The pandemic has brought new challenges for learning at home. With ongoing stay-at-home measures and blended remote and in-person lessons, managing schooling from home may feel hectic!
To help your child continue to receive a top-notch Montessori-style education during this time, here are some ways to promote effective learning at home.
- Step back and observe
The Montessori philosophy places a high value on children’s independence and autonomy towards their learning and environment. At school, your children are encouraged to express their opinions about what they are currently learning. Playing the role of Montessori educators at home, parents can support this by stepping back and observing with a “less is more” approach.
Instead of motivating your children to study with extrinsic rewards, help them draw on their internal motivations. Through their learning, give your children room to try, fail, and try again without interruption as they persevere through difficulties. This will set them on the path for successful self-directed learning. As children develop within the Montessori approach at school and home, they will build confidence, resilience, and a belief that they are capable.
- Create a new home learning schedule
Children really do better with routines. Creating predictable schedules will help your child manage isolated learning. Once you know your child’s remote class schedule, you can fix the times for snack time, lunchtime, recess, and homework. You can post the schedule on the fridge, so your child knows what to expect throughout the day.
At the same time, keep the schedule flexible. Children are motivated when they feel like they have a say. A flexible schedule will allow for changes and also leaves unscheduled free time for what your child wants to do.
- Adapt the home environment for learning
Montessori practices are designed to be adaptable to different conditions, cultures, and needs. While remote learning is a big change to classroom lessons, you can adjust your home to make Montessori work for you and your child. Since your home is the new classroom, there should be a dedicated space to meet your children academic needs.
Children in preschool or kindergarten (aged 3 to 5) need a place for art and hands-on learning. A flat surface and a child-sized chair will do, as young children tend not to sit still for too long.
For older children in elementary school, a desk and space for books, learning materials, and supplies are recommended. If this is not possible, a dedicated spot at the dining table will also work. This will support your children in getting into a school mindset at home so they can learn without distractions.
- Model handwashing and cleanliness
This year during the pandemic, handwashing and maintaining cleanliness are important skills that children need to cultivate as a habit. In the Montessori method, the teacher is an enabler that models good behavior – and this includes good hygiene. Wash your hands together with your child and discuss what cleanliness means at home. Handwashing as well as dusting, sweeping, and scrubbing are effective practical life activities endorsed by the Montessori method. You can encourage cleaning habits by bringing your child dustpans and wipes for cleaning up after art projects, flower arranging, and gardening. This will instill good habits in their daily routine, which they can continue practicing when they return to school.
- Incorporate backyard activities into the day
Learning from home means that children spend a lot of time indoors! Make sure your child is getting enough sunlight and exposure to the outdoors by spending time together in the backyard. You can start a vegetable garden, which is a great way to get your hands dirty and be more active during the day.
If you don’t have the materials to start your own garden, you can encourage your child to do other backyard activities. For a fun classification activity, your child can collect rocks, leaves, and flowers and sort them by color, size, or shape. Any activity that can draw their attention away from screens for some time will be beneficial to their overall well-being and productivity.
- Read together
Reading is a wonderful way to spend time together at home. You should choose stories that your children are interested in. If they like nature, you can read books about birds, stars, gardens, dinosaurs, and caterpillars. If they are fascinated by the human world around them, you could read books on families, home life, and school.
As an alternative to reading aloud, you can also listen to audiobooks to boost their listening comprehension skills. Jooki makes it easy for your child to learn with audiobooks. You can associate MP3 files or audiobooks Spotify playlists with Jooki figurines or tokens. This way, your children can choose the story they want to listen to and use the figurines and tokens to play them independently.
Despite its challenges, remote learning offers a unique chance for you to connect with your children and witness Montessori in action. You will see their learning style and can observe which subjects and topics inspire and motivate them. With the Montessori approach, your child is well-prepared to learn at home successfully this year.