Montessori at Home: Say This Not That

With new friends joining us for the 2023-24, many parents ask how they can support their child’s learning at home, and specifically, how they can help maintain consistency between the Montessori classroom and their homes

We believe that the Montessori philosophy is not just for the classroom.  It is meant to be a way of life; a way of respectfully guiding children towards independence and responsibility.  It is the providing of freedom to the child while still placing safe, but not stifling, boundaries.  People all around the world embrace parenting the “Montessori” way and find it works!

Today, we want to share our suggestions on some ways that you can begin to implement the Montessori philosophy at home through your speech. 

During daily life, we encounter situations with our children that trigger frustration, anger, or disappointment.   These emotions are a natural response, but it is up to us to decide what message we want to communicate to our children

teacher with students at Montessori preschool

Are we going to communicate by our words and tone that they are careless, incapable, annoying, disruptive, frustrating?  Or are we going to communicate an atmosphere of acceptance, love and respect, where it is safe to make mistakes, learn and grow?  

In both the Montessori classroom and home, we make a conscious choice to communicate the latter. The tone, the volume and the words that we use work together to tell the child: “You are loved.  You are accepted.  You are respected.  You are safe.” 

One of the best ways to allow yourself time to make a conscious and conscientious response is to follow these steps before reacting:

  • Approach your child slowly and gently
  • Get down at eye level
  • Speak slowly
  • Speak quietly, even in a whisper!

When a child is displaying unacceptable behavior in the classroom, this is most often how we approach them.  The time and effort this takes allows us to thoughtfully form our words and reactions in a non-threatening manner. 

It is also important to evaluate yourself.  When you observe your children speaking to other children in a disrespectful way, you might ask, “Are they mimicking something they’ve heard in our home?”  At the end of the day, you might ask yourself, “Did my tone, volume and words model respect today?” “Where could I have done better?”  “How might I have better handled that situation?”  “How did my child react to my voice?” 

Finally, here are some very practical suggestions on small ways you can start reframing your responses to be non-judgmental, gentle, and yet firm, when need be! 



I see there’s some water on the floor.  Here is a cloth to wipe it up.

Why did you spill that?

I’m sorry, but you cannot interrupt.  When I’m finished I would be glad to help you.

Stop interrupting

Would you like to do this worksheet now or in 5 minutes?

Sit down and do this worksheet

We sit in chairs to be safe and comfortable.  We use tables to eat or do work at.

Get off the table.

I’m sad because this is broken and we cannot use it anymore [today].

How could you break this?

Take little bites so you can swallow them better

Don’t put so much food in your mouth.

We don’t get to touch another person’s body without permission.  Please ask before you touch her.

Stop bothering her.

This is how we quietly move a chair.

Stop scraping the chair across the floor.

When you slam the door, it disturbs others. I have heard you close it as quiet as a mouse.  Please try again.

Don’t slam the door

I can see you worked hard on that.

I’m so proud of you for finishing that.

I noticed how carefully you . . . [set the table]

You did a great job!

Outside is a safe place to throw the ball.

Don’t throw that ball!

We use a gentle voice. Can you try again.

Stop yelling at me.

You used many different colors!

What a beautiful picture

Can you use your indoor voice?

You’re too loud!

I noticed how quickly you got ready last time.

Who can be first to get ready?



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