Image by Montessori Method
The Montessori approach to learning is one that many parents try to adopt with their toddlers and children. There is hope that this will improve their ability to develop independently and teach them important concepts through interesting toys.
However, you don't have to wait around to take advantage of the Montessori methods. It is also possible to create a Montessori nursery to promote this style of development from day one.
What Is the Montessori Approach?
If you are new to the concept of Montessori learning and education for kids, the basic premise here is that kids get the chance to grow and develop in a soft, safe, and nurturing environment.
There is an emphasis on a natural bedroom with a minimalist approach so that children get just what they need and no more. It is all about gentle, effective transitions from birth through their infant years and giving them the chance to develop at the right pace.
Image by The Kavanaugh Report
There should be no obstacles in the way of adaptation and development, which is why parents adopt this “less is more” approach.
At the same time, by focusing on the right items in the right spaces, parents also allow children the chance to develop at a natural pace and gain confidence in themselves.
With the right balance, parents can create a nursery that is soothing and aesthetically pleasing while also providing the right tools for independent learning.
Image by How We Montessori
Creating a Montessori Nursery for Your Baby
This is all easier said than done when the Montessori approach to a baby's nursery goes against so many concepts we typically associate with a child's nursery.
The best thing to do is to let go of any conventional ideas of what a nursery “should be” and allow yourself to follow your instinct on what your child will truly benefit from in their nursery. Also, planning ahead will give you time to play around with concepts, figure out the best layout for the room, and then get the right pieces of furniture and other items.
Image by Living Montessori Now
A bonus to planning ahead is that the sooner you explain the idea to friends and family, the better your chances of getting appropriate items at a baby shower.
It is important to consider the following when creating the perfect Montessori baby room.
- The visual appeal of the room and items from a baby's perspective
- Mirrors, posters, decals, and other visual elements
- The use of natural materials where possible
- Simple shelving and furniture that promotes independent learning
- A separate play area
- A floor bed
- Baby-proofing at all times for a safe environment
Typically speaking Montessori baby rooms are light, neutral, and simple, with a focus on natural elements. The focus on the visual appeal of the space is from the perspective of the child.
Image by Rebelle Kitchen
Therefore, you have to put yourself in their (teeny tiny) shoes. It is far too easy to decorate a nursery from a parent's point of view because we feel that we are the ones making the most of the space.
However, decorations and visual elements to a nursery can encourage development for your child from an early age. The little details end up mattering in a Montessori nursery. Things such as the position of objects or decorative features in the room make up the Montessori feel and usefulness of an infant’s room.
Key pieces of wall art should be in a position for babies to see them from their beds or the floor as opposed to being hung higher up for the adults walking in the room.
The same goes for any other decals, paintings, posters, or decorations in that room.
Posters, decals, and mirrors that offer visual stimulation
From there, you also need to consider the images and colors used in those visual elements.
High contrast black and white images are best for newborns as they are better able to focus on the shapes with their newly developing eyesight.
Image by Montessori Rocks
Another consideration for visual appeal is a mirror. Mirrors teach babies about their reflection and give them something fun to interact with. This could be a small mirror on a mobile or a larger wall mirror, mounted at just the right height on the floor.
Use natural materials wherever possible
Natural materials are preferable in any Montessori room because of their tactile nature, visual appeal, and safety.
It is much nicer for children to have natural materials to interact with than harsh plastic toys. Artificially smooth plastic toys don't offer the same sensory experience.
Image by Montessori In Real Life
Wooden toys, like blocks and puzzles, feel a lot nicer in the hand and are a great timeless option. Also, you can explore different fabric elements in the room since varying fabrics can provide different textures, design elements, and tactile experiences for the child.
There are lots of ways that you can bring these materials into a child's bedroom. The furniture is a good starting point, with soft sanded wood and safe treatments.
Image by Retro Sparks
Toys and fabric-covered books are always fun to play with.
Also, look out for mobiles and play gyms that offer a combination of natural materials, such as wooden teething toys and rings, fabric braids, and soft fleece toys.
Don't put too much furniture or other items in the room
Simplicity also means a need for a "less is more" approach to furniture and other items in the room.
You don't want too much stimulation or anything that will make it difficult for babies to explore as they crawl around. That is because movement is another important factor in Montessori nurseries.
Image by Oh Happy Play
Babies should have the freedom to move around and interact with things in their room to encourage motor skills and independent learning. This doesn't mean that you are completely leaving the child on their own to play, but it does mean that you aren't constantly doing everything for them.
