Want to set up a home(school) Montessori environment for baby / toddler - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 10 Old 05-11-2011, 10:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am really interested in the Montessori method of education. I read a book on Waldorf and am now working my way through one on Montessori. 

 

DD is only 5 months old, but sitting alone, starting to crawl and has pretty good fine motor skills for her age. I am starting to think about how I want to set up her playroom and what kinds of toys and materials I want to spend money on that will be useful for a decent amount of time and add value to what she has. So far we have a small selection of wooden toys, cloth toys and one plastic sorting / rolling shape toy. Her favorites are this Plan Toys cone stacking toy that she methodically takes a part and studies and then she likes grabbing the string on her pull along wooden snail and bringing it to her to examine / mouth. She likes rattling the shapes for the shape sorter and I chewing / banging her wooden Haba rattles. She will work on that stuff for 30-40 minutes at a time and I interact with her and play with her when she is bored of that. I bought what I bought because I thought she would get a lot of use out of it, therefore it would be worth the money. 

 

Since she is starting to crawl, I am thinking about how to set up a safe play area. We have a small open area I was going to use. It will have a loveseat for me and I am thinking her crib mattress because I'd like to start transitioning her from the swing for naps to a mattress (we co-sleep at night.) I'm not sure how to set up her toys or how to store them. I like the idea of simplicity and order in an environment (just got done reading Simplicity Parenting... it goes nicely with a lot of Montessori and Waldorf ideas.) I am gating off the area, so I can safely give her somewhere to play while I do laundry, etc. I don't really think a playpen will be well-tolerated by her and besides, I'd rather be able to easily see what she is doing.  I like the idea of getting her her own table once she can walk, but we will have to use the high chair for awhile. I don't like the idea of her eating without us, though. Does anyone give them a table for snacks but have them eat with the family for dinner, etc.?

 

So, I guess I am looking for ideas on how to set up a nice play / learning environment and what materials / toys I can invest in for the toddler years that we may get a lot of use out of. I know in Montessori younger children start learning their letters and stuff, too.

 

We are planning on homeschooling, so the stuff can flow right into the elementary years probably.

 

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#2 of 10 Old 05-12-2011, 11:12 PM
 
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Check out this awesome blog for some inspiring ideas.  It is how we are modeling our LO's bedroom!

 

Sorry..my LO is waking up for a feeding so I can't type more.

 

http://sewliberated.typepad.com/sew_liberated/2011/01/finnian-and-lachlans-studio.html

 

 


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#3 of 10 Old 05-13-2011, 06:41 AM
 
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DD's now in Montessori all day so we've gotten lazy winky.gif but here's what we used to do when she was at home with me:

 

- Buy Expedit shelves from Ikea, they are great for this sort of thing! thumb.gif

 

- We did a toy rotation and would just put out enough that would fit in those shelves while reserving one cubby hole from her plate/silverware, a cup of water and some fruit+crackers.  Then if she was hungry she'd go there and help herself (for fruit like an orange she'd pick it up and hand it to me so I'd peel it for her but at least she had that choice.

 

- We did EC so we kept a potty in the living room too

 

- We would remind her that once she took at one toy she had to replace it (and help her do so) before she removed another

 

- We had a special spot for library books too.

 

- We kept a box by the front door where she could take off her shoes and keep them there.

 

- We had low shelves where her clothes (we just used the shelves in her changing table) were stored so she could access them and try them on herself.

 

As for a the gate, we never had one but at the time we were living in a less than 450 ft2 apt so there wasn't really any need. lol.gif Also, we got DD to help with as much as she could, she would help remove clothes from the dryer (for instance) and now we have a stool in the kitchen that she can help wash dishes with or at least watch when I'm washing something sharp.  We've also given her butter knives and let her cut playdough/bananas with them from a youngish age (obviously underneath suppervision) and if you can find a potato peeler that's not too sharp that's another thing that kids can help with (oh, and ripping apart lettuce too).  We also have a stool in the bathroom so she can wash her hands herself. 

 

I'm not sure if this is really Montessori or not but we did baby signing too with her and that really helped her communication at a young age.  thumb.gif

 

Oh, and we LOVED the Haba toys!  We lived in Germany for awhile and it was dangerous because it was definitely tempting to buy way too many of them (and those are heavy when you bring them back in a suitcase!!!). 

 

If I had to buy some more toys I'd probably get something like the pink tower, some of the counting beads stuff, lots of pouring water activities etc.  Also, definitely pick up the books Montessori: The Science of Genius that one is just such a great read!

