Montessori nursery is a big hit with us!

Doctor Maria Montessori, Montessori Nursery, Montessori EducationThe Tinkerous Toddler is two years old. She’s been at a Montessori nursery for just over a term. Given I made such a big song and dance about choosing a nursery, I thought it was about time for an update. Not least so I can reassure myself that the weeks of deliberating have begun to pay off.

In short, I’m already feeling paid in full. We have a daughter who has made some great new friends and she clearly loves the environment she’s in. You may well be thinking that great friends and a lovely environment are part and parcel of any good nursery’s offering. Me too. So, here’s the skinny on how the Montessori method is influencing the little Tinker.

The main focus for her group, which is made up of two to three year olds, is ‘Practical Life Skills.’ These help children master motor skills; develop cognitively; shape their personality and powers of concentration and grow in self-confidence and independence.  Montessori Practical Life Skills include:

  • Basic movements such as pouring, folding and carrying
  • Care and maintenance for everyday life:
    • Care of the person (e.g. washing of hands, cleaning teeth)
    • Care of the environment (e.g. dusting, sweeping, tidying)
  • Courtesy, focusing on person-to-person interaction
  • Control of movement, including refining coordination through activities such as walking on the line

There’s a really good overview of Montessori Practical Life Skills on Info Montessori

Well, the Tinkerous Toddle’s Practical Life Skills have come on a treat. It is quite fascinating to me to see her choose a toy, sit and play with it and then neatly pack it up and return it from whence it came once she’s had enough.

She’s become incredibly organised with dressing and undressing herself – almost always at the right times too! She’ll often put her clothes away in the drawer. Not always in the right drawer, but the intention is there. I must admit we did have a blip last week, when I discovered she’d put away some leggings and pants that she’d had a pee accident on. Oops!

You may think this is all a bit dull for a toddler. But, the marvellous thing is she really enjoys the whole process. She seems empowered; she’s in charge of what she is doing from start to finish. That can only be a good thing when it comes to building a child’s self-esteem.

The Montessori theory is that children love order. It doesn’t take much of a leap of faith to believe this theory. I think most people love order. It’s fun to have an injection of chaos every now and then, but in general most of us thrive much better when our lives are in order. So, showing a child how to create order in their lives is a wonderful thing in my book.

Ooh and last week something really cool happened; I was doing the washing up after we’d had friends round for lunch, when I realised that the Tinkerous Toddler was carefully picking up all the food debris from the floor and putting it into the bin. Again, you might think it a bit sad for a toddler to be cleaning the house. But it was her choice to do it and she clearly felt good to be contributing towards tidying up.

There are oodles of other positive things that I’ve noticed too, but I don’t want to bang on ad infinitum. Though do look out for my next post on the Montessori attitude to saying sorry, which I wholeheartedly agree with, but am finding a little difficult to put into practice.

I’d love to hear from anyone else experiencing Montessori nursery with their children and am always happy to chat about how I made my decision with anyone toying with the idea of a Montessori education for their child / children.

  • http://teaandbiscotti.com Tea&Biscotti

    I am soooo grateful you wrote this post!! I have recently started looking at nurseries for Bambina. As we’ll be moving house this summer Ive been looking at places in our surrounding areas and came across a Montessori. Not knowing too much about it, I half heartedly did a bit of reading and then dismissed it (more out of my own laziness than anything else). However, as Tinker is loving it so much perhaps i’ll revisit the idea, not that im into child labour or anything but there’s not a thing wrong with teaching a child how to clean after themselves, let alone after other people! Im impressed :-)

    • mother.wife.me

      Hee hee! I read a book I got on Amazon all about it, will dig it out for you. I was helped along with the decision making process because my neighbours’ children all went through Montessori and are just the most brilliant, engaging children. I would say though that there are lots of nurseries that use the Montessori method, but not so many that are actual Montessori nurseries / schools. This site is quite useful for an overview: http://www.montessorisociety.org.uk/

  • MrsB

    My youngest is at a Montessori nursery at the moment and he is so loving it and I am very happy with the approach. At home he’s still a bit messy but he wants to go to the nursery 7 days a week which means it must be a great place :) (i blogged about it a few months ago I think)

    • mother.wife.me

      That has to be a good sign! TT is increasingly keen to know when she is next going, she only does a few hours per week at the moment and I am sure we are going to have to increase her hours soon, to keep her happy!!! I’ll check out your post!

