Skip to main content

Independent Stool Use - Montessori Young Toddler Week 14

One of the questions that I have been getting more often as Augustus gets older is, "how do you keep Gus off of the older kid's stool?" And, the short answer is always the same -- I don't. But, over the last couple weeks, it has become clear that Gus now realizes he can use the stool for more than a stationary climber. It has become his tool too. 

Independent stool use in our Montessori home - tips for using a stool with toddlers

Gus has started to push the stool from its "spot" to where he would like to access. Usually, it's been one of two places -- right to the counter a quick push away to raid the fruit bowl or to the light switches in the kitchen. These aren't things that I have had to show him because he watches Henry and Nora use the stool as well. But, it's also not something I'm going to stop. I want him to feel like he can independently manipulate his environment. 

Maria Montessori was clear that children need to be able to move and act independently in their environment. Their development occurs because of their movement and interaction with the things around them. The more opportunities we can give our children to act on their natural desires, the better. Sometimes this means, creating some opportunity for them. But other times it means allowing some activity that, at first, makes us a bit uneasy. 

As Maria said, "Children develop their brains as well as their bodies through movement, and in the process of concentration, self-discipline, and perseverance with an active interest, the foundations of character are laid. To give our children a fine start in life we must see that their surroundings satisfy their need for activity and development, remembering at the same time that our own part is not that of instructor and interferer but of helper and friend." 

I know that this can make some people nervous. They immediately want to build a cage around this stool to keep their child from falling. But, I will say that Nora started using this very same stool at 13 months old (Gus is 15 now, showing you how different children are), and she fell once. They learn the natural boundaries very quickly. My problem with the learning tower built around it is that it's much harder to move around then. And, they don't always need the stool in just one spot! 

Now, this doesn't mean that I just let Gus go free! In a, "good LUCK, buddy!" sort of way. No, I'm still present. Here is a few tips to keep in mind when you have a young toddler just starting to use a stool: 
  • stay close especially at first
  • use a sturdy stool that brings your child to the right height - we love ours 
  • resist the urge to place your child on the stool, let him/her climb up independently, they really will be safer this way 
  • let your child figure out the safest way to get down from the stool
  • make sure your environment is toddler-proof at the stool height - move dangerous things like knives or chemicals to a new spot or in locked areas 
Independent stool use in our Montessori home - tips for using a stool with toddlers

Do you provide a stool for your toddler? 



Thanks for the link to the stool! My son has started climbing on his chair to reach the counter so I've been on the lookout for a good stool. This one looks perfect.
Natalie said…
I just love this article! I have been trying to incorporate more Montessori into our home for my 2-year-old. I'm realizing after reading this that perhaps its time to stop restricting his access to the kitchen with gates and instead, build a stool so he can get involved!

Popular Posts

The Ultimate Montessori Toy List -- Birth to Five -- UPDATED 2021

When you are interested in Montessori, it can be difficult to know exactly what types of products you should get for your home. Or which types of "Montessori" materials are really worth the price. There are no rules about types of products can use the name Montessori which can add to the confusion. Not to mention, every toy manufacturer slaps the word "educational" on the package for good measure! 2021 UPDATE: Please be patient with links this year, with supply chain issues things are selling out faster and restocking slower. I anticipate some of the specialty toys will not restock once they are gone. Puzzles, in particular, have been difficult to find in stock. So, with this post, I'm going to try to help with this confusion! Here's a list of Montessori-friendly toys and materials for babies, toddlers and preschoolers.  First, let's clarify that there is no such thing as a "Montessori toy." Montessori never created toys, bu

Montessori Toddler: Favorite Toys and Activities 18 to 20 months

I've been putting off this post for a little while because I felt a little disappointed that I didn't have more to share. See, Teddy just isn't that into materials, especially those on the shelf. He tends to return to a couple of favorites over and over again and ignore all other attempts at shelf work. But, really that's my own adult feelings getting in the way of Teddy's own interests, and developmental path.  It's also me subconsciously valuing fine motor skills and stillness as more important than gross motor play and movement. I working hard not to do that, and want to normalize that all toddlers are different. All children have different interests and that concentration doesn't have to mean sitting still for long stretches of time.  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. With all that said, here are some of Teddy's favorites over the last couple of months. Favorite Montessori Toys 18 to 20 Months I'm listing the toys that have be

Our Family's Montessori Christmas Gift Lists 2021

It's hard to believe another holiday season is upon us again. Every year I enjoy putting together my kids' Christmas gift lists. It's really a good time to observe them, see what they are interested in and what they might be ready for during this coming year. It's one of the few times a year that I purchase new materials for our home so it's always really exciting. IF YOU NEED MORE IDEAS DON'T MISS MY ULTIMATE MONTESSORI TOY LIST OR MY 2021 DEALS PAGE ! When considering these lists, please remember that these were curated based on my own children. Use them for inspiration but they are heavily influenced by what my children are into and interested in. And for my older second plane children, what they have asked for!  Here's a look at our family's Montessori Christmas lists for 2021!  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  Theodore (Toddler) Teddy is just over 2-years-old. Being our fourth baby, he is really hard for me to think of unique