What is Montessori? And Why You Should Know About It!

As parents, we are all learning and trying to give our kids a better life or even just make parenting easier for us, but just listening to how we were raised isn’t always the best option. We need to learn and change as our generations do, but for the better. That is why I want to talk about what is Montessori and why you should check it out.

This is going to be the first part of this Montessori series, so get ready for some more Montessori coming your way! That is after you find out what Montessori is all about and how it can truly change your way of thinking about kids and parenting.

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Now before we get into it I want to point out that there is no right or wrong way of parenting. We are all just learning and adjusting over time. You shouldn’t bash someone else’s way of parenting just because it is not like yours and you should really bring other moms up instead of putting them down.

Parenting is hard. It will always be hard, especially when you are just becoming a new mom. So do the world and yourself a favor by helping and supporting other moms. And remember karma is a b*tch and she kicks you when are already down, stay on her good side.

I digress… let’s get to what Montessori is.

Montessori shelves with colorful Montessori wooden toys.

I have heard the term before, but what is Montessori?

So Montessori is a method of parenting and teaching that has gained a lot more attention lately because of social media and the gorgeous toys people show off on Instagram. It is much more than wooden toys and beautiful playroom setups. It is about how we see our kids and how we, as parents and teachers, responded to them and their needs.

That probably sounds a little too broad of an explanation and that isn’t what is going to convince you to even check it out. I know that. But hear me out.

What Montessori really is about is how we treat our kids with respect, encouragement, and giving them the right stimulations that they need especially during their early years.

Which will explain all of those cute playrooms that basically look like everything in your house, but smaller. From shorter mirrors for your kid’s height to tiny closets for them to get dressed all by themselves. It is all meant for your child to be able to learn the basics of living more independently. They have the say in what they want to do. If they feel like brushing their hair randomly through the day then they can.

All of these setups serve a purpose other than being cute (or looking good on Instagram). They are there to help you raise curious, creative, confidant, and independent children. Of course, they will need your help in the beginning and along the way as they continue to grow into responsible children.

How long has the Montessori method been around and why haven’t I known about it?

The Montessori way of learning has been around since 1907 when Maria Montessori, the first Italian female physician, found a better way for children to learn naturally and opened her first school. Now she actually started to develop the Montessori method in 1897, so it took her 10 years of working and researching her new method to get to open a school just for it.

Four years later the method reached the United States, but the American Education Establishment was opposed to it. So in 1960, the Montessori method finally gained traction and has spread to thousands of schools.

As to why you probably haven’t heard of it or why you weren’t taught that way is because your parents probably never heard of it. It took 49 years to spread to thousands of schools, not hundreds of thousands, just thousands. That isn’t a lot of schools when you take the whole 50 states of America into account.

Now, don’t get me wrong your parents may have heard of it before (most likely once or twice), but it was new to them, the internet wasn’t around yet, and they learned to parent from their own parents and experiences. You can’t blame them for not knowing, but you can change your way of parenting because you have more access to knowledge than they ever had.

How it can help your children and yourself

When you use Montessori methods at home you really have a more relaxed or laid back way of parenting. That doesn’t mean it isn’t hands-on, but more supportive of freedom, independence, and respect of your child as their own person.

That also doesn’t mean that this relaxed way of parenting is letting your kids run wild. You set boundaries, let them play and learn, help foster their growth, and watch for the times when you need to step in and give them a hand (not doing things for them, but helping them do it).

It isn’t always easy and it takes time to get used to, but it is a way of parenting that can help your child want to learn and grow up with life skills that many people don’t have anymore.

Another great part about Montessori parenting is that you gain skills overtime about defusing your child’s temper tantrums without the need to bribe, threaten, or have the whole store staring at you. Instead calmly and respectfully help your child through their temper tantrum. Let alone possibly stoping it beforehand.

Once you get the hang of it, you most likely won’t feel angry all of the time for them doing something you used to consider “naughty” because you know how to redirect them to an acceptable activity that they want to do.

For example: If they are climbing on things they shouldn’t be climbing on then they want to learn more about movement, so you build an obstacle course from like pillows or take them to a playground where they can climb.

When you learn more about your child by watching them as they are playing you may be able to catch them before they are going to something “naughty” and then you know what they want to learn next. Stop them before they do that “naughty” thing and you don’t have a reason to get upset and stressed out.

You really learn to be calmer and more present when you actually practice Montessori parenting. Which in many ways helps you and your kids.

Cube organizer shelves turned into Montessori shelving with each compartment a new type of toys.

Why does this matter to you?

As the generations change, so has parenting and better ways have been found for raising and teaching children. The Montessori method is built on respect and encouragement, not threats and demands like how you may have been raised (yes, being told you will be spanked is a threat and being told you need to pick up now is a demand).

You have the power to change how your kids will be raised. There is no rule that you have to parent just like how your parents raised you. You may get some resistance from family or friends, but they aren’t the ones raising your kid, you are. 

There might be times when you have to step in and tell your family that they can’t spank your kid or that they can’t give your kid something (like candy) to stop them from crying. It may not be easy, but parenting isn’t supposed to be. You have to have the guts to stand up for your kids and your way of raising them.

So questioning what is Montessori is a good start for you to see another way of parenting that might just be right for you and your kids. I am proud of you for looking into it and I encourage you to make the best choice for your kids and yourself. I encourage you not to let friends, family, or society pressure you to raise your kids the way you don’t want to raise them.

Be the strong and powerful mom you are and decide if Montessori is the way you feel is the right path for you and your kids.

Now if you would like some books to read about Montessori parenting I highly suggest these three books: Montessori From the Start, How to Raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way, and The Montessori Toddler. I honestly loved reading these books and if you still have a toddler the Montessori Toddler book has amazing ideas for toys for each type of learning, a chart for what and when they should be learning certain life skills and some gorgeous examples of room setups.

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