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Can’t afford a Montessori school? Try the toys!

Les jouets Montessori

© DP Nature & Découvertes

Amélie Hillairet - published on 06/07/17

Montessori toys are an easy and cheap way to apply some of the Montessori methods at home.

Maria Montessori’s educational methods are attracting more and more young parents. Based on a sensory learning that is personalized to each child, this pedagogy aims at truly child-centered and child-directed learning, using everyday objects to awaken the child’s natural interest in learning.

For toys, Maria Montessori recommended giving children real objects that are adapted to their size and strength. She carefully considered the materials so children could learn basic skills and knowledge, such as reading or science, in a gradual and lasting way.

Compared to modern educational methods, Montessori pedagogy can surprise us. However, its popularity continues to grow, and Montessori schools are opened every year around the world. Fortunately, parents who cannot afford to send their children to Montessori schools can still use this pedagogy at home easily and cheaply with Montessori toys.

Montessori toys, simple and educational

Dolls, interactive games, applications on tablets and phones … Parents today have such a wide range of choices for helping kids develop their mental and motor skills. So why choose these simpler toys?

Some stores have recently developed toy collections that follow the Montessori pedagogy. Clarisse Chareaux, Director of Marketing and Communication at Nature et Découvertes, a French toy store, said: “Children have an enormous capacity to learn, and they can learn a lot by going at their own pace. The Montessori method makes it possible to approach history and the sciences in a different way.”

Read more:
An Opportunity to Choose: Empowering Parents in Education Reform

In fact, this method encourages children to develop their concentration, their reflection, and their independence through moments of learning that help them to gain confidence.

“One of the founding principles of Montessori is that everything is a pretext for learning through gestures that one does in everyday life. Sorting and folding are thus integrated in learning: it is a real discovery by the senses,” she said.

Unlike many modern toys, Montessori toys are very rarely made with chemical or harmful materials such as plastic. Apart from the books, they are mostly made of wood, so “they are toys that stand out,” explains Clarisse Chareaux. “In addition to being toys, they are beautiful objects that are very qualitative and developmental.” They allow the child to learn at his own pace and the toy itself becomes symbolic in that it can be transmitted to other children over several generations.

While the method seems to be proving its worth, some parents may need more convincing about Montessori toys compared to the other options out there. In order to make the experience really pleasant for the child, and for the parent, Clarisse Chareaux explains that her toy stores train salespeople to offer advice on the Montessori method and teach parents how to get the most out of the toys with their kids. Clarisse Chareaux said, “It’s a real movement. We met young mothers who are really curious about this method.”

Montessori pedagogy’s followers are growing more every year. This method, customized to the rhythm of each child’s learning, seems to be awakening a lot of interest, particularly on parenting and family blogs. For more information on where to buy Montessori toys online, click here.

This article was originally published in the French Edition of Aleteia.

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