18 months, 18-21 months, Family life, Montessori philosophy

Why we love the Learning Tower

Do you have a Learning Tower in your home? For the uninitiated, the Learning Tower is a safer version of a step stool that allows kids from the toddler stage on up to climb up a little ladder to stand at the height of the kitchen counter. Here’s what it looks like:

ImageI’d seen the learning tower around the web and even pinned a few DIY versions. I’d read the reviews, and I knew folks liked them, but I I’d never actually seen one in real life.

That is, until I got the email. It was 7PM, freezing cold and dark outside, and time for Jasper’s bath, when an email popped up from my friend Leisse.

I read the words: “I don’t know if you know what Learning Tower is, but there’s one out on the curb…” and immediately started running! Completely ignoring all the bedtime-ritual rules, I grabbed Jasper, hopped in the car, and prayed all the way across town that it would still be there. And it was, dirty, cobwebby and sticking out of a snow bank, but I swear a little beam of light came down from heaven and angels sang.

Funnily enough, now that we have our free (save for a bit of elbow-grease cleaning it up) Learning Tower, and use it all day, everyday, I see that paying full price would have been a great investment. I really can’t recommend it highly enough. Independence, freedom of movement; if Maria Montessori were here, she would love it too.

Here are four things we love to do with our Learning Tower:

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We bake. Together. I usually prepare and pre-measure ahead of time (often during his nap), and from there, Jasper is a full participant, pouring, spooning, stirring. I find it’s a great late afternoon activity, helping to keep our momentum up in those difficult hours between nap time and dinner time.

No more “witching hour” for us β€” Jasper and I make dinner together. On each side of the island, we work together to wash and peel vegetables. I cut the sweet potatoes into pieces on my cutting board, and then move them to his cutting board where he then drops them into the pot.

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We gather with friends. The kitchen is the centre of our home, and the island is at the centre of the centre. It’s where we chat before a meal together, it’s where we make tea, it’s where we put out snacks or drinks. Jasper can now be a part of the action, on level (literally) with the adults.

We make art together. Jasper had done some painting before, sitting at his little table, but it was a bit awkward. His apron was stiff, he didn’t have a lot range of movement, and I had to be fully engaged with the whole process. Now, he stands up at the counter to paint, where he has far more freedom of movement. While he paints, I stand at the counter and do my own artwork. The moments of quiet as we both work creatively and independently are golden. This set up may not be as comfortable as using an easel, but until we find one that will fit his height, the Learning Tower is making it happen.

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I promise I’m not getting anything at all in return for this post from the makers of the Learning Tower or anybody else. But if I was, I would request a free Learning Tower for everybody, like an Oprah-style giveaway, because it is just that good.

What parenting tool can you just not live without?

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13 thoughts on “Why we love the Learning Tower

  1. Love this! I am not a parent but I am a Montessori Toddler Directress. Anything that can help a child be independent we should all have πŸ™‚ One of the things I cant live without in my classroom is a basket we have on a shelf with cloths to dry up spills. They do happen often πŸ™‚ We refer to them as toddler floods and they are embraced in our classroom πŸ™‚

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    • I love the idea of free access to towels — it takes away the teacher/parent as “gatekeeper” and really makes it clear that spills are no big deal — because they only inconvenience the child (if he or she chooses to see it as an inconvenience!). Something to consider for the home environment too.

      Thanks Maggie!

      Like

  2. gcxm says:

    It looks wonderful!!What I did/do have is a child’s table in the kitchen for them to work. I could have used one that’s for sure!!

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  3. What a useful Learning Tower post – I’m going to share this with a few friends I’m trying to talk into buying one! πŸ™‚ I also loved your thrilling tale of finding one for free – in a snowbank none the less!!! I bought ours on Craigslist – which actually turned out to be kind of a thrill, too! I agree with you, though – even if you buy one new, it is worth every penny!

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  4. Pingback: Looking back at Jasper’s room | Milkweed & Montessori

  5. Pingback: Backyard Montessori: Watermelon! | Milkweed & Montessori

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