Montessori is becoming a more and more popular way of raising children. It is a style of education that focuses on the independence of the child and has proven itself with some impressive results. A form of independence can be given to a child by letting them choose their own clothes. An exciting way for the child to do this is by giving them their own wardrobe in their size!
Montessori wardrobes are toddler-sized wardrobes that are easily accessible to young children. They provide a sense of independence and self-expression for a child. Building a Montessori wardrobe can be as simple as having baskets with clothes, or using a fully built wardrobe.
Anyone in any circumstance can provide a Montessori wardrobe for their child whether it is built by hand or purchased from a variety of different sellers. Allowing your child to choose their own clothes the Montessori way will help them excel in other areas of their lives.
What is a Montessori Wardrobe?
A Montessori wardrobe, at its most basic definition, is a place where toddlers and children can easily access and choose the clothing they want to wear each day. Having a child choose their outfit for the day has great benefits for their education and development. While it might just seem like a fun activity for your child each morning, the benefits of this can convince any parent to incorporate this practice into their lives.
Benefits of Montessori Wardrobe
As mentioned before, there are so many benefits to having a child pick out their clothes each morning. These are just some of the benefits that a Montessori wardrobe can provide a child with:
Montessori teaching focuses on respecting the child as a key principle. Allowing a child to make their own choices without parental or other adult interference is an important part of fulfilling this principle. The Montessori wardrobe idea allows for that respect and trust to be built. The child is trusted with the task of choosing their own clothing each day, so a mutual respect and trust is established between parent and child.
Promotes independence and responsibility
Another very important principle of a Montessori education is providing the child with independence and responsibility. This principle is supported in many aspects of a child’s Montessori education, including a Montessori wardrobe. The act of choosing their own clothes each day builds the child’s independence as they learn to make decisions on their own. They also begin to understand having responsibilities as they are now in charge of organizing their own clothes and dressing appropriately.
Develops self-pride and self-expression
A child with self-pride has greater confidence than one that does not. A Montessori wardrobe gives the child a sense of pride that encourages them to continue making independent choices. Using a Montessori wardrobe also gives the child an outlet for self expression. When a child gets to choose what they wear, they get to express themselves, which also gives them more confidence that they can apply to other activities.
Teaches life skills
Self-care is an important life skill that every person should understand, and most do. When a child gets to dress themselves, it makes taking care of themselves exciting and will encourage them to enjoy other aspects of self-care like brushing their teeth, bathing, and brushing their hair. These life skills will stick with them as they develop a habit of dressing how they want every day.
What should a Montessori wardrobe look like?
Not all Montessori wardrobes have to be expensive, stand-alone wardrobes. There are many ways to organize and set up a Montessori wardrobe and each style provides the same learning opportunities while fitting into different lifestyles better.
We had always been warned that babies when they start crawling, start opening all the drawers. So, what was very pretty, was not so functional. From then on we realised that it wasn’t really practical. It was very tiring to be continuously folding clothes. Less than a year later we changed the system of organizing the clothes.
What requirements must a Montessori wardrobe fulfill?
While the idea of letting the child have access to their clothes is simple enough, it is important to understand how to fill the wardrobe as the contents should be just as well considered. The requirements that a Montessori wardrobe must meet are those that allow them to have autonomy when dressing, undressing, or even participating in the task of storing and tidying their clothes:
- Most importantly is filling the closet with seasonally appropriate clothing. By doing this, the parent does not have to intervene and break respect boundaries when the child wants to wear a swimsuit in the middle of winter.
- One of the main requirements is that the wardrobe must be at the children’s height, this will allow them to be able to see the clothes they have, to be able to choose them, and to take the garment they need at any given moment.
- The hanging bar should also be at the same height so that the child can learn to hang up and take down their clothes.
- In addition, the ideal is that the clothes are classified by type of garment, so that if the child is looking for some trousers, they will know where to look to find them and will not have to go through everything in their search. A good solution is to divide the clothes into wooden boxes without lids and with a low height that allows them to see inside. These boxes also have handles that help them to pick them up if they need to.
- The layout of the wardrobe should make it easier for the little ones to participate in the care and organisation of their clothes so that they can put them away themselves. In order to make this organisation more visual, we can put labels with the type of clothes contained in each box.
Can the child choose the clothes he/she wants to wear?
This is a point that we find complicated in the Montessori method. We have read a lot about it and we come to the conclusion that, in order to motivate the children to dress themselves and choose their clothes, it is necessary to have a limit on the decisions they must make.
Setting out or making a few sensible options available each morning is a great way to start the child off with choosing their own clothes. As the child gets older and understands what they can wear for certain occasions, they can have more access to all seasons of their wardrobe. Making sure that the different kinds of clothes in the wardrobe are separated in some way is another important detail. While kids at younger ages might not recognize the importance of this, as they get older, children are able to learn organizational skills through the wardrobe.
If you have the option of having a large room, where you can have the wardrobe, but equally a child’s rack to arrange a few pieces of clothing, that would be ideal. As an expected result, the child would have their attention focused on the rack and make their choice from the available items.
You might think, therefore, that perhaps the child is not so free to make his decisions if we limit his choices to two or three options. Let’s remember that we have already made the decision to buy their clothes. Until a certain age, they dress more according to our tastes than their own. The best thing is to always be coherent with our decisions, taking into account what we consider to be the most appropriate for our children.