 

ETA: oh, and don't forget puzzles!  DD loved them and even well before she could actually do them she would play extensively with the pieces. 

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#4 of 10 Old 05-13-2011, 07:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Blessed1 View Post

Check out this awesome blog for some inspiring ideas.  It is how we are modeling our LO's bedroom!

 

Sorry..my LO is waking up for a feeding so I can't type more.

 

http://sewliberated.typepad.com/sew_liberated/2011/01/finnian-and-lachlans-studio.html

 

 

 

Omg! I just found this yesterday through Google. Finn's bedroom from 2009 was sooo awesome. My mom went all out and bought everything for my daughters room, including a crib, and now I feel like I have to use the stuff or I'll hurt her feelings. It is all this pink princess stuff. And *I* went and bought all this owl stuff from Target that will work as a Toddler bed... We even have a twin owl comforter for later. Maybe I can still use the stuff and make it look nice. I kind of regret it because I *love* how she did their rooms. So simple and nice. I was feeling bad last night because Lachlan has that heart problem. I was looking it up and stuff. She has such cute kids. ;(
 

 

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#5 of 10 Old 05-13-2011, 07:42 AM
 
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Omg! I just found this yesterday through Google. Finn's bedroom from 2009 was sooo awesome. My mom went all out and bought everything for my daughters room, including a crib, and now I feel like I have to use the stuff or I'll hurt her feelings. It is all this pink princess stuff. And *I* went and bought all this owl stuff from Target that will work as a Toddler bed... We even have a twin owl comforter for later. Maybe I can still use the stuff and make it look nice. I kind of regret it because I *love* how she did their rooms. So simple and nice. I was feeling bad last night because Lachlan has that heart problem. I was looking it up and stuff. She has such cute kids. ;(
 

 


FWIW, DD mostly used her crib as a trampoline. lol.gif Eventually her mattress got moved to the floor too. 

 

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#6 of 10 Old 05-13-2011, 07:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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DD's now in Montessori all day so we've gotten lazy winky.gif but here's what we used to do when she was at home with me:

 

- Buy Expedit shelves from Ikea, they are great for this sort of thing! thumb.gif

 

- We did a toy rotation and would just put out enough that would fit in those shelves while reserving one cubby hole from her plate/silverware, a cup of water and some fruit+crackers.  Then if she was hungry she'd go there and help herself (for fruit like an orange she'd pick it up and hand it to me so I'd peel it for her but at least she had that choice.

 

- We did EC so we kept a potty in the living room too

 

- We would remind her that once she took at one toy she had to replace it (and help her do so) before she removed another

 

- We had a special spot for library books too.

 

- We kept a box by the front door where she could take off her shoes and keep them there.

 

- We had low shelves where her clothes (we just used the shelves in her changing table) were stored so she could access them and try them on herself.

 

As for a the gate, we never had one but at the time we were living in a less than 450 ft2 apt so there wasn't really any need. lol.gif Also, we got DD to help with as much as she could, she would help remove clothes from the dryer (for instance) and now we have a stool in the kitchen that she can help wash dishes with or at least watch when I'm washing something sharp.  We've also given her butter knives and let her cut playdough/bananas with them from a youngish age (obviously underneath suppervision) and if you can find a potato peeler that's not too sharp that's another thing that kids can help with (oh, and ripping apart lettuce too).  We also have a stool in the bathroom so she can wash her hands herself. 

 

I'm not sure if this is really Montessori or not but we did baby signing too with her and that really helped her communication at a young age.  thumb.gif

 

Oh, and we LOVED the Haba toys!  We lived in Germany for awhile and it was dangerous because it was definitely tempting to buy way too many of them (and those are heavy when you bring them back in a suitcase!!!). 

 

If I had to buy some more toys I'd probably get something like the pink tower, some of the counting beads stuff, lots of pouring water activities etc.  Also, definitely pick up the books Montessori: The Science of Genius that one is just such a great read!

 

ETA: oh, and don't forget puzzles!  DD loved them and even well before she could actually do them she would play extensively with the pieces. 

Thanks!

Target has some of those cubby type shelves. I bought one to put DDs clothes in next to the changing table, but I hate how cheap it looks. I would be worried she will pull the thing over on herself. We have a regular small bookshelf, but it isn't stable on the carpet and the shelves come out, so I am afraid to use that, too. My pop pop made me this awesome toy chest for my American Girl Dolls when I was little and I was going to have her use it but I guess things need to be kept out in the open. This seems like it can get expensive!

