Have you considered a Montessori nursery design for your little one’s bedroom?
Montessori-styled nurseries are simplified, yet cozy and practical. They can easily turn into your child’s favorite space.
But most of all, they are surprisingly easy to set up. And this is how.
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How To Create A Montessori Nursery In 5 Easy Steps
What is Montessori?
If you’re a new parent you may have heard of Montessori but thought it is far too complicated, expensive, and maybe even trendy.
In reality, however, the Montessori method is none of the above.
The first Montessori school was opened back in 1907 by Maria Montessori, the first female doctor in Italy. The main goal was to raise kids into confident and autonomous adults, which was quite progressive for her time.
Although Montessori is a pedagogical method, taught in children’s establishments, nowadays many parents also practice it at home.
Because it’s easy, effective, and it has the child’s best interests in mind.
Montessori basic principles
Still not sure what Montessori is all about? Here are the main principles you need to know.
- Respect for the child
As trivial as this sounds today, this wasn’t such a common idea in the early 20th century. According to the method, the child should be respected by allowing them to make their own (reasonable) choices and pick the interests they want to focus on.
- Absorbent mind
According to Maria Montessori, in the first 6 years, children are able to absorb and learn from their environment. She called this period “the absorbent mind”.
- Sensitive periods
The Montessori method suggests that there are periods when the child is more prone to learn certain skills, and it’s the teacher’s role to recognize these periods in each individual child and guide them into learning the new skill.
- Hands-on approach
The Montessori method encourages learning through experience instead of listening to a lecture from the teacher. Therefore, the materials are designed to encourage the kids to learn on their own from touch and exploration.
Self-education is the keystone of the Montessori pedagogical method. As mentioned, the role of the teacher is to recognize the sensitive periods and encourage and guide the child. After that, with the right materials and environment, the child should be able to educate themselves.
How to create a Montessori nursery at home
Now that you’re more familiar with the method, its principles, and its benefits, let’s talk about how can you create a Montessori nursery in your own home.
Having your nursery designed with the Montessori method in mind will help your baby or toddler grow into a more confident and autonomous child.
Step # 1: Harness the power of natural colors
The environment is a very important factor in Montessori education, and in room design, it all starts with the colors.
Bright and colorful palettes are fun and cute, but they can also overstimulate your child. A Montessori bedroom, on the other hand, should be painted in natural or neutral colors.
Natural colors provide a soothing effect, help concentration, and keeping focus. For maximum effect, make sure that there’s also plenty of natural light in the room.
If you need some inspiration, Benjamin Moore offers a great selection of nursery paint colors in soft, neutral tones.
Step # 2: Leave the mattress on the floor
Have you seen the gorgeous house-framed beds that are all the rage right now? They are a great example of a Montessori floor bed.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed but with these trendy beds, the mattress is placed right on the floor. As weird as this may sound for a child’s bed, there are good reasons why this is a must for every Montessori nursery. Here are some answers to common questions you may be wondering.
What are the benefits of floor beds?
The main benefit of a floor bed is that it specifically encourages independence.
The child is able to get in and out of bed on their own and they are free to explore whenever they feel like it without having to wait for a parent.
What age are they suitable for?
Floor beds are largely advertised for toddlers. According to the Montessori method, however, you can switch from crib to floor bed when the baby becomes more active, i.e. 6 to 10-months-old.
Some parents make the transition even as early as the third month.
Still, keep in mind that according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, if your child is under 2 years old, you should use a firm crib mattress when setting up your floor bed.
Are floor beds safe for kids?
Yes, floor beds are completely safe for infants and toddlers. Even if they roll out of bed, they won’t hurt themselves because of the bed’s low height.
However, if you worry that your infant may roll over and won’t be able to climb back on their own, installing crib rails is always an option.
Is the house frame part of the Montessori method?
No, the house frame is just adding a nice touch to your room design and allows you to decorate the bed so it’s more appealing to the child. Think about lights, canopy, garlands, and anything else that comes to your mind.
Step # 3: Create a movement and play area
A Montessori nursery should provide plenty of space for play and exploration. Typically this is done by setting up a movement and play area.
The area should be spacious and light enough, so your child doesn’t feel pressured. You can use a corner of the room that gets natural light during your child’s active periods.
Here’s a list of the common items you should consider including in your movement and play area.
Whether your child is just getting the grasps of rolling over or is already walking around, a playmat allows them to have a safe and comfy area where they can explore and practice their new skills.
For a Montessori nursery, pick a playmat that is made of natural materials and avoid bright colors.
You can recognize a Montessori baby gym by the lack of flashy toys and bright colors. Instead, they are made of natural wood and feature wood and cotton toys.
The toys are all made of non-toxic materials and paint so you don’t have to worry if your little one tries to taste them. Of course, supervision is recommended at all times.
By the way, did you know that once your baby outgrows the activity gym, you can use it as a hanger for their clothes? We’ll discuss that more below.
