Montessori education can be costly compared to traditional schooling. For parents on a budget, setting up a Montessori school at home is a good alternative. Given the proper tools and correct information, a home setup is not just possible but it can be a roaring success.
How to start a Montessori school at home? You start by doing your due diligence. Do your research. Get to know the Montessori philosophy at heart. Study the Montessori method of learning and its core concepts. After getting and understanding all the information you have gathered, reflect. Evaluate if it is a good fit for your children and your family. After all, this move will affect the whole family and dynamics.
Before jumping in, consider these questions first.
- What are your goals for setting up a Montessori school at home?
- What is your child’s learning style?
- Are you able to afford the costs?
- How many children are participating?
- Does Montessori homeschooling fit your family lifestyle?
Homeschooling is a big commitment. This is not a decision that can be taken lightly.
If you can answer these questions positively, then you are ready to start.
Getting the right materials, design, tools, and furniture are essential in preparing the home for Montessori training. This is also the part that can be costly. Montessori materials and toys are very specific, durable, and safe. They are mostly non-factory made and of the highest quality. Which usually means they are expensive.
Here is a list of the things you need to set up your home for Montessori learning:
- Wooden materials for sorting, stacking, threading, posting, puzzles, etc.
- Musical instruments
- Boxes, baskets, and trays
- Arts and crafts supplies
- Child-size furniture
- Reading and writing materials
- Mats and rugs
- Other learning materials like flashcards and toys
- Cleaning tools, and many others
To be practical, you can reuse and recycle things that are already in your home. You can also make DIY materials which can be a great activity for you and your children.
With materials sorted out, let’s start.
A Montessori home is designed to support the child’s developmental needs and the people in it follow the needs and interests of that child. It is a home where children are respected and involved in creating a Montessori environment.
To maximize your child’s learning, your home must be organized to foster curiosity and discovery. Use child-sized furniture, arrange learning materials logically, and make things accessible to the child. Make space for your child.
Organize the environment so that there is order and structure. There should be a place for everything. The Montessori setting does not need to take over the whole house. Just make space for it. Have a designated space for the child in every room so they can be included and have a space to learn.
In the living room or kitchen for example. You can install low shelving and drawers accessible to the child. Allot an activity area where they can work on their learning materials without interruption. At the same time, give enough space for everyone else to enjoy the rest of the space.
Keep the child’s bedroom clean and orderly. A minimalist design is advised. The bedroom is an important Montessori environment where you can design it to have:
- A homework area
- Play area
- Dressing area
- Toy storage
- A floor bed or a low bed
Allow your children to take responsibility in their bedroom. They should be independent enough to make their beds, mop the floor, clean their mess, keep their toys, and do their learning activities with minimal supervision.
The living room is a central part of the home. It is one of the busiest areas in the house. Provide a designated area for Montessori learning where they are not interrupted and they cannot disrupt others.
Add low shelving and storage for their toys, and activity materials. An activity table or floor mats where they can do their lessons is a good idea to use. Child-sized furniture is recommended too.
Like in the bedroom, give your child the responsibility to keep their area clean and organized.
Give your children access to the kitchen area so they can help in cleaning, setting the table, and helping themselves during mealtime. A snack area with its cupboard set up is a great example. This way, they can have their bowls, plates, glasses, and cutlery.
Allowing children to pitch in on housework teaches them responsibility and accountability. Teach them life skills that are appropriate to their age. Skills like mopping the floor and washing small dishes can be a good start. Having responsibility can empower the child.
Follow the three-hour uninterrupted periods of learning. Whatever activity your child chooses, allow them an uninterrupted period so they can concentrate and learn. Be around to observe and guide them when they need support.
Montessori education is not big on rewards and punishment. Verbal praise is valued but is given moderately. Montessori education aims to teach the child pride and pleasure in helping, learning new things, and completing tasks. This is called empowerment. This is crucial in developing the child’s self-confidence and competence.
As parents, you play a crucial role in the success of your home Montessori school. The success of this program means the success of your child as a student and human being.
Observe and guide. Take note of how they adjust to the Montessori environment. Check if they are bored or overwhelmed with the activities you have provided. Take away or add lessons and materials as needed. Guide them as needed, do not hover. Let them be, but be within reach when they need assistance.
Once the children have adjusted to the setup, their curiosity will start to flourish and learning will commence.
Adjust and Plan. As children progress, rotate materials and activities. Plan and strategize the next step. Always be prepared to move on to the next level.
What if my child avoids a prepared area? Find out why they are avoiding the area. They could be intimidated by the activity in which you can be more encouraging and provide guidance on how to navigate the activity. They may not be ready for certain activities. In this case, switch to activities that precede it. For example, reading. If they are not confident readers, you can go back to mastering letters. Build up their confidence and try the activity again.
Is Montessori suitable for my child? Montessori is designed to cater to every child’s needs. It is true for homeschooling using the Montessori method as well. One factor you should consider though is if it suits your whole family.
To summarize, you start a Montessori school at home by doing research. Get to know the Montessori philosophy at heart. Study the Montessori method of learning and its core concepts. After getting and understanding all the information you have gathered, reflect. Evaluate if it is a good fit for your children and your family.