Montessori Classroom at Home for Toddlers -The Easy Setup Guide

Montessori classroom at Home for Toddlers

When Kenisha was 14-15 months old I slowly adapted the Montessori space for a toddler. What I was trying to achieve and still aim at is an independent child who wants help to do everything herself. Creating the Montessori environment aids this development.

What I was trying to achieve and still aim at is an independent child who wants help to do everything herself. If you missed, you must read my last post about How homeschooling can make the transition to a preschool easy

Creating an environment goes a long way to support your child’s early development needs.

And it can be done really easily and quickly. Trust me, you don’t need to be supremely creative or have a huge space or spend thousands on materials and equipment to get started.  Lastly, don’t worry about the materials. Use available resources, up-cycle, recycle but just maintain the order.

Easy ideas to set up a Montessori classroom at home

Be the child – crawl on your fours if need be but look at the space from their perspective. How does everything around look? Is there open space? Easy to navigate? Can you reach for your favourite books and toys?

Open space Environment

Open space – All we need is either an empty small room or just move the furniture around so you can create some floor space. Don’t be afraid to arrange and rearrange till it feels attractive, welcoming and  conducive to learning

Setting Up a Montessori classroom at Home

Montessori Shelf

Montessori Shelf – The most basic requirement is to have low shelves that allow young children to reach and access the material without adult intervention.  As a parent (moderator) you must ensure to explain that these materials are special and need to be handled carefully and put back once used. The items you put on the shelf will vary as per your child’s age and development progress.

Setting Up a Montessori classroom at Home

Containers and baskets

Boxes and Trays – Each material/activity must be a separate identity. First plan your week ahead and then choose an age appropriate activity in each development section such as – motor skills, language, maths etc. You may mix and match to suit your child’s learning curve

Setting Up a Montessori classroom at Home

Child size furniture

Child size it all – Invest in child sized furniture like table chair, small spoons, bowls, child-friendly small glasses. Basically, an environment that feels comfortable and accessible. Also, invest in functional and actual material like wooden than plastic. Children learn to appreciate the materials when introduced early on. Support practical like to encourage order, concentration, coordination, and independence

Check out my Pinterest Board for some Ideas on creating your homeschool room
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Setting Up a Montessori classroom at Home

Don’t worry about mats – ideally, mats are the workspace in a Montessori environment but for an infant or a toddler mats don’t mean anything. Best is to have one large carpet in the center of the room and slowly build the habit for mats

Setting Up a Montessori classroom at Home

 

Keep it organized –Blocks go on one shelve/box, toys in another, books go on bookshelves so on. Keep ample space and let each material “breathe” so as to avoid confusing the child. Don’t let it cram and be overwhelming for the child or rather confusing.

Setting Up a Montessori classroom at Home

Free Play

Do not control the child but the environment – Your purpose is to support your child’s eagerness to do everything themselves. Support them by providing the right material and environment. when you see them disinterested in the material – remove it, if they have succeeded at a puzzle and no longer find it challenging the move to the next level. Kids feel disheartened if they ask to play with materials that you do not wish them to enjoy yet. Keep them away instead, till you find them ready.

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Homeschooling helps to make transition to Preschool easy

Homeschooling your toddler

Homeschooling wasn’t something I had planned. But when Kenisha reached a 1-year mark I quickly realized I had to get my game on. I realized that I had to be equipped to channelize my super active and smart toddler’s energy in the right direction. Those days I worked from home on my online venture (www.lulupu.com) and kept 1-2 hours dedicated to homeschooling.

 

homeschooling makes transition to preschool easier

Reading time with Furry sibling

 

I read about early child development and looked for ideas on homeschooling age appropriate activities online. I was lucky to have found an abundance of information and the Montessori Principle of teaching immediately caught my attention.

Dr. Montessori’s advice to’ follow the child’ stole my heart.

