Do you know your Montessori parenting style? Knowing what kind of style of Montessori parenting you use will help you decide on the educational decisions for your child in the future.

When I was first introduced to Montessori, I loved the idea of being a Montessori purest and sticking to exactly how Dr Montessori presented her ideas and philosophies. But, when I started using Montessori at home, I realised that the purist ideas don’t always work in a home situation.

small child playing with a basket of montessori wooden toys

Back then, there were very few people blogging about using Montessori philosophy, most of them were using a Montessori program in a school and they were guides sharing the activities they were setting up and information about their classroom and how Montessori worked in a classroom setting. Which, don’t get me wrong, was great and many of them would take time to explain step by step, how the principles of the Montessori method were being applied.

Using Montessori at home is a completely different kettle of fish. For starters, we don’t need all the equipment that Montessori schools have. And to set out a home in how you would like a Montessori classroom would be very expensive and you would need a decent amount of space to do so.

As I was doing Montessori at home with one child, and in a small Japanese apartment, on a limited budget, having a full classroom set up was not something I could do. I also realised that I didn’t need all the things, and that, with some creative thinking, and focusing on following the child and the child’s needs, I could create a Montessori environment without recreating a Montessori classroom.

a montessori classroom with tables set up with pouring work and other practical life activities

Your Montessori Parenting Style

None of the following Montessori parenting styles are right or wrong. What is important is to find the best way to help your young children, learn at their own pace, how to meet their unique needs, and find a love of lifelong learning.

As a new mom, I was both berated and belittled by some Montessori experts online that believed Montessori should only happen in the classroom. If I hadn’t believed in the method so much and not been such a stubborn person, their attitudes and bullying would have put me off raising a Montessori child. 

When you were looking for parenting inspiration online, whether that be with blogs, YouTube, Instagram, etc, take some time to find parents that are on the same wavelength as yourself. And if you are planning to learn from them, make sure they know what they are talking about.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you’re not doing things correctly and that you’re a terrible parent. You’re not. If you are trying to meet the children’s needs, you’re building on the child’s natural curiosity, and following their developmental needs, you are on the right track. And just because somebody out there doesn’t agree with your parenting style, that doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong.

a boy working on the montessori africa puzzle map

The Montessori Purist

This person is probably an AMS or AMI trained Montessori teacher. They understand the Montessori principles and have had experience to apply them within a classroom setting. They rarely think that Montessori should be taught purely at home, but instead, believe that the child should attend a Montessori school.

The Montessori Realist

This person has done some kind of Montessori training. They may or may not have worked at a Montessori school. They believe in the Montessori education and understand the importance of the prepared environment and how to home environment is important to the whole child’s learning. The Montessori approach is to use the Montessori method and equipment when possible, but knows that sometimes you need to use an alternative method to reach the same goal.

a montessori sorting activity, sorting plastic dinosaurs into different colour bowls

The Inspired Montessori Parent

The inspired Montessori parent understands that the child needs to work at their own place and loves the idea of the child learning practical skills and following the sensitive periods of the child. They may or may not have formal Montessori training. If they have not had training, they have a solid understanding of the Montessori philosophy and know how to apply its principles. They don’t get hung up about expensive Montessori materials and understand that Maria Montessori used what she had at hand and that it’s perfectly acceptable for parents to do the same.

If you are looking for Montessori Inspired Printables, I sell culture packs over on 193 Little Adventures, I also have and ETSY shop here and Teachers Pay Teachers store here.

montessori practical life, orange squeezing activity

The Montessori Mash-up Parent

This parent often follows a gentle parenting philosophy and loves some aspects of Montessori, but it is also interested in other educational philosophies is such as Waldorf and Charlotte Mason. They often set up activities that help with practical life skills, but they are also drawn to activities that use natural materials and hands-on learning.

Things to remember with your Montessori parenting style:

Montessori-style parenting is still occasionally called out as being elitist. The problem with Montessori is that there is no regulation for the naming of Montessori schools, any school can call itself a Montessori school. This means that there are some terrible Montessori schools out there plus some very expensive Montessori schools, and this has led to the idea that Montessori is both expensive and elitist.

What is good to remember is the humble beginnings that Dr Montessori started with when she was working with children with disabilities and children of the poor.

It’s also good to remember that the Montessori way follows the child’s pace and is self-directed learning. You don’t need to be a teacher to raise a Montessori child. You are the guide, not the teacher. 

In some respects, Montessori today is very different from the early 20th century. In Dr Maria Montessori teachings, there was obviously no screen time or things like educational children’s programs on TV. If you are raising your child in a Montessori home, then we need to consider things like screen time and TV and how that fits into the big picture.

montessori knobless and knobbled cylinders

If you are setting up a nurturing environment and paying attention to your child’s development and encouraging intrinsic motivation, then that is the important part of the Montessori philosophy. It’s more about that than the equipment that you use.

I’m not belittling Montessori equipment; it has a specific purpose in its design. You can recreate some of the equipment at home without having to spend a lot of money. If you can afford to buy some key pieces of equipment, then I would recommend doing that. If you are using something that is not standard Montessori equipment, then you need to look at the function of the toy. Not all wooden toys are Montessori toys. And if you are recreating a piece of Montessori equipment, make sure you understand its function and secondary function (many pieces of Montessori equipment have one).

​To Wrap Up

Understanding what your Montessori parenting style is will help you to make decisions about what kind of equipment, the prepared environment at home, and what your every day life will look like. It will also give you confidence in your decisions rather than feel you are constantly failing.

Whichever method of parenting you use, if you’re taking the time to learn how to parent, then you are on the right path. At the end of the day, it is all one big experiment, because we don’t really know how the decisions we make as parents are going to affect our child in the future in the real world!

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