Saturday, 9 July 2011

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Montessori Activity: Self-Service Closet Station for Toddlers



Low bar for hanging shirts and baskets or storage boxes on the floor to put clothes for re-use


Low drawers for folded clothes and label them clearly

Laundry baskets for whites, light coloured clothes and dark coloured clothes

Age: From 2 years old

Objective(s):
1. To help the child to develop independence skills and self-confidence.
2. To help the child to develop the good habit of doing things himself.

Items:
1. 1 Low bar for hanging shirts
2. 5 low drawers for folded clothes as follows from top to bottom: T-shirts, Sweaters, pants, pyjamas & underwear, and socks & accessories and label them.
3. 2 baskets or transparent boxes for clothes to be re-used on the floor: one for tops and one for bottoms
4. 3 laundry baskets for clothes for washing on the floor in the bathroom: one for whites, one for light coloured clothes and one for dark coloured clothes.
5. Kid-size hangers

Tips:
Ever feel overwhelmed with organizing and sorting those clothes that your child out-grown? I think I have finally found a method that helps me to manage it efficiently and in a least amount of time. First, prepare in advance transparent storage boxes for storing the clothes that your child is soon going to out-grow and label the sizes clearly. For me, I place the transparent storage boxes on the shelf above the hanging bar. Whenever, I notice that Joshua’s clothes are getting too small for him, I will fold it and put it into the respective storage boxes, after they have been washed and is dry. Once the last clothes of that size is out-grown, I simply close the lid of that box and move it to the storage room.



The storage boxes above the hanging bar are for clothes that Joshua is soon going to out-grow
Additional Information:
I used to crack my brain on how I could store things as high up as possible, so that Joshua could not reach it, but did not have the time to design such a high lofty place. Thank God, I didn't have the time! After reading the book "How to Raise Brighter Kids*" and since I started Montessori, I went on an about turn. The Montessori concept advocates the reverse. Now I began to crack my brain on how to design a system as low as possible for Joshua. Montessori is about allowing your child to do things themselves. When designing a dressing closet station for toddlers, think LOW and HORIZONTAL as much as possible – low bar, low shelves, baskets on the floor – all on floor to at child’s eye level. Save the middle shelves for me (er… I am short) and the higher shelves for Florian (he is tall).

Although it takes effort to label the drawers, but I find that it saves time in the long run as it gives an easy and quick overview to the content of the drawers. Since Florian also puts in Joshua's clothes, the label really helps to keep it neat and reduce the mistakes of putting the clothes in the wrong drawer, making it less confusing for Joshua, when he opens the drawers.

As Denmark is a cold country, we find many of the clothes are still very clean after one or two use. Thus, it is helpful for us to have a basket or storage boxes to put the clothes for re-use. We put them on the floor so that Joshua can access it easily and pick out what he wishes to wear.

The laundry baskets are useful for Montessori sorting exercises. Your child can learn to put the right colour clothes into the right baskets, instead of piling them up.

* This book talked about the importance of designing your home at kid's friendly height, but does not tell you how to. I got inspired from other mommy bloggers, but some of the ideas are my own.

References:
http://hapalab.blogspot.com/2011/01/lab-work-zos-closet.html

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