Monday, September 17, 2012

Our Montessori Closet and the Importance of Order

    About two weeks ago, I introduced Q-ball to her own Montessori closet.  I had been waiting for the right time to do this, and it seemed to have presented itself.  I had noticed that she was starting to be much more forceful in sharing her opinions- where to sit when we read, what diaper she wanted to wear (she really likes the cow design), what clothes she wanted to wear, and even what she wanted me to wear.  Additionally, she regularly cleans up after herself and enjoys helping me with household chores.  

  The design is simple- one I've seen on several other Montessori blogs.  I just placed a shower row at her level in her closet and use child size hangers for her clothes.  We hang everything but her shorts which are in a basket on the closet floor.   It took her a few minutes to figure out how to hang up the hangers and how to make sure that all of the hangers face the same direction, but now she's got it!

   Her closet has allowed me to reflect upon the two main principles of Dr. Montessori's approach that drew our family to it in the first place: 1) a child's freedom of choice and 2) a child's amazing ability to master (and enjoy!) practical life skills.  
   Q-ball has loved selecting her own clothing. It's true- sometimes we change clothes once or twice in a day because it's so exciting.  And, sometimes it takes much longer than if I just grabbed a shirt and put it on her. (In cases when we are in a hurry, I help by offering her two choices or quickly closing the closet door after she has selected one shirt.)  But, she really enjoys the process and has even started telling me stories about the different shirts or works to describe them with sign language.
   As for practical life skills, Q-ball is by my side when it is time to put up laundry.  She happily hangs up all of her clothes- very deliberately making sure all of the hangers are in the correct position.  This is important as she starts to enter what Dr. Montessori has identified as the sensitive period for order.  During this time, children between 2 and 4 love routines, consistency, and repetition.  Additionally, they are learning to respect their environment by maintaining a neat, orderly appearance.  I especially like how Lillard and Jessen explain the importance of order in their book Montessori from the Start, "...the reward of giving order is ordered thought.  Ordered thought can lead to simplifying what may appear at first to be an overwhelming task and transforming it into a manageable, even enjoyable, one."

Lillard, P.P. & Jessen, L.L. (2003). Montessori from the start: The child at home, from birth to age three. Random House: NY.
Linking up with  Montessori Monday


  1. I loved how you applied Dr. Montessori's principles on this one. Awesome!
    gold coast montessori

  2. Thanks so much! It's so helpful to me to always go back to the original source! I learn so much more and am hopefully better able to help my daughter.

  3. Wonderful post! The photos are adorable, and I love hearing how excited your daughter is about her new closet setup! Thanks so much for linking up with Montessori Monday. I featured your post at the Living Montessori Now Facebook page. I'm glad to see it comes up in my link to your blog in my Montessori toddler home environment post at

  4. This looks awesome, and Q-ball has impeccable taste :)


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