Based on the principles of self-directed activity, hands-on learning, and collaborative play, Montessori is one of the most well-known and enduring educational philosophies. Central to the Montessori method is a prepared environment: the overall layout should be tidy, pleasing to look at, simple, and made for children, where each thing exists to aid their development.
Creating your own Montessori environment at home doesn’t have to require a huge investment or a home revamp – with these five simple tips, you can create a Montessori play space at home.
As many parents know, toys and books can accumulate over time, leading to a cluttered and disorganized play space – we’ve all been there! This overwhelming disarray can fracture your child’s attention and is not conducive to focused learning. Simply put, you don’t need to throw away a bunch of toys. Instead, you can put extra toys that you see your child growing bored of in storage and leave out only the new and familiar favorites.
Simplification also applies to the color scheme. Montessori spaces use more neutral colors than commonly found children’s play areas. An array of clashing, bright colors can be distracting and overstimulating. Instead, a more neutral color tone sets a soothing atmosphere that promotes concentration.
Simplifying ensures that the area is not only clean and tidy, but also that the space is highly valued. By seeing how everything serves a purpose, children learn how to respect their environment.
2. Rotate toys and books regularly
In the Montessori method, toy options are limited to create a focused environment for natural learning. Instead of dumping everything into a toy box, the process recommends placing just a few toys on open shelves and rotating them regularly. This way, you can pique your child’s interest without having to keep buying new toys (score!)
By offering fewer options, you can see which toys capture your child’s interest. If a toy on the shelf remains untouched for too long, then you can replace it with a new one.
3. Give everything a place
The Montessori philosophy responds to children’s “sensitive periods,” in which they are especially interested and able to learn new things. During this period, young children can grow attached to routine and repetition and can even show strong negative reactions when something is done the “wrong” way.
You can support your child’s desire for order by giving each thing a designated place. To do this, return toys to the same place on the shelf. Toys with multiple parts, such as puzzles or building blocks, can be put together in small baskets on the shelf. This layout is predictable and makes children feel calm when they always find things in the same spot. With your positive reinforcement and consistent, gentle reminders, even toddlers can return items to their rightful places.
4. Get low
Furniture in Montessori play spaces should be child sized. The toys should be kept on low shelves so that children can access them independently. Too many children’s rooms have artwork or photos at a height where children can’t see them. Make your environment child-centric by hanging artwork at your child’s eye level so they can enjoy it too!
For toddlers or older children, you can also include a child-sized table and chair so that they have the choice to play on the floor or at the table where they can draw or do puzzles.
5. Make it beautiful
Making the space attractive for your child is a core aspect of the Montessori environment. Many recent studies have shown that children learn best in uncluttered and more neutral spaces. Playrooms that are overly cartoonish filled with clashing colors can be distracting and disorienting.
For babies, you can include simple black and white pictures. For older children, you can hang images of nature, family photos, maps, or even their own artwork. You can also add plants into your space, which is a great way to get your child to care for nature while also improving the air quality.
With these five simple tips, you can create your own Montessori play space at home to enhance your child’s learning and development. Let us know if you try any of these recommendations by sharing your set-ups on social media and tagging us on Instagram using @us.jooki.rocks and hashtagging #jooki #jookirocks – we would love to see what you create!