Shopping for a child’s space can be an exercise in patience. Tiny glass cups? Hmm, maybe this shot glass. An apron small enough for a toddler? Might have to dig out the sewing machine.
Whether we like it or not, we live in an adult sized world. That works most of the time, until you really want to make a space child-friendly. And that’s what every Montessori classroom does, from the low-hanging wall art to the chairs and tables.
Child-friendly furniture is more common nowadays, but in 1907 when Maria Montessori opened her first classroom, small tables and chairs were unheard of. She commissioned furniture that children could move themselves and that was sized appropriately for their bodies.
One reason for this was to aid a child’s independence. If the child can’t safely move a chair to get into it, the child needs the help of an adult.
This original concept has become integral to the Montessori classroom. Every piece of furniture, all learning materials and even toilets and sinks are designed with children in mind!
Here are the benefits:
- Children can use the bathroom, sit in a chair, or grab a snack all by themselves.
- A child’s self-confidence grows as they are able to do more and more tasks independently.
- Because children are more independent, the teacher has more time to give one-on-one lessons.
- Children feel ownership over their classroom and are inclined to be more respectful to the environment.
- A sense of community grows around the classroom. Everything is shared because nothing is “off-limits” or “for adults only”.
When everything is just their size, children feel respected and proud of their classroom. How exciting to go from a world where everything is five times too big to a space specially designed with you in mind.
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