Montessori At Home

A student helps empty the dishwasher in the classroom.
We often have questions about how parents can provide reinforcement at home for the lessons the children are learning at school. The most effective lesson is to model the behavior we want to see and the language we want to hear. We demonstrate how to roll a rug, how to solve a problem with a friend, and how to eat lunch by sitting through the meal and being engaged listeners. We model how to hold a pencil and how to write.

We reinforce our math and language work throughout the day in conversation. We count things to show relationships with numbers. For example, a guide may comment, "I have three children with me and I need six in my group, so I still need three more friends."  We model reading, storytelling, and having conversations with the children.

We encourage the children to help in any way they can and to do for themselves what they can. The key to their success is making sure they have plenty of time to complete the work. Often the children take much longer to do things than we would. We don't expect perfection, but honor any attempt they make to help. Children this age can dress themselves, sweep the floor, wipe off the table, dust, pick up their toys, set a table, put their dishes in the dishwasher, and play independently.

It is helpful to break down each activity into smaller steps. Instead of "sweep the floor," ask your child to sweep under their chair. Instead of "clean your room," have your child pick up one group of toys, like trains or dolls. Picking up and cleaning up is also much easier for the children when everything has a specific place to be stored.