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What Is Montessori Parenting?

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Montessori parenting encompasses ideas drawn from the studies of Maria Montessori and the famous Montessori movement. Montessori parenting is a relaxed parenting approach where toddlers are left to play freely, are not punished for being naughty, and are encouraged to sleep on the floor instead of in cribs, among other things.

Montessori parenting mainly focuses on children’s need for learning through play and their desire to take on responsibility. In her book, Maria Montessori urges parents to foster their children’s desire to learn and to only intervene to provide toys and safe playtime.

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One of the main ideas underlying the Montessori system was that education should fully develop children’s positive potentials, so they can become happy and useful members of society. Like some of her eminent predecessors (e.g. Hume and Rousseau), Montessori believed the best way to achieve this was to see that education suits the child’s nature and inclinations. — Roland A. Lubienski Wentworth in his book Montessori for the New Millennium

Montessori Parents Guide

Most parents are not sure how to enforce Montessori parenting strategies, but Montessori parenting is an art that can be learned and practiced by any willing parent.

  1. Follow the child. As toddlers, children really do know what they want. Montessori parenting requires the parents to only prepare and provide a guideline for their children and then let them choose what they want to do and how they want to play. This instills a sense of self-worth at a very young age.
  2. Parent-child time. Montessori parenting believes that the only thing children want is to spend time with their parents. Therefore, parents should make an effort to spend time with their children, whether indoors or outdoors, and stop to watch them play and experience the world around them. They should play with their children when necessary, walk with them, eat with them, and by so doing, parents will learn their children’s needs and desires.
  3. Child desires. According to Montessori parenting, all that children need is inclusion and involvement in their parents’ schedules. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not all about good toys and good playrooms. Parents should not focus so much on what their children should do or cannot do. Rather, they should involve their children in the parents’ activities, such as reading, cleaning, and playing, and let the children take part in all they do. This will help develop the children’s sense of belonging and make them feel wanted and cared for.
  4. Child safety. Montessori parenting advocates for safe playtime for children. Create a play space that allows children to go in and out as they desire without getting hurt. This will help boost their confidence and allow them to make their own decisions.
  5. Freedom and discipline. This study states that a child is like an empty box that needs to be filled with positive things and positive thinking. Too much punishment will cause children to withdraw. Too much discipline will make home feel like a prison. Instead, as a parent, create boundaries and consistently focus on the children until they naturally opt for positive and desirable behavior.

References

  • Montessori, Maria. The Montessori Method. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2013. Retrieved from https://amzn.to/2RaNmm0
  • Lillard, Angeline, and Nicole Else-Quest. “The Early Years: Evaluating Montessori Education.Science 313, no. 5795 (2006): 1893–1894. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
  • Wentworth, Roland A. Lubie, and Felix Wentworth. Montessori for the new millennium: Practical guidance on the teaching and education of children of all ages, based on a rediscovery of the true principles and vision of Maria Montessori. Routledge, 2013. Available to buy from Amazon

2 Comments

  1. Great article! I can’t believe I just now discover this website. What a great resource! Thank you for pointing out that Montessori parenting isn’t about toys and learning materials. It’s hard not to get hung up on those things!

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