Preparing the environment is a key tenet of the Montessori method, including the Montessori method at home. However, keep in mind that if you are a parent, your environment is your home. So, you have your work cut out for you. In other words, I would argue that creating a Montessori environment at home is a bit more challenging than setting up a classroom.
Above all else, I found these two first steps really useful in bringing the Montessori method into my home. You will find that once you’ve simplified your home, you’ll be in a much better position to implement the Montessori method. In other words, start with a clean slate and you will have a better time of it!
Montessori Method at Home
- Take a look around the playroom. Ask yourself, “does everything have a place?” That phrase is my mantra. Plus, it makes life with a young child a lot easier (sort of). Make a rule “if it has no place, store it or give it away”.
- Next up, toy & book rotation is key. Every 3-4 weeks, take the time to rotate and even purge a few items. If you're wondering how to decide which toys to purge or even throw into the garbage, one rule I like to stand by is “if it is broken or if it is a duplicate, get rid of it.”
- Say goodbye to plastic and loud, annoying, distracting toys!
- Add calming and aesthetically pleasing decor to the playroom. One of my favorite and easy to put together materials for a Montessori space are simple jars with liquid watercolors. See below for more details.
I try to create an interesting and inviting space for my sons in terms of their activities, materials and the decor of their space. This addition to their space is very simple and inexpensive to do. For example, all you need are small glass bottles. I found great ones at a local craft store for $1. Alternatively, you can also use Glass Spice Jars.
I added Liquid Watercolor Paint and a bit more of water to fill the bottle about 3/4 full. As one example, I decided to use blue, red and yellow so that I could have two combinations to make purple and orange. In addition to these colors, I used clear water, blue, yellow, red, and “black”. Then simply display the jars on a window sill or somewhere the light can catch the beautiful colors.
- Start by giving your child the freedom to decorate his room but encourage the less is more approach. In other words, involve your child in setting up his spaces at home and there will be buy-in to the Montessori method.
- Provide a child's sized laundry basket
- Place artwork (maybe even your child's work) at the child's eye level
- Accessible clothing with low shelves, rods, and hooks
- Relaxing lighting but don't completely block out natural light
- Definitely make the space for your child with books and even a few toys. Keep it simple, though. Avoid clutter!
- Calm and soothing colors
- An essential oil diffuser is a nice touch
Montessori Method at Home – Shared Spaces
- First, keep in mind the child's development. What I mean by this statement is that young children think concretely. For example, simply saying, “wash your face” might not resonate with a child. If he cannot see the ketchup on his face, is it really there? So, one way to achieve the Montessori method in the bathroom is to include a mirror at bath time. Then, the child can truly acknowledge the difference between clean and dirty.
- Next, make the bathroom accessible for kids with a Faucet Extender, light switch extender, and stools. One of my pet peeves as a parent is having to pick up my child to wash his hands. I do it because it is important but why not find a way to help the child help himself? Win. Win. There are ways to do this without having to reconstruct your adult-sized bathroom. Kids will relish in being able to wash hands and turn on/off the lights all by themselves.
A critical component of the Montessori method is creating a kid-sized home environment. However, using real dishware and glasses is a tough transition for most of us parents. However, using real kitchen utensils, glass cups, and plates are the way to go if you want to align your kitchen with Montessori ideals.
One way to avoid breaking all your nice plates and glasses is to search goodwill for beautiful glasses and plates. You'll find great deals! Furthermore, in the event, as children are learning grace & courtesy, an accident occurs you don't feel too guilty about it. Montessori Services is a wonderful resource for kid-sized kitchen, garden, and cleaning tools. Also, use visuals of real images in learning and routine charts.
Next, I get to tell you about one of my favorite, simple ways to integrate the Montessori method into your home is with a peace corner. That is to say, this space is meant for observation in silence, to calm down or to simply be. So, you can include a plant for caring and observing, a fish tank for watching, or simply a window for gazing at the wonders of the outdoors.
- Gather activities to encourage mindfulness in children is through journaling, meditation, deep breathing exercises, and yoga and place them in accessible areas of the home. Consider a Cretan’s Labyrinth or ABC Yoga Cards in a basket.
- Read this wonderful book called Nurturing the Spirit: In Non-Sectarian Classrooms. The author shares ideas about cultivating stillness that you can integrate into your home.
I hope you enjoyed this post!