Monday, March 22, 2010

Montessori at Home

The following article is from The Montessori Foundation

Designing a Montessori Home

by Tim Seldin

Organizing the Home

The Bedroom
“We must give the child an environment that he can utilize by himself: a little washstand of his own, a bureau with drawers he can open, objects of common use that he can operate, a small bed in which he can sleep at night under an attractive blanket he can fold and spread by himself. We must give him an environment in which he can live and play; then we will see him work all day with his hands and wait impatiently to undress himself and lay himself down on his own bed.”
Maria Montessori

Children’s bedrooms should clearly reflect their personalities and current interests.
Even though on their own they may tend to create chaos, young children have a tremendous need and love for an orderly environment.  Everything should have its own place and the environment should be organized to make it easy for the child to maintain a neat, well organized atmosphere.
• Ideally, the young child’s bed should be low to the floor, making it easy for toddlers to get in and out on their own.  Rather than a crib, Montessori urged parents to modify the bedroom to facilitate both the child's safety and his early independence.  Consider a Japanese futon or a mattress  without the bed frame.
• By age five, you may wish to allow your child to use a sleeping bag on his bed instead of sheets and blankets. This will make it easy for him to make his own bed in the morning.  
• Mount a nice little coat and hat rack low on one wall where your child can reach them easily.  
• Decorate the walls with high quality art prints of children or animals hung at the child’s eye level.
• Mount a wall clock at the child’s level. Select one with a large easily read face.
• Modify your light switches with extenders to allow the young child to turn his lights on and off independently.  
• Hang a bulletin board on the wall at your child’s eye level on which he can hang art work school papers.
• Don’t use a toy box.  Imagine the chaos in your kitchen or workshop if you threw your tools and utensils together in a chest.  Instead use low shelves to display books and toys  Try to duplicate the look of your child’s classroom.
• Notice how Montessori teachers avoid clutter.  Place toys with many pieces in appropriate containers, such as tupperware “boxes” with lids, basket, or in a sturdy plastic bag.  
• Use a sturdy wooden crate to hold your child’s building blocks.  
• You may want to create a model town or farm on piece of heavy plywood.  Paint it green and sprinkle model railroad “grass” on it to simulate a meadow. Placed on a low table, your child can create wonderful displays with model buildings made of wood or plastic. Add little trees and people from a model railroad set.  You could set up a doll house this way as well.
•  Store Lego blocks in a large, colorful and sturdy canvas bag with handles. Sew on strips of velcro to fasten the bag closed. In your child’s bedroom the bag will serve as a sack to contain his Legos. When you travel it is very easy to pick the bag up to come along. 

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