I had fun preparing Montessori spaces for my children at home. Now I’m having fun preparing Montessori spaces for my granddaughter.
I take care of my 10- month-old granddaughter, Zoey, a number of afternoons each week. I wouldn’t be comfortable having a home that wasn’t Montessori-friendly, so I’ve created a progression of Montessori baby spaces in our main living area.
My husband and I have a home with the living room, dining room, and kitchen connected as part of a great room. It’s perfect for creating a Montessori-friendly baby-toddler space where Zoey can have freedom of movement throughout the entire main floor with the exception of the bathroom. When Zoey is ready, she can have access to the bathroom as well.
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Montessori Baby Space in the Main Living Area
We started with a Montessori baby space in our living room. The baby space has evolved as Zoey has grown. At first, the baby space simply consisted of a futon and horizontal mirror with a mobile. Later, I added toys in baskets. I kept the baskets on Zoey’s futon so she could easily reach them.
When Zoey started to eat solid foods, I added a weaning table to our dining-room area. That table serves as both an eating area and an activity area.
Our Current Montessori Baby-Toddler Space in the Main Living Area
When Zoey started to crawl and pull herself to a standing position, we added gates to close off our lower and upper levels. The futon remains in its place on the floor, and it’s where Zoey continues to take her naps. I moved the horizontal mirror against the wall and added a baby-toddler shelf to the room.
Initially, I planned to use an Ikea Expedit shelf placed on its side. The shelves were discontinued, however, so I looked for alternatives. I decided to get a 2-tier 30″ white bookcase that’s actually intended for bedrooms. We assembled it without the legs. Even though it has two shelves rather than one, it isn’t too tall for a baby who can pull him- or herself to a standing position by the shelf. It’s stable enough that it can’t be pulled over.
I placed Zoey’s heaviest toys and baskets on the bottom shelf. On the top shelf, I placed board books that Zoey could easily get from the top shelf without hurting herself. (There’s also a basket of board books next to the shelf.) This has worked very well, and I’m happy that Zoey won’t outgrow the shelf.
I’ve added prints of art masterpieces above Zoey’s horizontal mirror and above her weaning table. I used Command Picture Hanging Strips so I can move the frames as needed without damaging my wall or kitchen cabinet. I love French Impressionist paintings, so I used free Wikimedia Commons downloads for Pierre-Auguste Renoir prints above the horizontal mirror: Girl with Flowers, Gabrielle Renard and infant son, Jean, and Two Girls Reading.
Above Zoey’s weaning table is Still Life with Apples and Grapes by Claude Monet.
Changing Our Current Montessori Baby-Toddler Space to a Toddler Space
Now that Zoey is walking, I may soon replace the mirror with a second shelving unit identical to the first with a rug holder between them. At that time, I’ll just move the art prints up above the new shelving unit.
When Zoey is a bit older, I’ll add a vase with flowers to her weaning table. When she’s ready, I’ll have a flower-arranging activity on her shelf where she can create her own dining-area flower arrangement. The weaning table will work well as her eating area and activity table throughout her toddler years. I have a slatted chair for her to use as a toddler. (A small stool is typically used for the adult seated on the baby’s dominant side, but I’ve used the slatted chair as my chair when feeding Zoey as a baby.) If there’s a new grandbaby in the future, that baby will use the heavy first chair.
When we baby-proofed our kitchen cabinets with baby-safe latches, we left one low cupboard unlatched for Zoey’s snack items when she’s a bit older. I’ll also add a Learning Tower for a step stool and food-preparation area.
Preparing Montessori Spaces in Your Home
See “How to Create a Montessori-Friendly Home” for ideas for a number of levels. Here are some of my main home environment posts here:
- How to Prepare a Montessori Baby Room at Home
- How to Prepare a Montessori Baby-Toddler Space at Home
- How to Prepare a Montessori Toddler Environment at Home
- Preparing Montessori Toddler Spaces at Home
- How to Prepare Montessori Shelves for a 2 Year Old
- How to Prepare Montessori Shelves for a 2½ Year Old
- How to Prepare Montessori Shelves for a 3 Year Old
- How to Prepare Montessori Shelves for a 3½ Year Old
- How to Prepare a Montessori Home Environment for Afterschooling
- Create an Attractive Home Environment from Montessori at Home!
