Montessori parenting is a parenting style based on the educational philosophy of Dr. Maria Montessori.
Montessori principles follow the child’s natural learning process and help them develop social, emotional, and academic skills.
This philosophy has been used in schools around the world for decades, but it can also be used at home.
By implementing the Montessori philosophy into your home, you can create an environment that encourages holistic development in your children.
But, what is Montessori parenting? Montessori parenting is a parenting style that is based on the teachings of Dr. Maria Montessori. She believed that children are naturally curious and eager to learn and that they learn best by doing. Montessori parenting is a style of parenting that emphasizes independence, respect, and learning through experience. Montessori parents also encourage children to be independent and to make their own choices. They believe that children learn best when they are given the opportunity to take responsibility for their own learning. In this article, you will learn about the basics of Montessori parenting and 10 Montessori ways of raising your kids with your own parenting style.
If you are a parent planning to bring the Montessori approach to education in your home to focus on the development of your kids, then read on!
Before we get into the details of Montessori parenting, let’s have a look at the 7 principles of Montessori, which will help us understand the concept of Montessori parenting better.
What are the 7 principles of Montessori?
So, what are the 7 principles of Montessori?
To understand Montessori parenting you have to understand the Montessori method, which is guided by seven core principles, focusing on respecting children, creating the right environment, and letting kids learn at their own pace.
Respect for the Child – Montessori believes kids should be treated kindly and their opinions matter. A child that feels listened to will have better emotional development and reciprocate that behavior among their classmates and peers.
Sensitive Periods – Kids have times when they’re really interested in learning specific things, so we teach them during these times.
Prepared Environment – Classrooms are set up with special activities and tools to help kids learn on their own, allowing them to develop their creativity skills and become independent thinkers.
Auto Education – Children can learn by themselves, with teachers guiding them. This is essential during the first few years of a child’s development and helps them become better students later on in life.
Observation – Teachers watch how kids learn and use this to plan activities. They help develop children’s passion for learning and guide them as they discover new things.
Normalization – Through learning, children become more focused, calm and learn at their own pace.
Teacher’s Role – Teachers help, guide, and support kids in their learning journey. In essence, the teacher is there to be a facilitator.
Montessori Parenting Pros and Cons
Just like any other style of parenting, Montessori parenting offers many benefits and challenges for families. In this section, we will look further into Montessori parenting pros and cons, and try shed a bit more light into this very much loved parenting style.
So, What are the Pros and Cons of Montessori Parenting?
Holistic Development: Montessori parenting develops the social, emotional, and intellectual aspects of a child’s development. This parenting style promotes a more rounded growth in children by focusing on the child as a whole person.
Individualized Learning: The Montessori method of teaching recognizes each child’s uniqueness and interests. Parents can therefore tailor learning experiences to match their child’s specific needs and learning style.
Family Time Emphasis: We all know how important family time is and Montessori parenting encourages ample family time by actively engaging with their children. Parents are able to strengthen bonds with their children and build meaningful relationships.
Curiosity-Driven Learning: Learning in a Montessori home is driven by curiosity, exploration and hands-on learning. Children are encouraged to explore their interests, leading to a deeper and more meaningful understanding of various subjects and the world around them.
Life-Long Learning: As children learn through experiences and their environment, they develop a love for learning that continues throughout their lives. Montessori children become curious, self-motivated, and enthusiastic life-long learners.
Real-Life Preparedness: Role-playing real-life situations prepares Montessori children to handle challenges and navigate various scenarios confidently. They develop practical skills essential for everyday life.
Child-Centered Learning: Montessori parenting respects a child’s natural pace of development. Children are given the freedom to progress at their own speed, promoting a positive and stress-free learning experience.
Enjoyable Learning: Montessori parenting emphasizes learning through hands-on experiences rather than traditional teaching methods. As a result, children find joy in learning, making education a fulfilling and enjoyable journey.
Cons of Montessori Parenting:
Adaptation to Other Environments: Children raised in a Montessori environment may find it challenging to adapt to traditional schooling or different parenting styles if a change is made. They might struggle with adjusting to more structured environments.
Self-Motivation Requirement: For Montessori children to thrive, self-motivation is crucial. Some children might initially struggle with self-motivation, especially if they are transitioning to this parenting style at a later age.
