Setting up your new classroom is a lot of fun. The maps, colors, books, and other learning materials are stunning, and I completely understand wanting to dive headfirst into your child’s new learning environment.
However, before setting up a classroom or learning environment, it is mission-critical to fully understand Montessori’s philosophy and principles.
- It allows you to honestly examine whether this style is suitable for your family before making a long-term commitment.
- It reinforces that the Montessori principles are more important than tools, thereby allowing you to make good decisions in the future about where to spend your funds.
- It lets you make the transition slowly and peacefully.
BELOW ARE THE FIRST STEPS TO CONSIDER FOR CHILDREN AGES 0-6:
- Incorporate child-sized furniture into your home. I recommend starting small with these items:
- Toddler table and chair set (complete with child-sized utensils and tray tables)
- Items that will allow the kids to help you with chores: like a small washcloth and this Melissa and Doug cleaning set.
- Make a few furniture adjustments to your home:
- Ensure your child-friendly ANCHORED bookshelves are securely attached to the wall. Then place toys on the shelves, with space between each one, so that your children can explore independently. Later, these shelves may hold "Montessori work.”
- Place the old toy box into storage - along with some of the toys - less is more with Montessori. We have found it best to find ways to rotate toys. You can do this once a week or once a month, whichever works best for you. Label each set of toys with a day of the week or week of the month. Then swap out toys on those days.
- Transition to a low or floor bed.
- Place all other items at your child's level. Rearrange the fridge, freezer, pantry, drawers, etc., so that your children can easily access the objects designed for them.
- Simplify and declutter your home.
You don't have to get rid of anything you don't want to, and I don't recommend throwing things away just because they're plastic. Instead, use plastic shelving units or large storage bins. Make sure to label them to ensure they are easy to locate later.
- Implement clear routines for bedtime, eating, and potty training.
The most important thing is that once you create them, you stick to them. Kids do great with visual cues, so if you want to use a magnet board or printables for this, it’s not a bad idea. Use something with pictures if your child is not yet reading.
- Focus on how YOU interact with your child.
Treat them with respect. Say please and thank you. Ask your kids for opinions and ideas.
- Help when needed. Step back when not.
Allow your child to develop their ability to concentrate by not interrupting unnecessarily.
- Incorporate nature into your routine.
The benefits are indisputable! My kids both love going on walks and gardening, but their absolute favorite are scavenger hunts. Again, nothing fancy is needed—just a marker and paper.
- Focus on the Montessori principles and philosophies.
Involve your children in the process. Gauge your children’s reactions and follow their leads. Try to make the transition to a Montessori lifestyle slowly, at an enjoyable pace.
If something I've suggested doesn't work for your family, don't do it! Instead, look for an alternative, try it, and see how it goes.
- Montessori is not about expensive materials.
The goal of Montessori is to provide families with resources to help better educate their children. It is not to get you to spend a ton of money. However, there are some excellent items out there that help with this process. The ones I recommend are listed on my affiliate site down below.