Montessori in the Home
So, you're interested in the Montessori Method. Great! Now, how do you go about integrating Montessori into your home? Here are a few tips on how to make your child's playroom, bedroom, and overall home experience based in Montessori philosophy.
The Play Room:
A child's play room can often feel overwhelming and unorganized. Toys strewn about the room, bins upended, and an overabundance of items often lead to over stimulation, boredom over the toys a child has, and an overall feeling of chaos. Start by finding some low shelves, tables and chairs, and bins for strategic use and organization.
The shelves allow for toys and jobs to be displayed. Use trays and baskets to display work. This creates order, and allows the child to see what is available for them to use. It also minimizes the amount of options, allowing for other toys and jobs to be kept out of the way, and rotated in and out when necessary. Rotating out toys and jobs allows things you already have to be new and exciting! So, create a space where you can organize and keep some of your child's other toys out of sight and out of the way.
Having a child-sized table and chairs also provides your child a space to sit and accomplish jobs. This is great for art work, practical life jobs (table washing!), and anything that requires a child to have a firm surface to work.
Creating a tranquil or "quiet" space for reading or relaxing is also beneficial to a play room. Designate a spot with comfy seating, calm colors and lighting, and a book shelf. Your child will know that this is a good place to go if they need space, quiet, or time to gather themselves. You can also rotate out books on the bookshelf.
As adults, we make a point to carefully choose what our bedrooms should be like- we seek tranquil colors, beautiful bedding, and personal touches. This should also be reflected in your child's room. A child's room is not an extension of their playroom, but should be a place where they can wake up calmly, and rest easily at the end of the day.
As far as decor goes, pick soothing colors, and keep some blank spaces on the wall. Having busy walls can be over stimulating. Having a blank space to rest your eyes upon can help with your child's concentration and self-regulating. Low lighting will also help with rest.
Have a shelf with a few quiet toys that a child may use when they wake up early. That way, they can occupy themselves, and allow the rest of the family to sleep. A floor bed (a mattress on the floor) is also a great choice for an infant or toddler. There isn't a steep drop or step for getting in and out of bed, and for a toileting toddler, the ability to get to a bathroom easily helps a lot! It's also a lot safer. Cribs often lead to falls or limbs getting stuck and broken. Eliminate the issue with a floor bed.
Make comings and goings easier with an organized entryway. Have a bench small enough for your child, and a space where they can easily access their shoes and weather-appropriate gear. I suggest using a low hook for coats, and a basket for hats and other accessories.
It might seem impossible to have toddlers in the kitchen, but with the right preparation and tools, you'll be cooking with your toddler in no time! Make sure you have a conversation with your child about the dangers of the kitchen (stove, oven, sharp objects), and what they can and cannot do independently. Various tools, such as banana, egg, and strawberry slicers, and wavy choppers are easy for children to use after some direction. Keep your eyes peeled for more posts about food preparation with kids!
Applying Montessori around the home can be done in so many ways. You can change the areas your child uses to better suit their needs through the Montessori method, and you can also change your dynamic through your verbal and non-verbal communication (more on that in another post). Taking these easy steps can make your life flow a little better and put your child at ease with the knowledge of where they and their things are meant to be in the home. Get your child involved with these changes if they are old enough and enjoy a Montessori home!