Updated: May 3, 2021
Perhaps the most important and arguably the most exciting years to 'do Montessori' at home. These are the years Dr. Maria Montessori began her observations with after all.
In a classroom setting these years are often referred to as a Children’s House or Casa dei Bambini; a place in which a child can feel at home and can work at their own pace. Young children have the freedom to choose their own activities, use their own initiative and follow their individual needs. Thankfully all this is eminently easy to replicate in the home.
*Picture: Jude Saffron
3 - 6 year olds learn best when immersed in real-life experiences. Dr. Maria Montessori set up her 3 - 6 classroom to resemble a home. Of course, you don't have to do this, because you are already doing Montessori at home with a prepared environment. If you need help thinking about what a prepared environment looks like at home then check out our blog on the subject.
By age 3, children already have some level of independence. They have learned to go to the toilet, have started to dress themselves more competently and eat independently. They can also make themselves understood in one oral (or, for some even multiple!) language. That is amazing in only 3 years!
“Any child who is self-sufficient, who can tie his shoes, dress or undress himself, reflects in his joy and sense of achievement the image of human dignity, which is derived from a sense of independence.” - Dr. Maria Montessori
This age group is still in what is known as the first plane, and are therefore still absorbing the environment. They are slowly starting to make more conscious choices of what they want to learn more about. They often have more specific interests than before (princesses, villains and superheroes may start to come into play).
There are five main areas in the 3 - 6 classrooms: practical life, culture, language, sensorial and maths. Parents tend to focus on maths and language when starting to introduce Montessori at home. However, this is not the way it was intended. Practical life, culture and sensorial offer huge learning potential and exploratory opportunities for children.
In a classroom, children will mainly work on practical life activities the first YEAR. Yes, a whole year devoted to it. So if you've been wondering why your child still isn't that interested in shelf work then put your worries aside and carry on involving them around the house. Shelf work plays a small part in Montessori at this age and instead children concentrate on an array of activities such as sweeping, polishing, mopping, tying bows, dusting, preparing food, looking after plants etc. All these activities help to build concentration and co-ordination.
What practical life has your child been working on recently?
Need some more help? Here are some ideas to get you started.
Co-authored and edited by Mie Mari Sløk Rusdal and Jude Saffron
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