How Montessori toys can build your child’s confidence

We all know education for our children is super important. After all, it’s key to helping form their personality, intelligence, and outlook on life. But have you heard of the unique method of education that encourages your child’s independence and builds entrepreneurial mindsets? This is none other than the Montessori approach.

Montessori is a child-centred method of education - where the child leads their activities, not the teacher! It’s based on the belief that children naturally seek opportunities to work in order to develop, and learn better when they choose what they learn. 

What does Montessori learning look like? 

Walking into a Montessori classroom, you might notice it’s a bit different from a traditional classroom. They usually include:

  • Lots of activity stations around the room for children to choose from throughout the day. Here, they learn through practical tasks rather than through listening and remembering.
  • Teachers that move from child to child instead of standing in the front of the classroom speaking to one big group. Rather than telling the child what to do or what to learn, the adult simply observes and stimulates their exploration. 
  • A tidy, simple, and real environment. Each thing in the room has a specific purpose for helping the child develop.
  • Children of mixed ages grouped in periods of 3 years. This helps natural socialisation, respect and solidarity.
  • A focus on the whole child: their ability to control movement, to use their senses, to think, to decide, and to feel emotions 
  • No rewards or punishments! The children stay motivated purely through developing and learning by themselves.

This space gives the child freedom within clear limits, letting them develop individually, but with others.

What are Montessori toys? 

You can’t have Montessori learning without Montessori-friendly toys! A Montessori toy is an object scientifically designed to help children develop their abilities by encouraging exploration and experimentation. There are 3 main characteristics:

1. It is NOT electronic: With flashy electronic toys, it’s the toy that’s doing all the work and your child making little connection between action and consequence. Compare this to an open-ended toy like a box of Legos. Children have to use their own energy and imagination and go through trial and error when they are piecing together different Lego blocks to build structures. These kinds of achievements build a sense of confidence, problem solving skills, and independence.

3. It's based on reality: Montessori toys are minimalistic with few distractions. Children find joy in discovering the real world through nature, maths, music etc. not through cartoon, fantasy or fancy gimmicks. 

Advantages of Montessori Learning

Encourages independence 

Montessori toys are made to help children individually find solutions and discover abstract ideas. Working in this way not only allows children to learn at their own pace, it also helps them actually see their achievements. They gain a sense of confidence and independence here a lot faster than in traditional education settings.

Individualised education 

The “follow the child” philosophy allows for more individualised education. Because of the work stations, a Montessori instructor teaches children one-on-one, getting to know their specific learning style and creating individual goals.

Love to learn 

The hands-on learning gives the child a sense of curiosity about the world around them. Learning becomes a life-long enjoyable process rather than a chore. This desire to connect with people and ideas can stay with them their whole life through high school and their professional career. Not to mention, it builds an entrepreneurial mindset. Keep a lookout for our next Jeff Bezos!

Inclusive of special needs 

The children are grouped with others of different ages and have the same teacher for three years, so there’s continuity. This means less pressure to keep up with peers and more of a chance to create close connections. It creates a safe and stable environment for learning.

If you want to introduce Montessori learning to the playroom, start with carefully selecting only a few playthings and arrange them in an organised space. Children work hard to concentrate on one thing at a time, so say as little as possible and use big hands movements when introducing how to work a new toy. Don’t jump in. Give them space to explore. Once they’ve succeeded in solving the problem, encourage repetition before adding on to the difficulty.