Meet a Montessori Family – Freyja and Joseph

Today, I'm introducing you to a new feature on my blog. I see Montessori as a way of life. The name of my business has always been Montessori-family as I am convinced that every family can benefit from the Montessori education. And every family will use Montessori in its own way.

To start this series, let me introduce you to Freyja and her son Joseph. Freyja took my parenting course more than 2 years ago and she is now one of the moderators of our Montessori FB group. Follow her Montessori journey on Instragram.

Can you tell us a little about yourself, your family and about where you live?

My name is Freyja, I live with my husband and our 3 year old son in Manchester, UK. 

I was previously a mainstream primary school teacher, and have taught all the way from Nursery to Y6. Lately, I have left teaching to embark on a new journey of opening a piano hire business and homeschooling my son.

I love sewing, tennis, and music. I am terrible at gardening and cooking but am working on getting better at these!

How did you first become interested in Montessori? What it was about Montessori that really resonated with you and how did you learn more about it?

I always knew vaguely about Montessori but didn't properly embark on our Montessori journey until my son was around a year old. I think it was seeing beautiful set ups and learning about having fewer toys that inspired me to research deeper. I came across this Montessori group and took Carine's Discipline course, and swiftly afterwards took her parenting course. I was hooked. 

I love the idea of having a slower more intentional life (although putting it into practice is hard for me). 

What changes did you make in your parenting style since you have discovered Montessori?

I think I was always a 'gentle parent' in terms of Discipline. I have learnt not to reward and say 'good boy' all the time... A journey I'm still on because change is hard! 

My home environment has definitely changed. A lot of it is planned with my son in mind to promote independence.

I know to observe more now and don't interrupt concentration unless he looks at me for input.

When parents first find Montessori, it might be because of the toys or some specific materials, piece of furniture. Is there any Montessori “branded” items you regret buying?

I don't think I regret anything... Most stuff I have sourced 2nd hand so financially it hasn't been a big commitment.

There have definitely been things that I've bought that haven't been needed.

I hacked the Ikea Kura bed into a floor bed when actually in hindsight my son was old enough to climb on by himself so I could have just left it.

I bought a huge bundle of 2nd hand proper Montessori materials to use some and some... and have realised that although nice to have - not essential 🙂 

Talking about “materials”, what would be your must have items?

Any small version of  practical life items:

Small spray bottle

Small cloths/sponge/scrubbing implement

Small glass to drink out of

Small jug for pouring

A wavy chopper

Small dustpan and brush

For more academic items:

I love the maths beads, and the golden beads.

Sandpaper numbers and letters (easy DIY)

I'm really looking forward to using the moveable alphebet when Joe gets older.

Realistic play items - for example get real equipment for a doctors set.

Realistic figures/pictures of animals for language and matching games.

Oh... And of course the Montessori family subscription box 😉

With my work, I want to show that any family can use the Montessori principles at home with their children. How would you define yourself as a Montessori Family? What are the Montessori principles that are the most important for you? (if you say to someone, we are a Montessori inspired family because we do this and that)

I'd say we follow our child *within limits*. 

We allow for independence and let the child learn at their own pace. I'd also add that we don't use punishments or rewards and embrace emotions.

What are your future projects regarding your child’s education? (if you homeschool, talk about how it might be Montessori based)

We are planning to homeschool for the early years and then take it from there.

We haven't really got a plan as such but are allowing space for free play, trying to get out in nature more and having Montessori materials to aid learning as and when it happens. 

If you are not planning to homeschool, how do you see yourself keeping the Montessori principles relevant once your child attends school?

If/when my son goes to school we will keep the environment at home so it promotes independence, and we will follow his interests at home.

Do you have a favourite resource, such as Montessori book or a blog that inspire you?

I love 'The Montessori Toddler' by Simone Davies. It's a beautiful book to read with easy to digest information. 

Other go to books include:

Simplicity Parenting - Kim John Payne

How to talk so kids will listen and listen so Kids will talk - Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

Teaching Montessori in the home, the pre-school years - Elizabeth Hainstock

Dr Montessori's own handbook - Maria Montessori

Podcasts I listen to:

The Montessori Toddler

The art of parenting

Parenting with Play

Montessori Education 

What would be your tips for a parent who has just discovered Montessori?

Tackle one thing at a time, don't compare your child to other children or compare yourself to what other parents do - beware of social media for these reasons 🙂 

So, you are also a member of our FB group, what are for you the benefits of the FB group, how does it help you as a parent?

I love helping to support parents who have just started their Montessori journey and love learning from those who are more experienced/officially trained in Montessori education. 

In reading and answering questions it acts as a reminder to me and keeps me on track with my own parenting. 

Thanks you so much for answering those questions!

I hope the interview was an inspiration for you all!

CLICK HERE to join our community of 20 000 like minded parents.

About the Author Carine Robin

Carine Robin has a Master’s Degree in Psychology, specialising in child psychology. She worked for various social services in her home country of Belgium, before moving to Ireland in 2006. It was there that she started working in a nursery and discovered Montessori education. After having her first child, her passion for the philosophy grew and she qualified as a Montessori teacher and managed a preschool. Carine has been running a Montessori based parents and toddler group and coaching families for 9 years. She now also runs an online group for over 14000 parents, sharing her knowledge and passion with people from around the world. In 2018, Carine realised families needed more support and launched her popular online parenting courses and monthly subscription boxes, full of personally designed Montessori materials.