Montessori Isn’t Just School
Attending a Montessori school isn’t always an option. There are many reasons families know about Montessori, but their child isn’t enrolled in a school. Sometimes there isn’t a school in the area, or it’s fully enrolled, or it’s out of the budget, or the hours or location don’t work for your family, or your children are too little or too big. Some families have chosen unschooling, or home schooling, or are thrilled with their in-home daycare or nanny or grandparent or gainfully unemployed parent as the primary caregiver. Sometimes the Montessori school, isn’t really Montessori. Sometimes, it’s Summer.
“Montessori is more than just the materials and the school building and the trained teacher, it’s a philosophy.”
But there’s something about this philosophy that appeals to you. Maybe it’s memories of beautiful materials and never struggling with math. Maybe it’s a blog you follow and they keep throwing around this “Montessori” word. Maybe it’s your sister’s kids, who attend a Montessori school, and absolutely love school, and are so contented and at-ease and love learning. Maybe your child’s school is closed for the Summer months, or you choose to keep your children home these few months, but want to stay linked to this way of thinking you’ve grown to love.
So, what to do when Montessori school isn’t an option?
Montessori is more than just the materials and the school building and the trained teacher, it’s a philosophy. And much like healthy habits live outside the gym, or spirituality lives outside the sacred space, or love lasts beyond the doorstep of home, a philosophy isn’t tied to a place, it can be applied to life.
“Some of the best parts of Montessori are the parts we encourage to translate over to home life.”
So, what can you do? Some of the best parts of Montessori are the parts we encourage to translate over to home life. Fostering independence. Encouragement and support, rather than management. Observing for what a child is showing you they need, and meeting that need.
Seeing a temper tantrum as an opportunity for connection, clear limits, and consistency. Seeing independence as a chance to exert your own opinion, help make choices, show how much you’ve grown. Seeing a spill as an opportunity to practice tidying, a mess as an opportunity to create order, toys and books on the floor as an opportunity to put a few in storage and have only the favorites available.
This Summer, many families, even families who typically have their children enrolled in Montessori schools, will have non-Montessori lives. Over the next weeks, we’re sharing podcasts and posts with tips for home, both during these upcoming Summer months, or adding into daily life. Whatever your family situation, we hope there’s a take-home message for you, maybe an idea that dovetails right into a challenge you’ve been looking to address, or maybe sparks your own ideas of how to help your children, enjoy one another, and find a bit of joy each day.
Keep us posted. Let us know what you’re trying, what works and what doesn’t. We’re here to help.
Written by:Charlotte Wood