Montessori Tips for the Home by Tania Gaffney, Rata Teacher and DP Primary

Over the course of my time as a Montessori teacher I have often come across books, readings or professional development that could be handy to parents for application at home, so I have decided to share some of these tips and thoughts with you.

  • Prepare every room in your home so your tamariki can join in fully in your family life and start their journey to independence. For example, prepare a place in your fridge or cupboard with healthy snacks and drinks that children can reach. Use appropriate sized jugs and child friendly containers, so they can help themselves during the day or after school. Remember with this, you need to talk about how much is enough – how often and how much of something they can have. You could go to the shop together and look at options of what’s available. Remember to show in detail how to set-up, serve and clear away.  Be clear with instructions – saying “don’t eat too much” or “don’t make a mess” is not helpful.
  • Make sure all your child’s possessions can be properly contained and displayed for use. If they can’t be, then they may have too much and you might need to cull. Go through these things and take out anything that is broken or incomplete and therefore unusable. Put some toys into boxes and store them so they can be rotated.  This could be every month or twice a term.  This means children will appreciate them more and not grow bored with what they have.  Your child may want to help you do this.  Also spend time making their room attractive with a place for everything.
  • Stay on top of the tidying. This doesn’t mean you should nag your children to do it, rather set some boundaries around it, eg. one thing out at a time. Having a place for everything to go as mentioned above also helps.  When things get overwhelming in the tidying department (as they will, even with the best intent in the world) help them, but divide up the jobs, giving the children jobs that suit their age and stage, while you do a job as well.
  • Supply your child with materials that are creative and open ended and that build up skills that could translate indirectly to the classroom and that connect them to the world of art, culture, language, science, geography and history. Fill your house with books, maps, atlases, a globe, dictionaries. Look at them whenever someone travels, moves or when something current or historical comes up. Spend time in nature with your ākonga.  We are lucky to be living in Wellington where there are all sorts of geological features.  You could find an isthmus, a peninsula, notice the river, walk on the hills, and notice the clouds and rock formations.  Collect things to study.  Take photos of things like different trees or leaves and see if you can name them looking at books from the library.

This is all for now but hopefully these are useful tips that you will have fun applying.