The mirror encourages their social, physical, and cognitive development, as well as sparks their curiosity and imagination. It is, therefore, a must for any nursery, Montessori or not.
When designing your Montessori nursery for a baby, the mirror should be placed horizontally on the floor right next to the playmat or baby gym. If you have a toddler or a preschooler, on the other hand, place it vertically so they can use it when they dress up or during pretend play.
When you pick up a mirror for your nursery, make sure you opt for a shatter-proof acrylic mirror to avoid any accidents. Bonus points if it can be installed both horizontally and vertically, so you don’t have to replace it when your baby starts walking.
Inspiring a love for reading and learning is a keystone of the Montessori philosophy. Thus, having an accessible bookshelf where the kid can choose the book they want to “read” is highly recommended for every Montessori nursery.
What kind of bookshelf you’re going to place depends on your preferences, budget, and the space you have available. Here are the three most popular options:
- High-end wooden Montessori bookshelf. These bookshelves are made of natural wood and provide plenty of room for all your kid’s favorite books.
- Budget-friendly wood and canvas bookshelf. Canvas bookshelves are usually a bit smaller than the wood-only variety, but they still offer enough space for dozens of children’s books.
- Reading nook. My personal favorite, although unfortunately, I don’t have the space to fit one of these at home. You can place all the books on the low open shelves and then let your toddler lie comfortably on the cushions with a book of their choice.
Low open shelves
Speaking of low open shelves, you absolutely need one of these for your Montessori nursery.
Because the child should be able to choose and access the toys and activities on their own. Luckily, any low open shelf could do, so you don’t have to spend a fortune on this one. However, if you want something stylish to complement the rest of the nursery, choose a wooden classroom-type open shelf.
Pro Tip: Don’t leave too many toys out at the same time. Pick and display a few on the shelves and put away the rest. You can then rotate them regularly. This will keep the play corner less cluttered and your child will be excited when they see the “new” toys come out.
There is no shortage of Montessori toys available on the market. So I’m going to share with you just a few of my personal favorites that you can place in the nursery.
- Sensory bin toolkit. Sensory bins provide hours of exploratory fun for toddlers and preschoolers, and with a kit such as this one you only need some low-cost fillers. The possibilities are truly endless.
- A multi-function stacking toy. Every little kid needs a stacking toy to develop their fine motor skills and logical thinking, but did you know that there are also stacking toys that feature counting, sorting, and learning shapes and colors?
- The rainbow stacker. You’ll see a wooden rainbow stacker in pretty much every Montessori bedroom. They are more than just great room decor though. They boost the child’s imagination and provide multiple opportunities for creative play.
- Musical toys. Yes, they can be noisy in the hands of infants and toddlers, but musical instruments are also great for the child’s hand-eye coordination, creativity, and musical sensitivity. Plus you can get them a set that has everything you’ll ever need.
Step # 4: Pick accessible furniture
We’ve covered the sleep and play area, but as we mentioned, the Montessori pedagogical method is all about encouraging independence.
This means that you’ll also need a table with a couple of chairs and a changing area.
Ideally, they should all be kid-sized.
Having a large wardrobe and and a large dresser of drawers is functional and you will probably still need one for storage. However to be able to pick their own clothes and make dressing up fun, you also need to give them a chance to pick out their outfit without taking everything from the wardrobe on the floor first.
By setting up a clothing rack where you have previously prepared a few outfits they can choose from.
If you still want to go for a nursery closet or nursery dresser, think about an open-shelf model with a low-hanging rack they can reach.
Step # 5: Simplify the décor
According to the Montessori method, a child’s room needs to be a place of peace and comfort, without the overwhelm of bright colors, flashy toys, and electronics such as TV. The space needs to be simple, clean, and organized.
Having a simplified nursery doesn’t mean that all decor is not allowed.
On the contrary, unique accessories and wall decor are a great way to add a finishing touches to the room. Here are a few ideas you can try:
- Place nursery artwork on eye level. Let your kid enjoy the prints as much as you do. You can place them over the bed or the shelves. For best results, choose pieces with soft and warm colors or watercolor techniques.
- Family pictures. You can place a few family photos in frames on the wall. However, for safety reasons, you may want to replace the glass with plexiglass to avoid any accidents.
- A touch of nature. Add a natural element to your nursery by adding flowers in a shatter-proof vase or setting up a basket with natural materials they can play with. depending on their age, these could be flowers, pinecones, rocks, shells, etc.
- Organize in baskets or bins. Don’t let extra toys, supplies, or materials just lay around the room. Organize them in bins like these and show your child how to put them back once they’re done.
Next, check out this Earth Tone Nursery that gives us ALL of the simple, boho, neutral vibes!
Thank you to Nadia, mom of two, Montessori enthusiast, and blogger at Momsdailydairy.com, for sharing this information with us today.