Have you ever wondered how you could start implementing a Montessori education at home? What age you should start implementing it? In this article we will discuss tips on how to set up different areas of your home to help your baby or child get started with a Montessori education. In our previous article, we briefly discussed the idea behind “Montessori at home” and some of the few things you will need to get started.
Creating a “yes” space at home for our babies and children in a Montessori way for them to grow and learn has great benefits for their learning and skills. These benefits include exploring their environment freely without interruption, creating independence with little intervention from the adult, creating and developing creativity and problem solving, developing social skills and many others (please refer to our article about benefits of a Montessori Education).
These are some tips you can follow when setting up a Montessori space at home:
- Keep things simple and avoid overstimulating your baby or child.
- Try to find and use baby-sized furniture. You can find them second-hand, for free on local postings or buy them at a store. The idea here is to help your baby and child be independent, have freedom to explore, solve problems by themselves by having everything at their reach and prepare them for how the physical world is and works.
- Display beautiful art and family photos at a baby’s height so that they can enjoy.
- Display few and simple activities at time to help develop the baby’s concentration and not to overwhelm or cause your baby to get bored.
- Have a place for everything, baskets and drawers where the baby can learn where things belong and develop organizational skills. Thus, when they become toddlers, they can place everything in the right place by themselves.
- Get down at the baby’s level and observe their environment from their perspective. Remove any possible hazards that you and your baby may encounter.
- Rotate activities every now and then or when your baby/child is looking for a new activity, adventure or when they seem uninterested in the activity.
Let’s start setting up different areas of our home for a Montessori environment.
Entrance of the house: We can set up small hooks so our baby/toddler can hang their coats, hats and bag, and a basket for them to put their shoes in. This will give your baby and toddler a sense of order and where things go. (Reference image is from the Pinterest of Sonny's Montessori)
Living Room: for our babies, we want to create a movement area for them to stretch and crawl, place a low mirror hung horizontally in the area for visual body schema and appreciation. We can set up a basket containing books, a desk or study furniture at baby’s height with some activities, a place to hang a mobile and hang some art low on the walls.
Kitchen: The Kitchen is a space where we must teach our kids that it is mainly for adults, but we can introduce them to the kitchen and cooking slowly under adult supervision. It is very great to set up a learning tower (we will create a post on how to make one) so that they get to observe and also learn to do the same activities we do at the kitchen. We can also set up a low cupboard or drawer to store all baby’s tableware, such as plates, bowls, cups, cutlery etc. (see image below for reference). Set up a low table and chair at the eating area for baby to eat (once the baby is able to sit up and eat on his/her own).
Bedroom: in the sleeping area, we would want to have a low bed or floor bed with a mattress on the floor about 6 in (15cm). For newborns, you can set up a moses basket that they can use as a reference for a place to sleep. Have a pad or soft surface on the floor in case baby rolls out of bed. You can also set up a baby’s sleep area for naps, if you prefer the baby to sleep with the parents at night. Also, it is ideal to have baby sized furniture at their height that they can use.
Bathroom: Once the baby or toddler starts using the bathroom, you can set up a low shelf at baby’s height with a little mirror, toothbrush, tooth paste for them to learn how to use these items and become expose to personal hygiene and the routine of keeping oneself clean. A set up free of cluster creates an interest in the baby and/or toddler to clean themselves and to keep everything organized and tidy.
In conclusion, the idea of setting up a Montessori area at home is not attempting to copy that of a Montessori classroom. Instead the idea of a Montessori environment is to create a “yes” space for a child where they can explore their environment freely without any obstructions or intervention from the adult. Setting up a Montessori environment at home should be simple and not too expensive. The Montessori approach follows the idea that less is more; therefore, we should keep activities simple, and avoid cluster or overwhelming our babies with too much stimulus. Remember to keep rotating activities in order to keep our babies and toddlers interested in the activities, if we see that they are losing interest in the activities we can rotate to a different one. Remember to set up baby furniture or low shelves at baby's height so that they can grab and reach things on their own this is with a purpose to create independence and problem solving skills in our child.
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