Montessori at Home | changes to our environment

Just recently we've noticed an incredible leap in Sage's development. Each day she astounds us with new words and her vibrant "conversations" are becoming even more elaborate as she experiments with different sounds and gestures. Her understanding of language is growing continually and because of this, we are now able to guide her in making small decisions for herself and can allow her to contribute to our daily, household routines. Lately, after much research into the Montessori approach, we've made some simple changes to the way we organise our environment to accommodate and assist Sage's growing independence...

1.   Placing a water filter on a low, easily accessible table between our kitchen and dining area, allows Sage to pour her own drink whenever she feels thirsty. Not only does this encourage decision making and choice, but her fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination are also enhanced through the filling of, and drinking from her glass. A few practises was all it took for her to master the lever tap, and amazingly, she recognises to stop before the water overflows from her cup. Of course there are inevitable puddles as she occasionally finds it tricky to replace the glass directly underneath the spout, however the clean up process is an equally valuable lesson.

2.   Beside Sage's water filter, we place a mini basket of bite-sized snacks that she can access on her own throughout the day. Strawberries, cherry tomatoes, crackers, rice cakes, dried apricots, cashews, dates and sultanas are firm favourites and are perfect as they can sit for most of the day without spoiling {not that they ever last that long!}.

3.   Underneath Sage's art table, we've positioned a small basket filled with her most frequently worn shoes. As we are about to leave the house or go for a walk, we ask Sage to go and choose the shoes that she would like to wear. She takes great pride in pulling out her favourites for the day, and we are gradually guiding her to put them on on her own.

Even these subtle changes to our home environment have made an incredible difference to Sage's independence. Over the coming months I will update you on some other ways we are incorporating the Montessori approach into our daily lives {the home approach is a necessity for us as there is not a single Montessori school in the state of Tasmania!}.

When given the opportunity to practise and master new skills, even the youngest of children can reveal immense capabilities. To find out more about the Montessori approach, particularly in the home, I recommend this book and this blog.

How do you encourage the development of independence in your little ones? I'd love to hear your ideas!


  1. More and more I have been hearing about how montesseri works and find it quite interesting and intriguing. Thank you for your insight and I look forward to seeing how you incorporate this more and more into yours and Sages lives :)

  2. These are such simple but useful ideas, I am looking forward to incorporating them into our home too!

  3. Her pictures are so cute. :) I like the idea of adding a water filter for her. What about installing a whole house water filtration system? That may be better?

  4. These simple skills are so important and starting at such a early age can only be a good thing, so well done to you Anna.
    Maybe as Sage grows you could add setting the table- putting placemats, coasters and napkins down for each meal.

  5. Great ideas, Anna :) I love your shoe basket idea :)
    We always have a full and varied fruit bowl on the table. My 2 y.o. has learned how to peel and segment a mandarin (and put the peel in the bin) without instruction from us - just simply through being allowed the opportunity to do so.

  6. Lovely and thoughtful. I don't prescribe to one philosophy in particular (as an educator and Mama I also love Waldorf and Reggio Emilia) but I love how you've thoughtfully given her the chance to learn and be more independent. I often think we don't give our children enough of a chance to do this, and most often I think it's because children take a long time to learn and do things and we simply can't be bothered to take the time. They are so brilliant given the chance, these little people!

  7. I love this! My son is 2.5 and still resists drinking from an open cup, I'm not worrying about it too much. We have little cubbies for his shoes and coat and he selects them and puts them away. We finally got him his own small table with art supplies easily accessible which he loves.

    Sage is too adorable.

    xox Lilly

  8. Such beautiful photos of Sage. I love this post. Wonderful ideas here. Looking forward to seeing what else you set up for Sage's increasing independence. xo

  9. I love these photographs of Sage, as well as these wonderful ideas! xo

  10. This is so great Anna - I love these ideas (and photos of Sage!) I'm a bit surprised there isn't a Montessori school in Tasmania, but it's great that you can make changes at home that go along with the philosophy.

  11. we don't follow montessori in particular (i also like the approaches of the waldorf and reggio philosophies) but when jess was about 18 months we set up a low kitchen drawer for her eating utensils, glasses, bowls and plates. she was soon setting the table and helping to empty the dishwasher. we also made her art supplies accessible to her at all times and she quickly learnt how to get set up and pack away with little help. little people are so capable if we give them the opportunities. looking forward to seeing what other great ideas you come up with to support sage's independence.

  12. New to your blog, loved this post. This is a question that I pondered over the last 2 months. Implemented the snack table with jug and glass and wavy cutter with banana on a plate for a snack that my son can access whenever he wants. Shoes are in a row at the door on the shoe rack for him to choose from. Choices as to what outfits to wear are given (2 only) every morning. Step stools to help him get up to the sink to wash his hands and also up to the kitchen bench to see what I am doing (preparing dinner etc). Step stools up to the toilet to use. Toileting stations with all supplies needed to clean up from toilet learning and able to help dress and undress himself and put soiled things into bucket and help carry to the laundry. We also get my son to help us set the table, have accessible cutlery/plates for him and we let my son drink from a glass and eat from porcelain just as we do. My son used to get frustrated a few months ago but these things (especially the step stools) have made a huge difference. It's been a bit of a journey so far and my son is only 17 months old!

  13. I found your blog through a How We Montessori posting, it's lovely! I've only just begun to implement the montessori approach in our home and my mind is spinning from all that there is to learn and change. Thank you for the water filter post, my son just this morning found he was tall enough and strong enough to push the button on the water dispenser. I was racking my brain for ideas on how to keep him from doing this when your post come up reminding me that montessori is a way of life and my way of thinking is the biggest obstacle! "When given the opportunity to practice and master new skills, even the youngest of children can reveal immense capabilities".

  14. Love this post. Each small change makes a big difference!

  15. I'm looking to make some more small changes to our home to accomodate the different stages of my 3 year old and 18month old. I love making steps to help them feel more able and confident. A lovely, lovely space you have here. An inspiring post, indeed.

  16. What is that water dispenser that you have? Love the Montessori way and would love to have this for my own little one.

    1. Hi Sabrina, we were lucky enough to pick up our water dispenser at our local op shop. A very lucky find indeed! x

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  21. Oh she looks so cute while she pours water from the water filter by herself! :) And speaking of water filters, did you know that you can make them on your own? Here is a great article that talks about that subject: http://hikingmastery.com/skills/how-to-make-a-water-filter.html

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