"A place for everything and everything in its place"

When I first started learning about Montessori-based learning, I thought it was just simply a method of teaching. I had no idea that in fact the Montessori principles can permeate the entire house even down to how it is organised. I used to be the parent that had rooms full of toys, so many that my children didn't know what to play with. At night I would throw all the toys into baskets and expect my children to be inspired to pick what they wanted to play with the next day.

Having researched more and more about the Montessori approach, I learned that children are so visual and they in fact are more content and play "better" with less choice and more order. We now own less toys (after carefully donating some of our much loved and cared-for toys to charity) and every toy has its place. This helps my children to be inspired to play for longer, allows them to choose more easily what they want to play with and also (wait for the best bit) encourages them to tidy them away with me at the end of the day. Displaying the toys on open shelving rather than hidden in boxes engages the children more and invites them to play.

As Simone Davis says in her book "The Montessori Toddler", "A place for everything and everything in its place". She continues that "toddlers have a particularly strong sense of order". I have found that when I organise my children's space well they also respect and value their toys more.

This approach is not just for toddlers. In fact, all of the Montessori principles which I try to implement in our house apply also to our 6 year old daughter. Watching my children care for their toys and take responsibility for tidying them up has been a pleasure to see.

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