How to Put on a Coat, Montessori-Style

Putting on a coat Montessori-style. Great for toddlers and preschoolers!

I promise Becoming Peculiar is not turning into a Montessori blog. Most of all because I am not even close to qualified to write one.

I’ve just been really excited lately at being able to put a lot of Montessori principles and ideas into practice. Now that Lydia is reaching two and a half, I am discovering lots of opportunities to practice the “Teach me to do it myself” philosophy encouraged by the Montessori method. But I’m nowhere near an expert, and we don’t do (nearly) everything Montessori.

I had a few minutes, and I just wanted to share this cool little tip.

I came across this idea for encouraging young children to put on their own coats when I was first reading about Montessori. I showed it to Lydia one morning when we were preparing to go outside, and after a few days of trying it she figured out how to do it by herself. Both of us were beaming the first time she got it. The sense of pride she emanates every time she masters a skill is what keeps me coming back to Montessori.

So I thought I’d share it!

Lay the coat down on the floor, upside-down. Show the child how to crouch down and put her hands into the sleeves, before raising it over her head and slipping her arms inside.

Make sense? Allow her to demonstrate:

See that look of self-satisfaction? Love it.

Before long, she can lay down the coat herself, too.

After she gets the coat on, I put the zipper together (i.e. I put the pin into the box and slider body — thank you, Google), as she doesn’t quite have the coordination to do this part herself; and then I hold the bottom taut while she zips it up herself.

Now, if we were real Montessorians, we would have already installed a low hook for her to hang up her own coat (and take it down); but since that would require significant shuffling around of our mud room, we haven’t gotten to it yet. I still have to hang it up for her on a hanger way above her head. We’re working on it, though.

Note: I shared this video with my Facebook friends, and a number of them pointed out that they learned/used this technique when they were little, though they didn’t go to Montessori.

I agree that Montessori probably didn’t come up with this technique, so they can’t really hold a claim on it; but I did learn of it through a number of Montessori-at-home books, and it’s definitely in keeping with the spirit of Montessori. So I’m sticking with the name.

Are you already familiar with this method of putting on a jacket? Do you practice Montessori in your home? Any favourite tips/methods/practices?

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  1. Great idea! I’ll have to try this one. As for the hook, we used a 3M utility hook. It sticks to the wall but comes off later without damage if you want it too. Ana loves having her things at her own height, even if she can’t put it in herself yet. It’s a great, cheap, method of having a low coat hook.
    Michele recently posted..Night Weaning – The Key to Fertility?My Profile

  2. This is awesome! I am actually backwards, have the low hook but I still put their coat on. Not after today. ;)

    Thanks for the neat tip!

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