My son will be “graduating” from Montessori to matriculate to pre-K at his sister’s school this May, and, while I’m excited for this transition for many reasons, I am also wistful about closing the door on our Montessori years. If you’ve been reading for awhile, you know that I love the Montessori way (my siblings and I all attended Montessori, as have all of my nieces and nephews — and my mother was a Montessori school teacher for many years). I’m specifically drawn to its emphasis on scaffolding independence and cultivating “grace and courtesy” in the way we interact with our environments and one another. I have learned so much from Maria Montessori, and have consciously and subconsciously adapted our home life to borrow from her principles. For example, we try to keep almost everything the children need to use on a daily basis “at eye level” so they can help themselves — we have a drawer for their cups/plates/bowls/water bottles that they can access; approved snacks (apples, yogurt pouches, granola balls, etc) reachable; books in bins or low-to-reach shelves; lower cupboards with crayons, markers, and papers at their disposal, etc. Their shoes go into a bin they can reach; their backpacks and coats hang on pegs they can easily get to. None of this is groundbreaking, but I have been intentional about these arrangements over the years. Looking around our home makes me realize that even though we won’t be sending our children to Montessori after this May, we can still practice its methodology in our home. My friends at Cloud Montessori have some great tips and prompts to do so if you are interested. They profiled me and some of my thoughts on raising my children “the Montessori way” a year or two ago, and I’ve been hooked on their account since.
Below, some great tools and ideas to embed elements of her philosophy at home. Bonus: all of them are attractive. Part of the Montessori approach is to give children real things, or miniature versions of real things, as opposed to “things marketed to children.” So, for example, children learn to pour from glass, and use simple wooden trays, and use silver cutlery versus plastic rubbery alternatives. I could never quite accept my children handling glass in our home but I do give them these stainless steel mini pitchers for pouring milk into cereal/oatmeal themselves. I especially love the model’s emphasis on giving children defined workspaces — in the classroom, these are usually woven mats on which they complete their “work.” This has translated into our home in so many ways, but especially in the way we use trays for sensory play and art projects. I find it’s really helpful that they have a delimited area in which to honor the work they’re doing with their hands.
01. LOCKER // 02. BROOM AND DUST PAN // 03. WOVEN BINS // 04. LIDDED BINS // 05. MINI WATERING CANS // 06. WOODEN TABLE AND CHAIRS SET // 07. NUMBERS WALL HANGING // 08. CUBBY SET // 09. CUPS SET // 10. WOVEN MAT // 11. MINI PITCHER // 12. CUTLERY SET // 13. BROOM // 14. PEG COAT HOOK SET // 15. MEALTIME MATS // 16. WOODEN TRAY SET // 17. TEAK STEP STOOL // 18. SCANDI CLOTHING RACK
P.S. The surprisingly emotional last day of mini’s Montessori program up in New York. Whew. I still get verklempt when I think of it.
P.P.S. My son’s matriculation to Montessori totally caught me off guard. I was a wreck for a good week.
P.P.P.S. Children’s products we love and use daily.
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2 thoughts on “Bringing Montessori into the Home.”
Such an important post! We deliberately incorporated Montessori practices into our life from my son’s birth onwards. I went to Montessori from the age of 5 to 10, so a huge portion of my life–it’s an incredibly impactful method of, frankly, existing. I’ve noticed my early Montessori grounding reverberating through my life particularly since the start of 2020, when I chose to turn to creative projects and also reflect on our space, how we use it, and so on. It’s never too late to bring Montessori into your life!
I totally agree with this and love that you incorporated elements from birth onward! I wonder what that looked like in the early years? I probably could have done more.
Thanks for chiming in!