With numerous schools closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, parents struggle to continue providing quality education to their children while instilling the quintessential Montessori values. After all, the Montessori way of teaching has been extremely popular over the last few decades. It’s known for adhering to Catholic beliefs while equipping children with the knowledge, skills, and concepts they need to succeed in life.
However, with many families all over the country working and learning from home, teaching children the Montessori philosophy may be a little tricky. Fortunately, there are ways to practice these principles at home, even when schools are closed. Here’s how:
Teach With the Senses
Maria Montessori’s teaching philosophy was that young children are sensory learners, and they’ll need to interact with the world physically to comprehend it. In doing so, they will be able to develop their own thoughts based on their perceptions and interpretations of their surroundings.
At these young ages, they also have a very absorbent mind. It’s the ideal time to teach them languages and other essential skills that become more difficult to learn later. Providing them with plenty of opportunities to use their senses and encouraging them to seek new experiences will reinforce Montessori values, even at home.
Allow them to experience new textures through special toys or safe household objects, like sponges. They’ll eventually learn that most rough-textured items are meant for scrubbing and exfoliating purposes and that most soft, absorbent objects may be used for cleaning.
Children need their own space to focus and work. Allowing them the freedom to explore is essential, as it introduces them to new concepts and ideas while encouraging them to figure it out themselves. Even though they’re young, they have an incredible capacity to accomplish many tasks on their own. They must first need to be shown how to do it, then allowing them to do it themselves. They must also be allowed to fail to teach them the value of persevering.
Doing this also encourages independence in children, which is a valuable skill needed to thrive. A great way to do this is to have children help take care of their home environment, just like they do at school. Giving them opportunities to clean, like sweeping floors and folding their clothes, will help instill a sense of independence and responsibility. It will also help them understand the value of contributing to the home and its upkeep.
Allow Them to Move
Distance learning has been difficult for both children and parents for quite a few reasons, one being that many little ones struggle to keep still. They aren’t meant to. Although children are perfectly capable of sitting in one place and occupy themselves with an object or a toy, they can do this because they’re actively moving their hands. They need purposeful movement—something that allows them to strengthen their fine motor skills—which cannot be done by sitting and staring at a computer or tablet screen.
For example, at school, a child might sit at a table and work on painting a freshly sculpted pottery vase. Even though they’ll be sitting in one place for an extended period, they’ll be working on strengthening their hand-eye coordination by painting the design they want. This also stimulates their creativity and allows them the freedom to experiment with different color combinations to produce various colors.
Once they’re done painting, they’ll continue moving. A child will get out of their chair, dispose of the water they used to dip their brush and clean their supplies. Children don’t need large, explosive movements to keep stimulated; their movement just has to be purposeful.
Although schools are closed in the meantime, your children don’t have to lack opportunities to learn something new every day. Involving them in home activities is a great way to cultivate Montessori values while teaching them new skills. Whether it’s teaching them math through a baking recipe or language through a fun board game, Montessori principles can be conducted at home.St. Aloysius School is a Catholic institution in Springville, New York that practices academic excellence in its curriculum. Our culture and lessons are designed to reinforce spiritual and emotional maturity, develop a strong moral character, and cultivate the skills needed for successful learning.