Education as an 'Aid to Life'
If education is to be an ‘aid to life’ as Montessori has suggested then it is clear that it cannot just be limited to the hours that children are in school.
If we are to support the natural development of children then we need to offer the right support at home as well as in school. We need to make sure that we are making it possible for them to do things for themselves and others so that they become independent and self-confident. We need to make sure that they are able to get involved in activities that contribute to the smooth running of the family. We need to make sure that they are helped to develop a good spoken language and that they are given freedom to develop within appropriate limits so that they grow into children that have self-discipline and the ability to concentrate and persevere in life.
We can support all of these things in the home by following three basic Montessori principles:
Applying These Principles
We can make it possible for children as young as two to take off their shoes and hang up their coats by themselves when they come into the house just by providing a small step on which they can sit to take of their shoes and a coat hook placed at their own height and allowing enough time for them to do it by themselves. We can help children to develop a rich expressive language simply by using a rich expressive language whilst in their presence and making time to listen to their efforts to communicate with us.
The more we understand the principles that govern children’s development the better positioned we are to be able to support it.
The Maria Montessori Institute runs a part-time 10 week Montessori Assistants Course which is also attended by parents interested in finding out more about Child Development in the first six years of life and what we can do to support it. Find out more.