If you are considering doing Montessori to any degree in the home, you need to have a dedicated Montessori space.
I know, that seems impossible and so easy for me to say, but trust me when I say, even if your family is living in a one-bedroom apartment and every square inch of your home is being optimized to the nth degree, you can still give your children a Montessori space for Christmas.
The first step, is to get clear on your intentions with Montessori. How far do you want to implement Montessori into your home?
If you just like the Practical Life aspects of Montessori, then setting up a practical life shelf, or a simple self-serve or self-care station will be enough. Knowing this, you know that you will only need to find enough room for a basket, a table, or a shelf.
Or maybe you want to full-out Montessori homeschool. (Amazing!) Maybe you can figure out how to dedicate a full room to it, but really, an open closet, or a decent-sized shelving unit will be more than enough.
But where do we find the room? Chances are you don’t have a giant unused space in your home just waiting to be transformed into a Montessori space. Most of us, we need to give something up in order to make the space.
Centering ourselves in knowing what an amazing gift we are giving to our children will make those sacrifices much easier.
For me, purging possessions has been one of the most difficult parts of our Montessori journey. Getting rid of a lifetime of books, giving up my sewing hobby (and the store of fabric it involved), as well as reducing my closet by half so I could fit a small desk in there for my “office” are a few examples of how I have compromised in my quest for a dedicated Montessori space.
But when I stop and compare what I’m giving up to what I’m giving, everything transforms.
I gave up 500 books. I’m giving a lifetime of knowledge.
I gave up a hobby and three giant totes of fabric (and can always run to the store if I need something for a project). I’m giving my time to lesson planning and fostering my daughter’s education.
I gave up having a roomy, giant office, for a smaller and more efficient one. I’m giving my daughter a classroom.
For others, the financial costs of setting up a Montessori space are the hardest. While there are ways to do Montessori on a budget, finding a budget to allocate to Montessori necessitates prioritizing Montessori over other things, and giving up things that you once thought essential in order to afford even the most budget-friendly materials. Maybe that will look like making kitchen staples like bread and yogurt from-scratch, or maybe you’ll reconsider your current phone or cable plans, or maybe you’ll give up eating meat a few times a week.
Rest assured, the money is there somewhere. Even if you can only free up $5/week, that’s $260 in the course of a year! We saved $500 just making yogurt (for two people) from scratch rather than buying it from the store. You can also ask friends and family to contribute to your Montessori efforts by requesting Montessori Materials or Montessori-inspired toys for birthdays and Christmas.
Figuring out what should go in the space is the easy part, relatively speaking, and we’ll cover that throughout the rest of the series. But today, I invite you to consider what a Montessori education is worth to you, and what you’re willing to give up to give your children a Montessori space for Christmas.
Please comment and share: what will be easy to give up? What will be hard? What are you confronted with as you read this post?