You don’t have to do “summer school” to use Montessori principles with your child this summer. There are lots of way to add learning opportunities as they come up according to your child’s needs and interests.
Here are my top 10 ways to use Montessori principles for summer learning:
1. Follow your child’s interests.
This is always the most important Montessori principle at any time, and it’s especially appropriate in the summer. During the summer, my husband and I spent extra time focusing on our children’s interests in sports (“Can Montessori Principles Be Used to Teach P.E.?”), Art (“A Montessori Approach to Homeschool Art”), and Patriotic Events (“Child-Led Patriotism”). I also let Dad and Grandpa help follow our kids’ interests (“Dads Can Help with Child-Led Learning”). You can find lots of activities to fit with different interests in my post called “Should You Use Unit Studies?”
2. Observe your child’s needs and use Montessori principles whenever you can.
Observing the child is another essential Montessori principle. By observing what your child needs at any particular time, you’ll be able to do what’s best for your child at any age. And you’ll also avoid the frustration of preparing activities that aren’t of interest or that are too difficult or too easy for your child. You’ll find lots of ideas in “Top 10 Montessori Principles for Natural Learning.”
3. Prepare a Montessori-friendly home for your child.
Summer always seems like a natural time to de-clutter and bring beauty and order into the home. Homeschoolers are preparing for the next school year, so it’s an especially good time if your school is at home. You’ll find lots of ideas for preparing a home environment for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers in “How to Create a Montessori-Friendly Home.” I have a Montessori-Friendly Home Pinterest Board with lots of ideas of ways parents have prepared a Montessori-friendly home. I also have a Montessori Homeschool Classroom Pinterest Board with more formal ways to bring Montessori into the home.
4. Prepare a Montessori-friendly outdoor environment.
What better time than summer break to find ways to create a natural outdoor learning environment or make extra effort to take your child to visit one?! Maria Montessori emphasized the exploration of nature along with allowing children to move freely between indoor and outdoor classrooms. You could prepare a Montessori outdoor environment (“Montessori-Inspired Outdoor Environment”), take learning activities outdoors, or just find ways to let your child explore nature. If you’d like to use the summer to make your home totally Montessori-friendly, I have TONS of resources through links in my Montessori Resources page.
5. Encourage practical life activities.
Practical life activities are essential for young children (“Montessori Practical Life Activities,” “Free Montessori Practical Life Videos”, and “Favorite Montessori Practical Life Activities”). You’ll find that spending extra time with practical life activities during the summer will help academic learning in the fall and later on when you see increased order, concentration, coordination, and independence in your child.
6. Encourage sensory experiences.
Sensorial activities make up another essential Montessori area. Summer could be a good time to make some sensorial materials of your own. (“Montessori Sensorial Activities,” “Free Montessori Sensorial Videos,” and “DIY Montessori Materials”). You could also just focus on lots of fun sensory activities like the ones found on my Any Season Sensory Tubs/Sensory Experiences Pinterest Board.
7. Do Montessori-inspired sidewalk activities.
Sidewalk activities are often easy to prepare and add interest to almost any learning activity. I have some examples such as “Outdoor Line Hunt and Walking on the Line,” “Montessori Outdoors – Numbers and Counters,” and “Outdoor Acorn Math Activities” (which could be used with any natural objects). My Outdoor Classroom Pinterest Board has lots of sidewalk chalk activities that are either Montessori-inspired or could be made into Montessori-inspired activities.
8. Do Montessori-inspired activities at the beach.
The beach is a natural place for summer learning. You could find fun ways to incorporate learning into a day at the beach (such as “Montessori at the Beach: Numbers and Counters”or “Land and Water Forms at the Beach”).
9. Reinforce language- and phonics skills.
In Montessori education,we teach the phonetic sound of the letter rather than the letter name. That way, children naturally progress to blending sounds together to read words. I’ve had great luck teaching children to read both in my work as a Montessori teacher and with my own children by starting with phonetic sounds rather than letter names. Summer is a wonderful time to enjoy reading together in general (“Montessori-Inspired Ideas for Enjoying Books with Your Child or Students” and “Montessori-Inspired Literature-Based Activities for Preschoolers”). Introduce or reinforce phonetic sounds according to your child’s skill-level and interest (“Montessori Language Activities,” “DIY Beginning Montessori Phonics for Preschoolers,” and “Activities – Language”).
10. Do hands-on math activities.
Hands-on math activities are a natural part of Montessori education, and you can just watch for activities that fit with your child’s needs and interests at the moment (“Montessori Math Activities” and “Activities – Math”).
I’m excited be be participating in School’s Out: A Top 10 Series by KBN! Over 25 Kid Bloggers from the Kid Blogger Network are sharing Top 10 Ideas to do with your children over your School Break! Thanks to Becky from This Reading Mama for organizing the series and to Kim from The Educators’ Spin On It for setting up the collaborative Pinterest board. Here’s the Schedule of what’s coming this week:
Sunday ~ This Reading Mama | The Educators’ Spin on It | Kitchen Counter Chronicle | Rainbows within Reach | Monday ~ Train Up a Child Learn as We Go | Housing a Forest | Royal Baloo | Living Montessori Now | Tuesday ~ Toddler Approved | Play Trains! | 3 Dinosaurs | Wednesday ~ The Outlaw Mom | Teach Beside Me | Hands On as We Grow | iGame Mom | Thursday ~ JDaniel 4′s Mom | All Done Monkey | Fantastic Fun & Learning | KC Edventures | Playing with Words 365 | Friday ~ Teach Mama | The Usual Mayhem | Nature and Play | True Aim Education | Saturday ~ Creative World of Varya | Craftoart | My Buddies and I
Learn more about my eBook Montessori at Home or School: How to. Teach Grace and Courtesy!