Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Montessori at Home: A Quick Start

Montessori at Home

There is a pull to purchase new items when it comes to the school room.  But I am going to challenge you to stay home.  Don’t even think about walking over to your computer to jump on Amazon or Oriental TradingYour only task after reading this blog post is to create a simple learning moment that is relevant to your child.

Your child. 

Not mine.  Or your neighbor’s.  Or Sally’s son who goes to pre-school. 


If you think that you need a bunch of fantastic, bright, wood toys for your Genius, STOP.  Your Genius needs your 100% attention and doesn’t need to be dragged to the store for a bunch of items from the same category or stare at a mom zoning at the computer screen.

Today’s task?  Create a Montessori Moment at Home.  Each time you see this feature, we will focus on an idea found in John Bowman’s book, Montessori at Home!

Now there are two ways you can accomplish this next task,

  • You can purchase and download the book Montessori at Home!  Glance at the Practical Life and Sensorial sections for ideas. or
  • Brainstorm ideas that would nurture an interest your child already has that would enhance and build upon their current abilities.


For example, Naomi (my 1 year old) has been feeding herself with her hands for several months.  Seeing as though she is nearing her 1/2 birthday, I decided that it was time she begin to work on using the proper utensils, such as a spoon.  I gathered multiple sizes and colors of spoons, in addition to a variety of bowls, a plate, a cup, and a napkin. 


To do what is referred to as an “activity cycle,” it is recommended to have a floor rug or table mat that your child works on.  Instantly, my imagination began sewing this beautiful, brightly colored blanket for Miss Naomi to reside upon for our Montessori Moments. Then I discovered that a busy rug or mat will actually serve as a distraction.  So, here are some parameters for you:

  • a good size of rug or blanket is 2 x 3’
  • stick with something that has a short nap
  • find a mat that is a solid, light color (beige, green, or gray)
  • non-skid shelf lining works well
  • carpet samples

Because I lacked the majority of these items, I had Naomi sit on our wood floor with all other objects removed but what we were working on. 


Next time, I hope to begin the “activity cycle” more like Bowman’s suggestion in his book, involving my children more:

  1. Create a work space.  Get out a rug, blanket, or table mat.
  2. Unveil the activity by bringing it to the workspace.  (You will probably see a lot of our activities on trays.)
  3. Encourage YOUR child to clean up and place the activity where it should be stored.
  4. Put the rug away. 


Your child will become used to the habit and know what to expect each time. 


What are you waiting for?  Go and have a Montessori Moment at Home with your Little!

signature button Jodi


Kari Snellbaker said...

Great ideas! I will be linking about this for my son and I'm excited to see what you post next about this too!

GranolaMom4God said...

Thanks, Kari!  I am so thrilled to be writing this post!  The book is fabulous.  John has some great ideas.  Let me know about your post after you have it up!

Victoria said...

Jodi, you saved my morning!  My 2 yo son and I started off having one of "those" days.  I happened to read your post in my email just as I was finishing some work that I had to email to the office and decided to take your advice - I shut the laptop, grabbed a tray, big bowl which I filled with ice cubes, little bowl, and spoon and he had a BLAST touching the ice, transferring it on the spoon, pouring from the small bowl back into the big one, counting the ice cubes, etc.  I plan to include our ice play in my Tot School wrap up on Sunday but didn't want to wait until then to send a BIG THANK YOU your way!

Jbowmanbooks said...

Nice Jodi! You were very perceptive in seeing that the infant / toddler set may not quite be ready for the Activity Cycle just yet - but it won't be long! Very cool activity and setup. I love the way you encourage parents to go have a Montessori Moment of their own - that's what it's all about! Thanks so much for starting this feature!

Jeniffer Hobbs said...

Awesome! You really don't need to buy a lot of fancy stuff to do Montessori at home. While I have aquired a couple of the Montessori basic works, much of it is just done with stuff I already have. A good dig in the basement or the garage usually gives me even more stuff to utilize.

John's book is truly amazing. I am already using so much of it even though my son just turned two in August. Once you grasp the basics you're well on your way! My son is thriving and LOVES Montessori. My husband and I do too!

Mommzy said...

"Your only task after reading this blog post is to create a simple learning moment that is relevant to your child.
Your child. 
Not mine.  Or your neighbor’s.  Or Sally’s son who goes to pre-school. "

This was my favorite part of this whole post--- it is just SO true and I just wish we would be more aware each day, each moment, that its not about what SHOULD be done, what EVERYONE else is doing- its what works for EACH one of our individual kids.

Thanks for the reminder:) 

Jodi McKenna said...

So true!!!!  For February's post . . we dug through my husband's tools!

Jodi McKenna said...

No problem.  I just know how easy it is to get in the trap of seeing what others are doing in their schoolroom or with their kids . . . and project that onto my kiddos. 

Jodi McKenna said...

Victoria, I love it!!!!!!  So glad that you had the discipline and courage to stop and live in that moment.  That warms my heart!!!!