One of the main tenets of the Montessori Philosophy is that education should be preparation for life. All of the coursework in a Montessori program is designed to help students get prepared for success in life. This means that everything students do is done for a purpose – there is no busywork in the Montessori classroom. If your own views of education align with the Montessori Philosophy then you understand that learning can also take place outside of the classroom. With a few intentional steps, you can continue Montessori learning outside of the classroom.
Provide your child with opportunities for exploration
Exploration is a big part of learning in Montessori school. Students are provided with opportunities to deeply explore topics, ideas, and interests inside of the Montessori classroom. This type of exploration helps students develop into independent and lifelong learners. Students that are provided with opportunities to work independently can develop the understanding that they are responsible for their own learning. This level of personal responsibility helps develop lifelong learners. Students will start to see that there are learning opportunities everywhere – even outside of the classroom. You can help your child with this development by providing opportunities for exploration outside of the classroom. This does not have to be complicated. Your child can learn about nature and science by gathering leaves outside and comparing the differences. Your child can learn about math and science by helping you cook or experimenting with various ingredients in the kitchen. When you start to look for opportunities for exploration you will find that they are all around you.
Involve your child in practical life activities
Practical life activities are a big part of Montessori education for the youngest students. These activities include things like hand washing, sweeping, dusting, watering the plants, and a long list of other tasks that are a routine part of life. It can be difficult for parents of young kids to know when to introduce various tasks. In the Montessori classroom, students practice practical life activities from a very early age. You can continue this process outside of the classroom by providing your child with opportunities to practice practical life activities. Hand washing is a simple place to start. There is a process to washing your hands – turn on the water, wet your hands, get the soap, lather the soap, rinse your hands. A young child may not be able to adequately wash his or her hands without assistance but he or she can start to learn the steps in the process. Everyday life is full of opportunities to expand the Montessori classroom and include your child in practical life activities.
The Montessori Method is more than a philosophy of education, it can be a way of life. Everyone can benefit from exploring the world around them. And, as every adult knows, practical life activities are a constant part of life. As a parent, you have opportunities in everyday life to provide your child with rich learning opportunities outside of the classroom.