Montessori Education at Home. Is It All or Nothing?

Too often parents are led to believe they have to take the ‘all or nothing’ approach when it comes to Montessori education at home. While it is true that the primary years (2½ – 6 years of age) use a lot of hands on auto-didactic materials, there are many materials that you can make yourself or use less expensive substitutes for. And it’s not necessary to have all the materials. It’s the concepts and the theory behind the materials that count – not the materials themselves. Would it be lovely for everyone to be able to afford high-quality materials such as Gonzagarredi or Nienhuis – oh yes, it would. But it’s definitely not necessary.

Many parents are also led to believe they can’t give their child a Montessori education unless they’re ‘trained’. You didn’t train to become a parent … but your child has survived (and thrived) this far. So with a little research and work on your part – you too can become a supportive Montessori guide for your children. It will not be the same as sending your child to a Montessori school – but it will still give them a wonderful foundation to life-long learning.

There is a lot of information and free resources available on our website. As well, download all our FREE printable Montessori materials.

Another great place to visit is the Living Montessori Now! blog which contains tons of free information and ideas on Montessori – excellent for homeschoolers wishing to add some Montessori into their life. The post today is very fitting: The Overwhelmed Mom’s Guide to Montessori Homeschooling.

Montessori isn’t meant to be stressful – it’s meant to be a way of life. It’s a way of thinking and a way of approaching learning. We have written about Montessori theories and how they may apply to your family life.

Montessori education at home does not have to be ‘all or nothing’
. Any part of Montessori that you can implement into your daily life will only help to strengthen and deepen your child’s love of learning, the connection to the people in their lives, and their contribution to this world.

Using open-ended Montessori-inspired materials

The great thing about most of our Geography, History, and Science materials is that they are very open-ended and can be used in a variety of ways, for a wide range of ages.

We’re often asked why so many of our materials don’t include step-by-step instructions (many include basic instructions). We don’t include them because we want the materials to be open-ended for both the teacher (Montessori Guide) and the children. We don’t want the presentation of the lessons to be constricted by how we think it should be presented – our version may not be appropriate for your children and their situation.

The presentation of the materials will vary greatly depending on the children, their level of interest, their previous exposure to preparatory materials, and their overall abilities. The materials will not be very effective if you’re locked into a presentation that isn’t suitable for the children you’re working with. As the Montessori Guide, it’s your responsibility to adjust the presentation of the materials for the children in your presence. This is why observation in the Montessori environment is so important!

We want our materials to offer a starting point for the children to learn about the topics that they’re interested in. The materials are meant to be a point of departure – not a point of arrival. They’re meant to offer general/basic information on the topic, provoke thoughts and questions, and inspire the children to study the topic in greater depth. The information we’ve provided in the materials is by no means complete. First of all, that would be impossible – is any research ever complete? Secondly, if we provided all the information then the children wouldn’t have any reason to search for further knowledge and find the answers to their questions. Think of our materials as the ‘springboard’ that launches the children’s desire for greater knowledge.

So now you’re asking – “How do you know how to present the materials to the children??”.

Good question! First off, you need to familiarize yourself with the various parts included in material (examples: 3-Part Cards, Definition Cards, Information Cards, Sorting Cards, Control Chart, etc). You’ll have a chance to do this while … Read Full Article

The Montessori Classroom: “The Three Year Cycle”

The Montessori Classroom: “The Three Year Cycle”

Here is a lovely short video (5 minutes) on The Montessori Classroom: “The Three Year Cycle” which may help some of you get a better understanding of how the materials and the Montessori environment works. Interestingly, the video was made by a Montessori graduate.

Montessori: The 3 Year CycleSo take a few minutes today and watch the video!

Preparing to start a new school year

Preparing to start a new school year

The first day of school will vary from State to State, Province to Province, and most definitely Country to Country. But the common factor shared by teachers all over the world is the need to prepare the classroom for the hungry minds that will soon enter it. Visit our website for information and articles that will help get your new school year off to a great start.

Primary Montessori Classroom

You can find many more helpful tutorials on our website on the top navigation bar under the buttons “How To…” and “Theory”.

Win a set of our Primary Montessori Teaching Manuals

There are more Montessori materials to be won! Read below and visit the Starry Sky Ranch Blog to enter the Giveaway.

This Giveaway is now CLOSED.

