4 key steps to create a Montessori nursery
Creating your baby’s first bedroom can be as overwhelming as it is exciting. From equipment and furniture to a theme (or not), this is one area where you can direct all of the nervous energy that comes with being pregnant into something tangible.
The Montessori approach sees the baby’s first room not only as a fun space to personalize, but also as an important environment that can help shape your baby’s first experiences in the world.
Babies assimilate and absorb everything around them, so it naturally follows that the space where they spend the most time will influence how they see the world. Montessori-style nurseries all have something in common. They focus on simplicity, natural elements and encourage independent exploration. There is always room for so much creativity and you can certainly tailor your Montessori baby space to your home and budget.
These four simple steps can help you create a Montessori nursery where your little one will thrive:
Use visual simplicity
Montessori nurseries are calming and peaceful environments. They often have a fairly neutral color palette, emphasize natural light when possible, and use natural materials, such as wood and fabric, where possible. You will usually find a few carefully selected pictures hanging on the walls for the baby to see. These can be black and white images for newborns. Later images are often of nature or images of people. Even small Montessori baby spaces have plenty of empty space without clutter. This is both to give the baby room to move and explore, and to minimize visual distraction when a baby first experiences focused concentration. Montessori baby spaces often include living plants or animals, such as a small aquarium. When thinking about the aesthetics of the room, it helps to lie on the floor and consider how things are going to look from the baby’s perspective. You can have the prettiest photo hung up, but if it’s really tall at adult level, your baby might never notice.
Add movement zone + game
Most nurseries have a baby play area, but a Montessori play area is a little different. Montessori rooms always use children’s furniture. A nursery would have a very low shelf for a mobile baby to choose and store their own toys. Montessori nurseries also have far fewer toys than other baby environments. For a very young baby, there may be a shelf with four or five different items, each with a designated place on the shelf. This allows the baby to really see his options and choose one thing to focus his attention on. It also supports babies’ growing sense of order as they learn that they can always find a favorite toy in the designated spot. You can rotate the toys when you notice your baby is tired of something or thinks he is ready for a bigger challenge. Other common elements in a Montessori baby play space are a mirror and mobiles. A mirror is often hung horizontally, low on the wall of a nursery. This allows baby to see himself and the room when lying next to him. If you have any safety concerns, you can use shatterproof acrylic mirror. Their own thinking is often one of the very first things a baby will independently focus on. There is also a specific progression of Montessori mobiles designed to appeal to the growing interest and abilities of an infant. It starts with a very simple black and white mobile, and progresses to one that beautifully displays different shades of the same color. Next come the tactile mobiles, where the baby can reach and grab a bell or a ring attached to a piece of elastic. Each element of baby’s play area is designed to promote a relaxed state of focus where baby can independently explore his environment.
Montessori Newborn Play Kit
This ready-to-use kit offers a collection of development-friendly toys and tools as well as access to expert Montessori support.
Play at the gym
This simple wooden gymnasium lets you swap toys as they learn and grow.
Lovevery Play Gym
Designed by experts in child development, Lovevery’s Play Gym really has it all. Your child can use it from the day you bring them home until their first year. Made with sustainably sourced wood and baby safe materials, it is not only a valuable developmental tool for your child, but it looks great too. The gymnasium comes with several accessories to maintain the interests of your child through the different stages of his first year.
This simple, clean design is perfect for your little one’s space. The size of the shelf limits the number of toys that can be displayed at one time and everything can be neatly stored on their level.
Create a comfortable sleeping area
The Montessori sleeping area is perhaps the most different from a standard modern nursery. Many Montessori families use a floor bed instead of a cradle. It can be as simple as a low-to-the-floor mattress, although you can also purchase a floor-mounted bed. The floor bed allows newborns to visually explore their room without crib bars. It allows older, mobile babies to get in and out of bed on their own. Independence is a big part of Montessori, and that includes sleep. Sleep is such a personal subject, and different things work for different families. A floor bed can be something you’re comfortable trying out, but if it doesn’t work for you that’s okay, you can always incorporate Montessori into other elements of the environment. of your child.
Harper Orchard Solid Wood Floor Bed
This affordable option from Wayfair can be purchased in toddler or twin sizes, and can be easily personalized to match your child’s room decor.
Consider safety for exploration
Montessori baby spaces are completely baby proof from the start. This is especially important if you are using a floor bed, but even if you are not, it is good to have a space where your baby can play and explore without being constantly told ‘no’. Having a fully baby-proof nursery also gives you the freedom and confidence to encourage your baby to play independently at times, even if you have to leave the room. Because of their simplicity, Montessori baby-proof nurseries are generally quite straightforward. It can be helpful to hang a high shelf on the wall for all the adult items you need in the room. Montessori is much more of an approach to children than a particular material. No two Montessori cribs are the same as they have to be personalized to meet the needs of your family and baby. You can start with one aspect of a Montessori environment and experiment to see if it works for your family. It is not necessarily all or nothing. Using these Montessori principles as a starting point for designing your baby’s room can help you create a space that is not only beautiful, but that will encourage independence and confidence in your baby from the start.
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