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5 Montessori Areas to Have at Home

Montessori schools encourage, scaffold, and celebrate children’s independence and believe it is an integral part of preparing the child for success in life. Dr. Montessori believed that education should be an aid to life. She believed that the child’s early functional independence in caring for oneself and one’s school and familial environment builds the foundation for psychological independence as the child enters adulthood. This includes autonomy, self-determination, self-motivation, and a sense of responsibility for caring for not only oneself, but the community and eventually the world! As parents, we have an important role in supporting the child’s independence, from the very beginning. Here are 5 key areas to have at home to support your child’s independence: 

1. Child-Sized Work Space

Photo from livingmontessorinow.com

For the young child, a low child-sized table and chair in or near the kitchen for kitchen or other messy art work, or a safe stool to help children reach kitchen workspaces. It is important for the child to have a space they can use that fits their body and allows them to access it independently. This should not be the place the child eats meals since those will happen at the family table, rather it serves as an independent workspace for the child.

2. Child-Sized Kitchen Tools

Photo from montessoriservices.com

Help your child be independent by getting his own snacks or helping cut vegetables for lunch or dinner! Have a small pitcher with water, milk, or juice, and child sized glasses accessible to the child. Children also love serving others at meal times! Offer a small cutting board and child-sized cutting tools for cutting fruits and vegetables. Fragile items like glass cups rather than plastic offer the child real consequences when things drop and can also aid them in slowing down and moving more carefully and thoughtfully.

3. Toy Shelf Organized with Baskets and Trays

Photo from montessorimethod.com

Organization aids the child’s independence! They are better able to take care of their toys and other personal items when they are organized in a logical way. Instead of a toy box where everything is piled in together, a low shelf where toys are organized in one basket or tray helps a child make choices and makes it feel more manageable to clean up when finished. LESS is best, so consider rotating toys regularly rather than having everything out at once. Another bonus is that each time different toys come out even old toys feel NEW!

4. Child-Sized Cleaning Tools

Photo from montessoriservices.com

Create a cleaning shelf for your child to help with chores. A child sized broom, carpet sweeper vacuum, caddy with spray bottle and squeegee for cleaning windows, or towels for wiping tables, soft cloths or dusters, and even a mop and bucket! A child-sized apron can help signal the starting and finishing of an activity, and can encourage them to complete it! It may take a little longer to include your child in the cleaning of the house, but it will do wonderful things to help build their confidence, sense of belonging in caring for the home, and move their bodies in active and purposeful ways. The child should also have an organized and accessible place for their clothing so they can dress themselves each day.

5. Cool Down Space

Photo from teachingstrategies.com

To aid a child’s emotional regulation, consider creating a cozy, quiet, peaceful spot for your child to have when emotions are high. This should be a comfortable spot that could also be used as a quiet reading corner. Soft cushions and pillows, comfort items like loveys, books, sensory fidget toys, a soft light lamp, mindfulness activity ideas for the child, or anything else that helps your child feel safe and relaxed. In the beginning, it may even be a spot to go with your child to calm big emotions, and begin to transition to a calm place where the child can be ready to talk through their emotions. This should not be used as a place to send a child when they think they are “in trouble” but rather a place for your child to go to help calm when they feel big feelings. Involve your child in creating it, and allow it to grow with your child. It can be a journaling space for older children.

Resources and further reading: 

https://www.montessoriservices.com/ Website with child-sized kitchen and cleaning tools, also books, toys, games, and more. 

https://montessorimethod.com/toddler-kitchen/ Great ideas for creating a child-sized kitchen area

https://www.mindfullittleminds.com/create-a-calm-down-space/ Ideas and support for creating a cool down space

 

Written by Anne Nicoletti