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In this guest post Kris of Flockmen shares great insight into importance of child-directed play, and how we can provide best platform for child’s free play and discovery.
Are you always busy, rushing, occupied, running from one place to other seldom having a chance to stop, think and let your child have a play with whatever he/she wants and chooses to do?
The world shouts from every corner you must have this, your child should be doing that, rarely examining whether or not it is really necessary or beneficial for your little learner, busy worker and a fun playmate.
Take a moment and think about the last time your child played contently on their own, completely captivated by their own activity?
The greatest help you can give your child is freedom to go about their own work in their own way. We should be guided by the child (M. Montessori, 1989), giving them opportunities to make choices, develop concentration and let their minds grow, just like their bodies do.
Here are some Do’s & Don’ts, to encourage a child-led play!
When a child has shown and interest in a toy or game they wish you play and they come to you asking to join in – TAKE PART. Even if you are not a big fan of the particular game. Show full support and engagement. It will encourage your child to practice initiative and choose their own activities. Try asking the child to choose toys and games that wish to do, rather than always handing them ideas straight away. If the child is reluctant to do it, give instruction and direction, that will help them build confidence and independence.
Be Ready Prepare the environment for the child. Look at your child’s room, examine the spaces your child uses the most throughout the day. Is it cluttered and confusing? Does your child have too many choices? Avoid putting everything in one big box, it doesn’t give opportunities to choose and learn an ability to tidy when finished. An organised toy shelf teaches children order and establishes pattern of structure from a young age. Make sure children can reach their toys independently. Prepare the setting, for child to be able to make choices, as they learn to make their own decisions in their life (M. Montessori 1989).
Step Back and Observe If a child is struggling with something, don’t jump right in to save the day. Let your child develop perseverance. Wait and see how she/he copes with the situation and step in when necessary, with support to enable the child to deal with a similar situation. It helps the child develop problem solving skills.
Don’t interrupt Don’t interfere when your child is playing or doing a particular activity on their own. Being occupied with a task, a toy or a game helps children build their concentration – it is an important part of life (M. Montessori, 1998). Interference stops activity and concentration, however keep your eyes open for the moments that the child may be disturbed or is in a mood for naughtiness. Put on your policeman hat and defend, instruct where & when necessary.
Reserve Your Praise Choose the times for praise wisely. Praise breaks the enhancement (M. Montessori, 1989), therefore try not to comment, when the child is deeply captivated by their activity and their imagination. It is not easy, but your child will benefit from having an uninterrupted time to him/herself.
Most importantly remember, that if the child has a freedom to develop, the result will be seen at the adult stage (M. Montessori, 1989). Childhood lays foundation for each individual’s personality and response for life (Lillard & Jensen, 2003).
Kris co-founded Flockmen to remind the today’s digital world of the basics – enjoying the family time together through natural and open ended play. His days are spent between being a husband, father and a business developer at world’s leading IT company who was at the forefront of delivering Rio 2016 Olympic games. He is passionate about building thoughtful products that make people lives better.
HOMESCHOOL RESOURCES, TIPS AND IDEAS
Homeschool - Learning Resources and Must-Read Books
Back to School learning resources with hands-on activities gathered in one bundle. This bundle includes materials that help develop skills to support the main areas of a child's development - language, math, geography, fine motor, social-emotional, organizational skills, and sensorial. It fosters creativity and logical thinking and prompts moments of deeper concentration. The materials are suitable for use in a classroom setting at school or childcare and in the homeschool setting. It contains tools to help children transition and settle well into their classroom and support the development of their executive functioning skills. You will find many materials to include in your All About Me unit, editable name tracing printouts, and tools to help you organize your classroom such as a Linear calendar and Mobile calendar to start the day. Editable and Homeschool teacher planners are also included. The bundle contains language resources for learning to identify initial sounds and CVC words, and math hands-on resources for teaching basic mathematical concepts.
Chore Charts for children of different ages Fifty-six visual and thirty-six non-visual chore cards Blank rounds and editable blank chore cards to add your chores to the list Different chore board designs to choose from
Editable and customizable homeschool planner with daily and weekly planner templates for infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and lower elementary students based on key areas of Montessori scope and sequence. It can be used by families internationally with the option to choose Jan-Dec or Aug – July academic year.
Seasonal printables were designed specifically for Montessori classrooms with a large variety of activities that cover different learning areas, such as geography, math – one-to-one correspondence, language – identifying the initial sound, reading, sight words recognition, classification, fine motor practice for students aged 3-6.
