For over a hundred years, the Montessori way of learning has been adopted by many countries all over the world because of its unique way of helping children learn and understand different concepts. Premised on the idea that the child is naturally curious and his full potential as a human being can be achieved by observing and following his interests and needs, the Montessori method and its principles have created a whole new approach when it comes to childhood learning.
According to Dr. Maria Montessori, children, like adults, need to develop all aspects of the self to fully develop. This means that learning goes beyond academic concepts such as mathematics and grammar. Also, equal emphasis is given to character building and incorporating values in every learning session.
Knowing that your child has an absorbent mind capable of acquiring everything within his surroundings, the Montessori way can also help you build your child’s faith through activities and opportunities that expose him to the world of faith and Christianity.
Is Montessori education Christian though? This is a question that I am sure a lot of Christians ask themselves before considering a Montessori education for their children. The Montessori education is very different from the traditional education that what most Americans have.
Luckily, there is a way to integrate Christianity into the Montessori learning method. If you are looking for ideas on how to build your child’s faith and strengthen his grasp of the Christian values, the following Montessori-inspired activities can help you nourish your child’s spiritual development:
- Montessori Christian Art. There is such a thing as Art education programs that can be tailored for Christian children which are offered by Montessori schools which aim to amplify the artist in every child as well as to engage their creative sides. During such programs, many Montessori strategies and tools are used. Playing with art increases confidence in children as well as opinion and taste.
- Read and re-enact bible stories. Simply reading a Bible story with your child can already do wonders in building your child’s faith foundation. Seeing biblical characters in the pages and hearing about the moral behind every parable can help your child in his journey in the Christian faith.
- Montessori toys such as animal figures can be held and manipulated by your child as you tell the story of Noah’s Ark, for example. Being able to use his hands to guide each pair of animal toward the ark and away from the flood, then freeing them one by one as God faithfully fulfills his promise at the end of the story, can show your child that concepts such as these can be made tangible to him, too.
- Listen to songs of praise. Music is also integral to the Montessori method because of the way children easily connect to it. Using its innate auditory appeal, you can incorporate songs of praise and worship and let your child perform the action song or simply listen to the lyrics. With repetition and daily exposure, you will find your child humming these songs as he slowly absorbs the message of the song.
- Apply faith in art. The creation story of land, water, and how all the other creatures came into being is a great concept to base this activity on. Through Montessori supplies for art such as paint, an easel, or a simple piece of paper, your child can work on painting each of the elements and reimagine how God masterfully made the world that we exist in.
- Create a prayer corner. Shelves filled with Montessori materials that cater to each aspect of the child’s development is common in every Montessori classroom. Taking inspiration from this, you can set up a simple corner that invites the child to pray and give thanks for the day’s blessings or to read scripture cards for a daily dose of God’s word.
- Set aside quiet time. Concentration and focus are both highly-valued in the Montessori way simply because full attention is crucial to absorbing concepts that your child needs to understand. Similarly, having a few minutes of quiet time to allow your child to work on his own is a way to model peace and calmness much like having the presence of God in our lives. By acknowledging your child’s space and providing him with a serene and quiet environment, you are letting him recognize and value in being still and reflecting.
- See God in nature. Simply taking a walk outside of your house can help you in building your child’s faith through the beauty and elements of nature. Much like the Montessori way where natural and wooden materials are used, a simple tree spotted outside your home can help you share to your child the story of Zacchaeus and how his yearning to see Jesus prompted him to climb the sycamore-fig tree. Being outside will provide you with more opportunities to share Bible stories to your child and grow your child’s appreciation for God’s creations.
Indeed, Dr. Montessori’s observation on how children are naturally-inclined to sensorial learning and how it facilitates their understanding of concepts can be a meaningful and beneficial way to help introduce and sustain the seemingly abstract concept of faith to your little one. Creating a prepared environment that not only feeds the intellect but also nourishes and promotes the building of your child’s character and faith is a gift you can impart to your child as he grows. After all, the bible tells us,
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6 KJV)”