Meet a Montessori Family – Montessori with toddler

Today, in my series Meet a Montessori-family, let me introduce you to Dagmara from  @montessori_with_toddler. Dagmara is Benjamin's mum and shows their Montessori inspired lifestyle and activities on Instagram.

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.

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

I’m Dagmara, Benjamin’s mum. I’m from Poland but we live in a beautiful, old town in East Yorkshire called Beverley. We are a multilingual family and are raising Benjamin as a trilingual child. I have decided to be a stay-at-home mum so that I am able support his language development as best I can, because I’m his only one Polish speaker. We love the Montessori method, and it has now become integral to our daily life. I see how much Benio benefits from it and our whole family. We are also a DIY family, and Montessori on budget is what we love!

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

My friend was a social media manager for a Montessori nursery in the past and I was helping her with marketing, and that is how I discovered this method and fell in love with it. I think that the way of approaching children and how we treat them completely absorbed me. Looking at motherhood from my experience as a child, compared with the Montessori environment, made me realise how independence is taken from a child. Montessori taught me that our children need our respect and patience, not praise or punishment. I have read a lot of books on Montessori as well as Maria Montessori's own books, moreover, I do various training, listen to webinars and participate in conferences. I am currently doing a course on language education in the Montessori method.

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

In the past, I used to reward my baby or tell him "good boy." and also correcting him when he did something wrong. I think these are the two biggest changes that we had to learn by ourselves and it took time because rewarding etc is something we've always known and is very common. In addition, Montessori definitely brought us more understanding of our child's behaviour, through following him and his interests.

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

To be honest with you, I don’t have anything of Montessori ‘branded’ items. As we are a DIY family, my husband can make everything so I usually see some Montessori material and ask my husband if he can make it.

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? 

We are Montessori inspired family because we follow our child, his interest and respect him. We created for our son an environment where he can be independent. We are also a family who cares for the environment and we try to teach our son the same, for this reason we don’t buy much material and resources. We try to re-use and recycle everything we have at home and we show a lot of DIY on our profile. I want to show everyone that Montessori is much more than just activities, that I do some videos to show people this message. For me, the most important Montessori principal is follow your child, without any pressure or expectation. Respect the child. Sometimes they don’t want to do what we expect or what we want, but we still have to respect them for this. I also believe that the prepared environment for children makes a difference. My son is such an independent little man, because he has an environment which lets him make his own choices, for example he has toys on his height, a sink where can wash his hands, hooks where he can put his coat back. I think without these little changes at home independence will be really limited for him.

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

I love Simon Davies’ book ‘Montessori with toddler’. I’m waiting for her new book ‘Montessori baby’. I really like to read the book ‘Absorbent Mind’ by Dr Maria Montessori. Also, the book ‘How to talk so little one will listen’ by Joanne Faber and Julie King, made a big difference in my parenting.

I’m getting inspiration from your Instagram profile and Simone Davies. In general, I think Instagram is a great resource for Montessori ideas and activities. Unfortunately, I don’t read blogs anymore, as I find Instagram faster for looking for answers and inspiration.

What are your future plans regarding Montessori? Do you plan to homeschool?

I will continue Montessori at home in our environment, that’s why I always try to teach and develop myself to be able to help my son with this journey as best I can. Unfortunately, we don’t have any Montessori school in our area so Benjamin will go to state school. I currently have no plans to do home schooling.

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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.