What is Montessori?
The Montessori philosophy was created by Italy’s very first female physician. It is based on encouraging children to explore the world around them. So naturally learning through play is a key part of that exploration, as children learn by interacting with objects. As a result, it’s important for you as a parent to look for toys that will help your child learn and grow outside the classroom.
The approach focuses on independence, hands-on learning and a thoughtfully prepared environment that allows the child to grow in all the main developmental areas.
Maria Montessori had created this wonderful approach over 100 years ago! After her studies in university, she worked with mentally impaired children, and observed them. She had noticed that they could learn things that others had assumed impossible if they were provided the right environment, materials, and guidance.
Thanks to the results her new educational approach had created, she was soon given the opportunity to bring her methodology to mainstream and healthy children.
Her method became popular worldwide and she spent the rest of her life creating new schools, lecturing, improving her method, and writing influential literature.
The principles of Montessori education.
Below are the 7 most important principles of Montessori education.
- Play is work
We should take our children's play very seriously as it is the way they express themselves.
Maria Montessori believed that playing is the ultimate way of learning and that children have a natural desire for knowledge.
- Prepared environment
The prepared environment is also an essential part of the Montessori method. It should be a place where children can move freely and act independently. A safe place.
The Montessori environment should also be structured and have the order. It may seem counter-intuitive to the “freedom of movement” but, toddlers crave routine. It helps them to navigate the world they are growing up in.
Montessori education leads to independence. It encourages exploration and teaches toddlers to take responsibility for themselves, their belongings, and the environment they are in.
- Hands-on learning
Children learn through experience. From birth to the age of 6, the child is able to learn new things unconsciously, just by being in the right environment and having the opportunities to explore.
It means the child is able to absorb new information like a sponge. Have you seen how quick kids can pick up a new song, or language?
By watching your child, you can provide appropriate activities and create an environment that will support the development of the skill they are currently focused on.
- Freedom within limits
Freedom doesn’t mean let them run riot. It means we give them the opportunity to choose freely from the options we approved and that are good for them – whether it’s the activity they want to engage in or the dress they want to wear. You can give the ‘illusion of choice’ “do you want to wear the black shoes, or brown shoes?” You can help them feel like they are making the choice whilst given them options you want.
The Montessori method is about mutual respect between the child and the parent.
It also means that we understand that each child is a unique individual with his or her own needs, capabilities, and way of learning. Toby and Maddie couldn’t be much more different, and I’m the same with my brothers, when we were kids and now. So, it makes sense to understand individual needs.
What is a Montessori Toy?
A Montessori toy is one that stimulates learning by encouraging kids to experiment. It should be a toy that they can hold and touch, as learning to manipulate objects is key in helping children develop their fine motor skills. The toy should also give them the opportunity to work independently at their own pace and use their creativity.
As an example, a box of block, lego, or wooden train track could be considered a Montessori toy. Children learn how to build structures and vehicles by piecing together different blocks, and they are challenged to use their imagination to create through trial and error. Our Mixed blocks - 25 piece wooden toy set – T&M Toys (tandmtoys.co.uk) is a perfect toy to help your little one's imagination and independence grow!