Montessori at Home

Dear families of young children, 

 

I’d like to begin by acknowledging the real losses, difficulties, and uncertainties we are all facing during the Covid-19 pandemic. Almost all of us have lost access to special places like museums, zoos, the homes of friends and extended family, our favorite parks and playgrounds, and even the simple shopping trips and errands that we enjoyed with our children. Many of us have lost access to the care giving capacity and support of older and/or more vulnerable extended family and friends. Many of us are strained in the management of all too hastily reconfigured work and child care responsibilities and routines. For some of us, that juggle can happen from the relative safety of our home. For far too many of us, all our difficulties are compounded by trying to work outside our home in ways that mitigate risks to our family’s health, security, and ability to meet our basic needs. Too many of us are also facing loss of health and life among those we know and love. 

 

We have all lost the ability to predict and plan for the medium and long term with the same level of security we enjoyed before. As someone lucky enough to be part of a family juggling the needs of just one child and two full-time jobs from a secure and well-stocked home, my heart particularly goes out to those that have isolated themselves from their families due to illness or vocation. In most cases, however, families are spending more time together and in the care and education of their children.

 

This time together makes the Covid-19 pandemic an opportunity for much growth and joy as a family. It can also be a time of much stress, loss of confidence, and even anxiety. What, exactly, are we supposed to do with all this new found opportunity to be together as a family and responsibility to care for our children? How should we, as adults, prioritize the needs of our children? Our work? Ourselves? 

 

I have felt real sadness over the temporary loss of my child’s beautiful learning environment and the support of his friends and teachers at Community Montessori Columbus. Even as a professional with years of experience leading learning communities like the one my child left in mid-March, I have struggled with our choices of what to prioritize as a family and for our son at home during this strange time. Three things have brought me the most solace and confidence in adjusting to our new normal and caring for my child: sharing love and laughter with my family; experiencing the restorative and healing capacity of the natural world; and my knowledge of the Montessori approach to child development. 

 

Since temporarily shuttering the beautiful program so many of us worked so hard to build, CMC’s experienced Montessori Guides and I have been busy compiling resources for families to use at home in the support of these positive experiences. The many resources collected below - and the suggestions and advice they contain - come from places of love and support. We all love our families and are doing our best to support them through this difficult time. Few of us have room for new demands on our time and energy. 

 

I have spent the better part of the last decade working, learning, and raising my child in Montessori environments. I also have a three-year-old that will not ingest anything he recognizes as a plant, outright yell at my husband about parenting decisions, and belong to a family who all regularly succumb to the reliefs and distractions of various screens (more on all three below). As I write this, my child is stomping around his bedroom upstairs, loudly protesting our household boundary that we all wear something covering our bums on the first floor of our house. In our house - and especially right now - we are often far from getting it “right”, let alone “perfect.” For me, feeling guilt or shame over our imperfections very quickly gets in the way of my ability to simply do my “best” each day. 

 

Each family is unique, so each family’s “best” will look different. Some of you may look to the resources below for a few quick activity ideas. Some may be looking for advice on important child development topics like toileting and screen time. A few of you may be lucky enough to have the time and resources to dig deep and reorganize your entire homelife according to Montessori principles. The resources below are designed to flexibly support all these capacities and goals. My hope is that sharing them with you will support us all in finding paths to joy, growth, and the expression of love in this challenging time! I welcome your feedback and suggested additions to the resource lists below in the months to come. On behalf of Ms. Jen, Ms. Nash and myself, we also look forward to answering questions and offering support as we are able. Please don’t hesitate to be in touch!  

 

With love and support from my family to yours, 

 

Taylor Dautremont 

Resources

Other Websites to Support Montessori at Home

Here you will find other Montessorians’ compilations of advice for home with comments highlighting some of our favorite or most relevant pieces of content on each site. These are also loosely organized by developmental level and/or age. Click on the blue links to open resources in a new tab or window. 

Resources and Recommendations from CMC to Support You and Your Children at Home

This list is loosely organized by developmental level and/or age from toddlerhood through early elementary, incorporating contributions from Ms. Nash, Ms. Jen, myself, and others. Click on the blue links to open resources in a new tab or window.

Anti-Bias and Anti-Racist Resources for Families

Your family and children are never too young to begin the difficult but essential work of social justice! The members of the CMC staff have and continue to engage in this work. We have been reminded of its ongoing importance in all our homes by the people protesting the murder of George Floyd. We encourage your family to use the resources here to strengthen your work at home and with your children!

Edison's Day

For families of babies and toddlers interested in incorporating Montessori principals into their home life, Edison’s Day is a must watch! You’ll get a  great introduction to Practical Life through a visit with the family of Sarah Moudry, the creator of Studio June linked below, when her son was 20-months old. Unlike the free content below, this video must be rented for $5. Your family and children are never too young to begin the difficult but essential work of social justice.

 

Favorite Activities to Do at Home

This list is from Ms. Nash, Montessori Guide in Children’s House East at CMC. This list is prepared for older toddlers and younger preschoolers but much of it could easily be adapted for older children.

 

Toileting Webinar by Sarah Moudry

This is a limited time toileting video by Sarah Moudry, trained Montessorian, owner of June Studio, and parent of Edison from the Edison’s Day video above. We also recommend Sarah Moudry’s book, Toilet Awareness, for families working on or planning to work on toileting. 

