” Early childhood education is the key to the betterment of society.”
– Maria Montessori

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Bringing Montessori Home

Bringing Montessori Home

By Staci Jensen

As a parent and a teacher in a Montessori Early Childhood classroom, I have noticed a glaring disparity between my 7-year-old daughter’s behavior at home and at school. She does fine, in- dependent work in her Montessori school environment, yet, when handed a broom after a mealtime at home, tear- fully claims she does not know how to sweep.

At school, skills are introduced from the simple to the complex, with new elements added gradually. Challenging new work still contains enough familiarity so that the child can succeed. For example, children in my class- room practice tasks such as dry pouring, sponge squeezing, wet pouring, tray wiping, filling and carrying vessels of water, and mopping, all in advance of easel painting. Prior experience creates comfort, confidence, and skill in the child; this structured approach helps each child to work to her fullest potential.

In this pursuit of independence, a child’s home and school environment can be each other’s greatest asset. How- ever, creating a Montessori classroom in my kitchen and living room is simply not practical, though the two environments can provide mutual support as philosophical extensions of the same principles. The gifts we can give our children are adequate time, an economy of age-appropriate and well-communicated expectations, and trust in their innate capabilities, which are the same principles that support Montessori’s educational philosophy.

Very young children are capable of independent work at home, though they must be provided enough time regular broom to sweep a large area. After showing her how to use a child’s upright broom for this task, I walked away to give her space to work, despite her protests that it was “too hard.” Half an hour later, she finished the kitchen and offered to sweep the living room as well. While not a perfect job, the smiling child in front of me was visibly basking in the contentment of her independent endeavor.

I cannot say that my child has

blossomed into an efficient, joyful sweeper of floors. However, that evening she began learning a valuable skill, and more importantly exceeded her own internal expectations. For me, this experience was a reminder that parents and teachers share the common goal of raising confident, independent children. If we as parents can take the time to provide better opportunities for children to do for themselves at home, we are assisting them as they grow into independent, competent adults.

Reference

Montessori, M. (2010). The Montessori method. Readaclassic.com

STACIJENSEN is a lead teacher in the Pri- mary Division of Westminster School in Oklahoma City. She has worked in several Montessori schools around the country and has a certification in music education from the University of Oklahoma. She is the par- ent of 2 children, ages 3 and 7. Contact her at sjensen@westminsterschool.org.

Teachers and administrators, please feel free to copy this page and distribute it to parents. It is also available online at www.amshq.org (go to Family resources > Support Materials).

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