Montessori Elementary Homeschool Blog - with documentation of our infant Montessori, toddler Montessori, and primary Montessori experiences; as well as preparation for the upcoming adolescent Montessori homeschool years.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Starting Montessori with a 2 year old

How to start Montessori with a 2 year old is a very popular question.

The Pink Panther at age 2
Regardless if you have been doing infant/toddler Montessori, the child will be transitioning into the primary age somewhere around 2 1/2 and you'll do the same things with the children regardless if they are new to Montessori or have had a Montessori environment already.

For a 2 year old, the best places to start are:

  • practical life
  • sensorial
  • language

Practical life:

You may or may not want an album right away for the Exercises of Practical Life. If you do, look for the following in the table of contents: preliminary, care of self, visual art, control of movement (walking on the line and the silence game), grace and courtesy, care of the environment. Interspersed are skills for food preparation, care of animals, etc.
Otherwise, just consider those areas and apply them to YOUR practical life :)

Introduce a new activity every couple of days in a variety of areas. These materials do not have to be fancy (ie learning to button might be a vest or jacket with large buttons, hung on a hanger such that it faces out towards the child - work with it on the hanger, or lay it on the floor or a low table to work with; teach the skill of hanging hangers on the rack; shaking out small rugs (we have a rug in our home where shoes are placed when we come in - a small child can easily take that outside and shake it out - even take some muddy shoes and knock them together outside to get mud off)).

The main thing in practical life is: keep it REAL. You might have a few trays of sample skills to practice, but keep the it REAL. A real banana to slice (not a wooden one with velcro - this can be kept in the toy area); real dishes to place on the table.

And you want to have practical life practice areas in their appropriate areas - in a classroom there is an EPL area; in the home, it is nicer to keep food in the kitchen; laundry folding where YOU do laundry folding; etc).

Sensorial: think textures, colors, sounds, etc. A good sensorial album for the primary age is good to get for age 2 1/2 and older - the very beginning work with the pink tower, color tablets, etc. can start with the 2 year old, but will also contain extensions for 5 and 6 year olds (see if you can check that part before making a purchase). The sensorial album should also include beginning music activities, so check for those in the table of contents.

Language: you want to work on real vocabulary and sound awareness. So you'll play sound games, listening for sounds at the start of words, end of words, and eventually the middle of words; play games like I Spy or very similar with objects around the room, the house, the yard, etc. First you will give the language in a 3 period lesson ( 1) give the name of 3 items 2) play games with asking the child to touch, move, hide under, hide it behind his back, etc. 3) when period 2 is successful (might be that day, at that sitting; might be another time), point to the object and say "What is this?" if period 2 is not successful, point to each object and say it's name - and be done for that sitting - come back to it later).

A language album is not necessary until age 3, but if you get one, be sure it lays a SOLID foundation of the sound games and spoken vocabulary building. The spoken language portion of the album is ALL you will need until age 3 1/2; then you will start introducing the sandpaper letters, etc.

If you start just those things at age 2, you will be laying a very strong foundation.

In the meantime, pick up a primary level theory album and Montessori's books for your own reading pleasure and to fully prepare for the primary ages of 3-6 :)

The not so Pink Panther;
with clean bed and wall behind him

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