Below is a list of guidelines for applying the Montessori principles in the home.  Some of the suggestions are adapted from a column by Joan Beck, a Chicago Tribune writer and syndicated columnist.
1)  Whenever you can, arrange your home so that your child can manage for himself.  Make his table and chair low enough, his toy shelves easily accessible, his clothing equipped with fasteners he can operate, his clothes rods the right height, etc.
2)  Don't do anything for your child that he can do for himself.  "Any unnecessary aid is a hindrance to learning," said Montessori.  Allow a child to ask for help.
3)  Teach your child with real things.  Take the time to show him how to handle materials and equipment carefully, and he will be capable of far more than you may realize.  A young child wants to do what he sees his parents doing.
4)  When you want to teach your preschooler a new activity or skill, plan it out first.  Break it down into small steps.  Consider what points of interest the activity holds for your child.  How can error be controlled by the activity?
5)  Slow down your movements. Use as few words as possible.  Let your movements guide your child's eyes to what he is to learn.
6)  Give the child as much choice as possible in his activities.  He can't live up to his potential unless he has the opportunity for independent work.
7)  Give your child enough time to do a task without hurrying.  He works at a more deliberate speed than an adult and needs to repeat activities often even after seeming to master them.  Don't interrupt him!
8)  Don't insist that your child try a new activity if he isn't interested.  Be aware of his timing for learning and know he will learn when he is ready.
9)  Make discipline interesting whenever you can.  Say, for example, "See how quietly you can close the door."
10)  Make creative use of silence.  Encourge your child to be still for a moment so that he can hear more acutely.  This not only stimulates his sense of hearing, but gives him a feeling of self-mastery.
11)  Be selective in giving toys to your child. Think of what a toy is teaching your child.  Too few are better than too many toys.  Select good quality, interesting toys which a child will want to take care of.
12)  Be appreciative of beauty with your child, drawing his attention to the things of beauty in the natural world.  In this way you are nurturing his natural appreciation of beauty, helping him to be aware of and to take care of his environment.
"When the child pleads to 'help me do it myself', he means to help him develop his capacities to the fullest, whatever those capacities may be, to become what he is and was meant to be, a unique, remarkable human being."
Emerson tells us, "What each of us needs most of all is someone confidently to expect us to do what we are capable of doing."
*Respect your child.  He is your teacher, too!


HELP ME -----
     At Small World, there are a number of small but significant ground rules which we expect all children to live by.  These are simple rules of daily living that should be in effect anywhere in the child's life.  To the extent that the home incorporates these "rules" into its daily routine, the child will be more influenced by them and be able to make them an integral part of his life.
You, as parents, can help your child remember these "rules":
1.  Be polite.
a)  Remind me not to interrupt people when they are talking.
b)  Remind me not to walk between people but around them.
c)  Saying "please", "thank you", "excuse me", should be part of my life too.
2.  Be considerate of others.
a)  Remind me not to criticize the clothing or belongings of another, or flaunt my own.
b)  Remind me to be thoughtful of others - to ask myself if anyone is unhappy or needs a friend, etc.
3.  Learn to listen.
    If you are careful not to just talk, scold, babble on to me, but rather talk to and with me, this will help me learn to listen rather than learning to shut you off from my hearing.  I really must learn to listen because this is the key to my development.
    The habit of listening and actually hearing what is going on can be developed by providing for me things to hear which I like -- e.g. stories read to me, poetry, music, interesting sounds, etc.
4.  Handle all things with care.
    At school, they won't let us work with material unless we are careful.  We must put it away until we are willing to be careful.
5.  Put things away.
    Each time we are finished with a game, piece of equipment, etc., we must put it away before we can take anything else out to work with.
6.  Have a place for everything.
    I need a chance to keep order in my room or playroom.  A toy box does not provide this since it simply encourages me to throw everything together.  I need shelves and drawers for my toys where there is a place for each thing.
    I must be able to reach these shelves if I am expected to be able to use them and put away my things without your help.  I much prefer this chance to be independent.
7.  Retain my innocence and lack of self-conciousness.
    One way to do this is not to talk about me in front of me.  I can hear and when you want me to listen you are most aware of this.  I don't just stop hearing because you aren't talking to me.  I am sensitive and know when I'm being talked about, although I may not show it always.  Don't discuss me within my very hearing.  If you think I'm cute, clever, funny, precious, etc. and proceed to describe this to others, don't think I'm not going to pick it up.
8.  Be independent.
    Let me do for myself what I can. I will ask you when I need help.