With both my children in AMI-accredited schools in London, Montessori at home must be different from Montessori in school. I try not to have Montessori materials out as that might cause them to be bored with the same materials in school, but I very much follow the child and allow ample uninterrupted time for developing concentration and concrete understandings of the world. In this way, the home is not merely a classroom but more than. As parents, we have the power to bring the world to them and honour their specific interests (whether it’s bugs, or an explosion into writing) in a way that only parents can because we know our children best. So why would we limit ourselves to providing a replica of a schooling experience at home, when we can do so much more?
We keep weekdays very calm and homely so that the highlight of their day is school, but on weekends we love exploring new places and revisiting old favourites.
Over this weekend and last, we:
Had some downtime at a bombed-out church in London’s city centre, the ruins of which were overgrown and made into a public garden
Attended a Bach to Baby concert, a performance for children by professional musicians (instrument three-part cards and miniatures here and Montessori-inspired sound and music activities here):
Visited Victoria & Albert Museum, where we discovered there were free activity backpacks that families could loan.
This activity backpack for under-5s required the children to conduct a treasure hunt in the gallery, press sound buttons for the respective animal sculpture, and piece together a fabric jigsaw puzzle.
There was also a free art workshop, inspired by the display of Turkish encaustic tiles…
Where children could make their own clay tiles and bring them home…
I love this idea of building white space into a child’s day as it is a necessary reprieve from the sensory bombardment of the world:
“In a book, white space is the room between the lines of type, the margins, the extra space at the beginning of a chapter. It allows the type to “breathe” and gives the eye a place to rest. White space is not something you’re conscious of when you read a book. But if it were gone, you’d notice it right away.
Just as books require white space, so do children. They need room to grow, in a space shielded from the onslaught of the information age. It does not take a brilliant mind to see the effects of a lack of white space…
The ancient Chinese philosopher Lao-Tzu reminds us that “it is not the clay the potter throws that gives the jar its usefulness, but the space within.” If stimulation and guidance are the clay, then time by oneself is the space within.”
On weekdays, the children enjoy working with their hands. I follow the child’s interests when designing units, so we don’t have any themed materials out at the moment. Their art space is used daily though. They enjoy working with their sponge rollers and stamps that I DIYed from a cardboard box..
Open-ended block play…
And their new favourite activity is baking. This week, they baked independently for the first time.
I simply walked them through a recipe of their choosing (hide-and-seek muffins), laid out all the ingredients on a tray…..
And sat on my hands while they lined the muffin tray with cupcake casings, cracked eggs…
Pour milk in…
Whisk (I helped transfer the batter from the bowl to the pot)
Pour batter into cupcake casings…
Top with blueberries and bring to oven…
And set the timer.
I had to bite my lips whenever I saw the mess, so I distracted myself from intervening by fiddling with my phone and snapping a ton of pictures.
It was quite timely that we had friends over for breakfast today and Dylan cooked French toast for our guests while Emmy made tea ! It really adds another dimension of grace and hospitality when children apply their practical life skills in service of (rather accommodating) others!
If you’re a guest in our home, please don’t be afraid to list your very specific requirements e.g. more cinnamon, as the children are in a sensitive period for refinement and love remembering the slightest details!
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