While many little ones are now allowed to go back to nursery school, we know that many of you have decided to rather homeschool to protect your kids against Covid-19. But if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed at the thought, especially because you’re working from home, too, it’s fine to take a step back and see what you can do differently. Even if it’s just for a while.
Stacey Klate, a qualified Montessori teacher from Port Elizabeth, says you can easily incorporate Montessori methods at home. This way you’ll have the peace of mind that your little one is still learning and developing language, numeracy and other important skills.
How can I use the Montessori method at home?
Use what you have around the house
Save yourself money – don’t go buy expensive toys and gadgets because you’re stressing your child’s going to “get behind” on essential learning. At this young age, all he really wants is to help you. Use things arond the house and in your kitchen to teach your child all sorts of things.
“The only thing I would suggest you buy is a collection of kiddies books,” says Stacey. She says The Gruffalo and We’re Going On a Bear Hunt are always popular with small kids – they’ll read it over, and over…
Make everything you do around your house part of his learning
When going about your daily household chores, instead of picking up and cleaning behind your toddler, get him involved by helping you to pack things away, wash the dishes, dust the tables, clean the basin, and so on.
Snack time is another great teaching opportunity. Section a part of the fridge or a drawer in the kitchen and place all the options he can choose from to prepare his own snacks. Tell him to choose 2 red fruits and 1 green vegetable, for example, to practise numbers and colours.
Give him a chopping board and a butter knife or a cookie cutter to chop up his ‘salad’ or cut out shapes. You can also give him an orange squeezer to squeeze oranges, all good for developing fine motor skills. Again, you can add an instruction, for example, squeeze 1 orange or 2 halves per person.
Rotate and display his toys
Don’t throw all your child’s toys in a big box – sort through them and put them in small boxes you’ve stored away. Give him just 6 or 7 toys to play with a week. You can display these on a shelf or on a little desk that’s within easy reach for him to choose from.
Besides his toys, you can also display a special book for him to read each week.
If you see he’s getting bored, you can easily change it up and bring out another set.
Set a routine
Little ones crave structure and routine in their daily life. From an early age, you can teach your child that when he wakes up in the morning he has to make his bed, and put his PJs under his pillow. In the evenings, he’ll learn to know that when you play soft music and dim the lights, it’s time to choose a book and settle down for the night.
More about the expert:
Anastasia Klate studied Early Childhood Development at the College of Modern Montessori. She had her own Montessori school in Johannesburg for about 10 years before relocating to the Eastern Cape with her family. She now consults with parents in Port Elizabeth on homechooling the Montessori way.
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