Lifestyle Change: Montessori parenting involves a comprehensive lifestyle change and parents tend to be required to adjust their schedules, create a suitable environment, and incorporate Montessori principles into everyday life.
Limited Accessibility: Montessori education and resources may not be readily available in all for parents to access. Families might face challenges in finding suitable Montessori schools or materials, limiting their ability to fully embrace the Montessori approach.
Parental Involvement: Effective Montessori parenting requires significant parental involvement, more than any other educational approach. This level of engagement may not be feasible for all families due to time constraints or other commitments, especially for working parents. However, if as a parent you are able to commit to this parenting style, you child will benefit immensely from it.
Criticism and Misunderstanding: Montessori parenting can face criticism and misunderstanding from those unfamiliar with its principles. Parents may encounter skepticism or doubt from others who follow traditional parenting methods or do not fully understand the Montessori way.
Expense: Montessori education and materials can be costly, making it financially challenging for some families to fully embrace the method. However, over the years costs of materials have decreased and there is more opportunity for parents to access free online Montessori resources.
Limited Academic Focus: Critics argue that Montessori’s emphasis on experiential learning may not prioritize traditional academic subjects as strongly as conventional education. Again, this believe seems to come from a lack of understanding as studies have shown children taught through the Montessori method tend to do better in school in almost all subjects including math, sciences and ELA.
10 Parenting Tips for the Montessori Parenting Style
The Montessori parenting method is a method that goes beyond parenting because, in the process, it becomes a lifestyle. According to Montessori, the development of the whole child is integral in teaching practical life skills and providing them with better opportunities in the future. The following Montessori parenting strategies and parenting approaches are principles that are exercised in Montessori classrooms and Montessori schools.
1. Follow the child’s lead
The Montessori philosophy emphasizes following your child’s lead.
This means providing children with opportunities to learn and grow in a safe and supportive environment.
A properly prepared environment includes open and inviting play spaces, clean and accessible toys, “work” materials, books, and gross motor opportunities.
Parents are able help their children discover their interests and passions and allow them to develop a sense of self by creating a well prepared Montessori environment.
However, following the kid’s lead is not always easy, but it is one of the most important things you can do to help your child thrive.
As a Montessori parent, your role is to guide your child through their day.
This means providing a general structure for the day, but also allowing your child to make choices based on their interests at the time.
It is important to create a safe environment and enforce consistent limits, while also allowing your child to navigate through each day based on what they feel drawn to at the time.
2. Exercise mutual respect
Using the Montessori method, respect for the child must be emphasized.
This means treating children as individuals with their own thoughts, feelings, and interests. It also means providing children with the freedom to explore and learn at their own pace.
Like any other human being, children should also be respected and should feel respected.
There should be set boundaries at all times to create a healthy Montessori environment for your child.
Respecting the potential of a child can look like many different things. This includes listening to children and taking their opinions seriously, allowing them to make their own decisions to help them feel more independent, providing children with opportunities to learn and grow in a safe and supportive environment, and trusting children to be responsible and to make good choices.
3. Observe the child
To follow your kid’s interests, you need to observe them and see what they are interested in.
Make a point of sitting and watching your kid play or work each day.
Based on their developmental needs, children of all ages can know what they want with the exact amount of attention.
Take note of what activities they enjoy and what they choose when faced with different options.
Observing your child will help you to understand their interests and what they are passionate about.
With this knowledge, you can plan activities that provide opportunities for them to learn and grow in their areas of interest.
Over time, your kid’s interests will change and evolve. Children should be allowed to explore and learn through play, especially during their foundational years.
As your kid’s interests change, you can adjust the home environment, activities, and toys that you provide to meet their needs.
4. Beware of your baby’s sensitive periods
When parenting at home, children go through periods of intense interest in learning new skills.
These periods are called sensitive periods.
During sensitive periods, children are more likely to learn new skills quickly and easily.
Dr. Montessori believed that it is important to support children’s learning during sensitive periods.
These sensitive periods will help you understand what your child needs and help your way of raising a child.
5. Allow freedom while keeping limits
Parents always want to keep their children safe, but sometimes being too protective can prevent them from learning and growing.
Let your child take age-appropriate risks to help them develop problem-solving skills and resilience.
This uninterrupted time can have benefits for their practical life and mental health well into adulthood.