- How to Set Up a Montessori Homeschool Classroom
Jo Ebisujima and I have a free Montessori at home webinar and introduction to our Montessori Crash Course.
Whatever sort of Montessori environment works for your home and family, have fun preparing it! 🙂
This post was written for inclusion in the September 2014 Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have opened up their doors and given us a photo-rich glimpse into how they arrange their living spaces.
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be updated by afternoon September 9 with all the carnival links.)
- Being Barlow Home Tour — Follow along as Jessica at Being Barlow gives you the tour of her family’s home.
- A Tour Of My Hybrid Rasta Kitchen — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama takes you on a tour of her kitchen complete with a Kombucha Corner, a large turtle, her tea stash, and of course, all her must-have kitchen gadgets. Check out Hybrid Rasta Mama’s most favorite space!
- Dreaming of a Sisters Room — Bianca, The Pierogie Mama, dreams, schemes and pins ideas for when her younger daughter is ready to move out of the family bed and share a room with her older sister.
- Building a life — Constructing a dream — Survivor at Surviving Mexico-Adventures and Disasters shows you a glimpse inside the home her family built and talks about adaptions they made in constructing their lives in Mexico.
- Why I’m Sleeping in the Dining Room — Becca at The Earthling’s Handbook welcomed a new baby but didn’t have a spare bedroom. She explains how her family rearranged the house to create Lydia’s nursing nest and changing room in spaces they already had.
- The Gratitude Tour — Inspired by Momastry’s recent “home tour,” That Mama Gretchen is highlighting imperfect snapshots of things she’s thankful for around her home. Don’t plan to pin anything!
- Our Home in the Forest — Tara from Up the Dempster gives you a peek into life lived off-grid in Canada’s Yukon Territory.
- natural bedding for kids — Emma at Your Fonder Heart shows you how her family of 3 (soon to be 4) manages to keep their two cotton & wool beds clean and dry (plus a little on the end of cosleeping — for now).
- I love our home — ANonyMous at Radical Ramblings explains how lucky she feels to have the home she does, and why she strives so hard to keep it tidy.
- Not-So-Extreme Makeover: Sunshine and Rainbows Edition — Dionna at Code Name: Mama was tired of her dark, outdated house, so she brightened it up and added some color.
- Our little outdoor space — Tat at Mum in search invites you to visit her balcony, where her children make friends with wildlife.
- Our Funky, Bright, Eclectic, Montessori Home — Rachel at Bread and Roses shows you her family’s newly renovated home and how it’s set up with Montessori principles in mind for her 15-month-old to have independence.
- Beach cottage in progress — Ever tried to turn a 1980s condo into a 1920s beach bungalow? Lauren at Hobo Mama is giving it a try!
- Conjuring home: intention in renovation — Jessica at Crunchy-Chewy Mama explains why she and her husband took on a huge renovation with two little kids and shares the downsides and the ups, too.
- Learning At Home — Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling helps us to re-imagine the ordinary spaces of our homes to ignite natural learning.
- My Dining Room Table — Kellie at Our Mindful Life loves her dining room table — and everything surrounding it!
- Sight words and life lessons — The room that seemed to fit the least in Laura from Pug in the Kitchen‘s life is now host to her family’s homeschool adventures and a room they couldn’t imagine life without!
- A Tour of Our Church — Garry at Postilius invites you virtually visit him in the 19th-century, one-room church where he lives with his spouse and two kids.
- Preparing a Montessori Baby-Toddler Space at Home — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares the Montessori baby-toddler space she’s created in the main living area of her home along with a variety of resources for creating a Montessori-friendly home.
- The Old Bailey House — Come peek through the window of The Old Bailey House where Erica at ChildOrganics resides with her little ones.
- My New House Not-Monday: The Stairs — Claire at The Adventures of Lactating Girl shows you her new laminate stairs in her not-so-new-anymore house.
- To Minimalist and Back Again — Jorje of Momma Jorje shares how she went to the extreme as a minimalist and bounced right back. Read how she finds it difficult to maintain the minimalist lifestyle when upsizing living space.
- Our Life As Modern-Day Nomads — This family of five lives in 194 square feet of space — with the whole of North America as a back yard. Paige of Our Road Less Traveled guest posts at Natural Parents Network.
Learn more about Montessori at Home or School: How to Teach Grace and Courtesy!
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