There are so many wonderful ways to incorporate Montessori into the home. Some families have beautiful Montessori inspired playrooms, others have whole classrooms where they focus their homeschool activities, I fall somewhere in the middle. I am starting this series “our montessori home” as a way to show how we do Montessori in our home and how it has worked, how it hasn’t (I am thinking about our disastrous floor bed experience), and how it has evolved as Imogen grows.
To start it off I wanted to share my recent redo of my daughter’s closet.
Okay, here it goes, the before. Close your eyes, it’s a scary sight.
Now this was the end of the winter that would not end, so every warm item was still stuffed in the closet, along with some transitional clothing and all the snow gear was piled to the right of the “system.” The closet was in need of a good purge, but I wanted to take a true as-is picture.
There was a great deal that I liked about this setup – everything was accessible and could be seen, there was an organizational system, and Imogen and I made it together. There was also plenty that I disliked – it was ugly, hangers and clothing got stuck on the open mesh and there was not enough space.
The design grew out of my complete dislike of dresser drawers, especially for toddlers and preschoolers. Imogen could never find what she needed, so of course, she flung everything out of the drawer while she was looking for it. Also, she couldn’t reach or see into the higher drawers. Nothing about our dresser was child friendly. We created this new clothing system out of a random shelf that was not being used and an old curtain rod hooked through the top. It really worked just fine for about a year. But, after fighting with hangers one too many times, I decided it was time for something that still had the same ideas, but that worked better.
Over spring break a friend and I took a trip to Ikea, and here is Imogen’s closet after.
She (and I) love it! It is basically the same idea, just an aesthetically pleasing version. Every aspect of it is child friendly and promotes independence.
This is what I was going for:
- Transparent organizational system (I am going to get some small labels for the cubes)
- Easy for her to see her options
- Easy for her to help put her clothing away
- Attractive and simple. Part of Montessori is a beautiful environment, our first version was not beautiful
The closet still is way too full. Soon we will pack up all the long sleeve shirts and dresses, but also, I really need to stop buying things.
Here is the breakdown of what goes where:
My views on clothing and Montessori:
- only have clothing available that is okay for the child the choose – seasonally appropriate, play clothes vs. dress clothes
- limit quantities so making a choice isn’t overwhelming (remember this Aimee, remember this)
- clothing that is children friendly – elastic waist, no tiny buttons, easy for the child to put on and take off
When the child is learning to dress herself, help her as little as possible, but enough to keep her from becoming frustrated. My favorite tricks for helping children learn to dress themselves:
- lay clothing out on floor in the order she will put it on – underwear, pants, socks.
- Have a stool or a pillow to sit on (no one likes a bare bum on a cold floor), and it makes dressing easier.
- Show the child that they need to be able to to look down and see the tag or the writing on the underwear or the pants (keeps underwear and pants from going on backwards). If the clothing does end up backwards, but it isn’t bothering the child, let it go.
- Bunch the socks up and place over toes, the child then pulls them over the heel and up.
And, most importantly, give the child space and time. When you know that the child can do it, let them — even if you have to sit on your hands.
Want to be the first to know what’s happening at montessori works? Sign-up to have posts delivered by email and never miss a thing!