The Montessori method relies heavily on the independence and self-direction of the child. Collaborative play and hands-on learning are the keys to the creative choices that make this method so successful.
Because children constantly learn from everything around them, you want to do everything you can to facilitate this learning process. One of the best ways to do this through the use of appropriate Montessori furniture.
What is Montessori furniture?
Montessori furniture are child-sized furniture pieces that are designed to help children become more independent by taking ownership of their space.
Most Montessori furniture pieces are completely adjustable, designed with your child’s unique needs and requirements in mind. When used at home, it makes it really easy for your child to grow up fully participating in all the family’s activities along with everyone else.
Importance of Montessori furniture
The home is one of the most important environments for a child’s learning and development. It’s where they learn almost everything about what it means to be human, right from how to eat to how to walk and talk and dress. It is only right that they have access to all the tools they need to facilitate this development.
Furniture plays an important role in fostering a child’s independence. Being around adult-sized furniture makes children too dependent on adult help and guidance as they explore, move around, and learn. On the other hand, when they have access to child-sized furniture, they become more independent.
Montessori furniture builds self-confidence, which is fundamentally important in their overall growth and development. It is also the best way to give your child the opportunity to explore their environment. Here are a few more benefits of Montessori furniture:
- It encourages children to interested in their surroundings. When you place child-friendly items near the furniture within their reach, they will take initiative in their own learning and exploration, making the learning process fun and intuitive.
- Montessori furniture also allows children to put themselves in an adult’s shoes as they play. They can dramatize certain careers, for example, which helps prepare them for life as an adult by teaching them to care for themselves and get organized.
- Some pieces are designed to help infants and toddlers learn to pull themselves up to stand or walk on their own, improving their gross motor skills.
- Montessori beds are designed with the child’s height in mind to foster independence in resting and waking. This makes it easier for them to get to bed whenever they want to and to recuperate for as long as they need to.
- Montessori shelves serve as a creative outlet for your child by being fully customizable and allowing them to lay them out as they please. At the same time, they foster a passion for books.
- Montessori wardrobes help children develop their physical coordination and hone their decision-making skills as they learn to dress themselves and become more independent through self-care.
- Montessori learning toddler towers, which are also called kitchen helpers, facilitate inclusion in all activities around the home. Participation in such activities is one of the cores of the Montessori method. It makes your child feel like they are part of something bigger.
Fostering independence in a child from an early age sets them up for success later in life. It also shows them that it is OK to try new things and to ask for help if they need it. As long as it is done in a safe environment, it should be a goal for every parent.
Tips for setting up a home Montessori-style
If you want to set up your home Montessori-style, here is a room-by-room breakdown that’ll help you do that:
- Use low shelves to store activities. Alternatively, you can also use containers that they can open to store their activities
- Have a small activity table and chair by a window. Make sure your little one is able to firmly plant their feet on the floor while sitting at the table
- Have a basket in a corner where you’ll store a rollable play mat for activities
- Use a Montessori bed that your little one can easily climb in and out of unassisted
- Have a low activity shelf with a few activities that they can play with when they wake up
- Have a book shelf or book basket
- Ensure the room is completely child-proof
- Have a Montessori wardrobe with shelves and drawers that are within their reach
- Get a full-length mirror that they can use to dress themselves
- You want to keep things simple. Go for a limited number of toys and a limited number of activities that your child can do.
- Everything that your little one uses should be at their level. You can achieve this with Montessori furniture and shelving.
- Whenever possible, choose a room with natural light.
- An open space in the playroom is great for developing gross motor skills. Allow them enough space to move around in, climb around, and explore.
- Invest in toys that promote engagement over entertainment.
- Create order and routine by giving everything its own place.
- The best Montessori playroom is one that allows the child a variety of activities to choose from. Include many different toys to allow your little one to work on various skills each week.
- Make it a cozy space that your little one will enjoy to spend time in.
- Learn more about Montessori playrooms here.
- Use child-friendly kitchen utensils. When you invest in safe, easy-to-use utensils, your little one will be able to get great results, and everyone will have a ton of fun every time you cook together!
- Set up a snack-area for toddlers. You can either choose to buy new dedicated shelves and storage sections for it, or use space that you already have.
- Invest in a kitchen stool to help your toddler safely get to counter height
- Learn more about kids participating in the kitchen.
- Be observant. Look at your bathroom and pay attention to how your toddler is using it. Every time your little one asks for help during bathroom visits, or when you choose to help without being prompted, try to determine exactly what is keeping them from carrying out the task on their own.
- Depending on age, prepare for potty learning with an appropriate potty-training seat.
- A stool will go a long way in helping your little one gain a bit of independence in the bathroom. With it, they will gain more stability as they climb up the toilet and will also make it easier for them to reach for the soap or faucet afterward.
- Don't forget the soap! This often-overlooked item can be a source of frustration as your child learns to use the toilet because it takes quite a bit of patience to get your toddler to wash their hands properly every time.
- You’re going to need a lot of wipes as your child learns to go by themselves. You want to keep them handy right next to the toilet where you can easily reach them.
- Use a faucet extender to bring the water stream from your faucet closer so that your toddler can have an easier time washing their hands.
- Organize your bathroom so your toddler has easy access to their accessories and don't have to keep asking for your help.
- Child-friendly artwork and decorations always make for great additions to a kid's Montessori bathroom area. Go for fun fonts and bright colors. You also want to factor in your kid's personality and preferences when choosing the artworks or decorations.
- Learn more about bath time activities, care of self and incorporating Montessori principles in the bathroom.
