Montessori and Marie

As some of you know I’m a Marie Kondo fan so imagine my excitement when we started talking about ‘everything having a home’ in Montessori...

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As some of you know I’m a Marie Kondo fan so imagine my excitement when we started talking about ‘everything having a home’ in Montessori. When kids have too many toys on display to play with, they flit from one thing to another without being able to lose themselves in the activity - becoming the antithesis of the Montessori approach. They get easily overwhelmed, just as we might when faced with a too-long menu in a restaurant.

The solution is to carefully select what you have on display, make it easily accessible - i.e. not in piles of boxes that are tricky to access. Think seasonally about what you have out - e.g. have the book about autumn out in autumn, not in summer. Try to have only one type of each toy - e.g. one set of art materials, one set of construction toys, one puzzle etc. Observe what they are currently drawn to to get a sense of their current prime interests, and regularly rotate the toys to prevent boredom.

I don’t know about you but I never feel in control of my kid’s stuff. We are fortunate to receive lots of gifts and hand-me-downs, as well as the influx of toys at Christmas and birthdays and don’t often think carefully about what toys she should have next. And my daughter will always be drawn to the most fiddly messy toys, and find away to cram bits and pieces into containers and bags which get taken everywhere and spread around!

Wth the encouragement of the course tutors, I managed to put a huge amount of stuff out of sight (behind the sofa). It helped to not have to throw it out immediately but just put it in reserve, because a lot of the complexity comes from having the second baby and knowing that some of the things might be right for him soon.

I did the first clear away with my daughter, seeking input from her about what she wanted to keep out. We left a much clearer environment out with a few carefully chosen items and well tended drawers. The next day, when she wandered in from nursery, I noticed a very different approach to her shelves - she was quieter and more thoughtful. It was like she could see and think straight. Plus the house looks less cluttered!

The challenge is remembering to rotate items. Usually she serves as a cue as she reaches behind the sofa to take out stored toys. I try to use one after-nursery slot to go through her toys with her every fortnight or so. It could be better, but having less clutter and knowing that its good for her concentration is a nice feeling!

Maya Gudka, Executive Coach, London Business School

Executive Coach & Facilitator; Positive Psychology Practitioner & Researcher; , YourPlate; London Business School

I use evidence-based Positive Psychology approaches, as well as years of Economics Consulting experience to access the right level of breadth and depth for each client on their personal and professional journey. I am one half of YourPlate, which uses strengths and personality based approaches to make lasting shifts in Nutrition and Health behaviours, with a fortnightly podcast where Nutrition meets Positive Psychology. I coach and facilitate on Leadership Programmes for London Business School Executives and am currently researching Leader Development.