0-6 Independence in the home: Room by room guide!
I've wanted to do this for ages! I've made a lot of posts about independence in a Montessori environment and ways to incorporate it into your home with your young children/toddlers. However this post is going to be the ultimate guide! Going room by room, taking into account different budgets and spaces to try and suite everyone!
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The kitchen is one of the most popular areas for Montessori children. It is a great place for your child to learn, develop and be independent.
When it comes to getting a drink, it's a basic human right to be able to hydrate ourselves right? So children need to be able to as well. There is a few ways that you can allow your child to get their drink independently.
One is to have a Learning tower so they can reach the sink by themselves safely and use the tap.
Another way is to have a Drink dispenser at the childs height that they can use to dispense their own drinks.
Another important note is that glasses should be in low cupboards or somewhere the child can independently get for themselves and the right size. Which leads to my next kitchen element!
Cutlery and Tools in low shelves
Now if you have enough cupboard space you could have all of the plates etc at the childs level in a low cupboards. If not you can keep just keep a days worth in a smaller cabinet and replenish daily.
But there should be somewhere in the kitchen that you can store items the child can reach independently either with using a Step stool or by having them lower down
Items including, glasses, plates, bowls, cutlery, tools for cooking like knives, chopping boards, spatulas, etc.
When it comes to snacks everyone does snacks in a different way, but ultimately I recommend a snack box/station of some sort.
In our home my son has a snack box in a low cupboard that is there all day, I fill it up after breakfast and he's able to help himself throughout the day. However there is only a certain amount a day, and it is only replenished once a day.
Others choose to bring out a snack box at certain times for their little ones to choose a snack and then put it away until the next designated snack time.
However you manage snacks at home, find a way to allow your toddler to be independent with getting, prepping and cleaning up after their snacks.
Reaching counter height
In the kitchen it's important for children to be able to reach counter height, either all the time or at certain times.
In our home we use his Weaning table (link is a similar design not that actual one) which is solid wood for him to stand on for reaching counter height to do dishes, cooking, meal prep etc.
Living room/play area
The reason I have put these two together is because we don't have a seperate playroom, our living room is half a playroom. The other reason being there's not a whole lot that really needs to be adapted and changed in a living room.
Low open shelving
Low open shelving is important for a childs independence and in the concept of Montessori in general, in the home or the classroom.
The childs shelf should be low so they can independently reach it. It should also be open so the child can see the activities and reach them by themself.
We use a Cube unit.
Toys and activities
The toys and activities that are prepared in the childs environment should be set up with independence in mind.
Trays and baskets should not be too large for the child to safely and comfortably carry and move to wherever they will be working with it.
They also shouldn't be too heavy for the child to successfully carry and use by themselves.
This also includes the toys and activities themselves not just what they are stored in on the shelf!
Books in the play/learning living area and any other area of the home should be age appropriate, easy to move around and hold with pages the child can independently flip. As well as being forward facing to encourage children to independently reach out and look through different books by themselves.
You could use a Forward facing bookcase if you have the space and money for it, they are very pleasing to the eye and practical!
Or if like me you have limited funds and space, a few books in a Little basket allows the books to be forward facing and still independently used by the child but doesn't take up as much room or cost so much.