For all the rooms in your home, try to see the space through your child’s eyes as you set them up Montessori-style. Set aside a dedicated area for your child in every room. Here are some of the most important general guiding principles you should follow:
- Take advantage of Montessori furniture wherever possible
- Add beauty to the space using art and nature
- Incorporate activities that are attractive to your child into the space
- Try to figure out how you can make your child more independent in each space
- Minimize clutter by getting creative about storage solutions
- Create a storage space for activities that is out of your child’s sight and rotate the activities
- Have a place for everything and everything in its place
As you incorporate these ideas into your home, understand that they are meant to be adapted according to your needs. Every home is different, so use your limitations and strengths to your advantage.
Examples of Montessori furniture
- The Montessori Kids Kitchen Stool
The Montessori Kids Kitchen Stool is a Montessori learning toddler tower that has been designed to offer a safe, secure platform that your little one can use to raise themselves a little higher so they can engage with the world around them.
It allows them to participate in the set-up, preparation, and the clean-up processes of cooking. This fosters a healthy relationship with food as they start taking ownership of meals by being happy contributors. With this kitchen stool, they can participate in all kitchen activities.
It can also be used throughout the house to reach high surfaces, for example as they brush their teeth or wash their hands. It is also perfect for when you are doing fun projects and arts and crafts on the kitchen counter. or have some fun on the kitchen counter with arts and crafts.
This makes the Montessori Kids Kitchen Stool the perfect tool to help your child learn through interaction by letting them help around the house. It is a great way for toddlers to feel included in the goings-on around the house.
This beautifully designed stool also looks great in any kitchen and around the house. It features a modern design with a height-adjustable platform. It also comes with a back-safety rail that you can remove to give it even more usability options. You’ll also get a wide range of style and safety features, including smooth rounded edges, countersunk screws, anti-slip treads, and feet pads. Plus, it is made entirely of solid hardwood, which ensures that you will get years of use out of it.
- Montessori Kids Light Table
The light table features a translucent, flat surface with a light source underneath. The light from below shines up towards the table’s top. This concept is popular with architects and artists as a drafting tool. However, it has also become highly popular in the Montessori system.
Having a light table in your home opens your child up to a world of opportunities when it comes to learning while playing. In Montessori pedagogy, art is one of the best methods that your child uses to reveal themselves to you. It is a sensory experience as well as the perfect opportunity for them to exercise their fine motor skills.
With the Montessori Kids Light Table, art takes a central position in how your child expresses themselves. In the end, it also plays a pivotal role in their personal development.
A light table will help your child learn through exploration and discovery. It can be used to enhance math, literacy, and writing skills in fun ways that will keep your child engaged no matter how short their attention spans are.
The best part about it is its multifunctionality: it works great for open-ended play, arts and crafts, and even in teaching academic concepts. You can use it with a wide range of different materials and tools to make learning fun, fresh, and engaging. This makes it a wonderful outlet for your child’s self-expression. Learn more about a kids light table.
- Montessori Cube Chair
The Montessori Cube Chair is a wonderful interactive stool that can be used in one of two different ways: you can use it as a stool with a kids’ activity table, or as a small chair when you rotate it. This convenience is the main reason why it will probably become one of your child’s absolute favorite pieces of furniture. They will be able to get years of use out of it.
Although it is made of solid hardwood, it is still light enough for an adult to easily carry it around. It also comes with a wide range of style and safety features. The edges and corners are rounded-over to make it extra comfortable for your little one. It also features countersunk screws and convenient handles for easy pickup.
- Montessori Shelves
Montessori shelves are child-height shelves that will allow your little one to reach everything on the shelf unaided. This goes a long way in promoting independence in your child. According to the Montessori method, the front of the shelf is also left open without any doors or enclosures to ensure that everything is always on display for your child. This makes the shelves more inviting to your little one, making them more likely to engage with the activities.
Although there are special Montessori shelves that are specifically made for kids, there are also many regular shelves that fit the Montessori criteria and can be used as Montessori shelving. Whatever you opt to go for, here is how to set it up:
- Make sure all the activities are at a height that your little one can reach
- Make sure everything is prominently on display and not tucked away in a storage basket or behind other toys
- Only provide a few options to reduce the clutter
- You can put the activities on trays or shallow baskets to help your child move them to their play mat and back
- Montessori Weaning Chair
Montessori weaning chairs are designed to help foster independence even in the youngest kids. Designed to be used by babies who can sit up relatively well on their own, they feature a sturdy back and two supporting sides. Most babies should be able to use them from around 6 months, and by 9 months they should be able to get in and out of them alone.
Good Montessori Weaning Chairs will grow with your child, adopting new function as your little one develops. They are more than just weaning chairs: they are the perfect place for your little one to sit and concentrate on their work, which is playing.
The Montessori Cube Chair mentioned earlier also makes a great weaning chair because it has the advantage of two seat heights, which means it can be used as a chair or as a stool. If you have two of them, your little one can even use them as a stool and a small table.
- Montessori Bed
Montessori beds are designed to ensure that the primary piece of furniture in your little one’s bedroom is 100% child centered and safe for them to explore on their own. It also helps boost their independence by being within their reach at their level.
Montessori beds are basically floor beds. They are low to allow your little one to crawl in whenever they feel like they need a break. This is the first step in creating an independent environment that they can use to learn how to be responsible for themselves.
Incorporating the right Montessori furniture in your child’s spaces will go a long way in providing a lot of developmental benefits that will serve them well for years to come. Plus, nothing beats the level of independence that they’ll foster in your child from an early age! Can you just imagine your little one leaving you alone for hours at a time? That’s the dream, isn’t it?