"Everything you do for me, you take away from me."
- Maria Montessori
Care of Self
With all the activity and excitement surrounding the holiday season, it's been nice for us to take a step back this month and enjoy the slow, meaningful play that is essential to the Montessori learning environment. Since we're focusing in on Practical Life this month, I thought I'd share our preschooler's child-friendly wash area. Supporting independence in Practical Life activities, such as dressing, washing, and grooming, is a very important step in a child's overall education.
The Prepared Environment
The prepared environment is something that we focus on a lot as parents and educators. We try to ensure that we are providing suitable surroundings for our children to learn and grow in independence, in accordance with their constantly evolving developmental needs and interests.
The Montessori Bathroom Sink Area
Some Montessori learning environments designate separate spaces as wash areas for their preschoolers, while others focus on making child-friendly adaptations to what is already existing. We found it preferable to adapt what was already a pretty open and accessible space for our almost three-year-old who likes to work with water.
Our daughter is just tall enough to reach the light switches now as she enter the bathroom, so we keep this awesome Little Partners step stool at the sink for her to use as needed. It is adjustable, attractive, durable, sturdy, and holds up to 250 lbs. so it can be used around the home by vertically challenged adults, like me, as well. It is also the only stool I found during my comparison shopping that has a lip on three sides. This is helpful for when our daughter is really focused on her work at the sink and not so much where her feet are on the stool. Little Partners is a great company for step stools, easels, and learning towers. We have all three and they provide, in my opinion, the highest quality products on the market.
Our daughter is able to reach and operate the sink's faucet independently using a faucet extender that is BPA, PVC, and phthalate free. She really likes animals so the duck handle entices her to use the faucet independently. We also provide hand towels and soap on bamboo trays since they are second nature to Montessori kids.
Additional Montessori Bathroom Essentials
A few additional items around our bathroom that our daughter uses and that make this space friendly to self-sufficient preschoolers: low-hanging hooks for bath towel/robe, Babybjorn potty chair, a few books, child's wooden brush, and non-skid mats for getting in and out of the tub independently.
Tips for Any Montessori Bathroom Space
Of course, each home or learning environment has its own unique arrangement. Also, each preschooler is on their own journey at their own pace. You may find you need more or less of these types of adaptations for your preschooler. We have found that making just these few adjustments is really not that complicated and it makes a world of difference for our preschooler in her journey towards independence and confidence in Practical Life skills.
Taking stock of what you already have around your home is the most cost-effective and eco-friendly way to get started. We have found that many changes we made around our home didn't require spending money. However, it may require some creativity.
We hope this is helpful to those of you who may be making some changes in order to create a prepared environment for your preschooler. These types of adaptations can make all the difference in setting your little ones up for success with self-care activities. We hope you all are enjoying some Practical Life work this month as well.
More on the Prepared Environment
- Toilet Awareness: Using Montessori Philosophy to Create a Potty Learning Routine
- Montessori Shelves and Constructing the Prepared Environment
- Montessori Food Prep & Making Fig Jam
More Practical Life
- Montessori Grace and Courtesy
- Montessori Practical Life in the Kitchen: Baking Blueberry Cake
- Outdoor Practical Life: Soil Composition Test & Sediment Jars
- Montessori Gardening: Empower Kids to Grow Their Own Food & Eat Healthy
Thanks for stopping by!
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