Each child is unique and observing the child and taking a cue from their interest to support their curiosity was exactly what I intended to do. Though you may decide to follow pure Montessori, I personally felt it was ok to mix and match and do our own thing that my daughter enjoyed.

homeschooling

Motor skills with blocks

homeschooling

Outdoor Play

Homeschooling helps to make transition to Preschool easy

At some point, we all would like our toddlers to join a preschool. But the transition is not always smooth. A new place, unfamiliar faces, children of same age, hours away from mummy and daddy isn’t a comforting factor for many toddlers.

Luckily, for us, the transition was very smooth. Touchwood. Homeschooling really helped us here. We began homeschooling when my daughter was around 12-13 months old. When she joined a pre school at 2 years of age, she settled within a week.

Read about ” WHY I CHOSE TO SEND MY 2-YEAR-OLD TO A MONTESSORI PRESCHOOL? ”

 

Simple early development activities to boost their cognitive, language, emotional and physical developments can be easily performed at homeschooling hours.

These will help in ease of transition to a play school where everything will feel familiar and a continuation of what they have done at home with you.

 

    •  Reading – at least for 20 minutes every day is very helpful to build language skills. At this stage, children soak up all the information! Ask questions like “where is the star”? “let’s find the duck”. check out “Top 10 Tips reading to your toddler
    • Teach body parts – We found a body part puzzle very useful along with few books. Songs and rhymes are another fun way to learn. The song “head shoulder knees and toes” was our favorite. We loved this particular puzzle – Fisher Price, Brilliant Basics Baby First Blocks
    • Shapes and Numbers – Talk about shapes, colors, and number all day long. “Let’s find your red ball”, “we have one yellow mango to eat”, “mama is wearing a red T-shirt”. Suggested toys – Fisher Price Fisher-Price Brilliant Basics Rock-a-Stack,
      Fisher Price, Brilliant Basics Baby First Blocks
    • Language Building – Talk to your child and sing nursery rhymes with actions. Watch them copy and perform for you. You can copy what they say and encourage a two-way communication.
    • Name their emotions – Children begin showing emotions as early as 10-12 months. Help them identify and label the emotion. “Are you happy? Look how you are smiling” “Awe you want to play? I know you are feeling angry right now”
    • Structured play – play activities that require them to follow instructions. As children love when they can accomplish simple tasks, it best to praise their efforts. Start with tasks like “get me your teddy”, “open the door”, “let’s put all the blocks in the green basket”
    • Social Interaction – Kids learn a lot through your interaction with others. So let them watch how you shop at the supermarket, talk to other adults and kids. It helps them to learn socializing skills.
    • Building Motor Skills – For gross motor skills outdoor play works the best. Unstructured play helps to teach them activities of push, pull, pick, drop, build, explore, throw, catch, kick and so much more. Consequently, it builds muscle strength which is important for more complex movements like walking and running.
    • Fine Motor Skills – With the pincher grip development you can easily introduce chunky board puzzles and building blocks.  We liked these blocks – Fisher Price Stack and Explore Blocks and puzzles – Melissa and Doug Farm Chunky Puzzle, Wooden Chunky Puzzle Aquatic Animal and Wooden Chunky Puzzle Shapes
    • Everyday skills – encourage your toddler to use spoons, drink from an open cup, putting pants up or down. Again, these skills involve bother their small and big muscles and also gives them the ability to think and understand what they are doing.

Excited to get started? Read up the next chapter :

Montessori Classroom at Home for Toddlers -The Easy Setup Guide” 

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Potty Training a 2 year old – Tips and Tricks!

Potty training for late bloomers?

Potty training is a real big deal for many parents. For some, it’s a matter of pride that their 2-year-old doesn’t have any accidents, though I really doubt. But if you have a successfully potty trained 2-year-old, then hats off to you and congratulations! Maybe this article isn’t for you!

My research showed bladder control vairies with a childs grwoth and development. A child younger than 12 months of age has no control over bladder or bowel movements. And in general most children do not gain full bladder control until they are 18-24 month old.

