Before we worry too much about what we’re going to do with all this newfound time at home, we need to make sure the environments of our homes are prepared for interesting things. As you transition to more at-home time with your child, let’s think together about bedroom space.
Remember, in Montessori classrooms, we ask particular design questions:
What concepts do I believe the child is interested in learning?
What materials can I make available for that learning? What does a child need to already know in order to learn this new idea?
How can I make sure the material is didactic? Self-correcting? Beautiful?
How can I support the child in learning independently and with their own agency, choice and voice?
What do I know about these specific children?
What are the limits?
Bedrooms serve multiple purposes. Sure, we sleep there, but we also recover from the stress of the day, find quiet, read books, ask interesting questions, play, connect and restore. As your child is processing through this unpredictable time at home, making sure their bedrooms are places of safe retreat is more important than ever.
For your young child, the bedroom should be a place of independence, concentration, coordination and order, like the values we hold for Montessori Practical Life activities. Your older child will need their bedroom to function more like a multipurpose room, with space to sleep but also spaces to build, create and commune.
Today: ask yourself, “How can my child and I together make their bedroom more supportive to my child’s learning and more peaceful for us as a family?” Think through some ideas with your child. As you prepare for your child’s bedroom to include more space for school-inspired activities, ask them to imagine with you ways in which they can carve out thinking spaces in their bedrooms. What materials do they need to have available to them in their own rooms, and how can you present them in a Montessori-consistent way (i.e. orderly, independently-manageable, and beautiful?) Together, make a list of the functions they want their bedrooms to serve, then ask your child to take some time drawing or graphing or writing about what they would like to see in those spaces. Remind your child that they are limited to what’s already available in the house: this is not a time for major reconstruction but, instead, creative repurposing to make the best of unusual circumstances. Let your child make some suggestions to you, and talk through which ones you support and why. If your child proposes something you can’t get behind, (“I think I should drill into the ceiling and hang my bed at a forty-five degree angle so I can get up in the morning more easily.”) let them know what problems you predict with that solution and ask them to revise their plan. Then, when you’ve completed revisions and re-imaginings with your child, work with your child to move furniture, clear out shelves or drawers, or reorganize their closets.
Looking for ideas? Check out these Montessori-inspired bedrooms on pinterest.
We’re starting to transition spaces to be able to better support the academic guidance you may receive from your child’s school. Think about creating spaces that include simple school supplies that your child may need, journals for drawing and documenting, and access to tools or manipulatives that may help, but this is not the time to move a computer into your child’s bedroom. While many schools may send interesting video links or other digital supports for your children unexpectedly at home, explore those with your child in a space in which you can ask follow-up questions, pause for understanding or encourage your child not just to receive, but to reflect and make sense of that content. Learning requires time for processing information, not just passively observing it. Keep the laptops out where you can use them together, and let your child’s bedroom remain a place for quiet focus rather than screen-based time-passing.