Nov 11, 2019
I have used 3 simple ideas to set up our home for my daughter Emily, age 5.
Here are the 3 big ideas:
- Love of learning
- Less is More
Let’s take a look at a few rooms in our house and see how these three big ideas have been used.
This room is all about creativity – the perfect spot for playing and learning! When I was putting this room together, I thought about what Emily can see. For example, when hanging things on the wall, I hung the artwork at Emily’s eye level.
I wanted Emily to be able to reach the books on her own, so she could select them and put them away. I also wanted her to be able to see the front cover – the spine doesn’t tell a young child anything!
Notice here, that I have set out just a handful of books.
Too many things can be overwhelming. You’ll notice that I keep most items stored away in the closet, and offer just a few at a time on a rotating basis. Here you can see baskets and containers for specific toys, and everything has a space.
Rather than tossing toys into a large toy box, this set up works better for Emily to get things out. The principle of independence helps promote responsibility.
I have set up our home so that cleaning up is easy and part of the activity – everything needed is ready and within reach.
Let’s head to the kitchen– this is a key area for celebrating independence.
We have set up our kitchen so Emily can operate independently. For example, if she wants a snack, she can get everything all by herself and set it up.
When Emily serves herself, she practices pouring, which requires concentration, coordination, and independence (you’ll hear these three over and over in the Montessori method: concentration, coordination, and independence) – but besides all this developmental stuff, children just love to pour!
I’ve made an effort to give her what she needs so she can do as much as possible by herself.
Here’s Emily drinking on her own – no sippy cup involved. At the table, we have a highchair that she can get in and out of all by herself.
The centerpiece is for beauty – ambiance does matter! Children absorb everything like a sponge. If the home space is beautiful, they will also absorb the beauty of that space and appreciate it.
The Living Room
In the Living Room, we have a few toys for Emily.
And we also have things for us where Emily can’t reach them. By carefully planning where things are kept, we don’t have to constantly say, “Don’t touch that” or “That’s not for you.”
I love to see Emily spontaneously create…thank you cards get written…in fact, just the other day, Emily spontaneously drew our pet fish!
Emily sleeps on a Montessori floor bed – she can get in and out on her own. I once observed her playing with the egg and cup puzzle after she got up from a nap (no crying was needed)! The whole room is a safe space for her to explore.
Here is the set up for when Emily began her toilet learning at 16 months.
The bathroom is set up so everything she needs is on hand and within reach: the laundry basket, extra clothes, wipes, and a bench where she can sit down. This way she can use the bathroom independently, and she is responsible for putting things where they belong.
This is where we end our tour, but it’s also where we begin every time we enter our house.
On the way out, Emily takes what she needs from the closet and puts on her shoes. Upon returning home, she unloads her things and puts them back in the closet where she can reach everything she needs.
How did you see these applied in our home tour?