Do you see what I see?

I recently learned that many of the parents who take tours of our school say, “why are the walls so plain? Why don’t you put up some posters or something? Aside from the fact that the teachers strive to keep the classroom looking peaceful and uncluttered, there’s a very important reason why the rooms look so plain to these parents:

The classrooms aren’t designed for the parents.

I tried something yesterday. The kids and I chose a couple of spots in our home and took the same picture, standing on the same spot, from each person’s eye level. Now, I didn’t choose the most Montessori-inspired spots, and I definitely didn’t clean up before the photo shoot (maybe I should have, but then it would never get done.)

When I stand in the living room and look out our front window, this is what I see:

This is what a four-and-a-half year-old sees:

The view at age two:

And here’s what the crawling baby looks at all the time:

It’s a pretty different view, wouldn’t you say? We did something similar facing our changing table, above which is hung a beautiful watercolour microcalligraphy print. Here are the four vantage points from tallest to shortest:


I don’t think our home is particularly unique in that the adults are the ones who have the most beautiful view. Looking at these pictures, though, I suddenly understand exactly why the baby loves to pull clothes out of their bins – there’s nothing to look at otherwise!

If you get down on your child’s level, what do you see? Does the child have interesting objects to look at and touch? Or is he relegated to the view of bellybuttons and the undersides of furniture?







1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Andrea
    Sep 10, 2012 @ 08:46:20

    Brilliant! This is exactly it! This is why the best teachers will get down on our knees and look at the shelves from there. This is why the artwork in our classrooms is all at child-eye-level. To put it at adult-height is not only to assert once again that the adult is more important than the child, but is akin to plastering our living rooms with stuff from three-quarters of the way up all the way to the ceiling. Talk about feeling crowded!

    Now I know I’m far from being the norm here, but this is also why my son has always had a say in where things go in our house (even though people think I’m crazy for it). In his room, set up for toddler when he was one, the best art WAS on his level. I always felt like he had that right, to view beautiful things in his own room. Besides, most of the time I was in there with him, I was on the floor, too, which meant we got to share some beautiful sights!

    Thanks for this 🙂


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