Tuesday, June 12, 2007


This entry I will add to as I find things, but at the request of another Montessori mom, I am going to list places that I have found to be pretty good for finding clothes that foster independence. By that, I mean, velcro tabbed shoes, good outdoorwear that is easy to put on, elasticated waist clothing etc. If you click on the underlined words, it should take you to the site or the relevent picture. Please let me know if there are any broken links.

This is primarily going to be stuff that the children use at school, because I really have no issue with decorative t-shirts at home. I do prefer natural fibres wherever I can and there is a link for some amazing woollen leggings further down, that fit cloth diapers perfectly!

Indoor clothing:

My best finds have been places like
Kohls for leggings and elasticated trousers and Walmart for training pants and covers. The other training pants I like, particularly for boys are Bright Bots just because their colors are bright and fun and they used to do some funky striped leggings for boys!!

Again I like Kohls for tops, plain t-shirts that don't detract from their work cycles etc. Or for older children
LLBean often has plain t-shirts and I love their flannel check trousers that are elasticated as does my son!! My other favourite place for these elasticated plaid trousers is Boden which again, has great sales, but sells out fast (why am I telling you this??)

I also love the woollen leggings and pants from
this wonderful site Their stuff is pure wool - excellent for winter and organic too. It is a little pricier, but it fits over cloth diapers and is easy to pull on. It is probably better for the younger child and toddler rather than a primary aged child, but they do have sweat pants and cotton leggings sometimes.

For ease for potty training, leggings, shorts or elasticated trousers are far easier for girls than dresses as they pull them down rather than up and then they are totally out of the way and their is less chance of them getting wet. However, there are some "skorts" out there if you do have a girl who loves dresses - might be a half way compromise?

Gap has great clothing for older children for school, trousers for boys and jeans that seem to last forever and plain t-shirts. I think I have found the odd pair of slippers from time to time if the Gap is big enough.

Of course
Hanna Anderson has nice elasticated leggings for girls, but it is on the pricier end of the market and if you have a girl - who can avoid the pretty dress to go with it??!! That said, they often have great sales or there is always Ebay for a second hand item.

There are, as far as I am aware, two good thrift shops in our local vicinity. If anyone has any others, please let me know. I have often rummaged in there to find the perfect pair of trousers or even a second hand rain jacket. The first is opposite Bob's and Stop and Shop on Route 7, the second is on Ridgefield High Street, but you will have to look underneath another shop for it. It is called the Children's corner and is downstairs next to Shaun's ice cream parlor (we don't go there often 'cos it gets expensive with the food detour!!)

Stamford has a
Nearly New Sale coming up in July that might be the place for a bargain or two.

If you are looking for cloth diapers, my personal favourite were Mother ease ®

We used the one-size system so it lasted us from birth through toddlerhood and into her potty training. The diapers are shaped and fasten with press studs. The wraps that go with them are either the Air-flow or the Rikka wraps which are either press stud or velcro respectively. The principle behind things like cloth is that a child can register the sensation of being wet, and likewise, learn to be dry and clean quicker, well that, and the aside that disposables weren't really a late 1800's phenomenon!!

Indoor Shoes:

Indoor slippers are often the harder things to find as the back needs to be firm so that they don't turn into mules like these ones:

the kids then slouch their feet around desperately trying to keep them on, and they need to be able to take them on and off them easily themselves so fastenings need to be zipper or velcro or an excellent slip on, like these ones, which are from Mothercare in the UK:

The back on these have a raised hard edge, so I am hoping there will be less chance of them bending down - only time will tell!

I tend to stick to velcro for the younger two, just because it is easier than catching a sock in a zipper and their feet are often too small and their arch not developed enough to hold on a slip on (or the slip on is so tight they still can't get it on!)

Unfortunately I have found most success for slippers back in the UK from good old Woolworths, but over here I have bought from
Rugged Bear who always have a good sale if you shop in advance!! Again, Kohls has a fairly good kids shoe section, you might be lucky and sometimes Bob's Discount Clothing Store will have that perfect pair.

