If the anxious impression that Montessori costs so much is what’s making it a challenge to Montessori On (to start, carry on, keep on doing Montessori), here’s a Montessori something we give to the child that costs nothing: FREE CHOICE. Choice–it’s almost like a (promo) code you can apply in everything (and in every age), I swear (there’s brain science involved).

“Would you like to eat an apple or a banana?… Oh you want grapes. We don’t have grapes right now. Maybe we can grapes next time, would you like me to write it on our grocery list or would you like to draw it?”

“We need to leave the playground in a while. How many minutes more do you need, choose from 1 to 10… It’s almost 10 minutes, choose the last thing you want to do.”

“I see you are feeling upset. Let’s go to our safe space and you can let out your feelings–would you like to walk there or I’ll carry you?… It seems like you need me to carry you. I’ll carry you now… We’re in our safe space now… Will silence help or a soothing song or something else?”

When she’s feeling frustrated or tired with a work, I ask “Would you like to keep persevering or would you like a break and persevere later?” Sometimes she’ll say “keep persevering”. Sometimes “break and persevere later” and she’ll swing ands life a few minutes or whatever her choice is. Or like here, she chose to enjoy a popsicle she made the day before.

There’s value in perseverance. There’s value in pause. And the weightiest of all is that the child has the freedom to choose. That’s choice. That’s free. And more than any furniture or material or activity, THAT’S MONTESSORI.

And it’s worth it: You’ll hear her offering choices to friends–“Can I borrow this? No? How many minutes and you’ll be ready to let me borrow–9 or 10 minutes?”

So if you’re wondering how to start Montessori as in right now or how to #MontessoriOn, offer choices–it’s free and, ideally, should be for all.