Montessori in Small Spaces – Entryway

Sometimes it can be difficult as an apartment-dwelling family to look at all these spacious Montessori homes online and wonder how you will ever be able to fit that shelf, learning tower, weaning table, and bookcase into your 70 square meter abode. Guess what? It’s not gonna happen! Since I am finally coming out of the twin baby fog at 13 months postpartum, I thought I would start sharing some of the changes we are making to our living space to better accommodate the humans who live here.

When you are thinking about redoing a space, it can also be easy to start adding a million things to your Amazon cart. But I think it’s worthwhile to really sit and think about a couple of things:

  1. What purpose does this space serve? What need is being fulfilled here?
  2. What do I already have in my home that I can use to help fulfill that need?

My Thought Process

I realized I needed to change up the 玄関 (genkan) or entryway through observing my child’s behavior. My eldest child, Asahi, is 3.5 years old and attends Japanese kindergarten (yochien). He has quite a lot of bags, an apron, and accessories that he needs to bring to school every day. Most days we are rushing out the door in the morning and that last moment of getting everything together can be quite hectic. It was also usually a lot of me telling him what to do and he wasn’t able to get ready independently because the space was not set-up for his independence. It was set-up for me to be able to run around the house gathering towels and masks from various locations and throwing them at him (highly inefficient!). I thought that if I could prepare the environment better for him, he would be able to take more ownership of the process and it would lead to less stress in the mornings.

The entry way needs to have:
– easy access to shoes and a place for them to be put away
– a place to hang kindergarten bags and aprons, as well as rain gear
– a place to store hand towels, masks, and tissues to be easily grabbed before leaving

The End Result

I ended up purchasing a few things for the genkan, the main one being a coat rack. I didn’t want to hang something on the wall in case it damaged it so I figured the coat rack would be a better option. I was able to find this child-sized coat rack on Amazon Japan. I also bought this basket from Ikea. And that’s it!

Asahi’s small entry space.

I was actually going to buy a small table to put next to the coat rack, but I realized after talking to my husband that that was total overkill! I could just use the small shelf available around the corner (we call it our “mini genkan”) for the basket of towels and masks. Like I said before, i bought the one basket but the other I already had. Repurposing items you already have is a great way to reduce costs when you are rearranging your home.

Keeping it simple with a coat rack and two baskets.
He was happy to help set up the space and practice using it.

Once I had reorganized the space, I made sure to show him where to find his masks and towels so he could reorient himself. It will take a little bit of time for him to get used to the new routine of him getting ready by himself but it’s amazing how enthusiastic they get when the space is set up especially for them!

His space in the shoe cupboard.

Our entryway always has shoes spilled out all over it so I am hoping that having a particular place for them in the shoe box will help keep them more orderly (in theory!) We don’t have a bench or chair in the entryway because ours has a slight step that you can sit on. Also there’s no space because it’s also where we park out double stroller. It’s okay to just use the space you have!

I hope that this helped you see that doing Montessori at home doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. It also doesn’t have to be a feat of interior design. The goal is that your children feel like the home is set up for them just as much as for the adults so that they can develop their own independence and sense of self.

Have you set up your entryway to allow your child more independence? What does yours look like?

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