One suggestion here is to create a small shelf of a few favored items that babies can pick up and play with on their own. The shelf provides a neat, accessible home for these toys where children can learn that everything they need has its place in their room. They are free to pick them up and play with them, and even to put them back at the end of their playtime.
Image by Sandwich Montessori School
This sense of independence and reasoning should prove advantageous for ongoing childhood development.
Many parents use small pieces of wooden furniture with a couple of shelves and a surface on the top. This provides plenty of room for essential items, and the chance to rotate the order of the toys sometimes.
Less is more here.
You don't want to cram the shelves full of things and overwhelm the child. You could have a few toys of different styles, a couple of sensory books, and a soft toy on there.
Image by Lifetime Montessori School
Kids can see and recognize each individual object and make their choice. The surface on the top could also act as a play area for kids once they can pull themselves up and stand, as long as it is an appropriate height and the furniture is sturdy enough to not tip over.
This could be a great place to set up some baby-friendly puzzles or wooden blocks to play with.
Common items that encourage movement are the Montessori mobiles and play gym. These toys allow kids the chance to reach and grab different toys and moving parts with various textures and responses.
There may also be teething rings, rattles, and more.
Image by This Little Nook
The Montessori approach would allow for a simple, wood and fabric play gym in an appropriate corner of the playroom. A permanent installation like this, with enough space to move around it, would then encourage children to crawl to their favorite toy and play independently, rather than having to call on you to set it up all the time.
Emphasis on separate areas
The Montessori method focuses on having particular areas set up for a single purpose. A play area for independent learning is one such area.
Another is the sleeping area. Most conventional nurseries have a cribs. However, the Montessori method goes against this convention since a crib restricts a baby’s natural movement around their room.
Image by Montessori Method
A floor bed is an interesting alternative solution where children have a comfortable place to sleep, without the bars getting in their way.
This again promotes independence by allowing babies to roll, scoot around, and play whenever they want to. The idea is that children won't make such a fuss at night, will continue their personal development in their own way, and learn to sleep as they need to in a comfortable manner.
Some new parents worry that the independent feel of a Montessori nursery and idea of personal exploration would increase the risks of accidents.
This doesn't have to be the case as long as you create a room that is completely safe from the start. Everything at child-level must be child friendly.
All items in the child’s room should be for the purpose of the child’s development. Of course, there will be items, such as a baby monitor, that will need to be placed out of reach of the child and the plug hidden behind a secured cabinet or other furniture.
Image by The Birth Hour
The use of soft wood and fabric should allow for a safer environment.
Always make sure that there are rounded edges and sanded surfaces with no risks of splinters. If opting for painted items, make sure any paint or treatments are non-toxic.
Use outlet covers, child locks, and fences wherever necessary to keep your child safe while still allowing them the independence to explore their space on their own.
It also helps to have a gate on the doorway of the bedroom. That way, kids can sleep, play, or do other activities while you keep an eye on them with the door open, but they can't then decide to crawl away and explore another room.
The topponcino is a great addition
You can think of the topponcino as your baby’s first prepared environment. The mat is a soft, padded comfort item that babies can rest on whenever and wherever they need it.
It travels with them, cradling them as they sleep, play, or even feed. This consistency allows for a level of support and peace of mind that you don't always get with blankets and other mats.
The soft texture and use of natural materials mean that this mat fits in brilliantly with the Montessori aesthetic.
With the factors of simplicity, security, and independence ingrained in the Montessori method, the topponcino is the perfect addition to any baby's first bedroom.
The topponcino also retains your smell and heat so that babies still feel close to you when laying on the topponcino in their room even if you are not physically holding the infant.
The topponcino can be used as extra cushioning around your child’s floor bed or as an alternative to a comfort blanket. It also works brilliantly as a mat under a baby gym or in other play and development areas of the room.
Creating the Perfect Montessori Nursery at Home
There is a lot to consider when creating a nursery that takes on the Montessori values and allows for independent development in a safe, natural, and minimalist environment.
You can take as many or as few of these ideas as you like to find what works for you.
If you want to just focus on natural products and lower all the decorations, while keeping more conventional furniture, that's fine. If you want to go with a floor bed, new shelving, and child sized furniture, that's fine too.
Take your time to plan out the room and find what fits for you, your family, and your Montessori approach.
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