For those just starting out with Montessori at home, I thought I would share some advice for organising their environment. There are several things to think about each space and room in the home. I hope I can share how to best set up your home to facilitate independence. This is primarily applicable to the younger years.
What would your child like to reach?
What does your child often ask for access to? Is there a way to make it (or most of the components) accessible?
What do you do for the child that they could do (or help do) themselves?
It depends on your family, your space available and your child as to whether your child has a cupboard or shelf of their own in or around the kitchen, or you clear a space for them in your kitchen cupboard, pantry or even a low draw. However, irrespective of where the space is, it’s important for them to have access to their own eating tools, foods and items for food preparation when they are ready for them.
- Make your child’s cutlery, cups, plates, bowls readily available on a low shelf, cupboard or their own area.
- Similarly, have their utensils for food preparation and baking accessible.
- Have a basket of child-friendly cleaning materials available to them.
- Put snacks into easy to open containers at the child’s level.
- Set up a shelf or part of a shelf in the fridge with some of their snacks organised in containers.
- Organise water in a pitcher in the fridge or a dispenser depending on your space and families needs.
- Hang a half-tea-towel on a low hook for clean ups.
- Speaking of hooks, invest in some specific gorgeous appropriately sized aprons for cooking, cleaning and even other activities (gardening, art smock, etc) and hang them on hooks at the child’s height.
- Make your own or purchase placemats with places for teaching children how to set their own eating space. I made some by tracing a plate-sized circle, a cup-sized circle and fork and spoon shapes in patterned paper, gluing them to an A4 piece of paper and laminating it.
- Consider investing in a learning tower or similar, or enlist a handy family member to make a DIY version.
(We simply use a step with my two. Lucy has always been a confident climber and copied her big brother.)
Montessori Bathroom and Toilet
Children love to be involved in their own care of self. Setting up a space in your bathroom for them is simple and so beneficial. All you need is:
- A mirror, secured at their eye level.
- Wipes for cleaning their face after meals.
- A step for them to reach the sink.
- Their own portion-controlled soap (i.e. a small soap bar or foam pump soap that they can learn to use one pump per hand washing).
- A tray with their self care items (toothbrush, toothpaste if they use it, facecloth, hair brush, comb, tissues/handkerchief and a cup for rinsing out their mouth with water after brushing).
- A timer for brushing their teeth.
- A small towel on a low hook for drying their hands. Similarly, their bath towel hanging low to help dry themselves after a shower/bath.
- A waterproof basket in the shower/bath with items for washing – a small bottle of body wash (you can purchase empty travel size bottles and fill it with your choice of wash), a small loofah, a nail brush, and a face cloth.
- A system for storing a small rotation of bath toys.
- A small step stool for getting in and out of the bath.
Cameron only moved into his own bed a while after he turned three. Lucy will likely be similar. We don’t practice the typical Montessori floor bed at the infant and toddler age group. We bed share. There are many gorgeous set ups in my Montessori Home Nurseries Pinterest board and Montessori Toddler Bedrooms Pinterest board.
Some considerations for a Montessori style bedroom are:
- A low bed with a cover that is easy to pull up to ‘make’ their own bed.
- An easy to read clock at their level.
- Art and photographs on their level.
- A safe LED child-operable night light if necessary.
- Add a low bar for hanging a selection of their clothing to choose from.
- Organise drawers with simplified range of weather appropriate clothes. We love our low drawers which have a side for each of our littlies.
- A stool to sit on to put on shoes and dress in general.
- A basket for dirty laundry.
- A book sling to display a selection of their books.
- Ensure they can reach the light switch, etc.
Any small change will have a great beneficial. I’d love to see any of your spaces so post them to my Facebook page whenever you can.