You can absolutely start Montessori after 6 years, even if the majority of activities found on the Internet in this area suggest the opposite. Indeed, even if your child has only known classic nursery school or standard pedagogies, you can completely switch to Montessori. It may take longer than with a child accustomed to pedagogy from a very young age, but it is not impossible. On the other hand, you are certainly wondering how to proceed. Should we start from scratch and follow the Montessori progression in full? Can we start with math and French workshops? How to learn autonomy? To answer these questions, let’s see together the steps to take to guide your child towards Montessori pedagogy.
Start Montessori after 6 years with non-school activities
Before starting the Montessori math and French workshops, we will first work fine motor skills and autonomy, in other words, activities considered non-academic. If your child is used to doing exercises on paper or following a textbook, it is obvious that he will be lost if he is suddenly asked to choose his own activities and the order in which to carry them out. So don’t put the cart before the horse!
It seems counter-intuitive to start with very simple activities, especially after 6 years. However, it saves time later on, as it is necessary to deconstruct the traditional method where the child is not autonomous in his choices and does not handle fragile material. He must be able to choose, carry out an activity independently, be meticulous, persevering, take the initiative to experiment and self-correct. It is absolutely necessary that all these points be validated before moving on to so-called more “school” activities.
Therefore, you can absolutely start Montessori after 6 years with fine motor activities. The realm of practical life is perfect for this. We do not ask for advanced academic skills with these activities, but it allows us to integrate the functioning of the Montessori workshops. On the other hand, there is no need to start the progression from scratch, you will have to adapt according to your child’s skills.
Start Montessori after 6 years with practical life activities
Learn to move around and settle in independently through practical living activities
Let us now see concretely how start Montessori after 6 years with practical life activities.
First explain to your child that he will be handling breakable and fragile material. Take the time to show him how to move around with a loaded tray in your hands. If you see that this step is not guaranteed, introduce him to the bell exercise: he holds a bell in one hand and must move along a line on the ground without ringing it.
Then comes the time to settle down. Don’t pull out a mat right away to work on the floor. Start on the table, it is not necessary to turn everything upside down at once. Also show him how to move a chair quietly and then how to place his equipment on his workspace. The mere fact of succeeding choose, set up and put away an activity independently without the need to be guided by the adult is essential in the transition to Montessori pedagogy. The practical life activities are simple in appearance, but in reality require the mastery of many essential skills for the future.
Begin Montessori after age 6 by providing child-friendly hands-on life activities
The purpose of the practical life workshops is to learn how to plan one’s actions to carry out a task. This skill is essential both for solving a mathematical problem and for presenting a science presentation. This step should therefore not be neglected, but for it to be relevant, you will have to propose tasks adapted to your child’s skills.
Consequently, if you install the pedagogy after 6 years, it will undoubtedly be no need to follow the entire Montessori progression to the letter. Observe your child: if he already knows how to drink with a carafe and a glass without putting a single drop aside, you will certainly have to present more complex workshops than the decanting. Instead, start with those that the child has not yet mastered, such as washing clothes by hand or caring for a plant, for example, then expand to other areas such as caring for pets.
Start Montessori math and French workshops after 6 years
Make sure the child understands what he is doing
There is a big difference between mastering operating techniques or knowing the results of calculations by heart and really understanding how the decimal system is constructed. A child can be very successful in applying a technique, but if he learned it without understanding the subtleties, this can cause misunderstandings later when the concepts become more complex. The same goes for reading, your child reads and that’s fine, but does he understand what he’s reading? Are spelling and grammar acquired or has the child “photographed” words that he copies? Does he know how to explain a grammar rule or does he apply it without understanding it? Before starting the Montessori workshops in advanced mathematics and French, check if your child is able to explain the concepts or if it is rather “by heart”.
Take up basic notions in math and French even after 6 years old
Whether your child is 7, 8 or older, don’t hesitate to get back to the basics, even if it means reviewing what a noun or an adverb is in French, for example. Unlike the traditional school system, in Montessori we are not satisfied with reaching the average and succeeding in an activity only in part. We are not looking for perfection, but we start from the principle that we should not skip the stages and move on to skill B if A is not acquired. In Montessori, the age of the child does not matter. We therefore resume the basic notions in math and French if necessary. Conversely, this also offers the possibility for the most advanced to go further than expected since we do not work by level class. In short, we adapt to the rhythm of the child, whether slow or fast.
Start group Montessori activities after 6 years
In Montessori before the age of 6, the child is invited to carry out activities mainly individually because it is still an age where individualism prevails. The learning of social skills is in full construction. The child is still at the stage where he learns to wait before being able to take a workshop that a friend uses and the simple fact of cooperating and listening to the other is often difficult.
However, if you start Montessori after age 6, your child may already have mastered some of these skills. Observe him on a daily basis and see if he manages to control his frustration and impulsiveness. If so, you can suggest start by doing activities in pairs or even simple board games.
If the rules are respected without difficulty, you will be able to begin group Montessori activities. After 6 years or as soon as the child is able to read and write a few words, you can, for example, offer to make presentations, read a story with several voices or even make a model. Art projects are also a good way to start group activities after 6 years.