Our summer series of Montessori home tour is nearly at an end. For our penultimate home, we visit Susan and her family in Germany. They have great spaces which show how simple it can be, whilst being super attractive to the children, clear and inviting. And again seeing how spaces can work for two different aged children. Susan writes a blog called Emil und Mathilda where you’ll find lots of lovely, often handmade, activities that Susan has put together for her children. I think that’s one of my favourite things about today’s tour – seeing the children at work!
I hope you enjoy looking around. I know I did.
Who lives here?
Susan, Emil (4 years) and Oskar (21 months)
How did you find out about Montessori?
My oldest son was born with an undetected diaphragmatic hernia. After his surgery and 4 weeks of intensive medical care, we were allowed to take him home. In the first months I overprotected him – I was so afraid he might get hurt again. As I finally noticed what I was doing to him, distracting his free development, I reached a turning point and made a drastic change. A change in how I see my son as his own creator, that all led us to Montessori and I am so thankful for this journey.
With time I have become more and more passionate. I always want to know more and learn more and so I also completed a national Montessori diploma.
What do you find resonates most with you about the Montessori approach?
Puh, I could fill pages with that answer, but when I finally realised what my fear had caused us to do, I saw my first born with my newly acquired knowledge of Montessori and I trusted him so deeply. I still trust in him, that he knows exactly what he needs to do for himself at any specific moment. I saw that he is so much more capable than I first thought he was. I understood, that if I hold back my fears, he gets his chance to shine and so he did.
My children are my greatest mentors. I am now following them not my fears.
What is currently your favourite thing to do at home with Emil and Oskar?
Emil loves to count and just recently started writing. We play at lot of dice games together, so he can follow his passion of counting. Every time we are on the playground, he asks me to write numbers and letters with him in the sand and we guess each other’s writings.
With my youngest, we mostly enjoy our time outside. He is my little wild one – always jumping in puddles, walking barefoot in the woods and climbing on every tree trunk he can find.
I love spending time with my boys. I love watching them become who they are, by just being who they are.
Where do you hunt for Montessori style materials and furniture?
What I love about Montessori style materials and furniture is that you can find them almost everywhere, while doing your groceries or even at a building centre, as I especially love to make all kind of materials myself.
My favourite places are art supply stores and flea markets – though you never know exactly what you will find, but sometimes you can find treasures.
What’s one tip you would give to other parents wanting to set up their home Montessori-style?
I am continuously making changes in our home, following my children’s changing developmental steps, their interests, or just for practical reasons. I always keep an eye on the effect of this new change – is it really useful for my boys? how do they interact with their new surrounding? And does the change support their independence?
They always guide me to a new change, because I am continuously observing them – if they can’t reach their clothes in the morning, we will find a way. If they have no place they can reach to hang their aprons in the kitchen, I go and buy suitable hooks. It’s like a communication that needs no words, because I can see their needs and simply react to them.
I think it is easier for the child if we do it step by step, so that they can adapt to the changes more easily and try to involve them as much as possible. To set up a Montessori-style home (if you don’t start from birth) should be a progression and that will take its time.
Thank you to Susan for showing us around. All these lovely home tours have been such inspiration. They are not meant to make anyone feel bad. Simply to give ideas, to learn more how you may be able to make a few changes to your home so that your children can also be involved in daily life at home.
The last tour will arrive next week. It’s one you are not going to miss. It’s one of my favourite Instagrammers who uses Montessori to actually make it easier for her as she works full time. Can you guess who?
What a world tour! See you next week for the last one in the summer series.