The Montessori approach has been in use all over the world for more than 100 years. Developed by Maria Montessori in 1907, it takes a scientific approach to child-led learning. What does that mean? We break it down below.
Child-led learning sounds simple but what does it really entail? It’s all about observation and making informed choices when it comes to the environment in which your child plays or learns.
Providing an organized and open space, selecting the right materials, observing how your child engages and then adapting and adjusting from there. Freedom to move, self-directed play alone or with others - it’s all about giving your child the ability to explore on their own in an environment set-up especially for them.
Everyone knows ‘practice makes perfect’ - one way you learn is to do something over and over. Whether it’s reading a book, throwing a ball, or walking and talking - it takes practice. Montessori focuses on giving the child the means to repeat tasks or actions in their own time, at their own pace. This teaches children patience and concentration - two important skills that help with all future learning.
Communication between adults can be difficult - trying to communicate with a toddler or child is even more challenging. The use of clear communication early on - repetitive and direct - will help your child learn. Keep in mind, communication is more than verbal - facial expressions, body language, tone of voice, intentions, and emotions behind the spoken words all contribute to the way your child comprehends your message.
Exploration + Observation:
Giving your child the space to explore and control their ‘curriculum’ - allows them to learn everywhere they go, in everything they do. By taking their lead, observing them throughout their explorative learning - you are able to capitalize on specific periods of growth.
Explorative learning can be as simple as allowing your baby to crawl in and out of different spaces, experiencing various rooms, floors and textures. Giving your baby this freedom builds confidence and curiosity, as well teaches your child about the experience they are having. As your child grows older, explorative learning turns into building with blocks for hours on end or perhaps jumping from puzzles to blocks to a sensory table. Your child takes the lead, directs their own curriculum and continually nurtures their creativity + independence.
The reason the Montessori method has stood the test of time is because, simply, it works. Many studies have shown this method of learning results in more mature, creative and socially adept children and adults. This type of environment is also said to cultivate independence and a love of learning.
During the infant and toddler years, children go through tremendous growth and need nurturing, protection and plenty of opportunities to explore the world around them.
By age three, the human brain has reached 80 percent of its adult volume. Even more importantly, synapses are formed at a faster rate during these years than at any other time.*
- At Guidepost at Home, we strongly believe in the power of the Montessori approach. We’ve seen first-hand the positive impact it can make in a infant and toddler’s development. This is why all of our Nanny’s are trained in our own style of Montessori curriculum, which we’ll be sharing more about in the coming months.
We love suggestions and feedback so please let us know what you think as well as any Montessori stories of your own.