The Montessori method is an educational discipline that encourages the development of the child as a whole and in-depth. This pedagogy is based on the observation of children’s behavior in structured and unstructured environments, and, although the concept was created in the last century, it’s only been since 2007, that numerous studies on the Montessori method have been emerging, proving its effectiveness in exploring the cognitive, social, emotional aspects and brain development. It is more and more frequent, the application of the method in the environment of babies ‘ and children’s rooms, and in other play spaces.
What is the concept behind the Montessori method?
Its philosophy is quite extensive and almost impossible to summarize in a text, but its pillars are: the child, the conscious adult, and the prepared environment, need to be aligned and connected, like an ecosystem, for its effectiveness. There will be no transformation if the physical environment is entirely planned in the Montessori methodology, in its composition offering the baby calm, welcome, respect – for both adult and child – and harmony, but the parents do not give the baby the freedom to explore the world. Among the skills that Montessori pedagogy develops are concentration, creativity, curiosity, sense of justice, and emotional intelligence.
The Montessori pedagogy assumes that children are largely responsible for building the world, as they become adults – because it is how you develop as a child that will determine what you will be like as an adult. In other words, a child is not a passive individual who will be what others determine them to be, on the contrary, they are active beings who have a continuous effort to face and change humanity in the future. Therefore, the child always strives to become more independent from adults, seeking strength and potency in themselves. In Montessori education, children develop in phases, which they call Development Plans. Children seek more and more independence from adults at each stage.
How to apply Montessori pedagogy in the environment?
It is always recommended to start designing and introducing the Montessori pedagogy in the baby’s room, as it is the environment that they will spend the most time on, but preparing all environments is important so that the baby has the freedom to explore the house and different places, of course, making sure it is safe to the little one. Some characteristics are necessary for building these spaces, bringing accessibility and safety to the child, such as:
- Light colors and natural light are recommended;
- You don’t need much, don’t leave out many options – of colors, toys, and objects – in the same environment since they confuse the child. Therefore, the ideal is to have few objects to favor the development of the ability to make decisions.
- Having the environment organized is important, even for the child to be organized internally, in their reasoning, their thoughts, their actions, and feelings.
- Make everything accessible to the baby’s touch so that they can interact without needing an adult, having space for them to move, too, is important. Obviously, it is important for an adult who is aware to observe them, only.
- It is necessary to pay attention to safety since all objects will be accessible to the little ones. Therefore, loose wires, plugs without covers, or sharp objects are not indicated so that the baby can explore the place without risks.
- The Montessori method not only favors physical but also emotional independence and stimulates the baby’s concentration. Therefore, a calm and quiet house is essential to keep you calm. Also, avoid electronic devices in your child’s room, and electronic toys with flashy lights in general.
- Having a mirror accessible to your little one, so that they can recognize their face and body, identify their expressions and, consequently, their feelings and emotions, is indicated because it helps in the perception that the child and their mother are separate, distinct beings. The mirror and the support bar need to be in accordance with the development of your little one. The support bar will help your baby to have firmness in the body until they can stand on their own, it helps them to discover new movements, and quickly achieve balance, so necessary when walking.
- The main item in the room, the bed, should allow the child’s freedom to move, so it is very common depending on the child’s age, for the bed being low or being on the floor.
- Leave the clothes in a closet or dresser that’s within their reach, with appropriate clothes for the season and the occasion for which they will dress. This encourages them to make small choices, preparing them to make important decisions in the future as well.
- Use small shelves that are within their reach, put just a few toys in it; rotate them according to your child’s development and interest.
- Invest in a child’s size table and chair, to be their “work station” so they can do their activities independently, which also helps with concentration.
- A step stool for your little one is essential for them to have autonomy, for example, to reach the bathroom sink, or the kitchen countertop.
These items, applied to the environment, help the baby develop independently as a whole, with, of course, the conscious adult always nearby.