i haven’t written an official post about it here on the blog, but if you follow me on instagram, then you may have seen me talking a bit about how we’ve adopted the montessori method at home. before adam was born, i was vaguely familiar with the philosophies behind it, in large part because my mom was a reggio educator and had a lot of experience with early childhood education. but that was pretty much the extent of it. in fact, to this day, i’ve never read a parenting book or how-to. so when it came time for me to pull together his nursery, i kinda just did the traditional thing: crib, dresser with a changing table, shelves filled with brightly colored toys, a rocking chair. i hadn’t even considered that there might be alternative ways to set up a room that might be more “kid friendly.” and it totally worked for the baby stage. but they’re really only immobile for about 6 months before they begin to start crawling around, ready to explore the word around them. and it was around that time that my little mister decided to start reaching up for toys sitting high above his head on the shelf in his room or at the dinner table, a recipe for disaster.
my first instinct was to buy a baby gate to restrict his access to dangerous parts of the house (which is a really good idea, by the way). but he was so interested in playing in the kitchen, pulling out utensils and things, touching, exploring. it seemed more natural to give him a safe way to access those or similar items to fuel his curiosity. i didn’t realize it at the time, but this post i pulled together about “what’s in adam’s bag” was totally my first experiment with what you might consider montessori. i tried to think like a baby and essentially shrunk down the adult version of my own purse into a bag full of developmentally appropriate toys for a curious baby.
fast forward a couple of years and adam is now enrolled in a local montessori school, and we’ve gone full-fledged montessori at home. we aren’t militant about it or anything, but whenever i see a way that i can adapt my home that allows adam to do things independently, then i certainly try to do it! his room is probably the best example, with a low shelf filled with baskets, each one containing a different activity. the same goes for his book shelf, clothes rack, and floor bed. the idea being that if i shrink down everything to his level, then he can do practically everything he needs without having to ask for help. it’s a bit harder in the kitchen, but he has a step stool that he can move around the room so he can climb up to the counters and help us with food prep. and he has a little set-up under the work bench with a few canisters of snacks, a tiny cup and pitcher so he can serve himself water, and wooden bowls and utensils that he can get for himself.
like everything with parenting, it’s just a work in progress. we don’t think we’re perfect, and we’re not trying to be, but it’s something that we’ve found has worked really well for our family. so as i pull together the house, i hope to share more about the why and how when it comes to adopting montessori at home. so stay tuned for more of my little “montessori series” here on the blog!