Making Montessori Early Learning Materials at Home
Many people think young children are only fascinated with wild colors, cartoon characters, the latest movie, imaginary worlds, talking animals, 3D animated figures, and pretend play. Why would a young child want to spoon rice between two bowls, match up basic colors, or use a screwdriver – how boring!
Young children are still largely perceived as having short, fickle attention spans and not being ready yet to really learn much. Don’t tell that to Mother Nature, or to the millions of children who have attended, and now attend, Montessori preschools.
Montessori materials use objects from the real world and special learning materials, assembled into attractive, self-contained, aesthetically pleasing activities that isolate real world information and skills so the child can work with them and learn. Young children are powerfully attracted to these materials because they meet their true internal, developmental need to create people ready to live in the time, place, and culture into which they are born .
Maria Montessori saw that as they play, young children are actually doing the most important work of their lives – creating the people they will become. Young children are incredibly fascinated with the real world they see around them. This is the world they are joining; and they are highly motivated to understand and operate in it. Montessori preschools have few of the toys and other typical ‘attractions’ of early childhood, and kids absolutely thrive in them. To a young child a waterfall, a cloud formation, a line of gradually bigger geometric shapes, a sponge and a couple of attractive bowls with water on a mat, and a tray with colored wooden beads to sort into separate cups can be more interesting than a Barbie or a GI Joe.
To make a food analogy, think of the hot new disposable plastic toy as a sugary treat; and Montessori materials as fruits, vegetables, and protein. These activities feed young children’s brains with great brain food, and they love them.
Montessori At Home! shows you how to make all kinds of wonderful early learning materials – mostly using common items you may already have, or which can be easily and inexpensively found at a discount store, an arts & crafts store, a supermarket, or an office supply store.
The photo shows materials for making many activities, purchased on one trip to Walmart.
Montessori At Home! will show you how to put together excellent home learning materials for very little money that will hold your child’s attention and teach her more than any seductively packaged, overpriced plastic toy. Toys are fine; but young children also need experiences that help them develop:
- Muscle control and coordination
- Strong brain architecture
- A confident, positive self image
- Real world critical thinking, logic, math, reading, and science skills
Early learning is not drudgery, but a totally fun journey of discovery. To see this in action, I urge you to arrange to observe a Montessori preschool in session. See if you see children who are bored, acting out, and requiring constant external motivation. On the contrary, you will see children who are engaged, independently and purposefully active, paying great attention to what they are doing, and totally wrapped up in their activities.
With Montessori At Home! you can give your child more than disposable plastic toys with little or no educational value. You can provide experiences that prepare your child for life.
How much does it cost?
You can make every home made material in Montessori At Home! for under $300. The book also gives you recommendations for original Montessori materials suitable for home use. The total cost of all these is around $400. Add in materials from Montessori Print Shop and a few of the recommended commercial early learning materials and books for another $250. That’s about $1000. Wait a minute, you say, I thought you said this was inexpensive! Consider this:
If you start with a 2 ½ yr. old and buy everything recommended in the book, your child will use it over a 3 ½ year period.
$1000 divided by 42 months = under $25/month
Let’s say your child is 4 years old when you start. This child will not be as interested in some of the simpler activities or the Montessori and other materials aimed at 2-3 yr. olds, so your total expense will be less. If you spend $700 on early learning for this child over two years, you’ll spend under $30/month. Also keep in mind: Montessori materials are a quick sell on Ebay when your child is finished with them. You can recover at least half of your expense this way.
For the price of a fancy coffee drink and a muffin per week you can give your child a better brain for life and help him realize more of his true potential.