Often times parents will ask how to incorporate more Montessori into their home environment. They can easily see how the philosophy is implemented in a classroom environment, but are at a loss for how to incorporate and execute Montessori’s teachings in the home. For me personally, the easiest place to start is the kitchen. Between washing dishes, sweeping, mopping, pouring water, helping cut vegetables and preparing snacks, the options of what your little is capable of doing in the kitchen are endless.
Since my daughter was very young – 18 months or so, I started allowing her to use glassware so she would learn from an early age how to gently care for breakable items. Same with knives and even the stove. I certainly do not let her use any of these items without my close supervision and a lot of education on how these things can be very dangerous, but in my opinion, the earlier we let our children use real “materials”, the sooner they develop a sense of independence and pride.
On any given day in our home you will see my three year old get her own bowls, cups and utensils from her low cabinet, push her stool to the sink to wash dishes and hands, or to the pantry to reach a snack. When it’s time for prepping meals she’ll pull her stool to the counter to help me cut vegetables, pour ingredients, stir, and rinse the cutting board.
It can be hard at first for parents to allow their children these responsibilities because, let’s face it, is so much quicker and cleaner to do these tasks alone. But I try to remember that when we allow our children to do the work of grownups, we are building into them and preparing them to be successful children and adults. There is also such a sense of accomplishment in allowing them to do real work, and seeing that is immeasurable.
About Lindsay Dewald
Lindsay first fell in love with the Montessori philosophy 12 years ago, while working at an after-school program and pursuing a degree in Marketing. She realized that her love for working with children wasn’t a fall back, but rather what she was meant to do.
While working as an assistant in the classroom, Lindsay completed her Montessori training, and went on to help establish a primary classroom in her hometown of Cincinnati. Alongside her husband, she now runs a small business called the City Flea and stays home with her two ‘Montessori girls’. Read more on Montessorium’s Guidepost Parent app for parents, and Lindsay’s Instagram.
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