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How do I "start Montessori?"

Updated: Jun 13, 2021

Ok, so you have read a little bit about the Montessori approach, maybe watched a few YouTube videos on the topic. You want to start implementing the method, but where do you begin?

The background has white shelves with differentwooden items, montessori materials, in them. The foreground is the floor. It has a striped mat in off ehite and beige. On top are wooden geometric solids.

It's tempting to start buying all the beautiful materials. Who doesn't need a full classroom set? YOU! You don't need anything to start your Montessori journey!

Instead we recommend starting implementing other areas of Montessori first. Let your preschooler take part in everyday activities like pairing socks, setting the table and vacuuming. This is called Practical Life, and it's a huge part of the method for this age group.

Left: Black girl wearing orangeand white top smiling.Right: Text saying WHY PRACTICAL LIFE MATTERS. Care of Self, Care of Environment, Grace and Courtsey. It helps develope: Sense of order, independence, Self worth, Consentration/focus, Good habits, respect for the environment and the community

Then have a look at your home setup (We call this The prepared environment). Is it set up for the child to be independent? Are there small changes you can make to the environment so that it caters to the child's needs. Make sure they have mirror at their height so they can see if they are dirty or need to wipe their nose. Do they have access to soap, toilet paper, tissues etc?

Toys and activities should be set up beautifully on a shelf or similar. Don't worry, a TV bench, Shoe rack, apple crates are all usable. The child needs to be able to see what's available to make decisions on what they want to play with. Order is needed so they can find everything they need easily (we want the child to spend their time working, not searching for puzzle pieces). We also encourage beauty. Children love beautiful items and gravitate towards an attractive shelf.

Kids in this age group are in a sensitive period of order. They don't like big changes in their environment. Slow and steady wins the race.

OK, so you have started implementing Practical life, set up a beautiful environment and you are ready to get all the materials. Right? ... Nah, hang on again! First you need to observe! You need to observe the environment. You need to observe the child. Find our their interests. Find out what your child is working on and what you can do to help them develop. Have a look at our post about Observation here

Then you may want to buy something. Maybe a broom? An easel? Or you may find that you are ready to dive in to the world of Montessori materials. In a home setting, you should consider how long you will use a material and if it's something you want to spend a lot of money on. Some materials are easy DIY's. If you need help on your Montessori journey, please visit our Facebook group Montessori at Home 3 - 6 years. We would love to welcome you to the community.

Co-authored and edited by Mie Mari Sløk Rusdal and Jude Saffron

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1 Comment

Maria Martinez
Maria Martinez
Jul 27, 2021

Great post explaining the importance of Practical Life activities at home. These kinds of 'activities' are easy to set up and, in my honest opinion, play a much more vital role in helping our children develop into responsible members of the home and society than any academics at this age could. Great read! Are you on Instagram as well? I would love to follow! You can find me and my littles ones @honestly.parenting as well. :)


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