 

I have the baby signs book, but she already seems to know milk, daddy, dog, swing... maybe even book and toy. I ask her if she wants them or where they are and she looks / makes certain noises. She grabs my shirt or makes certain noises to let me know when she wants to be held or to eat. I've been doing toilet and milk signs for a long time, but she doesn't seem to care. 


I'm reading that Montessori book now on my Kindle! This book pretty much solidified it that I wanted to do Montessori vs. Waldorf. They have some similarities.

 

If you let a child work with you in the kitchen, garden, and at cleaning, does the child still want to play pretend house? I loved my pretend kitchen and food and such when I was little and we'd spend hours with it. We were never allowed to help out, though. I had visions of the wooden kitchen and food I was going to get her for her 1st or 2nd birthday, but I don't know. I also wanted to get her the Plan toys city stuff instead of Little People. Little People were my other favorite thing when I was really little. But I never really had order or challenging tasks given to me to work on....I remember loving the game memory, though!

 

When did she stop putting things in her mouth? I like Kid O puzzles and I have two, but I am afraid to give them to her because she mouths them. I don't trust them as much as I trust plan toys and HABA because already the paint has chipped. I prefer the vegetable water-based dyed wood.

 

 

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#7 of 10 Old 05-13-2011, 08:00 AM
 
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Thanks!

Target has some of those cubby type shelves. I bought one to put DDs clothes in next to the changing table, but I hate how cheap it looks. I would be worried she will pull the thing over on herself. We have a regular small bookshelf, but it isn't stable on the carpet and the shelves come out, so I am afraid to use that, too. My pop pop made me this awesome toy chest for my American Girl Dolls when I was little and I was going to have her use it but I guess things need to be kept out in the open. This seems like it can get expensive!

 

That's why I'd really recommend that IKEA one.  It's VERY stable, we even had our TV on top of it and shook it to test it out, it didn't move an inch!  The toy chest can be really handy to store toys so you can rotate them out.  We switched up toys about once a week (but would still leave some of her favorites out).

 

 

I have the baby signs book, but she already seems to know milk, daddy, dog, swing... maybe even book and toy. I ask her if she wants them or where they are and she looks / makes certain noises. She grabs my shirt or makes certain noises to let me know when she wants to be held or to eat. I've been doing toilet and milk signs for a long time, but she doesn't seem to care. 

 

With DD I was learning right along with her.  At her peak she got up to about 300 signs so after awhile I'd just look up signs on the internet and introduce them to her.  She didn't really get interested until about 14 months and she found one of my signing books and started asking me what they all meant.  Although and your DD's age she had about 5-6 I think?


I'm reading that Montessori book now on my Kindle! This book pretty much solidified it that I wanted to do Montessori vs. Waldorf. They have some similarities.

 

I really love the Waldorf toys but the methodology rubs me the wrong way.  I'm all for child-led learning... winky.gif

 

If you let a child work with you in the kitchen, garden, and at cleaning, does the child still want to play pretend house? I loved my pretend kitchen and food and such when I was little and we'd spend hours with it. We were never allowed to help out, though. I had visions of the wooden kitchen and food I was going to get her for her 1st or 2nd birthday, but I don't know. I also wanted to get her the Plan toys city stuff instead of Little People. Little People were my other favorite thing when I was really little. But I never really had order or challenging tasks given to me to work on....I remember loving the game memory, though!

 

Definitely! DD is in a full-day Montessori preschool (DH and I both work full-time) and they still have some pretend play toys there (they aren't expected to do the works 8 hours a day!).  DD really loves babies and dolls at the moment and plays with them a ton.  It's interesting how she combines the Montessori philosophy and her pretend play.  For instance, she makes beds for her dolls and has to unroll the sheets VERY carefully and make sure they are absolutely flat just like she would with her mats to do a Montessori work.  love.gifWe're planning on buying her some nice mats once we get $$ so that she can get in the habit of doing all her toys/games on top of one because it really helps her with clean up afterwards.  DD also has a ton of Little People stuff (yay, craigslist!!!) and has used them extensively. We don't have them at the moment because they're at the in-laws (along with most of our worldly possessions!) but she aboslutely loves the Little People house that we have and the airplane. 

 

We're not a plastic-free home but I still buy a lot of wood toys for DD and when we were living in the states I'd normally get plastic stuff off of craigslist that I thought she'd like.  Oh, and she loves toy kitchens, one of her best buds had one (the IKEA one that is absolutely gorgeous!) and she got a lot of use out of that whenever we visited him. 

