A Montessori Home Tour: Kristin of O E and Me
If pictures tells a thousand words, how many could be told on an Instagram feed? Some words that come to mind when looking at Kristin's Instagram account are: warmth, love, fun, concentration and respect. They are snapshots of a happy and fulfilling childhood (and I think, a happy and fulfilling parenthood as well). She documents not just how to set up a space, but how to follow the child, observe, and breathe instead of react when a mess has occurred.
A main theme that runs through her interview is ensuring that the child feels a sense of belonging in the family home and that the environment needs to change along with the child. I really enjoyed getting to know Kristin through the interview and getting a closer look into the spaces of her home. Hope you enjoy it as well.
I had to include Oliver's baby shelf! This is from when he was 6 months!
Tell me about yourself ...
My name is Kristin. My undergraduate degree is in Early Childhood Education. I taught Kindergarten before deciding to go back to school for Speech Language Pathology. I worked with adults for 10 years in various medical settings and I've recently decided to mostly stay home with my children. My interest has shifted since having kids and I'm finding that I am interested in switching to early intervention (ages 0-3) and reading (all ages). Right now, I'm just enjoying having the opportunity to be with my kids.
How old are your children?
Oliver is 21 months and Eleanor is 5 years old.
This is what is currently on our bookshelf in our main area of our home.
When did you first learn about Montessori?
I think we briefly touched on it in undergrad, but most of what I've learned started about four years ago when Eleanor was about a year. I read blogs, joined Montessori 101 on Facebook, online courses, and read books. I'm still reading! Honestly, I feel I finally had a better understanding while pregnant with O and learning about Montessori from birth. I was so focused on Eleanor's age that I didn't initially look at the whole picture.
This is our simple upstairs bathroom set-up. The low potty and stool for Oliver to adapt to his size. We've included a expandable bath caddy in the bathtub for toys, toiletries and a mirror to increase independence and minimize what's out.
How have you created a Prepared Environment in your home?
My main focus in our home when thinking about the prepared environment is belonging. The importance of the child being a contributing member of the environment and adapting the environment while meeting the needs of the child. Consider taking an infant into the bathroom in a restaurant to find no changing table provided or, alternately, a bathroom that provides low toilet and sink that a child can use independently. The prepared environment definitely can impact the person's perception of the space and where they fit in.
Our environment changes as child and family needs change. Our main focus is to include everyone in all areas of the home. Be it a stool, a chair that fits the child, a low table or shelving, every area accommodates all four of us. We live in a townhome, so, there is no playroom of sorts here! We try our best to achieve a sort of flow, but it honestly is a constant work in process. We have gotten better about using what we have and paring down unnecessary items. It's taken time, but I focus less on the stuff and consider how that item will work with what we already have.