Real Rooms: Montessori In The Home
Today, we're looking through the keyhole of Kylie D'Alton's home. Originally from Brisbane but currently living in the UK with her husband and three sons, Kylie is passionate about the Montessori philosophy and incorporating it in to her home. Her blog, How We Montessori, is packed full of information and ideas about how to use Montessori principles when selecting furniture and toy storage, and she's even co-authored a book, Kids in the Kitchen: Simple Recipes That Build Independence and Confidence the Montessori Way. Let's talk to Kylie to find out more.
Type of home: A townhouse in Wiltshire
Who lives here: Kylie, her husband and their three children, Caspar (11yrs), Otis (7yrs) and Otto (1yr)
Room: Montessori-inspired playroom
Can you tell us a little bit about the room and how it's used?
The room is mainly used by Otto but it is adjacent to our living room so it gets used by all children. I can also see the playroom from the kitchen so it's a great space for Otto to play while I'm cooking. Otto has a lot of toys in this room, it's also where he has a little work table and large toys like his play barn and pikler climbing arch.
What do the boys like best about the room?
It has a large window overlooking our backyard so the boys love to look out and watch the squirrels play. We get a lot of light into the room so we will often find the boys lying, reading or sitting in a warm sunny spot.
How do you make it interesting place for them to spend time in at their very different ages?
Most of all they enjoy playing with each other. Our Spectrum rug is in the centre of the room and this is a great space for playing with their toy trains, with blocks, reading together or even wrestling each other.
We've noticed that you're a fan of GLTC rugs. Can you tell us what it is that you like about them so much? And do you have a favourite?
It's really important that my children have a safe and comfortable place to play. When we first arrived in the UK Otto was four months old and he spent a lot of time lying and playing on the floor. As soon as we unpacked I ordered a GLTC rug and then went on to order one for almost every room in our home. They are comfortable, warm and so soft. The rugs are 100% wool which makes them feel really cozy.
I love the simple yet often colourful designs. The Spectrum and Kaleidoscope rugs help to brighten up our spaces and we adore the Woodland rug with the nature theme, this one is currently in Otto's bedroom. The Zigzag rug is now in our older boys' room, which is perfect with its minimalistic design. The Spectrum rug is my favourite! We rotate our GLTC rugs too, often moving them into different rooms to help renew or freshen up a space
Are there any other GLTC products that you'd recommend?
GLTC has a wonderful range of children's Montessori furniture made in the UK. In particular, I like the shelving units which make it easy for children to reach and put away their toys. We have the Potter bookcase in our snack area, my toddler uses it every day to reach his little plates and utensils.
I also recommend bookshelves for toddlers which allow books to be neatly stored and displayed forward facing like the sling bookcases. The magnetic 3D art fames look fantastic for children and we look forward to trying these out once they come into stock.
You're from Australia. Can we see your heritage in the way that you decorate your home?
Yes, Australians are very laid back and casual and you can see this in how we decorate our home. We also try to make our spaces feel light, airy and cheerful which is also very Australian.
We can see from your Instagram account and blog, that you're passionate about Montessori in the home. For those that aren't familiar with the Montessori approach, can you tell us a little bit about it?
Montessori is a child led and respectful approach to education and childhood development. We believe in the child's innate ability to educate themselves, so as parents we observe the child and follow their individual timelines and interests.
In the home, this means providing an environment that allows for free movement, is calm and ordered and supports the child's need for independence. We involve the child in all aspects of home life such as cooking and gardening. Montessori learning is also hands-on so we provide lots of natural toys like stacking and sorting toys and puzzles rather than electronic toys especially during the toddler and preschool years.
What are your top tips for creating a Montessori-inspired playroom?
View the room from your child's level, it's important that the space meets the their developmental needs. Consider storing toys neatly on shelves rather than all piled into a toy box, it makes it easier for the child to see their toys and to care for them. I suggest hanging art work so it is at the child's level.
I like to bring nature into our play areas including lots of plants, a nature table and natural fibres. A reading area is a must with a comfortable place to sit and read. We also rotate our toys, too many toys can overwhelm the children and this way they all get played with!
And finally, what makes a happy home for you?
Happy and healthy children, and lots of sunshine!
Follow Kylie on Instagram for more Montessori inspiration.
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