 

Favorite Songs

From Ms. Nash of Children’s House East at CMC, a set of simple songs to engage even the littlest of ears and hearts. 

 

Can a Playroom Makeover Make My Kids Over?

This is a very accessible interview with Simone Davis (creator of the website, The Montessori Notebook, linked below). It also outlines the basic principles of Montessori environment organization. If you’re looking for help with cleaning/reorganizing, this is a great place to start. 

 

The (Pink) Elephant in the Room: Screen Time and Montessori

This began as part of my letter to families above but quickly grew into its own document and article of sorts. From what I’ve experienced and what I’ve heard of other families’ experiences during this period of isolation and disruption, screen time is among one of the most essential topics to address here! 

 

Gross Motor Ideas

From Ms. Jen in Children’s House East, a great set of ideas from yoga to call-and-response songs to DIY movement games for inside and out. 

 

Nature and Science Ideas 

This list is from Ms. Jen, Montessori Guilde in Children's House West at CMC. She includes many beautiful activity ideas for children of all ages and their adults! 

 

Chart of Common Birds and Their Sounds

Click on each bird to hear recordings of their call! This has proven very fun and useful in identifying birds in our back yard and garden! 

 

Recentering Ideas 

Another good set of resources and ideas from Ms. Jen at CMC, this time to help destress, focus, and stay well. 

 

Creative Expression Ideas

Good suggestions from Ms. Jen for the hows and whats of arts and crafts projects at home for children from older toddlers through younger elementary age children. A big shout out to all the adults out there with the courage to model creative expression for their children (from a home currently showcasing an adult-painted watercolor of a pooping dinosaur). 

 

Practical Life Ideas

Again from Ms. Jen, suggestions for engaging older children in caring for themselves and their home (also see Ms. Nash’s suggestions for younger children above). 

 

Sensorial Ideas

Especially if you’re new to Montessori, Ms. Jen has written a very useful introduction and guide to this key area of our practice with young children. I’ve been so happy to learn many DIY/at home ideas to support my child’s sensorial development while away from CMC. 

 

Language and Literacy 

Both Ms. Jen and I have created guides to building language and literacy skills using Montessori principles at home. I developed my guide in 2017 for a few friends and family members without access to Montessori programs for their children (a situation most of us find ourselves in now). Ms. Jen has just recently adapted the key lessons and activities used in her Children’s Houses for use by families and children at home. For those serious about building literacy at home, these are both great resources. However, they are both going to be the most accessible and useful to families that already familiar with Montessori principles. 

 

Ms. Jen's Language Activities

Ms. Jen's Three Period Lesson

Ms. Jen's Learning Letter Sounds

Taylor's “A Montessori Inspired Guide to Introducing

Young Children to Reading and Writing at Home

Other Websites to Support Montessori at Home

Here you will find other Montessorians’ compilations of advice for home with comments highlighting some of our favorite or most relevant pieces of content on each site. These are also loosely organized by developmental level and/or age. Click on the blue links to open resources in a new tab or window. 

 

Studio June

This is the website of a Montessori program based in Houstin offering classes, experiences, and support for young children and their families. During the Covid-19 pandemic, they have transitioned to many online offerings, including free baking classes. It is headed by a very well respected Montessorian, Sarah Moudry (see the Edison’s Day video in the resources list) who specializes in Montessori from 0-3. This is a great place to look for support with toileting. 

 

Aid to Life 

This is a very approachable overview of Montessori at home from 0-3 created by Association Montessori International (AMI).  

 

The Montessori Notebook

This website is a project of Simone Davies, another very well respected Montessorian. I can personally recommend her free newsletter (sign up on the bottom on the homepage). The website is brimming with free resources across all areas of early childhood education and Simone also offers a series of fee based courses. One great resource is The Ultimate List of Montessori Activities for Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers.

 

How We Montessori

This long running blog offers a window into one mother’s journey raising her three sons according to Montessori principles. Her advice is practical, concrete, and highly visual. This is a great place to start for those that wish to take a more active, doer/maker approach to incorporating Montessori principles into your home. 

 

The Kavanaugh Report

Like How We Montessori, this is another long running blog with one mother and her children at its center. There is a lot of overlap in these “from our home to yours’” spaces, one from Australia and the UK, the other from Minnesota. Nicole Kavanaugh has also just begun a podcast, Shelf Help, that I’m looking forward to listening to soon, if that is a format that calls out to you. 

 

Montessori Guide 

This resource was created by AMI USA to support and inspire Montessori guides. However, it is a fantastic free resource for diving deeper into Montessori theory and practice. This is also a great resource if you are looking for information in video format (the overwhelming majority of high-quality Montessori resources are written). 

 

Trillium Montessori Coronavirus Response Resource for Parents

This project of Trillium Montessori offers a very thoroughgoing collection of resources specifically for addressing the Coronavirus Pandemic, including a free anthology of responses from respected Montessorians: Montessori Parent Coronavirus Survival Guide. This is an especially good resource to explore if you are looking for support with older children! 

Montessori for Social Justice

This organization has been an important resource in the crafting of CMC's mission and our practice. While it is composed primarily of Montessori guides and administrators, it is very much open to anyone who seeks to center and strengthen social justice work in the Montessori community.

614.212.4702

5400 Karl Rd.

Columbus, OH

43229

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