And potty training also means to be able to hold on a full balder else imagine running to the loo every 15-30-45 minutes with your baby? So I knew that it would not make any sense for me to push my 6-month-old to this routine, plus being all alone with no support I may not have the option to be consistent. Lastly, I was very happy with our gorgeous cloth diaper stash and cute bum. I stopped worrying and decided to wait when my child showed readiness. I know for sure that all kids are trained by 3-4 years of age, so starting late doesn’t delay it makes it much easier! Read on.

Toilet Training a 2 year oldWhen to begin Potty Training?

I am talking about our experience with a 2 year here (25-month-old to be precise). I feel you should start when your child shows the readiness or willingness to use the potty seat. Just remember that starting early doesn’t necessarily mean you will finish the training early, maybe it will take you longer to reach that goal.

Also, it’s very important to avoid the training when you are expecting big changes like starting school, expecting a sibling, shifting city/house or even travel/vacation. Begin when you are sure you will have 2-3 consistent months at least to keep the momentum going. Now the difficult part – be patient and consistent.

Potty Training Readiness checklist

The first step for a successful Potty Training is to look for signs of Readiness. Your toddler will show behavioral, cognitive and physical signs that he/she is ready. Focus and do not ignore these important cues.

  1. The child should be able to stand, run steadily even better.
  2. Should be able to squat. Pull her underpants up and down herself.
  3. Has a full diaper in one go rather than peeing often means they are able to hold on.
  4. Gives a verbal or physical sign to go to the toilet to pee or poop.
  5. Dislikes dirty or full diapers or chooses to wear only simple cotton underpants
  6. Regular predictable time to pee/poo – usually after meals, nap times and certain gaps.
  7. Shows signs of independence and is not resistant to the training.
  8. Feels accomplished when finishes her task and takes pride.

Tips to help a not so co-operative Toddler?

Some moms told me how they were finding it hard to convince their toddler to actually sit on the seat until they finish their job. I have been through that stage and boy, it tests your patience. But here are simple ideas to make this work for both of you.

  • Invest in right accessories -Pick the right toilet training equipment or adapter seat in advance and keep it available. Let your child be excited with this new toy! It should be secure, comfortable and if possible with handles. Even better let them choose a design. It makes it exciting for them. A colorful toilet seat is a bonus! We often talk about how many butterflies are printed on our pink seat. Conversation starter too, you see!

Here are some of our tops picks for an adapter toilet seat. Click on each image for product and price details 

 

 

 

  • Familiarize  – a toddler who has peed/pooped in the convenience of diapers may find it strange to sit on this new place one fine day and expected to do his job! So let them get familiar. You can allow them to sit with their clothes on to see how amazing/comfortable/exciting this can be! Tell them it’s only for the baby and not even the adults are allowed to use it.
  • Demonstrate – The best way for girl moms is to show yourself how to sit on the seat and urinate. Vice versa for dads. Talk about the process, ending with the flush. My girl does her job just to get the chance to hit the flush! Else use colorful board picture books about toilet training and even their favorite teddy/toy to show how it’s done. Some parents use videos as well to show how older babies conveniently use the toilet.
  • Make it special – I would keep some toys/things only in the toilet and Kenisha would get these only while she would be on the seat. She has some very silly fascination with random things like a plastic tub, a broken old toy which are now our “toilet toys”. Sticker sheets are again a great idea or their favorite books to flip through while they while away sitting on the seat.

Here are some reads I can recommend. Click on each image for product and price details 

                                                

 

  • Positive reinforcement – Children learn best when the association to a new task is positive and rewarding. Never push them if they are not willing to try. Allow time to familiarize and keep reinforcing how nice the new seat is and all the wonderful toys that await. IF they sit and get up, try after 20-30 minutes or as your intuition tells you to. Never leave a chance to praise them for the smallest progress they show. Do not be disappointed when they have an accident but just remind them about how it’s done.

We are still on our journey to a successful toilet training. My daughter is diaper free at her play school as well as home. We still use disposable for outing and bedtime but now that we have begun there is no turning back.

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