“Help me to do it by myself.”

boy watering a plant

Setting Up the Space for Independence

With self-reliance at the center, there are a few ways you can prepare your home environment:

  • Safety and Accessibility
  • Order and Simplicity

Safety and Accessibility: The key to the child’s independence in the space is that they have access to the materials they need. 

Crawl around and get on child’s level to see the environment as they do.

What challenges for movement and success of completing tasks does it present?

Kitchen

  • Child size table and chairs
  • Stools for reaching counter tops, cabinets, refrigerator, water
  • Provide cups, plates and utensils in a low drawer or cabinet
  • Provide daily snacks in a basket for child to access independently
  • Crumber, broom, small dustpan and brush, small waste bin, spray bottle and cloth to clean, towels to dry spills.
child size chair, bucket, and potty chair
From HowWeMontessori.com
montessori home: toddlers bathroom
From TheKavanaughReport.com

Bathroom

  • Diapers or underwear and changes of clothes in bathroom, stool to use toilet and sink, plastic bags for wet clothing,
  • Toothbrush, tooth paste and wash clothes accessible for child to use independently

Bedroom

  • Floor bed child can enter and exit independently
  • Soft, quite stuffed and animals and books.
  • 2 choices of outfits available
  • 2 choices of pajamas available
  • Mirror with hairbrush

Shared Living Space: Child size chair, books, toys and activities ordered and stored.

Simplicity & Order: Organizing the space is an investment in your child’s ability to be self-reliant (which supports their learning and the adult’s balance of getting other things done). The older the student, the more they should be in charge of this. To do this, find a place to put materials away that the child can access – trains in a bin, blocks on a shelf, art supplies on a shelf, etc. If there is no place for the materials to be, it will be harder for the child to put them away or find them (so they will ask you for where they are!). If there is no room, consider storing what cannot fit on a shelf or bin.

shelves with colorful baskets and toys
From HowWeMontessori.com

Putting Their Things Away: A sense of responsibility to the greater community in sharing a space is a crucial thing to learn for children. One way this is built is the expectation that the child puts their own materials awayEstablishing this from the beginning (yes, even with Toddlers), will allow for this sense of stewardship and it will support independence (because they will know where to find their materials).

Make clean up easy and orderly using bins, limited number of objects

And have a place for everything.

External Order in the Environment breeds internal order in the child: calmness, productivity, success, accomplishment, confidence.


Written by Jennifer Lynch with some information from At Home with Montessori written by Grand Lake Montessori