montessori at home

I spoke a while ago about our decision to send Theo to a Montessori preschool. He's now in his second term and has adjusted well and I have seen parts of his development come on so well.

I mentioned in his last update post that we were putting into practice some skills that he's picking up there making sure we continue the themes at home. Montessori methods are something that can definitely be applied to every environment and situation and I find it really helpful to come up with ideas and to plan activities for us to do at home together.

So I thought I would start sharing some of the things that we like to do together. Lots of these things will seem like common sense, but I feel each of them have important lessons whilst still being fun! Montessori activities can be categorised into different skill areas, but there is no wrong or right and things obviously overlap!

Today, we did a little practical life skills. Like at most snack time Theo helps with the preparation and construction and can work out how much he needs himself. Today he had corn crackers with butter and jam, and water to pour himself. It's obviously good to help them set it out, but also important to sit back and let them learn for themselves, even if it may mean water all over the table and sticky hands!

Having a selection of healthy snacks in an accessible place helps them to choose what they would like to eat, and once they get used to them being there all the time, the impulse to stuff as much as possible in their face as fast as they can wears off. They learn to moderate their servings themselves and can learn to gauge how hungry they are. Theo also is practicing his fine motor skills, learning how to hold the knife correctly, take the right amount and to control spreading. He uses a jug to pour himself water into his glass (with a little spillage!) He's learning about food hygiene too, and once the meal is prepared he can eat what he has made.

After he's finished he then will tidy up, replacing the lid, taking the tray out to the kitchen and replacing the butter in the fridge. Then it's time to wash hands and faces!

After this we then focussed on some practical skills, using a bowl full of different sized beans and using tweezers to move them into other containers, separating them into matching pots. This task takes concentration, focusses on fine motor skills and is about gaining control of using tools. He is also using logic to separate the different shapes and group them together.

Once he's had enough of the activity he is encouraged to clean up any dropped items and uses a dustpan and brush to sweep the floor. He then collects up his work and puts it away to play with later. Theo is learning about taking care of objects and his environment, by tidying and cleaning up after himself.

I think it's important to merge life at home and the skills he picks up at nursery, and even if he doesn't stay at Montessori all of his preschool life, we can still take the approaches and activities and continue at home. I hope to share more soon!