If you follow me over on Instagram, you know there aren't a lot of things I love more than making a home and Montessori / Waldorf education. I wanted to share bits of our play and work environment here to talk a little bit about the intentional choices we've made in this particular space for our children. First off, before I had my girls, I was a Montessori primary teacher. I love everything about the philosophy and could talk for days about it. I'm a huge nerd when it comes right down to it. I am also aware that our home environment (and the way I teach my children) doesn't fall into the strict, traditional Montessori pedology. So, 'true' Montessorians would disagree with my incorporation of Waldorf (And vice versa for Waldorfians) but I find the both of them to be beautiful educational philosophies and I also believe there is not one single, or right or wrong way we must educate our children. I take the things that work for us, that I find beautiful about each method, and apply them here at home. My aim is to nurture my children as a whole, help them find their unique identities, instill in them confidence, teach them to serve others, respect nature and one another and learn in a safe, welcoming, loving environment. As a side note, I do find that there are a lot of similarities in the two philosophies, although strict followers of either would probably disagree with me there too.
We also have wonderful Montessori and Waldorf programs in our city and it has been a gift to have my oldest daughter experience both. She goes to Montessori two days a week now and I'll start my baby bird in a parent/child Waldorf nature class next fall then into the same Montessori program once she's 3 1/2. We may have them do Waldorf summer programs or enrichment classes here and there too. I love that we can just see how we feel and decide as the time comes. Im finding that sort of freedom really empowering with our decision to partially homeschool.
Anywho! This space! I have it mostly set up in the traditional Montessori sense of low level shelves with work set out completely ready for them to use with little to no help from me. I do have some traditional materials out for them as well- sandpaper letters, the pink tower, numbers and counters, spindle boxes, and the moveable alphabet. I also have a play kitchen, a lot of art materials and baby dolls out which all fall more in line with the Waldorf philosophy. While Montessori stresses the importance of reality, real materials and real work, which I love, I do also really like the whimsy, imaginative aspects that Waldorf encourages. I think there can be a nice mix of the two that doesn't create confusion in the child while still allowing them to work and play all in the same breadth.
I am actually interested in adding a few more Waldorf touches to the space including a nature table and natural fabrics. I think it is also important to note that neither of these philosophies, at their core, are about materials. These beautiful methods can be implemented in your home, regardless of financial means. With a bit of research and commitment to practicing you can certainly achieve your educational/lifestyle goals.
A few sources that might help in understanding the philosophies better, and some of my own personal favorites: