May 30 , 2023

Are Montessori Materials toys? The Serious Conversation

I find it interesting how frequently people ask me this topic and how much attention and conversation it has generated online. I'll start by saying this. The Montessori curriculum, which is focused on natural child development, was specifically constructed with the materials' use in mind. Maria Montessori, who did not create toys, considered play to be a child's labor. Maria Montessori was pretty candid when she discussed toys, and I believe that what she meant to say was that a child's play should never replace real-world experiences. Giving a child a play kitchen, in other words, will never fully compensate for the advantages of an interested youngster who is given the time and chance to work with their own tools in a real kitchen, etc. I firmly believe this to be the case. However, I believe that a youngster can engage in both creative play with toys and real-world (for those who use this term) expression. The child will always look for authentic experiences, and we need to acknowledge this need, respect it, and work to meet it. The best gifts we can give a child are our time and the freedom to explore the world. By creating an accessible environment, we can contribute to achieving this.

Why so many people refer to Montessori objects as toys is understandable. We tend to forget that a "toy" is merely a word, and that what we as parents chose to ascribe to it is more significant. We do have more control over toy selection while our children are very small. As our kids get older, learn to speak, become physically independent, and are exposed to all the wonderful things that coexist in this world, they start to make their own decisions. I believe that there are a lot of early conversations that may and do occur about buying that are very helpful.

It's fascinating to observe a toddler interacting with all of the objects in their environment. Children are highly imaginative creatures, so many of the decisions they make about life and "toys" may not be your first picks. These are crucial times of increased sensitivity and development. You can have complete contempt for your child's choice of play medium—a light-up, colorful toy with a Disney theme—while they may be completely absorbed in it. I sincerely urge you to sit and watch your child throughout a time or point like this. Watch, listen, and engage with them. Open your eyes and heart to what they are focusing on and loving during this time of play. It can take some practice to demonstrate respect and honor for decisions, resources, and environmental elements that you might not always agree with. Your precious gift of teaching your youngster that decisions are made by individuals will be absorbed. Even if it can seem too early, these early stages of acceptance have a significant impact on development, self-acceptance, and self-esteem. They also have a significant influence on how your child interacts with the environment because diversity is an inherent aspect of life.This is a chance to talk to your child, try to understand them better, and push past any unpleasant sensations you might be having. What a wonderful gift for you and your kid.

Our kids regard Montessori resources as exploratory, liberating, and educational tools in our home. You can choose in your own home whether or not your components will continue to be different from the complete. Today's market is flooded with wooden games and toys that resemble Montessori materials in some way. Our materials mostly came together in the end. Since Montessori objects are typically well-organized and have a place to go back to, they can usually be identified. This has served as our household's overarching basic rule for everything. We make an effort to provide homes for everything in our surroundings in order to facilitate maintenance and cleaning, keep things reasonably visible, and make things simple to access.

We've worked with our kids to show them how to show care and concern for the items we love to use and play with at home as well as for the environment. All the toys in our house are given the same attention and have thoughtfully designed homes. Any toy that piques our children's attention and excitement is worthy of this level of care and consideration, not just those associated with Montessori.
I'd say that our kids respect the objects and use them for their intended functions as well as for the sheer enjoyment of their aesthetic appeal, functionality, and design. Despite the fact that I have a thorough understanding of the materials, our kids do not perceive them as anything other than toys. In our home, Montessori work is played. I think that whether or not a toy or substance is Montessori-inspired, you may engage in this kind of investigation and creation with it. The relationship to the curriculum as a whole (should you be curriculum focused) is the only distinction.

If I had to leave you with one last idea, it would be this.

Please remember that kids develop emotional ties to their possessions and toys, so while getting rid of a kid's toys may feel wonderful to you, it can be incredibly upsetting for them. What if when you awoke one morning, all of your most valuable possessions were gone?

What if a loved one or trusted friend took your possessions and gave them away? What if they did this in your presence? That would be far worse.
In an effort to prevent this kind of circumstance, I would advise you to consider your options. When deciding whether to donate or regift their priceless possessions, our kids were always included in the decision.

Think about how it would feel if your mother or another someone you trusted came over and packed up your belongings because she thought they were unnecessary or valuable.

The core principles of Montessori emphasize respect for the complete person. For a child to be solely tolerant and generous of purchase decisions that just belong to you is incredibly incongruous and perplexing.



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