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Montessori guide to enhancing & nurturing children's autonomy

Updated: May 6, 2023

As parents, we all want to raise confident, self-reliant children who are capable of making decisions and taking responsibility for their actions. The Montessori philosophy is a child-centred approach that prioritizes the development of independence and autonomy. In this blog post, we'll explore some Montessori-inspired strategies that can help enhance your children's autonomy, taking into consideration two age groups.

Autonomy for Children 0-3 Years Old

In the Montessori approach, children are seen as competent and capable individuals who are eager to learn and explore their environment. For infants and toddlers, providing a safe, prepared environment that allows for freedom of movement and exploration is key. Some strategies for enhancing autonomy in this age group include:

▶️ Providing child-sized furniture and materials that are easy to manipulate, such as low shelves with baskets of toys and books or a floor bed.

▶️ Encouraging children to participate in daily activities - such as meal preparation and cleaning up, and inviting them to observe and imitate; for instance, by providing child-sized tools and furniture that allow them to reach the benchtop or the sink;

▶️ Allowing children to make choices whenever possible, such as which toy to play with or what to wear, but making sure no more than two or three options are offered by the adult (otherwise, making decisions can be overwhelming!).

Autonomy for Children 3-6 Years Old

For children in the 3-6 age range, the focus shifts to fostering independence in more complex tasks, such as problem-solving, decision-making, and self-regulation. Some strategies for enhancing autonomy in this age group include:

▶️ Allowing children to choose their own work from a variety of developmentally appropriate materials.

▶️ Encouraging children to follow their own interests and passions by providing a wide variety of experiences and opportunities.

▶️ Providing opportunities for children to collaborate and communicate with peers, such as through group work or circle time.

▶️ Encouraging children to take responsibility for their own actions and to reflect on their behaviour.

By following these Montessori-inspired strategies, you can help foster independence and autonomy in your children, setting them up for success in all areas of life. Remember, nurturing independence is a process that takes time, patience, and consistency, but the rewards are well worth the effort.

Your turn now, which strategies have worked (or not) with your little ones? 👇🏻👇🏽👇🏿

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