Preparing a Montessori Toddler Environment at Home

The Montessori Method was developed all the way back in 1887 by Maria Montessori.  Her teachings are known all over the world and have inspired Montessori Schools in cities all across the globe.  Moms are now bringing the Montessori lifestyle into their homes, creating unique and beautiful spaces for their children to explore, learn and grow.  Whether or not your child attends a Montessori School, you can bring the basic principles into their everyday activities, fostering independence, exploration and curiosity.

The Montessori method is child-centered and as such, all items a child would need are easily accessible to them.  This includes food and utensils in the kitchen and their clothing and toys in the bedroom. There are several things you can add (or subtract) to create a Montessori toddler environment with multi-functional living space designed for them to grow.  Here are a few of the key elements we have used in our home.  

A neat and organized environment. Everything should be in order, with an obvious place for things to be put away.  A natural order to the room, that can easily be restored after play.  Your child should know where things go and put one activity away before starting another.   

Low shelves with activities children can explore on their own.  Self-learning activities encourage independence and curiosity.  All items should be easily accessible and free from clutter.  If your child has many toys and games, consider packing some away and rotating them into playtime circulation.

Organize shelves by subject.  Some key subjects to include are: Sensorial, science, math, language, practical life and art.  There are a ton of Montessori based activities out there.  Color sorting, puzzles, and tons of DIY games… but that is a whole blog post unto itself.

Baskets and trays with more baskets and trays.  Use these for all of your child’s different activities. This will allow them easy access to play with and put away items in their room.  It helps to keep everything in order and together.    

Low hung mirror. This helps children with concentration and coordination.  By watching their own movements, they observe the way they move through the world.    

Floor Bed.  This one may not be for everybody.  Many people who follow the Montessori principles believe a crib or toddler bed restricts independence or can make your child feel caged in.  Some children have no issue with a floor bed, while other children are up playing jack-in-the-box all night.  This is definitely something to experiment with though.  Just ensure every inch of your child’s room has been childproofed.  

And on that note…

Childproof the room to the best of your ability.  The less a child has to hear the word “no” the more likely they will be to explore and learn from their environment.  By eliminating items they should not play with or that pose any danger to them, you are setting them up for success in finding things that they can play with.

No broken toys or missing pieces. All activities should be in complete working order and appeal to as many of the child’s senses as possible. Engaging all senses encourages growth and exploration.   

A child-size table and chairs is a key element of a Montessori room,  You will want to have a place for the child to work on projects and play.  This area should ideally accommodate everyone.  

Maps and photographs of nature and other beautiful things placed at children’s eye-level.  Artwork, photographs and maps should all be hung low for the child to see.  

Starting with just a few of these elements can be very rewarding. Over time and as your child develops, you can incorporate more and more Montessori elements into your home.  Watching our children develop life skills and independence has been a truly wonderful experience for us.  

Esraa Bani-Rothman

Esraa Bani-Rothman

Founder & CEO at Moms Guide Abu Dhabi
aka, Expat Mom
Sudanese-American working mom of three. Free Spirit. Idea Curator. Her brain moves faster than her body can go. A laid back chic who walks around with that stereotypical hippie vibe.She is never afraid to give you her unsolicited opinion about gentle parenting. Esraa has been actively over-sharing her motherhood and parenting stories on social media since 2008.
Esraa Bani-Rothman

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