Monday, January 10, 2011


I’ve been toying with the idea of having a Montessori structured environment at home for P and J for a little while now.  I follow a couple of Montessori  blogs, Chasing Cheerios and Counting Coconuts, and I am very drawn to the activities that these Mums post about.  However, after some very careful consideration, I have decided that Montessori style ECE (or Early Childhood Education) is not for me.
I thought I would set out my reasoning for you all to see.  There is a great comparison between Montessori, Steiner and Playcentre NZ styles of ECE here, and a short consideration of their differences here, and these really helped me to make up my mind.

  •  I really like the kinds of activities that Montessori provides
  •   I like the idea of using a whole lot of different senses and skills to teach a common theme
  •   I like that it would extend P and J’s learning
  •    P enjoys the Montessori style activities that I have so far provided

  •  The general idea of getting the girls to do one activity and then put it away is not something that comes naturally to me
  •  And even more significantly, that skill is not one that I value highly (don’t misunderstand, I like my house to be tidy, but I don’t really think being methodical and doing one thing at a time is all that important)
  •  It would make me really stressed out trying to ensure that all my thematic stuff was in the right place etc

The factors above would have been fatal to me wholeheartedly embracing Montessori on their own – because there is no point me starting something that I cannot do easily.  But more importantly than the above factors, I am philosophically in opposition to some of the fundamental tenants of Montessori ECE.

I firmly believe in letting children be children, letting them run around when they want to, and to a large extent do what they want.  I am also very interested in letting P and J exercise their imaginations, and I’m keen to encourage them to extend themselves in this way.

So ultimately, despite reading and enjoying several Montessori style blogs, its just not for me or my family.  I am, however, going to create some activity shelves and have some baskets for P and J to use, because there is value in some of these things.  So my project this week is to set these activity shelves up (I got there in the end, even if it was a bit long winded).


  1. Great reasoning. I tried Montessori for one week with my eldest but it wasn't for us. Ended up doing Playcentre for a bit and then our local Kindergarten. In the home I try to encourage tidying up after an activity, but am not rigid with this - as sometimes one activity leads creatively onto the next and to stop would break the flow - we just do a couple of big clean-ups throughout the day :)

  2. This was a great read. I also considered Montessori, but as my little ones have grown older I have come to accept the fact that I am a "messy play mother". I love to see them with all their different toys out...animals crammed into toy airplanes, Matchbox cars zooming down train tracks, etc etc. I think it broadens their imagination and stretches their limits - to me, messy = creative (although I am teaching them to sort and clean up once they're done as well!). Your activity shelves in the next post look really neat.


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