Meet Miriam (29), husband Tomasz (31) and son Samuel (3) who live in Poland. Miriam is originally from Slovakia and moved to Poland where her husband is from and where their son was born.
I’ve been following Miriam for some time on Instagram (@mojemontessori). I love seeing the activities they have been working on at home and snippets of their daily life.
Their spaces were so beautiful, I remember writing to her to ask if Miriam was a Montessori teacher. She is not but, Miriam writes, “I am first and foremost a wife and mother, and passionate about the Montessori method, which we are trying to include in our daily lives.” Miriam writes about Montessori in their home over at her lovely blog, Moje Montessori (which Google Translate tells me means “My Montessori”).
She certainly is a natural using the Montessori approach at home. And today she is letting us take a peek through their home. You are sure to see how simple and delightful spaces can be created for your children too.
Let’s take a look around!
1. How did you find out about Montessori?
I think it was during my studies in Italy. Back then I was single and I didn’t have kids so I was thinking about it only as a part of my studies. But later, when I was pregnant, I started to read more and more about Maria Montessori’s work. The first book I’ve read was “The Montessori Method”. It had a huge impact on me as a parent. The respect for the child, the prepared environment, sensitive periods – it made so much sense to me!
I started to read some blogs to see how other families are bringing Montessori into their homes. And slowly the Montessori approach became a part of our daily life.
2. What do you find resonates most with you about the Montessori approach?
It’s definitely the respect for the child. The respect for his spontaneous development without imposing our own expectations, demands, or “our plan” on him. I think this is the most important and the most beautiful part.
When I read or hear discussions about Montessori, very often they are mostly about the materials, toys or activities. Yes, they are important, but I think the crucial part is somewhere else. The crucial part is following the child in his own journey: to be his guide on his journey instead of imposing our own on him.
3. What is currently your favourite thing to do at home with your son?
Samuel’s big passion is gardening. His bedroom is full of flowers that he loves taking care of. We live close to his grandparents who have a big garden and an orchard. He enjoys spending his time there working with his child-sized tools.
Lately he’s been very interested in letters and geography. We play sound games, work with letters, globe or a map.
He still enjoys a lot of practical life activities like watering plants, washing dishes or putting clothes into washing machine. I must admit that now when he is 3 I can see the enormous importance of these kind of activities. As Maria Montessori said: “A three-year-old educated according to Montessori pedagogy, becomes a master of his hand and undertakes with a joy a variety of human activities. These activities allow him to develop the power of concentration.” I can see it in our home.
4. Where do you hunt for Montessori style materials and furniture?
I think IKEA has a pretty good selection of Montessori friendly furniture. We have the Kallax shelving unit and the Monsslanda shelves for storing books.
But I really like to buy things from local small businesses. There are a lot of them in Poland but you have to really look for them on the Internet. Some of them, like KUIKI or Świat drewna, make beautiful wooden Montessori-inspired toys, puzzles and bookshelves.
I live in Poland but I’m from Slovakia and very often I look for materials in Slovak e-shops. My favourite one is Monte Mother. There you can find Montessori materials, furniture and lots of child-sized practical life tools.
We found this beautiful screwdriver set handmade from a man in the Czech Republic who makes beautiful wooden Montessori inspired materials. It’s his hobby, he doesn’t have a company, an e-shop or even a website. He has only a private Facebook group for Czech families where he shows and sells his materials.
I have to say also that my husband is pretty handy. Sometimes, when I can’t find what I’ve been looking for, he’s able to build it himself. He made our learning tower, a lock board and a wooden peg counting board. And I already have some new ideas!
5. What’s one tip you would give to other parents wanting to set up their home Montessori-style?
Think about what makes you feel good in your home and do the same for your little one(s). We are trying to set up our home to be comfortable, full of beauty and art with everything in reach. As Maria Montessori said: “What we desire, they desire also.”
Floor bed, low shelves, a comfortable reading nook with books in reach or low hangers in the hall are small things that make a huge difference in the child’s independence.
It’s not about having everything, it’s not about having expensive pieces of furniture. It’s about creating a warm and supportive environment in which the child can feel that we trust him, he can act for himself, and that we support him in his way towards independence.
Miriam, thank you so much for the tour! I know I feel like going to pick some fresh flowers for our table right now.