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What is a Montessori Chowki? And why we love it!

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chowki:

noun
INDIAN
a low wooden seat or stool.
 
A Montessori Chowki is a simple Chowki that is sized proportionately for the child. Maria Montessori observed children using Chowkis in India. Since then their popularity has grown and the Chowki can now be found in Montessori classrooms around the world. What is so 'Montessori' about a Chowki?

They can be child-sized so children can sit and use them comfortably. Chowkis promote movement, they promote flexibility in the classroom and can contribute to a dynamic workspace where children can develop to their highest potential. Chowkis can work well in small spaces as well as in large multi-use spaces, they are stable but light enough for the child to move and can be stacked for space efficiency. They can also be cost and resource efficient. In Montessori environments it is recommended that Chowkis are plain in colour and design (not decorative) as to not distract the child from the work. 

Typically the child uses the Chowki sitting or kneeling on the floor (without a chair), it can help to define the child's workspace and promote concentration and focus. Chowkis can work well at school and home, they are easy to move around, this is especially useful if the child hasn't finished their work, they can move it to the side until they can come back to it. It provides a nice flat and stable surface for things like drawing or doing puzzles, which can use useful it you have a textured or uneven carpet in the workspace.

Chowkis are also excellent for working outside! The child can move them by themselves and they can be taken almost anywhere. 

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I find our Chowki useful for our toddler who is always jumping around. He uses it for almost anything, for puzzles and for building but also for matching work and for working or drawing outdoors. He uses it for painting outside too as ours wipes down really easy.

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Chowkis are perfect for stacking and balancing small blocks or translucent geometric shapes! It can be more comfortable than sitting at a table, especially for building or some arts where the child gets up and down or needs to move around a lot. 

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Also good for pegging work. 

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Big kids like to use Chowkis too! Our Chowki is made by Sprout who makes them in two heights at 9" for ages 2-5 years, and 13"  for ages 5 years+. 

Small (Ages 2-5) -  10.75"H x 19.5"W x 15"D - Table is 9" above the floor.

Large (Ages 5+) - 14.75"H x 24"W x 18.5"D - Table is 13" above the floor.

We like to use Sprout's value-grade range, it's a bit like buying 'wonky' fruit, you can find their value-grade Chowki's here

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Other Montessori / child-size Chowki options include:

Nesting Floor Tables at Montessori Services. Also in 9" and 13" height options. 

DJURA Bed Tray at Ikea. This is just over 9" high, folds away. See us using ours here (Otis at 4 yrs). 

Some low coffee tables will work also but you want to make sure your child can put their legs and knees underneath the table. 

This is a lovely image from a Montessori school in India where almost all the children are using a Chowki, or these colourful ones being used outside.

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