 



 

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#8 of 10 Old 05-13-2011, 11:38 AM
 
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Omg! I just found this yesterday through Google. Finn's bedroom from 2009 was sooo awesome. My mom went all out and bought everything for my daughters room, including a crib, and now I feel like I have to use the stuff or I'll hurt her feelings. It is all this pink princess stuff. And *I* went and bought all this owl stuff from Target that will work as a Toddler bed... We even have a twin owl comforter for later. Maybe I can still use the stuff and make it look nice. I kind of regret it because I *love* how she did their rooms. So simple and nice. I was feeling bad last night because Lachlan has that heart problem. I was looking it up and stuff. She has such cute kids. ;(
 

 

I know how you feel.  We have a zanzibar themed nursery and we've made it work.  I didn't want for it to go to waste so I am using it until I redo her room soon. 

We put the crib away and we use the crib mattress on the floor.  She's been sleeping in it since she was 6months old and it works great! She crawls in and out of it at her choosing.  When she is tired she crawls on the bed and says "night-nigh".. I nurse her to sleep on her bed and then sneak away when she is asleep.  We LOVE IT. 

We have a small bookshelf  with baskets filled with her books and small toys.  It is anchored to the wall so it doesn't fall on her.  She loves to grab her toys and books from the shelf and play with them.  We also put a mirror on her wall and she LOVES to watch her self clap and smile.

I am so looking forward to re-doing her room! I told myself I would wait until she is at least 1...so very soon! lol

I already have a "drinking station" ready to be set up in the kitchen when she is ready for it..lol 

 

You can totally make your stuff work.  It will pull it together until you can really do it the way you want! :)

 

 

 


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#9 of 10 Old 05-13-2011, 05:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I know how you feel.  We have a zanzibar themed nursery and we've made it work.  I didn't want for it to go to waste so I am using it until I redo her room soon. 

We put the crib away and we use the crib mattress on the floor.  She's been sleeping in it since she was 6months old and it works great! She crawls in and out of it at her choosing.  When she is tired she crawls on the bed and says "night-nigh".. I nurse her to sleep on her bed and then sneak away when she is asleep.  We LOVE IT. 

We have a small bookshelf  with baskets filled with her books and small toys.  It is anchored to the wall so it doesn't fall on her.  She loves to grab her toys and books from the shelf and play with them.  We also put a mirror on her wall and she LOVES to watch her self clap and smile.

I am so looking forward to re-doing her room! I told myself I would wait until she is at least 1...so very soon! lol

I already have a "drinking station" ready to be set up in the kitchen when she is ready for it..lol 

 

You can totally make your stuff work.  It will pull it together until you can really do it the way you want! :)

 

 

 

 

Well, I went with the owl theme for the playroom. I went to target and filled it out with some more stuff. It is cute... I'm going to have a low cubby shelf, her crib mattress and her toys and some baskets with stuff on the floor. And two cool rugs. I think I will also set up a little area with the potty. Not sure if I want to use the wooden chair potty we have or the small bjorn one. I tried to get a lot of different textures. I also have a loveseat in there and a small table that is my size so I can do work in there while she plays or sleeps while she is small. I got a canvas type slip cover for the loveseat with these darker brown pillows that have an interesting texture. I think she will enjoy climbing the loveseat eventually. Then I got these loopy soft chenille green rugs to lay over the other rug upstairs. I eventually want to get her play silks and she has several cloth toys with different textures, plus her wooden toys.

 

I don't know what I will do if we have a boy next. I guess I will move all the owl stuff into her room and do a different theme that is a little more naturey-realistic. For her room I am not sure what to do. My mom has an extra crib mattress and I think I might just set up her room with the princess stuff just to do it. I mean we have it... why not? Or I could just put the crib away for now totally and use that room as a guest room. We have 4 bedrooms, though... we don't need them at the moment. I am going to post pictures when I finish! Eventually there will be some playhouses / people, a table and chairs her size and some more dolls and things. And I will move the crib mattress back into her room. I just want to use it to nurse her to sleep on and keep her in a place where I can easily see her while I do other things. I can't really lay in her crib with her.
 

 

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#10 of 10 Old 05-15-2011, 10:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok... Here is the playroom. I kind of wish I could've done a nature or fairy tale theme with more realistic paintings / decorations, but this is what I had saved for her bedroom so I used it. I will probably eventually move all this into her room when she eventually stops co-sleeping and then redecorate this room more like the way I want to. I think it is pretty cute, though. ;) I still need to hang those pictures up. 

 

 

playroom7.jpg

playroom3.jpg

playroom4.jpg

playroom8.jpg

playroom13.jpg

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