Follow the Child
Extension Activity Ideas for Home
Follow the child is a common term you will hear within the Montessori community.
One of Dr. Maria Montessori’s founding tenets was the directive to “follow the child.” In the classroom, this means allowing children to experience and engage in activities independently. The inverse is also true: It means resisting the urge to lead the child but instead to create an environment encouraging self-direction.
Unlike teachers in traditional classrooms, the Montessori teacher is not the primary focus for students. Rather, teachers focus on each child’s activity and then provide assistance to help them learn.
Encourage your child at home to explore their natural desire to learn.
A Natural Desire to Learn
To facilitate your child’s learning, create a learning space at home that feels comfortable. At this point, you have probably put some thought into this. Return to this space and ask yourself, “Does my child feels safe? Is this space organized in such a way where my child will feel confident in their work choices?”
Look for ways to extend works, especially those your child finds most interesting. Ask what they would like to learn about. And remember, we believe children can’t be taught how to learn. Instead, they are being shown how to access their reasoning mind.
Here are some activity suggestions children might choose from to delve more deeply into detail. If your child is a bit older and able to take on the responsibility, you could even print these ideas out and make them available for your child to explore on their own.
In those “I’m bored” moments, remind them of this list and review it together. You can add your own ideas to the list as well! You know the child best, so adjust accordingly.
• Outer space studies, dark matter, nebula, plasma
• Composition and different types of soil
• Study of the formation of rocks, ages of mountains and mountain ranges
• Rivers of the world and their importance to their countries or continents
• Water treatment centers, history of the supply of drinking water
• Study of climates, temperature and rainfall graphing
• Droughts: when and where they occurred, what impact do they have on life?
• Study of industries, research on forest decomposition
• Investigating extinct animals or species and determining why they are extinct
• Exploring an endangered species and what efforts are underway to save them
• History of the domestication of animals and plants to modern day cloning
• Vegetable garden, flower gardens, genetically modified foods, medicinal plants
• Viruses and bacteria, world epidemics
Math and Geometry:
• History of math concepts and number base systems
• Computers, binary system, the digital age
• Metric vs. Standard measurement systems & their histories
• Study of the language of math (bushel, gallon, mile)
• Relationship between architecture and geometry
• Mathematics of music, history of music, study of composers
• Money and investing, currency and the history of coins
• History of art, metals, jewelry making
• Paleontology, anthropology and archaeological studies
• Deeper study of stone age cultures: where they are found and their significance
• Religious migration and other movements of people over time
• Explorers: both on earth and in outer space
• Early trappers and their discoveries, what impact they have had on life
• Study of the cities built up along the water ways: Why did they develop there?
• Tools and utensils, mechanics and simple machines
• How countries have come together (UN, NATO, EU, OPEC, etc.)
• Racial tension, women’s rights, labor unions
• Family roots, family traditions such as cooking and recipes
• Comparison of art produced by different groups of people around the world
• History of women in art, quilting
• More in-depth study of literary devices
• Script such as Arabic, Japanese, Chinese
• Deeper study of poetry (meter, types of poetry)
• Study of our country’s literature or of world literature
• Brail or sign language
• Drama, speeches, public speaking, debate
In the words of Dr. Montessori,
“Follow the Child!”
Montessori Elementary School Learning
by Maria Montessori International Academy