I Have, Who Has? Math Games help reinforce valuable lessons and math concepts whilst capturing students’ attention, focus and concentration in a fun and engaging way. Students will be learning while having fun and playing math games with their peers in pairs, in small and large groups. Once students are familiar with the subjects, these cards can be also used as an individual activity to review important math concepts.
Early Learning Bundle with 40 printable sets that contain 3-Part Cards for an object-to-picture matching activity. Sets are designed to match the classroom favorites – Safari TOOB figures. Use in any language. All sets include an editable PowerPoint file. Types labels in your own language and print.
When I first learned about Montessori, we had just welcomed our second son and I was in the midst of trying to figure out where my then 3-year-old son was going to go to preschool. He had been attending a 3-day-a-week autism therapy school for early intervention and was about to complete his time there since he had reached all of his targeted goals.
Homeschooling isn’t a new concept, but it sure has gained momentum over the last few years. But, is it effective? What does the research say?
You might be surprised to learn that while only 7% of American students were homeschooled in 2021 (an increase from 4%), over three quarters (78%!) of these students perform better than their traditionally schooled peers.
Should your family homeschool or should you send your child to a school? This question has crossed the minds of many parents in the past few years. So I am here to share with you my thoughts on whether it’s best to home educate or to send the child to school.
A homeschool space setup is an integral part of home education. How do we create a space for learning that is inviting, clutter-free, practical, budget-friendly, and efficient? Before we set up a learning environment we need to ask ourselves, what goals are we looking to achieve.
I often get asked where to purchase Montessori materials, what I consider Montessori essentials, what handmade items are best for those who prefer handcrafted materials, etc. Below you will find a list of materials, resources, and toys I sincerely recommend. Everything on this list is of high quality and value. I’ve gathered resources and products that I personally purchased, had in my Montessori classroom, reviewed, and would genuinely recommend.
Having a plan at hand, especially during uncertain times, can only benefit busy and overwhelmed parents. Sometimes parents can be going through a period of transitioning when they work on establishing new homeschooling routine.
Do you wonder sometimes what a day in the life of another homeschooling family may look like? Unless you are a part of a dynamic and large homeschooling community, you may not have time or energy to connect with others on a regular basis to discuss your routines and timetable.
When a family decides to take a route less traveled to homeschool their children the number of questions and choices you have to make is staggering and overwhelming. The list is never-ending – from what approach to take to how to manage household and expenses on one income, and of course, there is socialization.
Don’t fall for gorgeous looks! Beauty is within. The modern world portrays Montessori as a fancy method of education for privileged children. In its essence, the Montessori method is not about the status or gorgeous classroom interiorioir. It is about meaningful connection, respect and authenticity.
Are you new to Montessori?! Do you feel sometimes overwhelmed with the amount of new information you need to process? Would you like to hear advice from Montessori parents, bloggers, and teachers on common mistakes Montessori newbies make and how to avoid them!?
Our homeschooling journey is something that consumes my heart and mind these days. I guess because it is unknown territory that we are walking into. So far it has brought great fruit and I feel that our everyday life is bursting with colors like never before. My daughter’s “whys” have got a completely new dimension, and I love, love, love how excited she got from receiving a magnifying glass by mail the other day. I would like to share what happened when we emerged into our Montessori work 3 – hour session. You can read about our Homeschooling routine in this post. I hand-picked a list of Montessori materials for our classroom. Aside from this list we also use some natural toys and materials that carry educational purpose.
It is not a secret that the child needs stability in life in order to feel secure. Order in life creates inner order and peace, something that lays the foundation for successful learning, smooth transitions, and a happy kid. One of the first tasks for homeschoolers is to establish their own rhythm, and set up a daily schedule that is the backbone of the whole process.
Montessori is a truly unique method. One of the main characteristics of this philosophy is that it requires parents and teachers to acquire a particular list of habits, behavior, and attitude towards children, learning, environment, and a certain mindset.
by Jacy Ruwe (Author), Elin Johnson (Illustrator)
It’s a question that nearly every homeschooled child asks at some point. With its delightful, hand-painted illustrations and rhythmic structure, this charming book shows readers how they can learn scholastic skills through everyday life.
by Susan Stephenson (Author) Format: Kindle Edition
A fifteen-year experience of day-by-day, year-by-year, learning how to create an authentic Montessori education at home through elementary, middle, and high school. The main guide or teacher during these years had taken AMI teacher training courses for 0-3, 3-6, and 6-12 and had taught for many years.
by Christopher Lloyd (Author), Andy Forshaw (Illustrator)
Discover how history, nature, and science connect in this fast-paced, entertaining, and incredibly informative history of the world, from the beginning of time to the present day. How was our universe made from a tiny speck of energy? Where did the first trees, plants, animals, and humans come from? What happened to the dinosaurs? What was so miserable about medieval times? How were railroads and electricity invented? What are the perils of global warming?
