Just because it's wooden doesn't mean its montessori.
IKEA has been there for a while. Kmart has recently caught onto the movement. Wooden toys are becoming popular again as parents crave the beauty of these materials and as they learn how natural materials can contribute to their child's experience with play.
But for those wanting to follow the Montessori philosophy – just because it’s wooden, doesn’t mean its Montessori.
The purpose behind many ‘toys’(we call them materials/ work) in a Montessori classroom is defined and easy for the child to grasp.
There needs to be an 'isolated concept'. A ‘point’ to it, something the child is trying to understand and can easily understand as it is one concept at a time.
There needs to be a ‘control of error’. The purpose of a child working with any of the materials is so that they can self-correct without an adult having to jump in to tell them they're wrong.
As you discover Montessori and move further into your new journey, it becomes easier to pick up these key points behind preparing a piece of work/ preparing an activity. Once you start to understand the why, it makes everything a lot easier to understand.
Sources such as Pinterest and Google images can give you ideas, but not all that is tagged 'montessori' is in fact montessori. If you look at the above, and think 'what is the isolated concept? where is the control of error? what is the purpose? you are on the right track to providing a stronger montessori experience at home for your child. This can seem a bit overwhelming, I get it, two years ago I was there myself! Even if, right now, the only question you can ask yourself is ‘What is the purpose of this toy/ activity? This question alone will help your purchasing of toys, may stop you from buying something just because its wooden and help stop the clutter you may be building at home.
Children don’t need a lot of things, they just need the right things. They need purposeful work, they want what they do to have purpose. We, as the adult, can educate ourselves on how to simplify our toy rooms and what toys are developmentally appropriate for our children and prepare an environment on where they can focus, grow, learn and become independent.
Moving from plastic to natural materials is a start, but it is soo much more important to have toys with a purpose, toys that allow the children to explore, discover and use their imagination (we don’t mean fantasy).
A great place to start is eliminating anything with batteries. We will have a whole series on ‘preparing your home environment’ and where to start, what to do, and what not to do!
If you don’t know what to do after this, call us anytime on 07 3848 2391 and we can help as much as we can over the phone.
- Rebecca Grugan