Updated: Nov 20, 2020
I've been following the teachings of Dr. Maria Montessori (1870-1952). She was a medical doctor, a teacher, a philosopher, and an anthropologist. Her progressive view of children was way beyond her time, and her writing is still very relevant today. You must first understand that children of different ages have different needs and abilities. I study and observe my children. Children have so much to teach us about learning. By watching closely, I can modify our lessons and materials to best suit my child's interests and growth. I try to anticipate what my child will need next and make sure that this experience is available for when my child is ready to explore the subject or skill. Maria calls this "following the child".
Children learn best when they are free to move their bodies throughout the day. Children have physical rights. They should not be constrained to desks. They should be allowed to move around in their environment, visit the bathroom as often as they like, and work in a variety of sitting or standing positions. We want to teach our children to respect their bodies and control their movements, and by allowing this freedom, I feel that this helps the growing brain learn more effectively. Rather than dictating what my child should learn and when, I follow a design at home to fit the needs of my child, rich experiences balanced by beauty and order. This takes a great amount of effort, but I am rewarded when a child enters and is inspired to learn. In a typical Montessori based environment, you would see objects in baskets, trays, or boxes arranged on a shelf attractively. Each work contains a purposeful work that is designed to teach a specific concept. You don't randomly select concepts to teach, you should base them on your observations of your child. Treat your children as you wish to be treated. It's best to use calm voices when teaching and speak with respect in regard to the children's feelings.
Maria teaches that the materials a child works with (one could just as easily call them "toys") should be carefully chosen to support the current developmental stage. With few exceptions, natural materials are preferred, and the works themselves should be arranged attractively on the shelf. Everything should be at the eye level of the child. As well as everything should be within grasp of the child. We want to teach our children to not need us. To make executive decisions and problem solve on their own. The world is a tough place let's help our children be prepared.
Sara Lamon, Mother of 2- SC