Montessori education is based on the belief that children learn best when they are given the freedom to explore and learn at their own pace.
However, it is important to balance this freedom with the need to ensure children’s safety and emotional well-being.
6. Use specific words in praising
Praising children with phrases like “good job” or “good work” can be harmful because it focuses on the product of their work, rather than the process.
This can lead to children becoming extrinsically motivated, meaning that they are only motivated to do something if they are praised for it.
Intrinsic motivation, on the other hand, is when children are motivated to do something because they enjoy it or because they find it challenging.
When children are extrinsically motivated, they are more likely to give up when they encounter challenges.
They are also more likely to cheat or plagiarize in order to get praise.
Intrinsically motivated children, on the other hand, are more likely to persevere in the face of challenges and to learn from their mistakes. They are also more likely to be creative and innovative.
Let your children work at their own pace and harness their inherent desire to learn by giving them the freedom to learn to be better.
For example, you could say, “I see that you really worked hard on that tower. You must have been really focused” or “I love the way you used different colors in your painting.”
7. Be a role model for your child
Children are hardwired to imitate adults, and they learn by watching what we do.
This is why it is so important for parents to model the behavior that they want to see in their children.
If we want our children to be kind, respectful, and responsible, then we need to be kind, respectful, and responsible ourselves.
When we say “Do as I say, not as I do,” we are sending mixed messages to our children.
We are telling them that it is okay to do something that we are not doing ourselves.
This can lead to confusion and frustration for both parents and children.
How To Adopt the Montessori Principles of Parenting
Child psychologists identified four parenting styles: authoritative, authoritarian, permissive, and uninvolved.
Authoritative parenting is the most effective style, as it is characterized by high levels of responsiveness and demandingness.
Montessori parents are generally flexible and have a strong sense of respect for their children’s autonomy, which makes them authoritative parents.
Research has shown that authoritative parenting consistently produces good outcomes in children, so adopting the Montessori parenting style is likely to benefit a child’s development.
Authoritative parents not only help them get a warm and supportive environment, but they also set clear expectations and boundaries for their children.
They are willing to listen to their children’s needs and concerns, let them explore at their own pace, and explain their decisions to their children.
Authoritative parents are also consistent in their discipline, and they provide them with opportunities and positive reinforcement for good behavior.
Montessori Parenting vs Gentle Parenting
What about Montessori parenting vs gentle parenting?
Montessori parenting and gentle parenting are two ways that moms and dads can guide their kids. They’re both about being kind and caring, but they have some differences.
Montessori parenting is like a teacher. It’s about letting kids learn on their own. In a Montessori home, you might see toys and activities that help kids explore and discover. It’s like giving them tools to learn. Short lessons and routines are important, and kids can pick what they want to do.
Gentle parenting is more about understanding feelings. It’s like being a good friend to your child. In gentle parenting, moms and dads listen and talk with kids. They try to understand how their child feels. This type of parenting focuses on being patient and helping kids learn to manage their feelings.
Both ways want kids to grow up feeling loved and safe. So, Montessori and gentle parenting are like two different paths and you can combine both of these parenting styles to help your child become an amazing person.
In Montessori parenting, the adult’s role is to help the child learn about cause and effect and grow by providing a supportive and stimulating environment.
This includes parents giving the child access to a variety of materials and activities that are appropriate for their developmental level, as well as guidance and support as they explore and learn.
In most cases, a child is allowed to play with a variety of materials and activities. Further, a relaxed parenting approach will help you raise a child in an environment with the freedom to play, learn self-control, show respect, and explore the world in their own way.
What age is the Montessori method for? The Montessori method is a child-centered approach to education that is designed to help children learn and grow in a natural and supportive environment. The method is based on the belief that children are naturally curious and eager to learn and that they learn best by doing. Montessori schools are often divided into different age groups, with classes for infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and elementary-age students.
What are the principles of the Montessori method? The principles of the Montessori method include respecting the child, individualized and hands-on learning, and the importance of a prepared environment. The method also highlights the significance of freedom within limits, and the role of the teacher as a guide and facilitator rather than an authority figure.
What is the difference between the Montessori method and traditional education? These two differ in a lot of ways but some of the major differences include teacher-centered vs child-centered learning, teaching styles and methods, passive and active learning styles, and grades and progress tracking.