Q: Where should I start?! I have an 8 month old and we're starting lessons shortly but I don't know what to do to get her started. I have some little sensory boxes but not sure what else to do!
The short answer is that you do not need to prepare you child for learning. A child is learning from before they are born. But, we can prepare an environment in which they learn optimally and happily. The materials that a child will find in a Montessori environment are presented in a carefully considered way, not only for the purpose of the material, but also for the needs of that particular child or group of children. If you were able to enroll your child into a Montessori program, I would avoid having the didactic (academic) materials they will experience in the classroom at home.
There is a joy lost if the child is not able to experience certain materials for the first time in their unique Montessori classroom environment. If you are not able to bring your child to Montessori, then by all means subscribe online and learn how to deliver the presentations for particular materials. However, practical life activities must be available to the child and these activities in the home will most certainly begin to allow your child to love their work and to develop their own “work cycle”. For example, by providing the materials to clean up after themself independently, your child is beginning to establish their own complete cycle of work, to have chosen, worked happily and concluded their work. Having a set place for things in your home and not changing this often will also aid your child in returning things to their place and feeling that same sense of completion.
The hidden joy of this process, knowing that they do not need an adult to begin or end their activity, is the possibility to repeat, repeat, repeat uninterrupted! Giving this gift to your child will set them up not just for their first school days, but also for life!
- Rebecca Grugan