How to Help Your Child Understand Fantasy and Religion as a Montessori Parent?
Anyone who knows about the Montessori method of teaching/parenting knows that you're discouraged from introducing fantasy to children under age 6; in short, because they typically have trouble differentianting between fantasy and reality. Therefore, we've opted to exclude Santa, The Easter Bunny, etc. from our holidays and day to day life.
Now, our family isn't religious, I lean more on the spiritual side. However, I've always wanted my children to have knowledge of all world religions and am struggling with the idea of explaining it to them in a comprehensible way (Being as it's difficult to clarify why people believe in something that might not be real). I'm thinking of waiting until my girls turn 6 (they're 4 1/2 now) to begin educating them in that way. But, I'm still left with the dilemma of explaining the mostly foreign concept of fantasy. Their lives have been fairly censored, so I can say with almost 100% certainty that they've never been exposed to fictional stories, characters, etc. However, they are very imaginative and do engage in pretend play often times with their play kitchen and dolls.
Edit: I don't appreciate negative comments about myself as a person or parent, so kindly take those somewhere else. Respectfully, these are my children and I've chosen to parent them this way for my own personal reasons which I have no intention of, nor do I need to, justify. Thank you 😇
- Anonymous1 month agoFavorite Answer
If they understand "pretending" - then they also have a basic concept for "fantasy". They just haven't been taught the word yet.
"Make believe" is another very simple phrase to substitute for "fantasy" when trying to teach young children the difference between what is real and what is "made up".
When they can understand that some things are just "made up" and that it didn't really happen - then they are ready to start understanding "fantasy". It is up to you to teach them what that word means, but any point when they can understand "pretending", they are getting very close to being able to understand "fantasy".
The first step would be to start introducing a few stories that are fictional so that they can understand the difference between stories that really happened and stories that are made up to be entertaining or teach a lesson. Again, if they understand the concept of "pretend" and "imagination", then explaining a story that is not actually real is as simple as explaining that someone wrote down something that they imagined so that other people could enjoy the story. It isn't real - it is just someone else's pretending that they wrote in a story.
As for the introduction of religious beliefs - there is no reason to rush that. If you don't have your own personal strong beliefs in any one religion, then there is no reason to try to guide or teach your children until they are truly ready for the concept. My guess would be at about the age of seven.
- linkus86Lv 71 month ago
Excluding mythological figures is your prerogative as a parent, but you appear to misunderstand the Montessori method in this regards to religion and fantasy and need to study more on the subject. This time try to not overlook that Montessori was a devout Catholic and didn't suggest children be kept from fantasy and religion. Not being able to grasp certain concepts at a young age doesn't mean the young child needs to be protected from them. For example they are also unable to understand the physical concepts of the urinary tract, but that doesn't mean you should disallow them from relieving themselves.
- edwardLv 71 month ago
Example. Stories full of monsters and magic, anime shows currently on Netflix (many not all) are fantasy heavyReligion=faithExample. I am roman catholic like many other filipino people are, i beleive in God, not sheer dumb luck that i’ve survived till now.
- GypsyfishLv 71 month ago
Nonsense. My daughter went to a Montessori school. There's nothing in the Montessori philosophy about not introducing fantasy. We did Santa, the Easter Bunny, etc. I have some reservations now about Santa because I think it's an introduction to telling them to believe in things that are not real like religion, but that's a different issue. Children benefit from some fantasy- and most figure it out themselves without any serious consequences.