Primary Montessori Teacher Manual Bundle Giveaway

Primary Montessori Teaching Manuals by Montessori Print ShopI am so very pleased to have been given the opportunity to both use and review these incredible resources from Montessori Print Shop
AND to share them with one lucky family at the end of this week.  The
name is a bit misleading because the scope and sequence actually covers
the skills normally presented in most traditional school programs
through middle elementary grades.  I would suggest taking placement
tests for Saxon Math for instance to determine correct grade level
placement after completion of these manuals.  You may be surprised at
how much ground has been covered! On with the review….

Montessori Metal Inset Holder

The Montessori At Home! eBook & Materials Bundle Giveaway

This Giveaway is now CLOSED.

In celebration of the Montessori At Home! eBook & Materials Bundle released by Montessori At Home! & Montessori Print Shop we’re having a Giveaway. One lucky winner will receive this newly released Bundle that contains both the eBook and the Materials package. A value of $24.95. 
This Giveaway starts today (Mon Feb 27) and ends 12:01am EST Sat March 3rd, 2012.

The Montessori At Home! eBook & Materials Bundle GiveawayMontessori at Home eBook and Materials Bundle

Montessori At Home! eBook

Montessori At Home! is a multimedia eBook that guides you through the entire process of doing Montessori early learning activities at home. Complete background and how-to chapters are followed by clear directions for over 250 early learning materials and activities. 

Montessori at Home! eBook and printable materials

Every section is supported and expanded by the liberal use of direct links to web sites and videos you and your child can visit to learn more. Montessori At Home! is a complete, practical guide to home early learning, written just for parents.

Montessori At Home! Materials (by Montessori Print Shop)

21 printable Montessori materials to compliment your Montessori At Home! eBook

Montessori at Home! printable Materials by Montessori Print Shop

Montessori at Home! Materials Bundle includes:
Phases of the Moon, Animals of the Continents, Continent 3-Part Cards, Land, & Water Form Photo Book, World Control Maps, Masters & Labels, Moveable Alphabet (includes instructions), Sentence Cards – Step 1 Set 1, Word and Picture Cards – Step 1 (real pictures), 1 to 100 Math Series, Geometric Matching Cards, Geometric Solids (3-Part Cards) – Blue, Skeleton Nomenclature Cards, Tree Nomenclature Cards, Phonics Sound and Picture Sorting, Association of Objects, What Does Not Belong?, The 5 Senses, Plant or Animal?, Animals and Their Names, Color Grading Cards, and Metal Insets – Shape Outlines.

The Rules of the Giveaway

This Giveaway is open to anyone 18 and older worldwide. The Giveaway gifts are in pdf file format and will be downloaded from our eStore. In order for our system to process the download links we require the following from the winner: name, address, telephone #, and email address. All information is kept confidential.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Skip Counting with the Montessori Bead Chains

Skip Counting with the Montessori Bead Chains

The Montessori Bead Chains are simply beautiful. They are the crown jewel of many Montessori classrooms – especially if they are lucky enough to have the glass beads! Young children can hardly resist running their fingers along the beads and anxiously await their readiness to handle and count each chain.

Montessori Bead Cabinet labeled Materials:
Bead Cabinet: A cabinet with a shelf for the squares and the square chain of each number in the short bead stair; a shelf for the cube of each number. Ten sets of hooks for the cube chain of each number. Boxes with labels. A long felt mat for the cube chains.

We’ve received many emails on how to present the bead chains, and how to use the FREE Bead Chain Paper we’ve uploaded to our Free Montessori Downloads page. You can of course find full detailed presentations of all the primary math materials in our Primary Montessori Math Teaching Manual, however we’d like to share with everyone the process of counting the square chains and some of the extension lessons that children enjoy.

How to count the 5 Square Chain

Presentation #1:
• ask the child to lay out a mat
• have the child place the 5 square chain, one 5 square, and the 5 square chain tickets/labels on a tray and take it to their work mat
• remove the square chain from the tray, fold into a square and compare a square of 5 to the square folded (place the square directly on top of the folded 5 square chain)

Montessori 5 Square Chain Folded

• place the square of 5 at the top of the folded square, draw the chain out
• ask the child to do the same