  • http://older-mum.blogspot.co.uk Older Mum (In a Muddle)

    This is really good to know ….. When little A eventually starts nursery, I want to send her to a Montessori one aswell. I really like their approach.

    • mother.wife.me

      If you need to ask me anything before she goes – or once she’s there, just shout. Always happy to chat about it, we can learn from each other!

  • http://honeysmummy.blogspot.co.uk honeysmummy

    This is great news, our little one has literally just been accepted to start when she is 2 in september, can not wait! xxx
    http://honeysmummy.blogspot.co.uk

    • mother.wife.me

      Oh cool, it really does seem to be a lovely and useful way for small children to learn, we are so happy TT is at a Montessori nursery. Look forward to hearing how it goes for you and your daughter! xx

  • http://amummysview.wordpress.com amummysview

    what a great post. It sounds like it is doing the world of good. I think it is important for children to learn good manners, to tidy up and look after themselves, you are right it is empowering. I haven’t seen a Montessori nursery near me but it sounds great. My little girl helps me tidy her toys away sometimes. she has seen us taking the shopping through to the kitchen and has started copying. She takes an item out of bags left in the entrance and follows me through, puts it down and goes back and gets another. Very cute and very helpful! lol. It’s all life skills for them too which is great. xxx

  • http://www.belfastmummy.co.uk Clare from Belfast Mummy

    Brilliant, small girl is starting at a Montessori nursery in September, we only have 2 in Northern Ireland but as you mentioned above there are also a few nurseries which apply some of the montessori method. The difference between the two is quite large from what we have seen.

    As we only have 2 nurseries I don’t know anyone who has experienced the process and it is quite a big commitment as it’s quite far from our home so it is fabulous to get feedback that it is worthwhile.

    Must have a look on amazon for a book.

    Will be following your montessori journey with interest.

    • mother.wife.me

      Ace, I shall look forward to hearing how your small girl gets on. This is the book that I bought and found really useful for giving a good overview of Montessori:

      http://www.amazon.co.uk/Secret-Childhood-Maria-Montessori/dp/0345305833/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1335696876&sr=8-1

      Also, not sure if you are a part of BritMums, but I’ve just become a contributing editor and will be doing a monthly Education Round-Up of the best blog posts relating to all aspects of education. So if you have done or are planning a post on your decision making process, let me know!

      Feel free to ask me any questions on the Montessori front! I’m by no means an expert, but it might be something I can help you with!!

  • http://www.belfastmummy.co.uk Clare from Belfast Mummy

    Thank you so much, I just ordered the book, I will probably have many questions once I put my mind to it.

    Your post about saying sorry was really interesting, I have apologising drummed into small girl so really need to start preparing her and myself for what to expect!

    Congratulations on your new editorship, I have considered doing a post so will let you know when it’s finished.

    Thanks again x

    • mother.wife.me

      Ace, so glad to have been able to help.

      Yip, the sorry thing is an interesting one, but I feel like it is the right way to go and hopefully it won’t be too many months before TT is saying sorry of her own volition, rather than because she’s been taught to parrot it out!

      That’s so cool re writing a post, do give me a shout when you’re done! X

  • http://www.wahm-bam.org Tasha Goddard

    Another interesting post. I’ve read a bit about Montessori, when editing childcare books, but don’t know about in great detail. My cousins children went to a Montessori school in America when they were young and she really liked it. We have nursery and playgroup all set up for my youngest now, but I might read around into the theory and see if we can’t take some of it on board at home, perhaps.

    One thing I have always done with both the girls, is encourage them to help with household tasks like washing and sweeping – they do love it and it’s not like work at all.

  • http://cocoapowered.blogspot.co.uk/ CocoaPowered

    The little one is in a montessori nursery and I would be interested in him going to a montessori school. The only problem we’ve found recently is that as the little one gets older (now 3+ yrs) he is one of the oldest. The younger ones may be benefitting from him being there, but there are not many kids his age and certainly not older for him to look up to and learn from. Some of this is the nursery does not accept the government vouchers so parents often take their children out as they get older.

    • mother.wife.me

      It is a tough one isn’t it. Ours accepts the vouchers “to go towards the cost” of 15H. So, it suddenly becomes a big cost consideration. We plan to keep her there and stomach the cost, but I will check that there is a good mix of ages in the main pre-school, which she is due to attend when she reaches three – there certainly was when she joined. What do you think you will do?