Maria Montessori’s child-centred approach to education is more than 100 years old. Picture: Pexels

The Montessori model is all about common sense, education based on natural interests and activities, which is why you can do many of the activities at home, writes Omeshnie Naidoo.

Maria Montessori’s child-centred approach to education is more than 100 years old.

The model is so practical that it remains at the core of many schools across the world who apply the basic principles.

Among those you will recognise are child-sized environments, i.e. the little loos and low wash basins we see as standard fair in pre-schools, which allow the children to be independent and help themselves. Another is the concept of freedom of movement within a considered environment which allows the opportunity for discovery through play and learning.

While this system is refined in schools, and indeed bolstered by their beautiful range of Montessori materials, it is derived from the home and therefore there is no reason why parents can not adapt and do Montessori activities at home.

Fun, learning tasks can be as simple as pouring water from one jug into the another, threading string through a colander, supervised scissor time, washing and cutting up vegetables or matching numbers and shapes with small items from your pantry. These help them hone gross and fine motor skills, improve concentration, grasp the concept of numeracy and nurture independence.

Do remember to model behaviour you want to see, to respect, love and be patient with your child in the process.

Here are a few examples of activities you can present to a children. Allow him or her to choose and then be absorbed in the activity.

  • Sort buttons from small to large
  • Place buttons in a bowl and place the bowl onto a tray. Ask the child to sort in size.
  • Use thongs/ a scoop or a spoon to transfer pom poms/ grains/ plastic beads from one bowl to the next.
  • Place a few grains in a bowl with another empty bowl onto a tray. Let the child use the thongs to transfer the grains into the other bowl. (Similarly children will also enjoy transferring water from one jug/ container to the next.)
  • Match numbers to items of the number
  • Make or print out a simple chart of numbers. Ensure each number is in a clearly defined space or box/ square. Then guide your child to place objects of that number into that space.
  • Example one bead for the number 1.

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