Raising Right: How to Make Your Own Montessori Materials at Home

How to Make your Own Montessori Materials at Home
Montessori nursery or school is not just another name for kindergarten. Montessori philosophy refers to an educational approach devised by Maria Montessori. Learn how to make your own Montessori materials and teaching aids at home.
EduZenith Staff
Last Updated: Mar 26, 2018
Before we explore the domain of crafting Montessori materials at home, let us learn a little about what Montessori education is about. It will help you gain a better approach while designing materials and teaching aids to use in your Montessori nursery. The founder of Montessori theory, Maria Montessori, was a wise woman indeed. A physician and an educator, she devised an educational approach, a teaching philosophy that has since laid the foundation of many a schooling principles. Montessori education refers to a teaching technique that is based on human tendencies. When a baby is born, it has certain ways and channels through which it learns about the world around it. There are different abilities of the human brain that help the baby understand its surroundings. These include such techniques as exploration, communication, manipulation of the surroundings. Children learn by means of 'copying' actions, words, etc. This is called repetition. Finally as the baby grows up and becomes a young child, he/she learns about such things as order, imagination, abstraction, and they develop a mathematical ability as well.

All these are means by which a newborn 'learns' as it grows up. Education can and should support the development of these basic fundamental abilities of learning that almost every human being is born with. It should supply to and facilitate the development of these skills. In other words, it should fuel fluid intelligence. This is exactly what the principle of Montessori education is.
How To Make Montessori Materials?
Montessori material
The age period 0 to 6 years is most crucial in the child's development with respect to learning abilities and their strengthening. To encourage freedom, choice and independence, it is important to devise study material that will encourage the same qualities in the child, especially during preschool or kindergarten. Montessori philosophy applied in preschool can show amazing benefits. Here are some tips on various techniques, tips, tricks and teaching aids that you can adapt in your Montessori nursery school.
To Develop Language/Speaking
Kids listening music
Tip: Audio Clips
When we say a dog barks, a cat meows, and a horse neighs, we know what sound is 'barking', what sound is 'meowing' and what is 'neighing'. But how would a child who has never seen a horse learn to recognize the sound? Hence teaching may be accompanied with audio clips. Audio clips are also a good way to teach students how to say new words, how to make different sounds with their mouths so that they can learn pronunciation as well.
To Develop Auditory Skills
Clapping mother
Tip: Music and Dance
Appreciation of music can be a good way to develop auditory skills in children. Making them clap on beat, or dance in tandem with the music would help them to identify sound patterns. You can ask them to repeat a few lines of the song so they understand the difference between high and low pitches, or high and low volumes. Music and dance will also allow them to develop coordination skills, dexterity and other such traits.
To Develop Writing
Playing with numbers
Tip: Sand Tray, Letter block
A tray filled with sterilized sand may be used instead of a notebook and a pencil to teach the alphabet. This is going to be a fun way to learn, rather than writing in a book. As the kids learns the alphabet, they may be given books and pencils to start writing the proper way. Another way would be to use letter blocks to make words. You can encourage them to make different words out of the same set of alphabet blocks. It will improve their organization skills.
To Develop Mathematical Ability
Playing children
Tip: Games and Tasks
Learning two plus two equals four on a blackboard may be boring. But if you bring in colorful balls and devise games that include passing the balls to each other, or putting all red colored balls together, such games would help children understand how mathematics actually works. When you say 'minus', make one of the children return a ball to you. When you say 'plus', give them a new ball. Games make concepts easy to understand.
To Develop Emotional Intelligence
Kids watching tv
Tip: Cartoons
Cartoons can be a fun way to learn about human expressions, emotions, sentiments and feelings. Encouraging emotional intelligence in children is probably one of the best things you can do! That is why you do not need to verbally tell a child you are upset because he/she stole cookies from the cookie jar - they already know when their mischief has upset you! However, stories told through cartoons can teach children the importance of sharing, helping, etc.
To Develop Organization Skills
Cute toddler girl
Tip: Grouping and Sorting Exercises
Organization skills can be learned through different games and exercises that involve grouping activities - sort out all apples and oranges, sort out all squares/blocks from balls, etc. Pattern recognition is an important aspect of learning, and this can be developed through such exercises. Another way would be to adopt a protocol wherein the children tidy the classroom before they leave, putting things back in their places and keeping them in neat order.
To Promote Social Behavior
Playing kids
Tip: Meals and Play
A school is the child's first exposure to any kind of a social atmosphere - where it is not just parents, nanny and the child. Encouraging and developing a social attitude is hence elementary of any school. The best way to do this is to encourage sharing - sharing food, playthings, toys, etc. Meals can be had by sitting at a common lunch table. There has to be at least one group activity everyday, which requires all the children in the class to come together and work as one.
Some Common Tips
  • The furniture in the classroom such as tables, chairs, beds, books, shelves, should be of such dimensions as to suit the children in the classroom so that they learn independently how to sit on a chair, how to use a table, how to pull things off a shelf, etc. Inculcating freedom and independence is a fundamental of Montessori education.
  • Do not have a set routine or schedule as to which activity is done at which time. Encourage the children to engage themselves in activities that appeal to them the most.
  • Do not assist a child unless the child asks for it. Encourage them to try doing things on their own. Show them the way to do it, and then let them understand, absorb and implement the technique on their own.
Montessori is not just a synonym for preschool, as you may have recognized by now. It is a teaching approach. It is not so difficult to make Montessori materials at home. The three important 'E's to remember are - easy, effective and encouraging. Design your Montessori materials along the above guidelines, and you are sure to be loved as a Montessori teacher!