gave advice on how to undertake specific activities, successfully implementing the practical life approach really boils down to three things:
Start small: Start them off with a simple activity, like slicing a banana to prepare a snack, and gradually add extra tasks.
Break activities down into steps: Complex tasks can be overwhelming for young children, so have them focus on one step at a time. For example, when they’re helping out with the dishes, ask them to wipe all the forks dry before moving on to the next step of putting them away in the drawer.
Model the activities: Children will have a much better understanding of the task if they see you doing it, and will eagerly partake in it if you show them how much fun it can be.
We are very excited to offer these Parent Seminars and we encourage every family to attend. It’s a great way for us to connect and to build continuity between your child’s school and home lives.
And it’s not too late for parents who are interested in taking part in the “Montessori at Home” seminar; the last one will be taking place in Edison on May 4th.