After reading The Montessori Toddler by Simone Davies, I was inspired to make several changes in our home. One of the many topics discussed in this book is how to set up Montessori-style spaces. I loved how thoughtfully and intentionally each space was designed to meet the needs of the child.
I realized that there were many places in our home where I could further my toddler’s independence by bringing things down to his level. We specifically tried not to go out and buy all new items. Instead, we repurposed and repositioned things we already owned. Because of this, I would consider our setup Montessori-inspired rather than a perfect example of Montessori.
In the kitchen, we moved our toddler’s dishes to a shelf where he could access them. We also set out a water cup and snack on the shelf each day for when he gets hungry or thirsty. It’s important to only include the size snack you would be comfortable with them eating. Noah (our sixteen-month-old) is obsessed with this cabinet and opens it all day to play with the contents.
My husband made a learning tower which allows Noah to work at counter height helping prepare meals and wash dishes. (Although, really, he’s sampling food and splashing in the water).
I also added a broom set for him to help clean the kitchen after meals.
Lastly, we took the tray off his highchair, lowered it, and pushed it up to the table so we can have meals as a family.
Montessori-Inspired Living Room
In our living room, we have a play kitchen and a church pew with baskets of toys underneath. The main change I made in this area was reducing the number of toys available in the baskets. I plan to rotate toys as he loses interest in what’s available.
In our office, I repositioned Noah’s table to be underneath a window. I set up basic art materials (chunky crayons and paper) for him to use whenever he chooses. We also use this table for many other activities.
The biggest change was converting his crib into a toddler bed so that he could climb in and out independently. I was nervous how this would affect his sleep, but I have noticed little difference. The other change is that I set up a mirror in his reading area. He LOVES looking at himself and even plays peek-a-boo with his reflection. I call it his quarantine BFF.
I have been amazed by how these changes have made Noah more confident and independent. It’s so fun helping him help himself, because he gets so much pride out of his accomplishments.
One of my all-time favorite quotes is: “Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed.” I am constantly repeating this to myself, learning to take a step back and let Noah lead. I hope this was helpful, especially if you have been considering adapting a more Montessori approach to your home.
Have you implemented a Montessori approach in your home? If so, let me know what tips and tricks you use in the comments below!