By default, we see everything about our child’s growth and development through grown-up eyes. Oftentimes, it’s the adult perspective that decides what is best for kids. In the Montessori method, however, the kids’ point of view takes first place. The teachings of Dr. Montessori guides us parents and educators to approach their learning and development from their vantage point.
What does this mean? Is it even possible for grown-ups to shift perspectives? The simplest way to do this is by sitting down on the floor and taking a look around the room. Pretend you are a kid. At this height, what can you see? This simple exercise will let you explore what your kids see on a daily basis, and will give you a better idea of how they view the world around them.
Dr. Montessori’s core principles revolve around promoting independence and creativity. This is not limited to the classroom but can be applied even at home and elsewhere. She teaches us the importance of making sure our kids have enough space where all their needs are – quite literally – within their reach. This fosters self-care and independence at the earliest possible age.
With this idea in mind, the Montessori bedroom – or Montessori nursery for infants – has become quite a popular concept with parents. Let’s take a look at what makes this bedroom beneficial for our children.
What Is a Montessori Bedroom?
So what constitutes a Montessori bedroom? Conventional kids’ bedrooms will have a crib or bassinet while they’re still young, probably until their toddler years. The counterpart of this in the Montessori home is a floor bed.
The floor bed is aligned with several of the Montessori Method’s values:
- It promotes independence
- It fosters freedom of movement
- It empowers the child at a young age
- It shows more respect for the child
- It allows your kid to get in and out of their bed at the time of their choosing
- It teaches them the value of going to sleep, staying in bed, and waking up
Why We Chose a Montessori Style Bedroom For Our Toddlers
So we’ve enumerated the characteristics of the Montessori bed and the principles behind it. Now, let’s highlight the many advantages and benefits of choosing it over the traditional kiddie bed or crib.
Montessori parents understand that the goal of this approach is to help kids learn how to help themselves. That’s why there’s such a strong emphasis on teaching independence and self-care. There’s so much value in living in a household that ensures our children learn not just how to be independent but also how to be responsible for their own actions. The Montessori bedroom is the first step we can take as parents to help them down that path.
The bedroom allows them to reach everything that they want and need. Having a floor bed means it’s at their height and level, making it easy and convenient to hop into bed whenever they feel tired or need a break. They can learn how to change and dress because the clothes and drawers are at their level.
There are very few, if any, distractions in a Montessori bedroom. This means that during bedtime, they don’t get the temptation to stay up playing with toys or having screen time. Instead, they give in to their body’s innate rhythm. This teaches them sleeping cues that create a healthy sleeping pattern.
Toys in a Montessori bedroom allow for open-ended play, which means they can let their creativity and imagination fly. They aren’t limited as to how long they can entertain themselves with these toys. More importantly, their toys are educational as much as they are fun. They learn about mathematics, logic, problem-solving, patience, and other important life skills.
How to Set Up a Montessori-Style Toddler Bedroom
So how do you transform your kids’ bedrooms into ones worthy of a Montessori home? Here are some pointers to keep in mind.
Moving Up from Baby to Toddler
Transitioning to toddler age means that your child is seeing even more. There’s more to discover and explore. They can go to more rooms and areas in the house. They will actually go to the dining room during mealtime. They can play outside the confines of the crib or bassinet – probably in the backyard or garden if mommy or daddy is outside.
During these active years, the bedroom must be updated to be a space whose main purposes are sleeping, changing, and dressing. Of course, there’s no rule against using the Montessori bedroom as a space for learning, reading and playing. However, soon your child will learn on their own that it is just one part of their home with such purposes.
How to Furnish the Room
So what do we put in the bedroom? For families with babies, a comfortable nursing area is necessary. It’s wise to invest in a good quality nursing chair with an accompanying table for baby and mommy’s stuff.
If your child is big enough to sit on his or her own and can read and draw, you can ditch the nursing area and add his or her own table and chair. Other pieces you can add to add coziness to the room include a beanbag chair, a miniature rocker, or a bookshelf (at their level) with their favorite books.
The Montessori Floor Bed
Of course, the center of the room would have to be the bed. Floor beds promote freedom of movement, mobility, independence, and responsibility. Unlike cribs and bassinets, floor beds do not leave the decision of waking up or falling asleep to the hands of parents or guardians.
The important thing to remember is to rid the bed of pillows, blankets, stuffed animals, and bumpers if the child is under six months in age. Take care not to place the bed directly next to a radiator or air vent. Even with fostering independence, safety still takes top priority in Montessori bedrooms.
Toddlers and babies are very attracted to faces – even more so if they’re the faces of family members. Adding photos of friends and family in the room is a great idea for wall decorations. Of course, they’ll appreciate photos or designs that are colorful and geometric. Animal prints are a huge hit as well.
Just remember to keep your child’s perspective in mind every time you mount a photo or wall decoration. More importantly, use high-quality materials and tools when securing them to the wall. You won’t want anything toppling over.
Plenty of Space for Movement and Play
First things first: place a soft carpet or rug in the middle of the play area. Complement it with a storage shelf that is low-lying and at the level of your child’s height. Use this to keep their books and toys (without covering them or blocking the view).
If you have infants, make sure there are some photos of family members where their eyes can see. Add some colorful, attention-grabbing toys as well.
If your child is crawling or walking, have a handful of books on the shelf and a bunch of age-appropriate toys. Watch as your child explores and discovers these on their own, possibly spending hours with them.
Toy rotation is a big part of the Montessori approach. Rotate your kids’ books or toys every week or two. This keeps things new and fresh for them. You can keep things easy and convenient for you by storing the next toys and books in rotation in a clear bin or storage box behind a closet or nearby room with closed doors.
Look, Mum, I Did It!
Another main function of the bedroom is changing and dressing. Encourage your child’s ability to learn how to be responsible for these tasks by using the right furniture. A common choice in Montessori bedrooms is a dresser with a topper. It can keep both clothes and diapers in one place, saving valuable space. Just make sure that all of the essentials are accessible and at the level of your child.
If your child is under six months, do not leave them on their own. You can keep babies entertained by placing a grasping toy or rattle nearby. You can also safely secure an unbreakable mirror for them to check out.
As your kid grows, they become more mobile. This means they’ll be curious and check out more areas than ever before. Childproofing is vital even in Montessori homes. So replace heavy and tall drawers with child-friendly and age-appropriate cubbies. Add a lower rail in their cabinet or closet so they can choose clothes on their own.
Consider adding wall hooks that your child can reach. This lets them hang up daily items like coats and jackets independently. Self-care can be encouraged by hanging a mirror securely on the wall that’s within their eye level. Complete this with some accessories – such as a comb or hairbrush and tissues. If they find their hair messy or if they need to blow their noses, they can do it on their own with no problem.
Colorful and Illuminated
What about wall paint? A Montessori bedroom – similar to Montessori classrooms – has walls that are neutral in color. They are either plain white or painted with natural and calm hues. These colors promote calmness. More importantly, they let other items in the room such as photos, toys, books, and even artwork to catch children’s attention more easily.
In terms of lighting, go for warm and soft options. Minimize glare as much as possible. You can do this by adding blackout shades or dark and thick curtains along with the windows. This promotes a cozier environment conducive to bedtime or nap time.
Whether you’re a new parent or are just new to the Montessori Method, there is no better time than right now to learn more about this way of teaching and taking care of kids. You don’t have to wait until your kids are in school before teaching them about responsibility or independence. By simply turning their own bedroom into a safe, pro-learning, and fun space, they can discover the world and learn self-care and independence on their own.
Making the room accessible and reachable for them, quite literally, is the core of the Montessori bedroom. Replace the crib with a floor bed. Replace bulky and heavy closets with smaller and reachable cubbies. Add lower rails in closets. Add wall hooks. Make toys and books within their reach. Secure a wall at their eye level. Allow them to explore and discover the world on their own.
Hopefully, this post has been helpful with your transitioning to a Montessori home. Don’t be overwhelmed if there’s too much information. Take things slowly and at your own pace. This is a positive change, and if it’s right for you, you can expect great things for you and your children.
Did we miss anything? Share your personal experiences and advice about your own Montessori bedroom with us in the comments section!