What is Montessori and How You can Easily Implement it at Home With Your Stepchild
Montessori is a method of education created by Italian physician Maria Montessori. This style of learning allows the child to take the lead. Many people wonder how to start Montessori at home with their stepchild because it is one of the best ways to learn as a child is growing up.
The idea is to prepare the environment for them to learn and observe. Instead of trying to force the child to do a specific activity, you let them choose an activity that they are interested in and focus on that.
Prepare the environment so that they can learn and master that activity, and then move on to something else.
Allowing the child to direct their own learning encourages independence, promotes self-confidence, and keeps them interested in learning.
Areas of Montessori learning
In a Montessori curriculum, there are different activities for different age groups starting from infancy to adolescence.
For babies and toddlers, the areas of focus in a Montessori curriculum are:
- Hand-Eye Coordination
- Music & Movement
- Practical Life
- Arts and Crafts
For older kids, the five areas of learning are:
- Practical life
There are countless ways you can incorporate Montessori at home with your stepchild into everyday play. You just need to be prepared and vigilant with the whole process so it can effectively work.
How To Incorporate Montessori Into Your Home
As mentioned before, a big part of Montessori education is a prepared environment.
To incorporate Montessori at home with a stepchild, you will need to go in each room and get at your stepchild’s eye level. Is it inviting? Does it encourage hands-on learning?
If you can, give them their own space in each room that promotes their own independence. It will be a great way to use this education method at home from the start.
Children of all ages want to be a part of the family, and including them will help develop and master their own skills.
You can start to set your home up as a Montessori learning environment one room at a time. If you try to tackle the entire house at once, you may get overwhelmed. It’s okay to build the learning space over time rather than trying to accomplish it overnight.
Your stepchild’s bedroom might be a good place to start.
In my daughter’s bedroom, she has a toddler bed. Many moms who incorporate Montessori in their homes prefer floor beds for their children.
She is able to lay down in her bed when she’s tired and get out of bed when she wakes up without requiring anyone’s attention.
Some may worry that their child will get up in the middle of the night and wander around so what you can do to ease that worry is install a baby gate on their bedroom door, babyproof their room, and remove anything hazardous. If you want to feel extra cautious, installing a baby monitor or camera is something you can do.
My daughter might wake up, quietly play with books and toys in her bedroom, and crawl back into bed when she’s ready to get back to sleep.
In her room, there is also a small closet rack where I display two outfit options.
This allows her to pick out her own outfit at the start of the day. Letting children make decisions encourages their confidence and independence, even small decisions such as an outfit.
Another great addition to a child’s bedroom is a reading corner. A small bookshelf in the child’s reach and a chair for them to sit in with the book will encourage them to read by choice.
If you keep your stepchild’s toys in their bedroom, try to display a handful of inviting activities on a shelf and putting the rest of their toys and activities away.
When they have 30 different things to choose from, it’s hard to focus on what they actually have.
Setting out a few allows them to pick out activities, master them, and then rotate that activity out with a new one. Rotating out activities and toys will keep the child excited to play because it has a “new” feeling.
A small touch I’ve added to my daughter’s room is a small tent filled with stuffed animals and sensory toys. This is a space where she can go when she gets overwhelmed or frustrated and needs to take a break.
When Learning how to start Montessori at home with a stepchild, you need to remember that the kitchen is a great learning space for children of all ages.
For example, if your stepchild is a toddler, allow them to wash the vegetables while you are making dinner. If they’re a bit older, allow them to take on a bigger task.
There are endless opportunities for practical life activities.
A really helpful tool for toddlers to use in the kitchen is a wooden tower. The child can step in and out of it to reach the kitchen counter and sink area.
They have a safety rail to prevent them from getting hurt. With a kitchen tower, you can include your child in washing dishes and preparing meals.
For toddlers, another learning tool you can add to your kitchen is a child-sized kitchen.
You can store their dishes there and some readily available snacks that they can grab for themselves. There are even tutorials online on how to remove the toy sink and install a water pump to make the sink on the toy kitchen functional.
With this, the child can wash their own dishes, their hands, or fruit.
You can add child-sized cooking utensils for them to learn how to use. Adding a child-sized table and chairs also gives the child a place to sit down and eat or practice setting the table.
The Living Room
If you keep toys and activities in your living room, organize them on shelves so that they are attractive and inviting to the child.
It also demonstrates to the child that everything has a place and sets an example to the child to clean up after themselves.
This will also prevent your living area from being cluttered with toys, which most parents will appreciate. You might also add a child-sized lounge chair and wall art at their eye level, which could be incorporated in any room in the house.
If you are potty training, your stepchild’s space in your bathroom might look like a training toilet and a shelf with diapers, wipes, and books.
If they are past that, you can add a small grooming station where they can access their toothbrush, hairbrush, and other items to take care of themselves. This teaches them good hygiene and will build a habit of cleanliness in them.
Applying Curriculum In Day To Day Life
The word “curriculum” may seem overwhelming. You don’t have to have elaborate lesson plans every day of the week. It can be as simple as splitting the 5 areas of learning up throughout the weekdays and doing one small activity daily. It doesn’t have to be a rigorous schedule.
For example, for music and movement, you may listen to music and dance for a while. For vocabulary, you might spell with blocks for 15 minutes. You can also set them up to learn how to water the plants or wipe spills when they make a mess.
Instead of being specific about lessons, try to go with the flow. Observe them in their environment and encourage their learning. The only time you should step in is if they ask you.
Final Thoughts – How To Start Montessori At Home With Stepchild
In your day-to-day life, you will find many opportunities for their learning. Learning how to start Montessori at home with your stepchild will take some time to get accustomed to but will greatly benefit everyone.
This is why applying Montessori education methods may be much easier with a support team. Try to communicate well with all involved parties and work together to support your stepchild’s learning.
An environment of love and support will build the child’s confidence and further encourage their independence. Providing this is a great first step to Montessori-style learning.
you can discuss with them the steps you are taking to implement this type of training and explain why the effort should be put in all-around to the best of everyone’s ability.