Being around furniture that is best suited for adults can cause children to be too dependent on adults to help them learn, explore, and move around. Incorporating child-sized furniture into your learning environment (a concept first introduced by Maria Montessori) will give children more access to learning materials and more opportunities to explore their environment. Using child-sized furniture will also help children build self-confidence and become more independent, which is important for their overall growth and development.
By incorporating child-sized shelving units, storage units, and bookcases into your ECE environment, you can keep a variety of child-friendly items within reach of children. This will encourage children to be more interested in their surroundings since they can take initiative with their own learning and exploring. Child-sized furniture that helps infants and toddlers learn to pull themselves up and stand and walk on their own is also available. It's important to provide rugs and other soft furnishings to break children's falls as they gain gross motor abilities. Having something soft to fall on will help them feel confident in getting up and trying again without assistance from adults.
Child-sized furniture in the dramatic play area is also important in fostering independence. Young children can use the child-sized furniture and dramatic play items to practice being in a certain career, cleaning a room, or cooking for someone. Children can also use child-sized furniture to take care of baby dolls and practice being future parents. This helps them prepare for life as an adult and helps them learn how they can take care of themselves and keep their surroundings clean and organized.
Remember that helping children learn to make choices and be independent at a young age will help them be successful in life. In addition, fostering independence at an early age will help children learn that it's okay to try new things and ask for help if they need it.
Note: Fostering independence should be a goal of any ECE environment, but educators should strive to do so safely by placing or storing any items that are not child-friendly out of the reach of children.
Visit our furniture section of the website to browse through a variety of child-sized furniture.