Do you know the best way to convert spaces for kids? Have you heard of the Montessori method?
The Montessori method is an inspiration for the creation of children’s spaces, where children can develop their independence in a structured environment. With just a few simple adjustments, spaces can be adapted in a way that promotes growth and independence, helping to direct children’s natural energy and curiosity.
The environment must be organized, aesthetic, simple and clean. Each element of the space must be geared towards children’s development, allowing kids to explore their world, develop basic cognitive skills and learn from their mistakes. In environments like this, children develop the capacity to be responsible for their own learning. Parents can then act as guides in the space, observing each child’s evolution in the space, and allowing them to act, want and think for themselves – which, in turn, develops inner confidence and discipline.
But the Montessori method goes far beyond the design and decoration of spaces. Designed by Dr. Maria Montessori – one of the greatest pedagogues and scientists of the 20th century – the Montessori method is also an alternative education system. She developed the system based on her experience with at-risk children, working from the point of view of the child rather than the adult. Sometimes, parents have a tendency to adapt spaces and include objects that aren’t actually functional for the development and needs of kids. For Maria Montessori, it was important to start with a deep respect for children and for their innate ability to learn. According to her each child has different qualities and characteristics, which standardized spaces sometimes overlook, hindering growth and development.
This is why the spaces where your kids spend most of their time and childhood should be adapted to prioritize independence and freedom of movement. Below, we’ll offer a few recommendations for how you can adapt and implement the Montessori method in even the smallest of bedrooms.
Use low beds or, ideally, a mattress that goes directly on the floor. This allows children freedom of movement. They can get in and out of bed without any threat of falling, allowing them to explore the environment whenever they choose. At the age when babies begin crawling, this is the best option, since it promotes autonomous learning.
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Every piece of furniture should be child-sized. Ensuring that your child can access all the functional elements of the room once again promotes independent learning and a sense of freedom in the space. This type of environment stimulates the child’s cognitive abilities. Of course, all elements should be child-safe so that no injury or accidents can happen.
The space shouldn’t be too overloaded with objects, furniture, toys or decorations. Colors should be warm and subtle, promoting peace and harmony. Choose calming colors to improve sleep quality. You can also hang art prints or pictures on the wall at a height that makes it easy for the child to look at them. This will stimulate creativity, awareness and observational skills. Keep the environment simple and organized to promote a sense of harmony and well-being.
This part is important! A mirror allows the child to get to know him or herself and recognize movements. Mirrors are proven to promote the development of motor skills, encouraging babies to raise their heads in their first months. The mirror should be at the correct height for the child to see itself when on the ground, and should be safely secured to the wall. Ideally, the mirror will be directly in front of a play mat or carpeted area, so that the child can play barefoot. Putting a bar in front of the mirror (as pictured) will encourage your little one to stand up and strengthen his or her balance.
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Experimentation is essential for children’s physical and intellectual development. For this reason, your child’s toys should always be within reach and easily accessible. Remove all barriers to your child’s curiosity. For example, parents shouldn’t need to intervene when a child wants to play. Keep all the toys freely accessible so that the child can experiment, further developing a sense of independence and autonomy. Toys should be functional and interactive, stimulating their cognitive abilities as much as possible.
Depending on how a child grows, the style or elements of the space can be changed accordingly. Perhaps as they grow taller, the bed and furniture can be made a little. The key point is that everything should always be open and accessible, according to the Montessori method guidelines. For example, create spaces for activities, such as painting. Or create an area for a musical instrument. Above all, the space must always be open and organized.
Small spaces can be adapted for specific activities, like painting, music or reading, encouraging the development of specific skills.
Use plants as part of the decoration scheme. This stimulates the child’s understanding of nature and his or her relationship to it. Over time, the child will learn to care for the natural world as a result of small additions like this.
We hope this article was helpful and that you learned a little bit about Montessori’s inspiring approach!
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