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Applying Montessori principles

It has been enjoyable to read through some of Barbara Curtis' Mommy Life posts about Montessori education. While I do not know enough about this educational method to comment on it as a whole, some of the ideas are fun and fit with our educational vision. Barbara emphasizes the importance of placing things on a level where children can access them, in order to create a welcoming home where they can learn easily.

Once Elnathan was nine months old, we found that he was always trying to take our books off our shelves. We were determined to train him not to do this. However, we also realised that it would be a good idea to give him some books he was allowed to pull off the shelf! Now Elnathan rarely tries to pull books from the shelves above this one. This is a great improvement from the prior situation, where we rebuked him many times each day for pulling books off the shelf. When he heads for the other books, we remind him about his books and direct him there. Elnathan loves his little shelf and will happily spend 10 - 15 minutes there several times each day exclaiming gleefully over the book covers!

Even though we had a shelf for Elnathan on our small bookcase, he still headed for the second shelf of our other bookcase in the living room. I realised that this was natural, as the shelf is just the right level for him when he is standing. I decided to replace the books there with books and toys for him, and he now happily plays there often.

Another idea from Barbara's posts is to place pictures on the child's level. When Dave went to South Africa recently for a wedding he came back with some posters from Elnathan's Gran. I decided to put these where Elnathan could easily touch and look at them. He has enjoyed this a lot!

When Elnathan is a little older I am looking forward to reading more about how Montessori principles can be used to train him to work well in our home. Montessori education emphasises the importance of training and empowering children to be useful. This not only helps the parents, but also gives children a sense of having a useful place in the world.

Susan  – (April 6, 2010 at 10:15 AM)  

I really enjoyed Barbara's book on preschool education. We've found we've naturally had to do similar things with shelves with Hans :-). There are a few book shelves at his level (in various locations in the house, and I realized that although training in boundaries is good, there are only so many battles I want to fight, and I want him to have "his places" where he can have access to stuff he can play with, and that has worked much better. With his own places for books, he doesn't mess with out books much at all.

Sherrin  – (April 6, 2010 at 11:01 AM)  

Hello Susan, great to hear from you! It is fun to hear about what you have done with Hans. I agree that it does become a bit of a necessity if you don't want to be rebuking baby many, many times each day. My Mum encouraged me to choose my battles and miss that one out!

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