How to Support the Work of Your Child’s Montessori School
Posted by Meagan Ledendecker on 9/2/2019
A fresh new school year comes with lots of excitement, and often lots of questions from new and returning families alike. One frequent question we receive is: “How can we support Montessori education at home?”
First of all, we love this question! We know that even busy families want to do what they can to support the hard work of their children and their children’s teachers. We are here to tell you that your support means everything, and it honestly doesn’t take much to make a huge difference.
First, it’s worthy thinking about what you definitely don’t need to do.
- No need to purchase Montessori materials for use at home. In fact, we recommend strongly against doing so! Montessori materials were developed to be used in a very specific manner to support children’s development at just the right time. Our teachers go through intensive training for this. While there is certainly an allure to the beautiful wooden learning materials, we believe it’s best to allow trained and credentialed Montessori educators to guide children in using the materials in the way they were intended to be used.
- No need to buy any fancy organization systems (or really, buy anything at all). Montessori at home need not cost a cent. Supporting the philosophy at home is more about a shift in approach and perspective and less about buying more to enrich the environment.
- No need to push for academic achievement. We understand that with the right support and guidance, children make great strides in academic areas all on their own and in their own time. There’s no need to drill math facts or push for your child to be reading by a certain age. Learning is not linear and each individual requires the time and space to arrive at milestones on a personal timetable. Your child’s teacher will certainly let you know if there are academic skills that can be supported, but generally speaking, children work so hard at school it’s okay to let them take a break at home.
Let’s think about what can be really helpful.
1. Learn about Montessori philosophy. There are lots of ways to do this! We occasionally hold parent education sessions at the school. These events can be great ways to connect with other families, spend time getting to know our staff, and also one of the best ways to learn more about what Montessori means and how it’s an excellent approach for teaching children.
We know not everyone has time to attend these sessions, but there are other great resources out there. One of the best books we recommend is Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius by Angeline Stoll Lillard.
Articles from past American Montessori Society publications: https://amshq.org/Families/Reading-Material
Resoures for parents from the Association Montessori Internationale/USA: https://amiusa.org/parent-resources/
2. Volunteer at the school. There are opportunities for all talents and schedules! Some ideas:
- Chaperone on field trips or small group ”going out” trips
- Help with school fundraising efforts
- Serve as a parent liaison for your child’s class
- Ask your child’s teacher what support would be helpful to the classroom
- Help out with special events
- Give a presentation to a class about your job
- Pitch in with school gardening projects
3. "Follow the child." What the Montessori approach really boils down to is honoring the child as a whole human being who is deserving of the same respect as any adult. Learning to shed our preconceived notions of what parenting and teaching mean and considering new ways of doing things can be challenging at first, but the long-term benefits are substantial for everyone involved.
We want to inspire you to encourage your child(ren) to be more independent. The more they can do for themselves (including making their own choices), the better. Nurturing a sense of independence is empowering for children and, believe it or not, less work for you! Allowing children independence and freedom does not, however, mean they get to make all the decisions; there has to be a balance! We will illustrate this concept further in an upcoming post.
4. If you are happy with the education your child is receiving, spread the word! We believe that Montessori has the power to bring great change to the world, one child at a time. Our approach to education isn’t about memorizing facts and scoring well on tests. We aim to nurture kind, creative, and empowered members of society. The best way to expand our work is to reach more children.
If you’ve been happy with your child’s Montessori education, reach out and let us know! There are plenty of ways to leave reviews for potential families to read. Spreading the word can also be as simple as talking openly with friends at your neighborhood birthday parties or weekend soccer games. There are plenty of families out there looking for the solutions that Montessori provides.
We hope this post has been helpful, but if you have any questions or ideas, please let us know. As parents, you are your child’s first and most important teachers. Together, we can work to create a more beautiful world.