Montessori Archives - Little Scholars Playground

How to make boring chores fun and educational the Montessori way

Estimated reading time: 4 mins

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Children learn through experience and observation. One of the practices in Montessori is to involve children in tasks around the home. Children love imitating what they see their parents do. So it’s a great idea to let your child start to help you with your household chores from as young as 2 years old.

So what are the benefits to letting your child help with chores?

Involving your child in chores helps them to learn team working skills, builds valuable life skills, helps to teach them independence and helps to keep them occupied while you get tasks around the house done, win, win!

What tasks can you get your child involved in?

Involving your child in chores helps them to learn team working skills, builds valuable life skills, helps to teach them independence and helps to keep them occupied while you get tasks around the house done, win, win!

Cooking

Giving toddlers a supervised activity to do in the kitchen, will help them feel involved when you’re cooking. For example get them to help with measuring ingredients when you’re baking, using scales and spoons. Once measured get them to help you put the ingredients into a bowl. They can also help with the stirring and of course their favourite, tasting! You could also get them to sort and count the fruits in the fruit bowl, which will help with their learning of numbers.

Loading the dishwasher

Another supervised activity children can get involved in, in the kitchen is loading the dishwasher. Particularly placing the utensils in the utensils tray (not knives). This will help improve their hand eye coordination and helps encourage some independence.

Laundry day

Create some fun with laundry. Whilst supervised get your toddler to help you sort the dirty laundry into piles by colour before putting them in the washing machine. This will help them learn their colours through talking to them and repetition as you do this weekly task. You can also get your toddler to match socks. These laundry tasks will help your child to develop their motor-skills.

Recycling

Why not involve your child when you’re recycling. Talk about why we recycle and the different types of materials that you can recycle. You can even go on to make something out of some of the items you’re recycling to demonstrate that you can re-use some items and not just through them away.

Washing up

Children love playing in water and love bubbles. So washing up will be lots of fun for them. You can stand your toddler on a chair in front of the sink, standing next to them so they don’t fall. Or simply place a washing up bowl on the floor and get them to wash up. Just be prepared that it may get a little wet!

Child sized brooms, mops and utensils

Children will love sweeping and mopping with their child sized broom and mop. This will help them to like doing it as they got older because let’s face it mopping is not much fun! So get them started early on.

Just remember never force a young child to do tasks if they’re not showing interest. Also let go of perfection, realistically the dishes will not be washed very clean and that’s ok. Most importantly have fun!

Natalie

Little Scholars Playground
info@littlescholarsplayground.com

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About the author

Natalie is the co-founder and illustrator at Little Scholars Playground. She is passionate about literacy, learning, illustrating, black women in STEM and Montessori.

The benefits of wooden toys for children

Estimated reading time: 2 mins

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When you start learning about the Montessori practice you often hear (and see) a lot about wooden toys. But why are they so beneficial? Wooden toys spark your child’s creativity and is a form of open-ended play. Unlike plastic toys that can be over-stimulating with flashing lights and a set outcome. Wooden toys will provide your child with activities that do not have a set outcome. Building blocks, cardboard tubes, wooden kitchens, train sets and sensory/messy play are all examples of openended play, because they can play in a number of ways with no set outcome.

Encourages your child’s brain development

Not only do wooden toys inspire creative and imaginative play in children. It is also beneficial for your child’s brain development, helping to improve their cognitive and problem-solving skills. The natural textures of wooden toys stimulate the child’s senses as they encourage them to feel, touch and explore. Because of their simpler shapes, wooden toys also help children build hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.

They’re strong and child safe

Wooden toys are also stronger than their plastic counterparts. They will not easily break, meaning no broken small pieces or sharp edges, which is ideal for babies who we know like to put everything in their mouths!

They’re better for your peace of mind and the environment

Of course, wooden toys are also much better for the environment than plastic! They’re non-toxic, but not only that they won’t pollute your home with excessive noise, win, win! As open-ended wooden toys help to keep children from becoming so easily distracted. By having natural wooden toys in your home, it actually keeps your home quieter and more peaceful. We’re all a product of our environment, so offering the best/calm environment for your child will therefore encourage their mind to stay calm and healthy.

Natalie

Little Scholars Playground
info@littlescholarsplayground.com

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About the Author

Natalie is the co-founder and illustrator at Little Scholars Playground. She is passionate about literacy, learning, illustrating, black women in STEM and Montessori.

Why it’s a good idea to embrace Montessori in your home

Estimated reading time: 3 mins

So, what is Montessori?

The Montessori method of education was created by Italian physician Maria Montessori. Her goal was to promote independence in children, with the view that children are naturally eager for knowledge and capable of initiating their own learning. Some of the key Montessori methods that you can use at home include:

  • Child’s choice of activity from within a range of options
  • Activities that facilitate movement and activity
  • A ‘discovery’ model, where your child learns concepts from working with materials rather than by direct instruction
  • Specialised educational/ sensory materials often made out of natural, aesthetic materials such as wood, rather than plastic (this will help support your child’s development, as many of the plastic toys overstimulates and does ‘the work’ for your child).
  • A thoughtfully prepared environment where materials are organised by subject area, are accessible to children, and are appropriately sized
  • Explore nature in and outside the home
  • Freedom, within limits.

How I discovered Montessori

I discovered Montessori after having my daughter in 2019. I have always been conscious of the over use of plastic and found plastic toys with flashing lights overstimulated her, without actually helping her to develop. I was also aware of the crucial age of 0-3 years, where her brain would develop the most. This sparked my desire to ensure I gave her the best start in life. After some Googling, the term Montessori kept coming up. It was something I had heard in the home before, as my Mother is a Nursery Manager, so naturally I wanted to learn more. I found the Montessori approach to parenting to go beyond education, including following my child, respecting her and understanding where she is developmentally, so that the expectations I have for her are appropriate and achievable for her.

It’s a good idea to embrace Montessori even if the typical people practicing it don’t look like you

I did notice that many of the people practicing Montessori did not look like me, however I did not become discouraged by this. Some feel that you need a big budget, or perceive Montessori to be expensive to incorporate in the home or even elitist. Montessori Nurseries are also more expensive. But this is even more reason to practice it at home as much as possible. Many sensory activities for example can be made from things within the home.

How to start bringing Montessori into your home

You don’t need lots of the expensive, fancy things like you see posted on social media. So don’t put pressure on yourself and do the best you can with what you have within your home. There are great books out there on Montessori’s philosophy. You will then learn that simple things such as putting your child’s toys low enough for them to reach, creating sensory activities from materials within the home and involving your toddler in activities such as putting away your groceries or watering your plants, will help your child meet their developmental needs. Montessori said:

“The birth of a child is the child’s first act of independence.”

Maria Montessori

I so agree. You need to respect your child’s need for independence and go with their natural flow. This will in turn create a child that feels valued and has high self-esteem and self-worth. This will set them well on the way to becoming a great little scholar.

We will be posting lots of sensory activities, learning resources and information on how Montessori can help your child become the little scholar they can be, so do check our blog regularly.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Comment below, let’s start a conversation.

Natalie

Little Scholars Playground
info@littlescholarsplayground.com

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About the Author

Natalie is the co-founder and illustrator at Little Scholars Playground. She is passionate about literacy, learning, illustrating, black women in STEM and Montessori.