Montessori education is prized by many parents, since it capitalizes on the natural curiosity inherent in most children. If your child is already attending a Montessori school, or if you would just like to bring some Montessori advantages into your home, you may be wondering how to set up an at-home learning space. The following tips can help.
Tip #1: Think stations
Montessori classrooms are set up in very specific ways for each age group, but you can mimic this on a smaller scale in your child's play space. Instead of toys on a shelf and a large play area in the center, divide the room up into "work stations." You can arrange work tables and low bookshelves to achieve this segmentation, or you can use visual differentiation like different colored rugs. For a small home space, two to four such stations is probably sufficient.
Tip #2: Organize by subject
In the classroom, each station would be dedicated to a specific subject or activity. This means there may be a kitchen station, a geography station, a math station, and a reading station. You can mimic this in your own playroom, although you may need to modify it based on space. For example, if you only have space for two stations, you may opt for one to be the educational "play" spot with the indoor sandbox or kitchen, and another to be more for sit-down work, such as by combining reading and math materials. Just make sure that the materials are clearly differentiated on the storage shelves so there is no confusion for your child.
Tip #3: Choose Montessori-friendly materials
Most Montessori materials are made of natural materials, like wood and cloth, but this may not meet a home budget. Look over the materials at your child's school or in a Montessori catalog, and find alternatives if need be. For example, you may not have the budget to purchase a full set of geography puzzles in wood, but cardboard alternatives will work just as well for your home geography station. Or perhaps instead of purchasing official Montessori sandpaper letters for the reading station, you can make your own.
Tip #4: Keep it fresh
A great thing about Montessori materials is that many grow with your child. As your child masters one level of use, rotate the materials out of the playroom for a little while, and then rotate something new in. Then, when you bring the original material back, show your child a different way to use it. For example, with geography puzzles in a frame, return just the pieces so your child has to remember where everything goes without the guidance of a frame.
For more help, talk with a Montessori educator or check out websites like https://miniapplemontessori.com/.