A hands-on open-and-go Montessori math curriculum. Use as a supplement to traditional, physical Montessori math materials OR as a stand-alone math curriculum. Montessori math sets a firm foundation in concrete principles before slowly progressing into abstraction.
This is a learn to read book for kids 3-5 and5-7. Each age group will use the book in a slightly different way. The first group will be able to work with the help of an adult, while the older group can start the Montessori reading series mostly on their own, as they will be able to cut, paste and color most of the reading activities by themselves.
Number Concepts - number rods, cards and counters and one to one association Golden Beads - introduction and arithmetics with golden beads Linear Counting - bead bars, teens, tens, skip counting, hundred board Arithmetics - addition, multiplication, subtraction and division
by Frank Egholm (Author), Anna Cardwell (Translator)
Looking for an outdoor hobby to engage your children and encourage them to be crafty and creative? Wood carving is not only easy to learn and fun to do, but almost everything you need to get started can be found for free -- right outside your door!
by Vicki Cobb (Author), Tad Carpenter (Illustrator)
Kids take the reins in the kitchen with this hands-on book of edible science experiments! With revised and updated material, a brand-new look, and hours of innovative, educational experiments, this science classic by award-winning author Vicki Cobb will be devoured by a whole new generation of readers.
This beautiful art encyclopedia charts the evolution of the greatest cultural achievements in painting, sculpture, and photography. The greatest art exhibition at your fingertips! Packed with fascinating facts, clear explanations, and stunning photography, this awe-inspiring art encyclopedia for kids aged 9-12 years takes you on a magical tour through time exploring every artistic style and movement in stunning detail. From Leonardo da Vinci's iconic Mona Lisa to Vincent van Gogh's spectacular The Starry Night, this art history book celebrates the lives of groundbreaking artists and their most famous art masterpieces.
by Julie Bogart (Author), Susan Wise Bauer (Foreword)
Parents who are deeply invested in their children's education can be hard on themselves and their kids. When exhausted parents are living the day-to-day grind, it can seem impossible to muster enough energy to make learning fun or interesting. How do parents nurture a love of learning amid childhood chaos, parental self-doubt, the flu, and state academic standards?
MULTI AWARDS WINNING FUN LEARNING TOY - Family Choice, Mom's Choice Gold Metal & Tillywig Brain Child Award Winner 2018, and Creative Child Kids Product of the Year Winner 2019! The most popular interactive smart educational talking world map poster.
Continent Race Geography Game for kids was created by 6 year old Byron duringpassion for geography with a desire to help boys and girls like him learn and have fun during their hospital stay - and beyond! For 2+ players
The ShillerLearning Math Kit I - everything you need in a single box! No lesson preparation required by parents! Your package contains over a dozen different manipulatives based on Dr. Maria Montessori's method developed over a hundred years ago. Includes a balance, number cards, number tiles, operator set, foam ball, wood dominoes, a US/metric ruler, wooden shapes, dice, measuring cups, and probability bag.
Magnetic Fuel Tank Monitor Card. Magnets on the game board to hold Fuel Stations in place. 2 levels of game play. This game will arrive in new condition. Please note that each Mission to Mars Edition game was opened in the U.S. for the sole purpose of adhering the magnets to the game board, thus saving customers the task. The game will arrive taped closed with clear tape on all 4 edges of the color box.
It’s time to say NO to trying to fit square-peg kids into rounds holes, and YES to raising them from a place of acceptance and joy. Today millions of kids are stuck in a world that doesn’t embrace who they really are. They are the one in five “differently wired” children with ADHD, dyslexia, giftedness, autism, anxiety, or other neurodifferences, and their challenges are many.
Teaching children how to manage their intense emotions is one of the most difficult aspects of parenting or educating gifted children. Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students: Helping Kids Cope With Explosive Feelings provides a much-needed resource for parents and educators for understanding of why gifted children are so extreme in their behavior and how to manage the highs and lows that accompany emotional intensity.
by Susan Stiffelman (Author), Eckhart Tolle (Foreword)
Our children can be our greatest teachers. Parenting expert Susan Stiffelman writes that the very behaviors that push our buttons — refusing to cooperate or ignoring our requests — can help us build awareness and shed old patterns, allowing us to raise our children with greater ease and enjoyment.