I don’t claim to be a Montessori expert (yet! One day I hope…) but we are trying to raise and educate Frida in a Montessori way. One of the things you will find in all Montessori environments is low open shelving with developmentally-appropriate materials, objects, and work which children can help themselves to.
We have been moving things round a bit in Frida’s playroom (classroom?) and purchased a couple of IKEA Trofast units to form the basis of her storage. I have then arranged her shelves so that her “work” is on the most accessible shelves (right at the bottom), with her more traditional toys (Grimms cars, Holtztiger animals, wooden animal skittles and so on) are in baskets in the shelves above. She can still pull these out it’s just a bit harder!
I will aim to rotate the activities I put out for her on the bottom shelf at least once a month.
Currently on her work shelves:
Basket of jars containing wooden beads / lentils / rice. Frida loves taking these out of the basket, shaking them, observing them. The basket is also enjoyable for her to play with.
Grimms wooden stacking bowls. These have been a big hit since we bought them and I can see them being a popular fixture on her shelves. Currently she enjoys taking them apart but isn’t able to re-stack them.
Basket filled with wooden objects. I have collected together a wooden moose / Welsh love spoon / wooden spoon / twigs / wooden mushroom. She enjoys emptying these out of the basket and inspecting them.
Wooden pop-up toy. Although Frida hasn’t got the hang of making the little figures pop up, she is very drawn to this. The figures roll in a pleasing way too.
Global babies book. Frida is fascinated by photos, faces, and other babies, so I thought this would be the perfect combination. I love it!
Wooden sensory balls on an elastic. I will admit I have no idea what this is called! But Frida seems to enjoy handling them still – I thought she might be a little old for them but apparently not.
We also regularly get out her musical instruments (these are always a winner, she adores rattling and jingling and shaking)and she is currently enjoying balancing on her rocking moose which we found in a second hand shop (perhaps not very Montessori but she does like it), using her activity cube (another second hand find – great for standing practice and the bead maze is good for developing her motor skills), and also rummaging in her basket of soft toys (she always reaches for her little Waldorf-style baby).
I’m starting to plan what I will lay out for her next month. What is on your children’s shelves? Do they have any activities they return to over and over?