How to Start Montessori at Home
Doing Montessori at home regularly and consistently can be a lot of fun...and scary. And overwhelming yet life-changing! Try to embrace this new challenge of learning. Montessori, in itself, is such a wonderful method to open up to and invite into your child’s life. You and your children will enjoy it immensely together and forge unforgettable skills that will last them a lifetime and that you will treasure for the rest of your life.
I will be honest with you: doing Montessori at home will take some learning, planning and organization on your part. Don’t worry, I will be here to help you get started. In this post, I will share with you some basic (but very important) tips on how to start your very own Montessori at home. So sit back, grab a nice cup of tea and read through these ideas to get your wheels turning. You can do this! I know you can!
How to Start Montessori
Begin here. Begin now. See this as a beautiful journey, where you will see, ponder on and discover amazing ways to teach your child. And now, on to the tips. I know you will find them helpful and they will inspire you on this unique path that you have chosen.
1. Start with knowledge
I whole-heartily recommend starting it all with none other than reading Dr. Maria Montessori's written work. Not only will it guide you in the right direction, but it will actually invite you to delve into the heart of Montessori, how it started, why it started and also what it is doing to better education around the world.
Here are some books to consider:
2. Decide How You will Incorporate Montessori at Home
Many families decide to make Montessori a part of their daily life. They incorporate it into everything they do at home because they see it as a way of life. This means that children apply Montessori principles from the moment they open their eyes in the morning to the moment they go to bed at night.
Other families incorporate it into their homeschooling portion of the day. This means that even though they have Montessori materials, they only use those Montessori materials and the method for learning academic subjects.
Either approach is perfectly fine. Some start with one approach and ease into the second one and that is ok as well. In our case, since we started Montessori early on, we did a lot of Practical Life and Sensorial works. Once my child was 2 or 2.5 years old, we started using the Montessori materials for academic subjects as well. Think about this point and decide what will work best for you.
3. Minimize and Rotate Toys and/or Materials
For a baby that is 1-12 months of age, you can have the number of toys per age in months on the shelf. For example, 9 months = 9 toys.
This is a wonderful way to get the most out of that material and to keep things orderly and organized. As the child gets older, she will have more options, but by then, she will have a pretty good idea on how to take and return materials from all the prior months of practice.
Here are some great ways to keep things organized:
ECR4Kids Birch 2 Shelf Storage Cabinet with BackSet of 3 Square Wicker Look Baskets With Built In HandlesMulticraft Imports WS410 5-Piece Paintable Wooden Trays with HandlesAlphabet Beginning Letter Miniatures Plus Word Cards, A-Z Labels, Cards & Storage Cabinet
4. Set up a Storage Spot
You can have a bookshelf or a closet to organize your items. I recommend getting plastic containers with lids so they can get stacked up and save space. You can store materials by subject and/or by age by labeling your bins for easy access. Get some free printable labels here.
5. Begin with One Room in Your Home
If you have younger kids that aren’t doing as much academic work yet, then opt for setting up Practical Life stations and displays in or near your kitchen or if you have space outside.
6. Complete all the Rooms in Your Home
Eventually, you will want to implement Montessori-style setups in your child’s bathroom and bedroom, as well as in the kitchen, dinning room, play space and outside. Don’t get overwhelmed! Do one room at a time or, if it’s easier for you, just one station per room at a time. Take a look below at some ideas for setup.
Melissa & Doug Let's Play House Dust! Sweep! Mop! 6-Piece Pretend Play SetMontessori Washing Clothes Activity - BlueMontessori: Operating a Dropper ActivityLittle Partners Learning Tower Kids Step Stool | Adjustable Kitchen Counter Step-Up Helper (Natural)
7. Choose a Curriculum and/or Planner to Follow (if applicable)
I don’t know about you, but I thrive when I’m organized and have a plan of action. I love paper and pencil over digital, so I love a printable planner! There is a printable Montessori planner that helps me know what I’m doing now and it reminds me of works we use quite often (like the Three Period Lesson and how to use 3-Part Cards). It also helps me keep my vision fresh, so I know where I’m going.
Here, you can get this Montessori planner with a $1 off coupon code! Go HERE and use code MHH$1OFF to get $1 off any printable bundle, ebook or planner that you get. It can be printed in its entirety or you can pick and choose what you need and want.
8. Set up a Homeschool Room (if applicable)
If you have a room where most of your learning takes place, then set up your Montessori learning materials there. I like to have a shelf for each subject, instead of having a mix. It gives me a better visual of whether I’m keeping the works balanced and inclusive. It also helps the child begin to make connections between like-minded works (like all numbers works on shelf one and all letters works on shelf two, etc).
What do you think? Has this list of tips and advice inspired you? Did it get your wheels turning? I hope it has given you a doable guide to get started! I’m so excited that you are starting Montessori at home! It is such a wonderful decision for you and your child!
Co-authored by Vanessa Thiel and Tanya Wright. Tanya writes at TheNaturalHomeschool.com