Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Just Living Montessori and Why We Don't Belong in a Magazine

When I first started following Montessori bloggers and Instagram accounts, they seemed to have every authentic Montessori material presented on perfect wooden shelving in brightly lit rooms dedicated to learning.

I made lists and lists of the materials I dreamed of having, of the authentic tools I felt were necessary for our Montessori journey.

I was intrigued by the materials, and by the Montessori activities that saturate Pinterest. This is what Montessori seemed to mean.

Soon, it began to feel like too much.

Is Montessori Really About all that Stuff?

Montessori, something I had fallen in love with for so much more than the things, began to feel very materialistic, and I wanted to give up on it.

It was overwhelming for a regular mom like me. I felt it must be for the more energetic moms, the more patient moms, the more organized moms.

In reality, and in practice, it can be so much more simple. After all, this method was developed by Maria Montessori herself for the average child, and the philosophy is easily adapted to the average family.

It's not about magazine worthy spaces, or shelves made for Pinterest.

Montessori can really be about just living it. 

Three Ways to Just Live Montessori
Keep it personal:

The materials and work of Montessori are good and beneficial for my children, but it is not the reason I am on this journey.

I do not know everything there is to know about Montessori, I am not a certified AMI teacher, I do not get everything right all the time. I simply know, from my experience of just living Montessori to the best of my knowledge and ability of the moment, that I have seen great and surprising results.

These results are in my children, but also, most importantly, in myself.

The Montessori guide, or parent, is gentle and non-violent, understanding, respectful, prepared - and to strive for these things, to strive for the change that Montessori requires in me, is the most important way it affects our family.

The more I desire Montessori, the more respectful I am towards my children. The more I allow them the freedom to develop into the people they are created to be.

I observe more, intervene less. And my children surprise and delight me because I allow them to.

Keep it practical:

A main focus in the Montessori method is on practical life, and this is what captures toddlers most of all. Practical life works, however, are supposed to be actually practical, a way for the child to truly participate in the life of the family.

The child inherently knows if the work they are doing is meaningful or if it is artificial.

Instead of rice pouring, bean pouring, water pouring, it has been so much more beneficial to have Jerome help in the kitchen; preparing the morning oatmeal, helping to pour and stir a batch of muffins, giving him access to water.

Last night he helped to prepare the salad we had with supper, chopping carrots, dumping them into the salad bowl. He was so proud of his work, and kept repeating: Jerome cut carrots.

It is such a small amount of extra effort for me to include him in this way, and nothing can match the purposefulness and pride of real work.

Practical work is

  • helping to water a plant, using the handheld vacuum, washing the pots and pans, filling a small pitcher for dinner time, helping me carry things, fold things, wash things.

Keep it simple:

At first it seems like adopting a Montessori viewpoints means running out and replacing everything in your home.

But that doesn't have to be the case.

Simple things like rethinking how you put away clothes, where you have your child's toothbrush placed, providing them with a small pitcher within reach. Hanging a picture at their eye level. Giving them a stool for the kitchen sink.

Think about the spaces in your home and how they welcome your child.
Think about the quality of materials, slowly replace what may not be beautiful, with real and beautiful items.
Think about how much is available to your children, consider rotating their toys, setting them up in an appealing and uncluttered way.

If you can remember those three things, you'll just be living it, and that's what really matters.

Thank you for reading! For more posts in my simplifying Montessori series: Practical Life | Following The Child | The Work Cycle | The Value of Concentration | Obedience and Self-Discipline

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me. And if you are interested in following along in our daily adventures, follow us on Instagram where I post daily.

God bless,
Olivia Fischer


  1. Wow I LOVED this, it was so honest Olivia.

  2. I loved what you were sayint about the simplicitly and naturalness... if that makes sense.