With school out and summer in full swing, many parents wonder how they can educate their children at home without relying solely upon technology. Here’s where the Montessori method comes in.

At the Maria Montessori School, children are placed in an age-appropriate environment that promotes purposeful engagement in both indoor and outdoor settings. Whatever the environment, MMS recognizes the unique nature of childhood and human development, emphasizing this ideal through the use of materials, touch and play as educational tools. Fortunately, Memphis offers numerous opportunities for you and your child to continue practicing the lessons learned at MMS without technology!

Experiential learning
The Montessori method emphasizes hands-on learning, using materials to support self-directed discovery and learning. Consider signing up for a cooking class. Seeing, measuring, pouring and mixing the ingredients will not only teach your child the value of quality ingredients but will also expose them to life skills for the future! Check out local bakeries or businesses like Sur La Table for kid-friendly cooking classes. You could also look into art classes at local studios or pottery-painting studios like Seize the Clay and Pitter Potter Studio. Starting with simple materials like paint, pencils, etc. to create a more complex picture not only teaches your child the creative process but also inspires artistic expression.

Outdoor engagement
Maria Montessori’s philosophy highlights the importance of the outdoors by extending classroom lessons into the natural world and cultivating a sense of respect for the environment through hands-on activities. Summer is a great time to participate in these outside activities! Take your child to a public garden like Memphis Botanic Garden or River Garden Park and study the scenery. What features are present in certain flowers or plants that aren’t present in others? Are there insects or animals? Do they have specific habits? You can even incorporate playtime at the Garden’s My Big Backyard or the Tree House, allowing your child to get exercise and engage in a creative, natural space.

Cultural activities
The Montessori environment can be adapted to any culture or setting, encouraging abstract knowledge through concrete exploration. Help your child engage in creative observation and cultural diversity through art, music and history. Attend a local art fair and walk your child through various booths, taking time to study each artist’s style. Combine musical expression and warm summer weather by attending live concerts, like the Orion Free Music Concert Series at Levitt Shell. If the weather isn’t permitting, venture to a museum such as the Pink Palace or the Children’s Museum of Memphis. Ask your child questions while you walk through exhibits, gently encouraging them to express how they feel and prompting a better understanding of the historical context and how it relates to them now!

By introducing your child to the right environment, asking the right questions and encouraging their creativity, you can make a seamless transition from the school year to summer and continue the valuable lessons learned in the classroom without reaching for an electronic device.