By Julia Damico, Pre-Primary Directress
Many parents would like to incorporate Montessori principles into their home. Encouraging independence can give parents a start in doing this. Independence is something a preschool child craves. “Every unnecessary aid is an arrestment of development” is a quote that often comes to mind when preparing the classroom. In order to be independent, children must be able to access everything they need. For example, children are able to wash their hands at a very early age. Therefore, in your home they must be able to access the sink. Most homes have a stool for the bathroom, but having one in the kitchen would also allow them to retrieve their own water, wash dishes, or wash vegetables. Below are some tips for making your home independent friendly.
Designate space where they can hang up their coat, put on their shoes, and store their backpacks and boots. Having hooks within reach and a bench to sit on can make this possible for children.
Have some child-sized furniture for their everyday tasks. Stock it with child-scissors, paper, stapler, hole punch, yarn etc so they can make creations without waiting for an adult to retrieve these things for them.
Have their food accessible so they can prepare their own snack. You can limit their choices, by what you make accessible. For instance, if the bagel, cream cheese, plates, and toaster are within reach of children, they could easily prepare that snack.
Allow them to dress themselves as able. Help them choose an outfit for school the night before. Put it within easy reach. If a child asks a teacher to zip their coat, our first response is “Did you try?” If they haven’t, we ask them to try before we zip. Mornings can be hectic. If this is the case in your house, insisting on independence can be done at other times. We do not want a to frustrate a child due to time constraints.
Child-sized tools for clean-up. Have a broom, dustpan, mop, and old towel for drying the floor available for children. If they make a mess in the kitchen, they should be able to clean up themselves.
Generally speaking if you evaluate each area of your home and find ways to make it user-friendly for your children, you would he promoting independence. Independence is a core value of the Montessori philosophy and instrumental in children’s development.