Imagine living in a world where all the furniture is twice as big as you:
The kitchen table stands above your head
You need to a scale chair like a mountain, just to take a seat... and then when you do, your feet hang uncomfortably over the edge
In order to wash your hands, someone has to squeeze you awkwardly around the waist the whole time. You probably wouldn't want to wash your hands that often either!
This is what it feels like to be a young child.
Most of a child’s world is adult-sized and children are simply required to adapt to using adult-sized things.
BUT they can get so much more out of the world if they’re using materials and furniture that they can manage on their own.
This is why one of the most important parts of the Montessori environment is the furniture.
Dr. Montessori said, "The first aim of the prepared environment is, as far as it is possible, to render the growing child independent of the adult."
When a young child is able to do something on their own, like retrieve their own toys or sit at the table, it makes them feel competent, which in turn builds their confidence.
Child-sized furniture also develops a child’s sense of ownership.
This feeling of ownership helps to develop a sense of responsibility and a child's interest in caring for their environment and the things within it - ‘these are my things and I’m going to take good care of them."
The "Secret" To Montessori Furniture
The truth is that Dr. Montessori never described or developed specific furniture, the way she did many of the learning materials.
Montessori furniture is really just any furniture that is:
Made from natural materials (primarily wood)
Simple in design
So while there isn't a specific list of Montessori furniture, there are four very popular items.
Here's an example of each, what their purpose is, and what to look for if you're going to buy them.