By aligning the home environment more closely with the child’s school environment, parents can obtain the best outcomes from their child’s Montessori education. Even small changes can yield great results.
Physical preparation of the home
The preparation of the child’s environment will change as he grows older. When the child is very young, the emphasis should be on safety, increasing independence, and access to appropriate toys and activities. For example, a young child might have a low table in the kitchen on which a glass and a small pitcher with water are available at all times. This allows the child to get a drink of water herself whenever she is thirsty. This kind of preparation of the home environment can be repeated in many ways, and mirrors closely the self-directed experiences the child has in the Montessori classroom.
Active participation in home life
Children feel great satisfaction when they are included in family tasks. From setting the table, to folding the laundry, to raking leaves, fostering your child’s genuine interest in contributing to family life benefits everyone. The child feels confidence and self-worth at having contributed, and parents set up an expectation from an early age that everyone helps around the house.
Encouraging your child to make choices at an early age is one of the most powerful gifts a parent can offer. Giving choices fosters independence, cooperation and experience with natural consequences. This can be done in many ways. For a very young child, it can be as simple as, “Would you like to wear the blue shirt or the red shirt today?” This technique of offering choices can be extended into all parts of the child’s life, growing in relation to her abilities, and leading to development of executive function and self-regulation.