Montessori 5 Square Chain Drawing Out

•  place the square of 5 at the right end of the chain
•  lay the 5 square tickets/labels across the bottom of the mat – not in numerical order, but facing the correct way (the Square Chain Tickets/Labels can be downloaded for free here)
•  start counting the chain: using your finger point to each bead and count 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
•  locate the ‘5’ ticket/label for the bead bar and place directly under the 5th bead
•  continue counting the chain: point to the ‘5’ ticket and say ‘5’, then continue to the next bar, counting 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 – locate the 10 ticket/label and place it below the 10th bead
• have the child continue to count the rest of the 5 square chain and label it with the number tickets
Montessori 5 Square Chain Count Label
• when the chain is complete, show the child how to point to each ticket and count up and down the entire chain: 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 – 25, 20, 15, 10, 5
• ask the child to count up and down the tickets
• show the child how to write out the 5 Square Chain on chain paper (paper can be downloaded for free here and includes both a control set and a blank set)

Montessori 5 Square Chain Paper

Exercise #1:
•  same as in Presentation #1 with all of the other square chains

Exercise #2:
•  when all the square chains have been counted and notated on paper, show the child how to make a Bead Chain Chart

Montessori Bead Chain Chart by Montessori Print Shop

Exercise #3:
•  child can also draw, count/label and/or color the chains (Square Chain Worksheets)


New to Montessori – Where Do You Start??

We receive emails each and every week with questions from people who are new to Montessori. Quite often the emails sound something like this…

“I was doing research about Montessori for my 2yr. old and discovered your website.  I’m excited to explore more about Montessori and would appreciate any advice or tips on where I should focus on to begin with.”

It can be overwhelming with so much information available on the internet. Here are some ideas that will help focus your attention on what’s important, and get you started on your Montessori journey.

1. Browse through our website (use the links at the top of the navigation bar on our site) to see if the ideas of Montessori blend with your ideas on parenting and how you envision your relationship with your child.

Learn how to implement Montessori2. Visit your local library and take some time to read through (or skim through) some of the books on our Book List. These books will give you some background and theory on the Montessori method and help you decide if you’re on the right track.

3. Read through a few articles:  A Montessori Home, Is It Possible To Use Montessori At Home?, and How To Start Montessori At Home.

4. If you feel encouraged and inspired, and ready to start incorporating Montessori in to your home and life with your child, then I highly recommend Montessori at Home! by John Bowman. It’s an inexpensive eBook ($8.95) with an instant download that gives you hundreds of ideas for Montessori activities at home with your child.

Montessori at Home eBook5. Download our Free Montessori Materials. They’re free and instantly available, need I say more?

Free Printable Montessori Materials by Montessori Print Shop
6. Read through previous posts on our Blog: and visit our list of Montessori (and Montessori-inspired) Blogs that will also give you great ideas.

7. Once you’ve started with the above suggestions you’ll have a much better idea if you and your child are comfortable and enjoying the Montessori experience. Your child is young and really needs all the Practical Life and Sensorial experiences possible. This is a time of exploration for you both – so enjoy your time together! If you then decide you’d like to take a more thorough approach and use Montessori for all areas of learning, then our Primary Montessori Teaching Manuals for Practical life, Sensorial, Language, and Math will be very helpful. They offer specific Montessori theory on the materials and will guide you step-by-step through the lessons that are taught in each those areas in a traditional Montessori school.

Take things step by step. Don’t feel that you have to rush out and purchase a huge lot of  ‘real’ Montessori manipulatives. Keep things real, simple, and hands-on. Most importantly … follow the child.

Why are there so many color combinations for the printed Moveable Alphabet?

Why are there so many color combinations for the printed Moveable Alphabet?

Question: “I have been considering getting your movable alphabet along with some pink
series cards for my 3-1/2 year old. Why is the alphabet in so many colors?”

Answer: Our Printed Moveable Alphabet comes with a variation of colors that you can
choose the colors that best match your Montessori language materials. The consonants are in one color, the vowels in another. This helps the child to identify the vowel sounds with greater ease.

Printed Moveable AlphabetPrintable Montessori Moveable Alphabet

The color combinations we offer in our Printed Moveable Alphabet + Lessons are:

  • vowels: red or blue
  • consonants: black, pink, red

Moveable Alphabet Color Options
Prior to the presentation of the Moveable Alphabet, children are taught 
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Montessori at Home Book/Montessori Print Shop Bundle Giveaway

If you’ve not had a chance to visit Living Montessori Now! you’ll want to visit today and enter to win the Montessori At Home Book & Montessori Print Shop Bundle Giveaway. You can win this fantastic eBook – Montessori At Home!
Montessori at Home
and our new Montessori At Home Materials Bundle!

There will be 3 winners and many, many opportunities to gain extra entries. There are 4 days left to enter so
GO and enter today!