Enough already with the random parenting acts that I’ve been doing.
Here, play with this so mommy can cook.
You want this? Looks shiny, huh?
I need the restroom. Sit here and play with this.
I am ready to be more mindful, more aware, and better prepared.
Taking a step back and trying to put myself in my daughters shoes is tough, but it’s something that I’ve been working on. Maria Montessori believes in respecting children and their development, giving them space to learn and become self-sufficient individuals. I did my best to apply this in the classroom when I taught some time ago, and I want it to be a part of the way we run our home.
I am not totally ignorant of Maria Montessori’s values and what she taught, but I am new to the actual implementation of her teachings as a mama.
I am excited, nervous, scattered, and wide-eyed. I want to do this right! I want to be selective with what I do as a parent while being flexible. Every child is different, and what works for one child may not work for the other. Perhaps there is something that will work for Mariam, and other things might not.
I honestly wasn’t sure where to start with implementing Montessori in our home. Did you know that there are many wonderful resources about this? I felt confident that I would find quality information because of how hard parents and teachers work to show what a true Montessori home and classroom look like. Kuddos to the parents and educators who provided that information. I am blessed and impressed.
After doing my much needed research, I discovered that creating a purposeful space for your child is key to establishing a Montessori home. I like to start small and take those baby steps, so here is where I started:
This is our lovely cube shelf (if that’s what you call it) that we purchased from Amazon a month before Mariam was born. I love it and I’m so glad we invested in it. It can do a ton of different things and stands up vertically or can be turned on it’s side.
Before this cube was ever thought of as something useful for my daughter, it was used purely for aesthetic purposes. It was for my eyes and made me feel like I had a fancy-shmancy living room. When Mariam began crawling and discovered this shelf, it slowly evolved into a book shelf/toy shelf. I would later find out that I had toys and books on there without true purpose or reason. I just put whatever on there whenever. Also, a lot of the toys were developmentally inappropriate. In the picture below, you will see how the shelf looked once, but there were a ton of other toys all over and are not seen here:
Do you see how I didn’t really have a purpose for why things were arranged in this way?
Now, get ready for the improvement…
This is what it looks like today. It has purpose, color, and it’s a lot of fun. I even added two small rugs for Mariam to play and read on.
Everything on or around the shelf has been introduced to Mariam. These books are chosen purposefully; we are talking about our bodies, our clothes, and colors. The toys teach gross and fine motor skills.
I now have a purpose for each and every item on this shelf and I actually started practicing toy rotation every two weeks! I didn’t believe how effective rotating toys were until now. Rotating Mariam’s toys keeps her curious and teaches her to use her newly learned skills in different ways.
Note: she can not reach the top, so I placed a lamp, prayer clock, Google Home Mini, a Qur’an, a decorative plate with a Qur’anic verse, and a bouquet of faux flowers on the top.
And here is a closer look of what’s in the baskets. I am still working on giving these baskets a purpose.
For more information about our shelf, below is what’s on it right now:
1 – Ten Tiny Tickles by Karen Katz
2 – Child’s Play’s Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes illustrated by Annie Kubler
3 – Baby Talk’s Colors by Charles Reasoner
4 – A First Chunky Board Book’s My Clothes
1 – Melissa & Doug First Bead Maze
2 – Fisher Price Stackable Cubes
3 – DK My First’s First Words Touch and Feel cards
4 – Fisher Price Shape Sorter
Baskets (in the order of pictures above):
1 – Kitchen utensils I let Mariam play with and explore. These utensils will soon have a better place and purpose.
2 – The clothing items that correspond with the clothes in the book on the top right of the cube shelf. We are working on learning about the names of Mariam’s clothing items.
3 – A fun bowling game with two different kinds of balls to knock down the pins.
4 – I haven’t found a use for this one yet (and not pictured).
I am currently working on creating “zones” around our living room for Mariam because that is where she spends most of her day playing and exploring. We have made our living space toddler-friendly and got rid of our coffee table. I will be sharing our zones and the next step in A More Montessori Home on my next post.
If you’re interested in learning more about Montessori, here are the resources that helped me get to this point:
Living Montessori Now: https://livingmontessorinow.com/how-to-start-using-montessori-at-home/
Montessori From the Start by Paula Polk Lillard and Lynn Lillard Jessen