“At Home with Montessori”

“At Home with Montessori”

by Tracia Swartwout, M. Ed.

Lead early childhood teacher


How can a house be for both adults and children?


Author Patricia Oriti asks this question in her book At Home with Montessori.


Oriti’s book gives parents practical ideas for making the home more user friendly for young children, bringing the home down to the child’s level.


In the early childhood classroom, we Montessori teachers strive to give the child lessons in becoming more independent, such as lessons on buttoning, snapping, zipping and shoe tying. Even a lesson on nose blowing gives the child a great sense of personal autonomy. This is just one example of the Practical Life work we offer.  At lunch time we encourage children to open their own food containers and restore their own lunch items when finished.  They sponge the tabletop after eating and sweep under their chairs with child sized dust pans and brooms. They take great pride in doing for themselves.

When children are learning to be independent at home as well, we have a much easier time making our instruction effective at school. The Montessori link between home and school is a vital tool for helping young children. When parents and teachers are on the same page, we can make a much greater impact on the life of the child.

This book gives many suggestions for setting up your home more Montessori like in the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, living room, and even outdoor spaces. 

Oriti says, “Every event in the day offers the child an opportunity to live naturally, to discover the everyday tasks and activities of life. Children find their sense of belonging through helping the adult and participating in every part of the cycle of home life.” 

A few ideas from the book: 

  • Provide a step stool and cutting board and serrated knife for children to help prepare the meal such as chop the vegetables or fruits… (Montessori Services provides a variety of beginner chopping tools and knives for young children… http://www.montessoriservices.com)
  • Equip your kitchen with child-sized sponges, brooms and mops to help make clean up matter-of-fact; provide a place to store these items at the child’s level, such as mounting hooks on the wall or a storage bin on the floor hold the broom or mop
  • In the bedroom, provide a light bed cover that the child can handle to make the bed himself
  • A low rod in the closet allows the child to hang clothes independently
  • Provide a full length mirror in the bedroom as part of the child’s “care of self,” allowing the child to comb or brush hair and to get dressed independently  

If you’d like to learn more about ideas for the living room and outdoor spaces also, these books are on sale in the front office.