June 7, 2012

Montessori Makeover Part 1

I am still very new and in the early learning stages of the Montessori method, but I feel like it makes a lot of sense.  I came across this blog and learned the importance of having an environment where Kyla can learn.  Tot School is based on the Montessori method and I am also a firm believer in the "Help Me Do It Myself" motto.  I decided that if I'm going to teach Kyla in this way, I need to do a little makeover in our kitchen and bathroom (nothing major, just making things accessible for Kyla).  As a parent, it can be really hard to let go and not just do things yourself all the time.  It's important for me to let Kyla learn by doing, even if it's not done in the"perfect" way.  The same thing goes with letting her do messy projects.  At some point, I just have to let go and know that the learning is worth the mess.  I believe it's important for Kyla to gain independence in order to feel and experience success.  Montessori is big on teaching practical life skills at an early age.  Kyla is still learning how to feed herself, but doing a great job so far.  As we go along, I know she will learn more and become much more independent in many other things.  I think I am going to let Kyla start brushing her own teeth in the morning.  Tyler and I will continue brushing them at night to make sure they are nice and clean!  But I think adding this as a morning routine will be great.

Here are a few things I've changed to help Kyla learn to do things on her own:

I started in the kitchen.  Montessori suggests having children wear aprons during certain work.  Obviously it protects their clothing, but more importantly, it helps them focus on what they're doing and adds importance to the job.  I got this adorable little apron from Thirty-One awhile ago (I have a matching one) that I put in her drawer (see below) so she can get it whenever she wants.  We will talk about how we wear the apron while we cook and clean and we always put it back when we're done.

It looks big in this picture, but it is a children's apron.
Kyla loves to open all of the cupboards and drawers and pull everything out.  So I decided to give her her very own space!  Her own cupboard and drawer!

On the top shelf, I gave her a tub with her very own cleaning supplies.  She loves to "wash floors" so I included a sponge, squirt bottle with water and some wash cloths.

She hasn't figured out how to use the squirt bottle yet, but she's learning.  And she loves the washcloths!  She has already washed my floor and patio door :)

On the bottom shelf, she has all of her very own baking supplies including play doh supplies.  I also put her Melissa & Doug Cutting Food in this cupboard.  She has only played with this stuff once during Tot School, but I think it will be a great thing to have in the kitchen.

She has been pulling her food out to play with while I cook dinner.  It works really well!

She also has a drawer for her meal time items.  I am only keeping one of each thing in there (plate, bowl, spoon, fork, etc.) because otherwise I know they'd all be getting dug out and I'd have to wash them all every time.  Her apron is also in this drawer.  My goal is to start teaching her to get her supplies and carry them to the table when it's dinner time.  She also loves to "help" me load and unload the dishwasher so this will be something that I can gradually have her help with.

Kyla loves to watch me sweep and whenever I leave the broom out, she does a little sweeping herself!  So my mom got her a little broom and dust pan.  Kyla has learned how/where to throw things away in the kitchen so we will start working on throwing away the garbage from the dust pan.  Here she is helping Daddy sweep one morning...

Stay tuned for part 2 to see our bathroom makeover...


  1. Amy, let me just say you are going to love this! I have to say, how funny, because I was just preparing a post on how my girls help around here and how it will be a big help when baby comes. I have always put their things down low for them, so they can access it. Right now while I am getting ready, they are doing their "jurisdictions". Every morning, after breakfast, they are responsible for their area in the house. Like I said, I am posting on this later, so you can read more then if you are interested. But, I have to say, doing this has been great, because some mornings, they don't come in and get me right away, and I hear them out there getting their own breakfast! :)

    1. That is great, Bri! I can't wait to read your post. The things I've done so far are pretty basic so I will have to learn more as Kyla gets older. But I definitely think it's so important for kids to learn to be independent at an early age. She's already loving it!

  2. Love these ideas----it's a lifesaver having a kids friendly cabinet in the kitchen! And I love the idea of a little basket of cleaning supplies:) My older one LOVES to help clean, cook, etc...and it's better to embrace and encourage it. Oh, and the tooth brushing---that's exactly what we do. They can brush in the morning and at night they get a turn and we get a turn---then I feel like they get one good brushing a day. Looking forward to see what the bathroom brings...

  3. I love this... it's really wonderful that you're doing all this with her. When the baby comes, do not be surprised if she reverts and refuses to do these "big girl activities"... the first 6 months with 2 are VERY hard. It's good that you're creating a foundation now, but don't be upset if she becomes a real challenge when her brother arrives. It'll be challenging for everyone. Stick with it. Be firm. You're gonna be great!

  4. This is great!!

    I must say my personality is a little too OCD to do this completely lol...but I do let Brielle brush her own teeth ;-) Baby steps right? haha