The other day I reached into the bottom drawer for something and there in the back were two old tumblers and some small plates. Years ago that bottom drawer belonged to my children allowing them to independently set their spots at the table, grab a snack, or a drink. Now, my children are able to reach the highest shelves in our cabinet (which has proven helpful for their short Momma), but it wasn’t all that long ago that they were retrieving things from the lowest drawer in the cabinet or lowest shelf in the refrigerator.
Years ago, my friend Aude took the Montessori Model and ran. Every item in her child’s room was on a beautiful wooden tray placed on a handcrafted beautiful shelf. It seemed she owned stock in Montessori Services, (that great catalogue with all the gorgeous materials that you can order for your home). Move over Barbie! Aude’s home, always magazine worthy, had all the physical elements of a Montessori Dream House. From the beautiful wooden materials, to the kitchen designed specifically with their little ones in mind, Aude really did it well. My life philosophy is highly influenced by Maria Montessori’s teachings. I was/am happy to have things accessible to my children to consistently allow them opportunities for autonomy and independence. However, my set-up has never been as thorough and as aesthetically pleasing as Aude’s. I won’t lie, I was always both inspired and envious of her home, but I never got around to creating a model Montessori home myself and that’s okay.
My point is that you don’t have to change everything or invest a ton of time in making your house a little more Montessori friendly. Whether you are more of an Aude or more of an Aimee, there are plenty of ways to bring Montessori into your home! Let’s start simply, in the kitchen (Aimee-style):
Select a low drawer in your kitchen and have your child help you organize it with all of the essentials for their independence (glass or plastic cup, utensils, small plates)
Pick a low shelf in both your refrigerator and pantry and fill it with parent-approved snacks.
Fill a pitcher with water, juice, or milk and have it available for your child to access and pour their own.
Get a child size broom and dustpan. Children at this age LOVE cleaning, so let them!
Have environmentally safe cleaner in a small spray bottle for your child to help wipe down the tables
Allow children the opportunity to help with cooking. With just some time and supervision your children can develop a passion for healthy cooking. Food prep is great and they practice it here at school, too. Get those veggie peelers and slicers ready and prepare to be wowed. (Again, under supervision)
Let your child use real glass, real plates, real silverware. They can do it!
This is just a start. There are so many resources online including Pinterest boards and books on Amazon to help you create an environment that supports your independent child. Please feel free to leave some of your own ideas in the comments section here. The more we share, the better we are! Next week we will talk about Montessori in the Home for the Elementary Years.