Montessori learning tower, also called a kitchen helper, might be one of the best practical items to have around the house when you’re surrounded by a toddler’s growing interest in, well, everything around the house.
From the moment they can stand up, toddlers are so eager to experience the world around them with all their 5 senses. It’s only a matter of how you organize yourself and your home to make that happen for them. This is when a Montessori kitchen helper comes in handy. Whether you’re raising your bub according to Montessori education or not, we highly recommend this item.
What is the learning tower?
It is a tool closely associated with the Montessori method. It is a simple structure, generally made of wood, which allows activities to be carried out at adult height. It is a kind of bench with handrails or edges that provide safety.
The child stands on a platform or scaffolding where he/she does not run the risk of losing balance and falling. As well as being comfortable and practical, this allows the child to use his or her hands free to do whatever he or she wants. The result? The child can effortlessly reach the kitchen table or the toilet, places that were previously out of reach. What’s the point? To collaborate with mum or dad in the kitchen, or to wash their hands in the bathroom without adult help. Conclusion? Your child or pupil will be happy to collaborate with you without having to be lifted up. And, above all, without having to look down on life.
It is worth clarifying that, although it is a safe element, a child must always be supervised by a responsible adult.
What is the Montessori learning tower used for?
This reliable Montessori stool, even for fearful parents, allows children to raise themselves up high to perform tasks. Now, if you’re one of those who prefers children in front of screens without disturbing them, avoid incorporating it. What’s the name of the game: it’s a way of involving the little ones in the lives of adults.
When is it most useful? When your child wants to cook with you. Without this support tool, he would have to climb on a chair, from which he could slip and hurt himself. On the other hand, by climbing his Montessori learning tower, he can help (according to his possibilities) by washing vegetables or peeling a potato. Another place where it is very practical is in the bathroom. There the children can brush their teeth, look in the mirror or wash their hands without any problems.
And what about its usefulness at school? This educational resource allows pupils to pick up objects from shelves that are higher than they are. Or reach for their favourite book in the library. Or to be at his teacher’s height when he calls him to his desk. And to look adults in the eye! As you can see, what was unimaginable a long time ago is now possible. In short, this innovation gives children independence when it comes to doing tasks as a family.
Benefits of Montessori Learning Tower
Learning tower is safer
While a stool or chair can also bring the child up to a higher spot, toddlers can easily fall from them. The little helper tower has been built with this specific feature in mind in order to provide safety. It’s steady and it has a wide base, with 4 legs, that offers good stability.
Some of them are either completely covered on all sides with wooden or felt planks to prevent the child from falling (personally not recommended, more on this further). Others have a wooden bar placed at the back of the child to provide better protection. It just depends on your safety comfort zone to decide which design works better for your family. The kitchen tower also gives you a better overview of your toddler’s access to some kitchen appliances.
The kitchen helper teaches independence
The learning tower is an item greatly recommended by the Montessori method of education because it supports the child’s instinct to do things independently. Most of the learning tower models out there are designed to allow the child to climb in and out of the tower by themselves. They have one or more steps, that make the climbing safe. While it may seem tempting to get a foldable one, no foldable tower provides step access to it for your child and it makes your toddler lose his independence.
In addition to that and most importantly, the toddler benefits from individual playtime, even if they are right next to you. Using the little helper tower gives your toddler the chance to explore food, personal hygiene items, or even toys in their rhythm, without any “be careful” interruptions from parents. The fact that toddlers learn that they can do these things by themselves, builds in them great confidence and self-esteem. And at the same time, both small and large motor skills develop.
You spend more quality time together
We mentioned before that toddlers get so interested in what we’re doing around the house that they can drop everything and run to us when they see you’re peeling a potato.
You still need to make dinner and it’s a bit hard to do that while you’re holding an 18 months almost-not-a-baby-anymore in your arms. Time spent in the kitchen is actually a great opportunity for connection. While being in the tower, the toddler can safely reach the kitchen sink and you can ask them to wash the potatoes.
Or even hand them an age-appropriate peeler so they could try and peel the potatoes themselves. Or chop some veggies. And while you prep some other dinner food items, they can season the potatoes with salt and pepper. It’s a win-win situation, dinner is ready and you’ve spent some quality, fun time with your child.
The kitchen helper creates an opportunity for exposure to new foods
Having your child around in the little helper tower while you’re cooking could bring amazing benefits concerning their appetite and willingness to try new foods.
The fact that a toddler gets to explore the veggies on their terms, might get them to be more open to trying them later at dinner. Repeated exposure and sensory learning are some of the best strategies known to increase the intake of unfamiliar food items. It’s a protective instinct to be careful with new foods.
So the more your toddler gets the chance to see, touch, and explore the ingredients you’re using for dinner, the better chances are they’ll accept what is on their plate.
Use the learning tower for many activities
The kitchen helper can be used for other activities as well. You can get creative with it. Throw a blanket on it and turn it into a tent or have a puppet show.
There are Montessori learning towers that have add-ons, such as a blackboard, a slide, or an activity board, that turn them into playing items. Others are even convertible and can become a table.
What are the advantages for you as an adult?
Firstly, it will allow you to share activities with your child. Tasks that, until now, you have avoided doing in their presence so as not to tempt them and put them at risk. This is the biggest advantage. Once you adopt this pedagogical tool for practical life, you will see your family routine change radically. Why? Simply because you will have more time to do household chores.
If you used to hide away to do the dishes, now you can incorporate your child and enjoy the moment. Of course, your child may make more mess or take longer to do the chores, but it will still save you time. You will see.
As a teacher, having a learning tower will make your daily tasks easier. You will be able to delegate some simple activities to your students and this will lead to more complete learning. Why is that? It has been proven that teaching that involves children stays in the memory longer. Indeed, experiences that involve them as protagonists are all the more enriching in the school classroom environment.
In short, the benefits are manifold, both for the children and for the adults around them. Fortunately, there is a wide variety of models available. You will choose the one that suits you best in terms of price-quality, purchase method, brand, payment method, and so on. Remember: whatever the style, all types have the same utility and similar characteristics. At most they may vary in the base material or colour.
Now that you know what a learning tower is, what it is for and what benefits it brings, go for it. It can bring a lot to your children’s or pupils’ lives. And the most important thing? They will feel happier, both at home and at school.
Sources and References
- Annainthehouse. (2021, December 13). Benefits of montessori learning tower (+ where to buy one!). Anna in the House. Retrieved December 16, 2022, from https://annainthehouse.com/best-learning-tower/