Feng Shui for Families: How To Create a Montessori-Inspired Home
"The child must live in an environment of beauty."
Before I became a parent I swore that I would never let my house become a messy and cluttered "kid zone" like I had seen in the transformation of so many of my peers and relatives. I wanted to always have a space that felt like a safe-haven and reflected my energy and my ideals.
Well, looking back on that now, not only was that was incredibly naive, but it was also just plain inconsiderate! I now realize that our children should be treated as equals in the home (and the rest of the world). Kids deserve to feel calm, comfortable and inspired in their space just like everyone else in the family!
Two things opened my eyes to the life-changing realization that I could have both a beautiful. peace home AND children:
1) Feng Shui Philosophies
2) Montessori Education
It was a lightbulb moment for me to realize that Montessori and Feng Shui go hand-in-hand and share many of the same core values and that both of these historical concepts still have so much relevance in today's modern world.
“The land is where our roots are. The children must be taught to feel and live in harmony with the earth.” ✍️Maria Montessori
As the quote above demonstrates, Dr. Montessori advocated for the principles of feng shui without even realizing it!
My Montessori Home
My daughter has been enrolled in a Montessori preschool from the time she could walk. The school's philosophies and principles have done wonders for her, our family, and our home - inspiring a lifelong love of learning AND .miraculously making our lives as parents easier too.
I can confidently say now that Montessori is not just an educational philosophy... it's a way of life!
When I stopped resisting the inevitable messes that pop up, our home naturally evolved to have more "yes spaces". These are intentionally accessible areas for our daughter to live and learn to her fullest.
Over the years we created a home where everything she needs is easily within her reach/at her height, so she has the ability to focus, decide and exist independently - yes, even as a 2.5 year old!
This is the foundation of a Montessori / Feng Shui lifestyle: creating a holistic environment that sets up the child (and therefore the rest of the family) for success and freedom, building constructive and uplifting energy which allows them to do their best work.
Rest assured, with a little time and effort your home can be an equal reflection of your personal energy AND your family.
Montessori History & Principles
The Montessori curriculum originated in the early 1900s from an Italian physician and early childhood educator named Maria Montessori . Dr. Montessori passionately believed that the role of adults is to GUIDE children, not lead them. Her method is so remarkably simple and intuitive, that it is no wonder that it is one of the most popular educational movements in the world.
Learn more about the values of Montessori education and you'll see many of the same themes are common across the ancient teachings of Feng Shui too.
Sensibility: Freedom of choice, expression and movement, Developing autonomy and independence in decision-making, child-led play and discovery, respect for the child -learning at the child's pace, honoring their feelings and emotions, setting healthy boundaries, establishing a culture of inclusion, acceptance and belonging.
Simplicity: Minimalist and natural aesthetics to create an environment of harmony, strong sense of order, structure in space and systems, clear frameworks for the universe so that the child can make sense of the world around them, Promoting children's autonomy through practical life skills development accessible tools and design
Sustainability: Natural cycles, the interconnectedness of humans with each other and the earth, The interrelatednesss of systems - working from the whole down to its parts, age-appropriate learning: Understanding the four stages/planes of growth/development from birth to adulthood and each of the corresponding sensitive periods, observing social, cognitive, moral, and biological changes in a holistic way.
The outcome: Enthusiastic, self-directed learners with real-life skills (communication, creativity and problem solving) who are ready to face the challenges of their communities. Can you think of anything that the world needs more than that?
The Prepared Environment
How do you feel when you enter a room that is cluttered, busy or chaotic? Do you feel calm and focused? Probably not. Well, your child is likely having those same sensory experiences too.
It is unclear when or where in our society it became normal or expected for children's spaces to be brightly colored, loud, and constantly brimming with activity and distractions. In reality, our children's spaces should be the opposite of such.
The “prepared environment” is Maria Montessori’s term for the environment that facilitates independent learning and exploration. She believed all children's spaces - whether home or school- should offer lessons, activities and tools that provide children with the freedom to fully develop their unique potential and meet their individual needs and interests.
Essential Tips for your Montessori-Friendly Feng Shui Family Home
The tools and teachings of both Feng shui and Montessori can ultimately help create an atmosphere and culture where your child feels joyful and loved, empowered and equipped. An intentional, well-designed space can promote harmonious growth, peaceful tranquility and creative expression and avoid low vibrational energies which can easily take over and trickle out into the rest of the house.
In Feng Shui, the Children/Creativity gua is located in the western part of the home. Because it is associated with the metal element ideally, there should be something white or gray, circular or rounded. You can also display something youthful, playful and colorful in this area, or that embodies the supporting element of earth with stones, earthenware or other natural materials or images. Feng Shui preaches purposeful and intentional spaces. As such, designate specific areas in the home for each type of child's activity. This will create a natural rhythm to the day and a natural flow of Chi throughout.
