How to Montessori Your Home

Welcome!  Come on in… I’m Zach and this is my home.  I was born in my parents’ bedroom upstairs and have spent my entire life – a whopping 16 months – living here.  I love what my parents have done with the place and I want to share my favorite spots with you.

Let’s begin in the kitchen.  When I started being strong enough to open the drawers on my own, my mom had to do some re-arranging.  She moved all the chemicals to the bathroom (the only cabinet in the house with a child-proof lock).  She put her glass tupperware in a higher drawer so I wouldn’t accidentally break it while playing with the other containers, and she moved the silverware (except the sharp knives) down to a low drawer so I could have access to it.  Other than that, she left everything else as it was.  A few times I tried investigating the delicate items she had in some of the drawers, but she would come over and tell me “no, those are not for you”.  She would then show me which drawers I could play with.  Now I know!  I got my fingers caught in the heavy drawers a couple of times, but now I’m really skilled at closing them.  My favorite item in the kitchen is my dad’s old blender.  I spend hours assembling and disassembling it!

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Next to the kitchen is the little wooden cupboard where I keep my toys.  My mom found it at a swap meet and I love it because it’s the perfect size for me!  We keep my cars in one basket on the floor and my balls in another.  Mommy says baskets are great, and I agree!  I especially like to dump everything out of them and then put things back (or walk away and leave a giant mess behind, depending on my mood).

cupboard

Next to my toys is my weaning table.  This is where I had my first meal with a bowl and a spoon!  When I first used the table, at 4 months of age, I needed help sitting up.  Now, all mom has to say is: “It’s time to eat!” and I run to my table, pull out my chair, and sit down on my own!  Sometimes I share my weaning table with my friend James.  We have so much fun eating lunch together!  My dad and my aunt Debbie made the weaning table from plywood he had lying around in the basement.  They also built my Learning Tower, which we move into the kitchen when I need to wash my hands or help with the cooking.  I hope one day I can be as crafty as they are.

table

I have breakfast and dinner with mom and dad at the dining room table.  I have a Tripp-Trapp chair that was a present from my grandparents, aunt, uncle, and cousins.  I love knowing that my entire family has contributed to my independence.  I am learning to climb in and out of the chair on my own, and it’s so nice to share meals with mom and dad.  We always light a candle and use real china, silverware, and glasses.  I love feeding myself, which can get a little messy but it’s also a lot of fun.  I’ve broken a couple of glasses and plates, but now I have a lot of respect for them.  I am so careful, that now I am in charge of taking the plates and silverware to the table when it’s time for dinner!

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OK, moving along… Squeeze by the couch and follow me outside.  Here are my geraniums, which I water every day (I’m working on getting more water into the pots and less water on the floor).  Over there is my water source, and my watering can.  I quickly learned how to get water to come out of the spigot, and now I can fill my own watering can.  My mom put a large container underneath to catch spills, and an old cooling rack serves as a surface for resting my watering can.  I also have a pot with a lot of dirt, and an almost-empty pot that I am slowly filling up with dirt and toys and pinecones and rocks and everything else I find in the patio.  My mom always says that she needs to “put more work into the outdoor environment”, but actually this is my favorite spot in the entire house!

outdoors

Let’s come back inside.  Careful with those steps, you might want to hold on to the low railing my dad installed so I could go up and down the steps on my own.  This way, I can get to the bathroom when I have to use the potty.  Here’s my little toilet; I have another one upstairs.  Here are my underwear and my books.  Mom and I spend a lot of time here, reading books, singing songs, and waiting for me to do my business.  When I pee or poop, I proudly empty my potty into the toilet on my own, while my mom flinches and tries to pretend like she’s not dying to help me.

potty

Oh, look, right outside the bathroom is the dogs’ water bowl.  I used to make a giant mess every time I walked by – I couldn’t resist turning over the bowl and spilling the water everywhere!  I’m much more mature now; I notice when it’s empty and take it to my mom so she can fill it up.  She didn’t understand me the first time I took it to her and said “agua“.  She told me, “No, there’s no water in the bowl right now”.  Moms can be so dense!  I persisted, and eventually she understood and got really excited at my new “level of awareness”, which is what she called it when she told daddy.  Call it whatever you want, mom, but someone had to give the dogs water!

Let’s go upstairs.  Mind the gate at the bottom of the stairs, which nowadays is only used for keeping the dogs downstairs.  We still use the one at the top of the stairs when mom has to take a shower and I am hanging out  upstairs.

Here’s my bedroom.  I slept on a floor bed for many months.  It was a crib mattress placed on the floor, and I really enjoyed the freedom it gave me to explore my room after my nap or if I wasn’t feeling sleepy.  Unfortunately, I am a big-time roller, and in the winter I would roll out of bed and get very cold sleeping on the wood floor.  My parents found the perfect solution: this neat bed from IKEA!  Instead of using slats to raise the mattress off the floor (like the original design intended), my dad came up with the idea of putting the mattress on the floor so that there would be a low wall surrounding it.  There’s a little entry/exit built into one end of the bed’s frame, but I’m also really good at climbing in and out the side of the bed (I landed on my face the first few times I tried this, but now I’m a real pro).  Next to the bed is my stool and my laundry hamper.  Mom says I’m a wiggle worm; she tries to get me to sit down to get dressed, but I often end up running around the room half-naked.  However, I do love to put my dirty clothes into the hamper!

room

In the upstairs bathroom I have a stool to reach the counter so I can brush my teeth, and I also have another potty like the one downstairs.  In my parents’ room I have a few toys on a shelf, which I mostly use only when mommy is getting dressed.  This was my movement area when I was younger; I had my mobiles, mirror, and a bar for pulling up and cruising.  We’ll soon turn it back into a climbing wall so I can give mom more heart attacks start bouldering!

upstairs

Well, that’s it, folks!  I hope you’ve enjoyed the tour of our Montessori home…  Thanks for visiting, come back soon!

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18 thoughts on “How to Montessori Your Home

  1. Loved reading Zach’s narrative! You and Zach’s dad have done a great job providing Zach an environment of safe freedom, independence and confidence

  2. thanks for this. I am thinking of making the home environment more Montessori like for my 8months old and this is a true “go ahead and do it” kick 🙂 thanks. will continue reading now!

  3. I love this! My son is 8mo old and we are busy trying to baby-proof our home. I am impressed that you use real dishes and Zach’s job is to set the table! I’ll have to pitch that one to my husband…. I’ve only just found your blog, I will have to search for a picture of your learning tower, I remember seeing one long ago and want to show my husband so maybe he’ll build us one! Thanks for sharing!

      1. Hello! I also love your weaning table! Please can you send me a bigger clearer picture so I can have one made for my 14 month old. He is super independant and I know will love sitting at his own table. I’ve been searching for a proper one for ages but nothing has struck my attention. Yours is perfect!!! Bravo to your husband!

        I’m also getting a learning tower built!!!

  4. Wow! I love, love, LOVE all of this. I wish I could do all of this for my little guy. Great ideas! It seems like a lot of work and is a little overwhelming. How long did it take you and your husband to do all of this?

    1. Nicole, it IS a lot of work, but you do it in stages… We both have full-time jobs but on the weekends we do a bit here and there. We also got some help from my sister-in-law for the weaning table/chair and learning tower.

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