Online I have occasionally found LLBean to have good ones, although their current ones aren't so hot, but it is summer! Sometimes Walmart has white plimsolls with a velcro tab fastening that work well as indoor shoes. This is always my hardest search each year.

Outdoor shoes:

LLBean if you feel you can shop online for shoes, otherwise places like Hawley Lane discount shoes on Route 1, StartRite is another place and they often have coupons so watch out and check online first for discount vouchers.

These probably need to be velcro, certainly to start with. Later children can manage the likes of Merrells (I find them really hard to get my finger in the heel to pull on and my children have struggled at a young age too.) Or the ones that have the toggles to loosen them. Alternatively, I am not really sure what Maria Montessori would have made of these but as a halfway house for children who are learning to tie laces, it could be a great compromise and after all, independence is the aim of the game!!

Outdoor clothing and snow kit

I am particularly faithful to Rugged Bear for most of my snow kit. I buy in the summer (as I have three to get of everything and the moolah only goes so far!) their sales are good. Take a tip though (which you probably already know!) buy a size bigger. The assistant told me this last year after I struggled with getting my youngest and a thick sweater inside a coat that was her actual size!!
Try to avoid salopettes (overalls, dungarees) for toddlers and younger primary aged children as they may struggle, particularly if they need to go to the bathroom. They will find more independence with basic pull on pants. However, these can be harder to find for this age group!

Our toddler teacher also recommended actual gloves for them rather than mittens as they have more control. Not quite so easy for them to get on, but playing a finger game "this little piggy goes in here" helps them to grasp the concept of one finger in one hole. Again, Walmart was the only place I found these this time and bought about 7 pairs in the same color to ensure we always could match a lost one!!

I also used this
wonderful item last year that my daughter could wear under a hood and didn't fall off like a woolly hat does and it tucked nicely into the neck of her coat doing away with that horrid cold gap or the need for a scarf (something else to lose!). She was also able, at 2, to pull it on herself.


The last rain jacket I bought for our toddler is a Cherokee brand which either came from Walmart (but I don't think it did!) or Tesco in the UK. I have just noted that her velcro tab sandals are also Cherokee. The rain jacket actually has a velcro fastening. Many rain jackets are snap fastenings, which is fine for the older child, or go over the head like a sweater, which is hard to manage for the flip over with a smaller child. I haven't tried this, but I am wondering, for those of you who are proficient with a needle and thread, if a press stud (popper) fastening rain jackets couldn't have velcro pieces stitched in between the poppers?

Again I usually go to Rugged Bear for this stuff and also for wellingtons. The best boots for smaller children are the ones that have the
little hooped handles on the sides to help them pull them on. But watch out, this year I discovered that many of the boots had a small elevated heel that was at an angle and worried me that a child could turn her/his ankle.


I guess it goes without saying really, that with nightwear, pyjamas are easier than all in one sleepsuits, although they are a devil to find. If you can't find p-j's then look for sleepsuits with zips rather than popper fastenings.
Carter's is amongst my favourite place for pyjamas, although check the size of the buttons on the front for primary aged children. Sometimes these things are so tiny and then this just creates frustrations for them.

Lunch packs:

As with the holistic philosophy behind Montessori, children are taking a pride in the world and their place within it, so where better to start than lunch packs that reduce waste in the environment.

Plain lunchboxes we often find in LLBean or Walmart, but I have since discovered
this site that has plain lunch boxes and these wonderful wrapable/reuseable sandwich bags, that not only eliminate the need for plastic wrap or aluminium foil, but also eliminate the need for plastic boxes which have been known to leak toxins over a prolonged period of use, washing in a dishwasher and heating in microwaves. I am still on the search for small square tins that I can use for salads instead of the aforementioned plastic boxes, so will keep you posted.

Okay, that is it for now. I will add to this as I think of things. If anyone has any other tips, please pass them on!!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank You for posting all your ideas on this website. I would like to know what kind of foods you pack for your children to keep them going. I have a learning disorder and sometimes I pack things that the montessori school that my son attends doesn't approve of because it slows him down (like pasta).

Thanks again. Your postings have been so helpful!

Montessori Mom--Tammie