Entry: Low Hooks for hanging coats and backpack. A basket or tray for shoes
Bedroom: Floor Bed in command position
Dressing Area: Low hooks. racks and lightweight drawers with photo labels
Quiet Zone/ Reading Nook: Open-face bookshelf with soft rug and pillows, lamp with dimmer.
Bathroom: Child-height self care station for toothbrush, toothpaste, mirror, grooming tools, hair accessories
Kitchen: Learning tower, chopping blade, cutting board, sturdy dishes, healthy snack station
Dining room: Low table and chairs, fresh flowers, table settings
Indoor Play: Low shelving with open ended toys and puzzles, functional play kitchen, sensory bins, dollhouse.
Social Area: Feelings chart/Wheel of Emotions, musical instruments, board games, group play,
Movement Area: Wobble board, Pikler triangle, workout mats, hoops and balls.
Work Station: Arts & crafts, materials prep, cleaning supplies
Closet: back-stock for rotation, special events and seasons.
Outdoor Play: Sensory wall, gardening tools, sandbox, wheelbarrow
According to Dr. Montessori (and Feng Shui), a child's environment should be consistently inviting and well-maintained and organized.As children grow quickly and are frequently the recipients of gifts and trinkets, it takes an ongoing effort to keep their spaces streamlined and organized. When it comes to toys, remember that LESS IS MORE! This not only because your space will be cleaner but also because it is actually scientifically proven that a child's creativity thrives more in an environment with fewer options. Strive to live by the motto "A place for everything and everything in its place."
Create a space that is tidy and inspiring keeping only what your child regularly needs, uses or loves.
Model a decluttering system early on so your child looks forward to donating or re-gifting, respects and appreciates each of their belongings, and does not form unhealthy attachments to material things.
Part with items that are broken or have missing pieces as those hold negative Chi.
Let go of the guilt and only keep and display children's artwork that you truly love. You can snap a photo of the rest to keep as a memory book, and even bind the photos into a book to preserve them.
Implement organizational and storage solutions (clear bins, labels, sturdy baskets, trays) and toy rotation system for a select few toys that are for now- and save the rest for later.
Establish play policies (one in, one out, clean up first) early so your child understands that structure and order are necessary functions of the home.
Make sure to repair anything with weakened Chi such as breaks, rips, tears, stains, or splinters. This is for both aesthetics and safety.
Remember that every item in your home carries a vibrational frequency. Choose the higher one, not the lower one and you, your child and your home will reap the benefits.
Opt for wooden toys and other natural learning materials. This is because not only do hey look better than plastic or other synthetic, but because they FEEL better too - literally holding the energetic quality of the earth elements and rounded edges of grounding vibrations.
Shopping secondhand with previously-loved items, carry the positive playful energy of the previous owner, and hold a lower carbon footprint for the planet.
Replicate an "adult reality" whenever possible - opting for books, furniture, tools, props and utensils and other items that are miniaturized for child's hands or reflective of real-world characteritics.
Ignite Creativity & Calm
Create the perfect balance of Yin and Yang energy. Young Chi energy holds the elements of Wood and Fire and Water. It is naturally expansive, vibrant and requires an abundance of open space and opportunity to circulate and move. As such, it is best to avoid anything that presents frustration or limitation. Offset the inherently over-abundant Yang energy of children with restorative Yin spaces.
Remove obstacles and barriers to learning and growth by avoiding small confined rooms, clocks or any other symbols that would push, force or rush energy.
To create an environment of calm and peaceful tranquility means opting for natural and soft lighting, soothing wall colors, fresh air with diffuser or low maintenance purifying plant, minimal electronics, decor from nature, and regular space clearing/ smudging.
Remember, a home with children is the truest example of LIFE. It's inevitably going to be messy and mismatched at times, just as nature intended! A Feng Shui/ Montessori Home is NOT about creating a picture-perfect Insta-worthy home. It's simply about finding balance and energetic alignment for your family. Each day make a conscious effort to reset our space so that it is a fresh canvas for opportunity and growth. This is when Chi, the vital life force energy, can circulate freely.
At the end of the day, it is our job as parents and caretakers to nurture the mind, body and spirit of our children in a way that sets them up for joy and success in life. A child's surroundings today are the backdrop to their future tomorrow.
The home is the place intended to support the physical, emotional and mental development of children. And just like adults, when a child's space feels safe, supported, happy, healthy, then they will feel and embody that same energy, which will allow them to thrive and reach their full potential.
Once these peaceful and positive frequencies emanate throughout the home- from the child and into their adults, siblings and pets, it builds the essential foundations for the whole family's growth and connection.
Imagine the possibilities: One corner, one room, one house at a time together we can create a better world.
Erin Bowers is a certified feng shui consultant, energy healer, wellness coach and holistic growth strategist.
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