The wonderful Montessori-certified teacher that runs ourat-home program, Katie, also teaches at the Montessori Teachers College in Toronto.
Every year she has her students do the same exercise that she also recommends to parents in our program.
The Exercise >
Spend time in each area of your home at your child’s eye-level. Lie down on your stomach or back, sit on your bottom or knees.
Seems silly but it’s an eye-opening experience, trust me.
What do you see? This is what your child sees. How do you feel? Are you comfortable? Are there interesting things to look at? What catches your attention?
Dr. Montessori said:
“The child has a different relation to his environment from ours… the child absorbs it. The things he sees are not just remembered; they form part of his soul. He incarnates in himself all in the world about him that his eyes see and his ears hear.” (The Absorbent Mind)
What to do with this information 🤔
Once you experience the world at your child’s level, you might find that things aren’t ideal for a small child. It might feel cluttered, overwhelming, or even boring if there’s nothing to engage them at that level.
So what changes can you make that will encourage independent play, focus, and bring joy?
The best place to start is often their playspace or the living room, wherever they spend most of the day.
There’s a few simple things you can do:
Ensure the space is free from obstacles. Can your child scoot/crawl/walk around the room freely?
This may mean moving large furniture or toys that create obstacles in the room.
Are there enough toys/materials available to stimulate the child but not overwhelm them?
Children need to repeat activities, movements and ideas in order to master a new skill. It seems counter-intuitive but by providing your child with less to do, you are actually enriching their learning experience. You are giving them time to explore. To absorb all the characteristics and properties of a material or toy.
For an Infant, I’d recommend 1-3 toys out at a time.
For a toddler aged child, I’d recommend 3-6 toys out at a time.
Is there a shelf where the child can find different activities throughout the day? A simpleMontessori shelf makes it really easy to keep things organized and allows your child to remove activities independently.
Are the materials organized in a way that the child can remove them and then return them to the shelves? Baskets and trays are a great addition to a child’s toy shelf. They keep everything organized and provide your child with a clear and simple way to tidy up. Children love to know where things go, so try to find a place for everything and be consistent. By creating order, your child will begin to make connections like, ”I took this basket of blocks off the shelf and I know where it goes because I find it in the same place every day.”
Select activities that your child can work with independently. Leave the same materials on the shelves for at least a week or two, depending on how frequently the child works with them. Observe your child’s interest and engagement with the materials and rotate as needed.
As always, we never want to add more to your plate. As parents ourselves, we know how much pressure there is to do it all perfectly.
Even just implementing 1-2 ideas can help!
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