- When to Start Montessori
- Creating a Montessori Environment for 0-3 Years Old
- Encouraging Independence
- Helping Develop Skills
- Reading Books For 0-3 Years Old
- Using Montessori Materials
The Montessori method is a way of teaching that focuses on the child. Children are encouraged to be independent, learn by doing things themselves, and explore through hands-on activities.
Between the ages of 0 and 3, children are considered to be in a “sensitive period for order”. During this time, they have a strong desire for routine and order in their lives. They take pleasure in having a predictable environment where they can anticipate what comes next.
By providing a safe and supportive environment that balances routine and exploration, parents can help their children develop their cognitive and motor skills that will support their learning and development throughout their lives.
When to Start Montessori
It’s never too early to start implementing Montessori principles in your child’s life! Even from birth, you can provide a safe and supportive environment that encourages exploration and learning. By offering materials and activities that suit your child’s age, you can help them develop important thinking and movement skills. As your child grows and changes, you can keep changing and improving your Montessori environment to suit their needs and interests.
Creating a Montessori Environment for 0-3 Years Old
Montessori environments are designed to be simple, beautiful, and uncluttered. This helps children focus on the materials and activities in front of them, without being distracted by visual clutter.
Materials are arranged on shelves in an orderly and accessible way, so that children can easily choose what interests them.
When setting up your Montessori environment, remember that it is important to offer your child a wide variety of age-appropriate materials and activities. This will help keep them engaged and interested, and will encourage them to explore and discover new things.
To create a Montessori setting for your infant and toddler, here are some general guidelines:
- Maintain simplicity, order, and beauty
- Provide materials and activities that encourage hands-on learning
- Designate a place for everything and in an orderly and accessible way
- Create a safe and child-friendly area where the child can explore freely
Prepared Environment for Infants:
Infants need plenty of opportunities to move and explore their environment. Allow them to crawl, roll, and play on the floor, and provide plenty of tummy time to help them develop their muscles.
They also thrive on social interaction and love to be around people. Spend plenty of time talking, singing, and playing with your child, and encourage social interactions with other children and adults. You can also introduce different colors, textures, temperatures, and install age-appropriate mobiles.
Some Montessori-inspired mobile ideas for infants include:
- Black and white mobiles to stimulate visual development
- Simple geometric mobiles to encourage focus and concentration
- Nature-inspired mobiles featuring leaves, flowers, and other natural materials
- Sound and music mobiles featuring bells, chimes, and other musical instruments
Remember to choose mobiles that are age-appropriate and safe for your child. Mobiles should be hung securely out of reach of your child, and should be checked regularly for signs of wear and tear.
The Montessori method is all about fostering independence in children. Here are some things you can do towards that:
- Allow your child to select their preferred activities.
- Encourage your child to dress themselves and do other tasks independently.
- Teach your child to take care of or respect their own belongings and the objects around them.
By encouraging independence, you are helping your child develop important life skills and a sense of self-confidence. In Montessori, the adults act as guides rather than instructors, allowing children to take an active role in their own learning.
Helping Develop Skills
Developing Gross Motor Skills
It’s such a delight to witness milestones of infants and toddlers from lifting their head, crawling, walking to running. The gross motor skills of these younger children develop as they do more of these activities:
- Tummy time for neck and upper body strength
- Playing with balls or other objects that encourage reaching, grasping, throwing, rolling, and crawling
- Walking with a wagon or something weighted that they can push as they walk
- Climbing on furnitures with supervision
- Dancing and other physical activities
Developing Fine Motor Skills and Hand-Eye Coordination
The Montessori method also emphasizes the importance of developing fine motor skills. Fine motor skills are essential for tasks such as writing, drawing, and using scissors.
To help your child develop fine motor skills, you can provide them with a variety of age-appropriate activities such as:
- Object permanence box
- Coin box or slotted box
- Stacking Rings
- Knobbed Puzzles
- Matching Cards
- Grading sizes
- Drawing and coloring
- Cutting and pasting
- Pouring and scooping
- Pin Poking
- Threading beads into a string
- …and more!
Check out my Montessori shop for printable resources and materials you can use at home!
Promoting Cognitive Development
To help your child develop important cognitive skills, you can give them a range of activities suitable for their age, such as:
- Sorting and classifying objects by color, shape, or size
- Using sensory bottles and tactile materials
- Matching objects or pictures to their corresponding names or categories
- Identifying and labeling objects in their environment
- Using memory games and puzzles
Make sure that these activities have control of error or are self-correcting, so your child can learn independently. Remember to be patient and allow your child to work at their own pace and practice repeatedly.
Reading Books For 0-3 Years Old
Reading books is an important part of any child’s education, and it is no different in a Montessori environment. When choosing books that align with the Montessori philosophy of education for your child, consider these few guidelines:
- Realistic illustrations: Montessori books should feature realistic illustrations that accurately portray the natural world. This helps children develop a sense of appreciation for the world around them.
- Simple language: Montessori books should use simple language that is easy for young children to understand. This helps children build their vocabulary and develop language skills.
- Real-life themes: Montessori books should feature real-life themes that are relevant to young children. For example, books about animals, nature, and everyday life are good choices.
- Cultural diversity: Montessori books should reflect the diversity of the world we live in. This means choosing books that feature characters from different cultures and backgrounds.
When you read books with your little ones, it’s important to get them engaged and involved in the process. You can ask questions that help them connect what they’re reading to the world around them, and encourage them to think deeply about what they’re reading.
With these books, you can help your child develop a lifelong love of reading and a natural curiosity about the world around them.
Using Montessori Materials
Depending on the child’s readiness and preparations beforehand, some Montessori materials can be introduced for children around age 3.
Some examples of Montessori materials for young children include:
- Language materials, such as language objects and three-part cards
- Sensory materials, such as sandpaper letters and geometric shapes
- Practical life materials, such as transferring materials and dressing frames
- Math materials, such as number rods and counters
One of the key principles of the Montessori method is that children learn best when they are actively engaged in the learning process.
The authentic Montessori materials were created to promote such kind of learning and should be presented with care. There are available Montessori albums which provide the theories and guidelines for presenting the materials as originally intended.
Using the Montessori method for homeschooling can be a joy-filled experience for both you and your child. By providing the necessary tools and preparing the environment (as well as yourself as their guide), you can help your child develop a lifelong passion for learning.
Keep at it and trust the process.