Many times parents feeling pressured to set up their home environment often ask, “Where do I purchase Montessori materials for our house?” I reassure them- it is not necessary to have your home environment mimic the classroom. As a Montessori certified primary teacher, I promise my children’s rooms are not fully equipped Montessori mini classrooms.
The basic concepts of a Montessori classroom, however, can easily be duplicated at home. Simply put- there is a place for everything and everything in it’s place. The external order will cultivate your child’s inner order. Build in opportunities for your child to participate in the care of his home environment and in self care. Basic discipline expectations center around respect of self, others and materials.
Montessori materials extend beyond the cognitive works designed by Maria Montessori and, in fact, a child’s success working with the specially designed Montessori curriculum greatly depends on how deeply his care, order, independence and coordination have been cultivated in Practical Life and Sensorial. These curriculum areas can easily be adapted at home.
The prepared home environment which cultivates an understanding of earth science, of practical living skills, and of self care and regulation will best prepare your child for school readiness. Some ideas that you’ll find in our Primary Classroom that can easily be adapted in the Home Environment inlcude-
1. A child friendly TOOL BOX equipped with hammer, small nails/tacks, duct tape, screws, and safety gear (adult and child size).
2. Child friendly kitchen spaces allow your child to participate in meal preparation independently. Vegetables are a great first start and the space should include peelers, bowls, mixer, cutting board, child cutting tool, scrubber, pitcher, and toaster oven. Don’t forget the environment with clean up materials as well.
3. A small box garden with soil, seeds, watering can, and spade. The garden directly ties into the Home Kitchen environment and can extend as far as the parent is willing to include worms, composting, and winter indoor sprouts.
4. A first aid kit for your child complete with mirror, tissues, thermometer, wipes, and band aides.
5. A quiet place for reflection. This can be a pillow tucked away in a corner, netting hanging from the ceiling, or a small tent. Your imagination will guide you- home water gardens, a small fish tank, crystals, window mosaics…
The internet will provide you loads of inspiration. Our favorite sources outside the Montessori world include:
Garden Seeds – and they often offer free seeds to schools
Montessori Spirit – purchase the catalogue- it’s worth it and a perfect source for those quiet spaces
And our “go to” places include Amazon (search “waldorf” for toys) and Etsy for unique objects. Or follow us on Pinterest for what is inspiring us as we continued to build upon our school environment.