Every parent wants their kid to achieve great heights in life. The world is a tough, competitive place; parents try their best to prepare their children for excellence. The problem is that there is no formula for genius. Or is there?
The Montessori method, developed in the early 1900s, was designed to promote the mental growth of children. The method tended to promote independence, self-learning and holistic development. While it originally focused more on education, the method can be applied everywhere – including the nursery. A Montessori-inspired nursery can be pivotal in creating nurturing and stimulating environment for your toddlers. Here’s everything you must know to create it.
Key Design Elements for a Montessori-Inspired Baby Room
- Natural Materials: Natural materials are always the best choice for kids. However, in the Montessori method, they are even more important. Touch is a crucial sense that helps in children's early growth. While parents might be inclined towards buying objects made of plastic (as they are cheaper) or metal (as they are durable), they do not offer the same sensory experience. Instead, you should go with natural wood as much as you can. From furniture to toys, there is a lot you could do with wood. Fabric is another important natural material that can be part of your nursery. Also, you should remember that kids' furniture and beds made of natural material are non-toxic, non-volatile and much safer for kids.
- Neutral Colors: Like touch, vision is another crucial pillar of early learning. The world is beautiful due to all its bright colours – an understandable sentiment. However, a blast of colours could also overstimulate a child and prevent him from focusing on things. Hence, try using neutral colours like white, lemon yellow and peach. These colours are soothing to the eyes and do not distract the kid from the objects in the room. Another important colour theme is black-and-white. The most basic colours, black and white, help the kids to understand the depth and shapes much better.
- Accessibility: Accessibility is a key element in the Montessori method. After all, what good is promoting your child's movement if everything is out of their grasp? The nursery must be designed in a kid-accessible way for the method to work. Think of smaller closets with handles and rails that a toddler could easily reach. It would be best if you tried to make as many things at the same height level as your child as possible. However, ensure that unsafe things – like sharp objects and electricity outlets - should be well out of their reach.
Furniture Essentials for a Montessori-Inspired Baby Room
- Cribs or Floor Beds
The simplest solution is to use a flat mattress on the floor. However, if you want something fancier for your tot, you can go with floor beds. Floor beds are skeletal structures that provide the bare-minimum frame of a bed. The minimal wooden rails serve as support if you ever want to hang something. You can simply put a mattress on it, and the floor bed is ready. However, if you still prefer cribs, there is a possible middle ground: low-level cribs. These cribs are like regular cribs for the most part but are placed on the ground with low railings. This allows the toddlers to climb out of the crib when they want.
Here’s something you might have never considered in a nursery: mirrors. Believe it or not, mirrors play a significant role in the Montessori method. Mirrors offer an excellent chance for toddlers to look at themselves. They learn their movements and the cause-and-effect of their physical actions. This promotes the development of their motor skills much faster than an average kid. Furthermore, mirrors allow children to get familiar with their faces and body. While it is still inconclusive, some research has indicated that it could induce better body positivity as they grow up.
The mirrors are horizontal rather than vertical and are placed alongside the toddler bed. While it should ideally be the same length as the playmat, typical dimensions are 4 feet long and 1.5 feet high. Kids like to focus on shiny objects, so they prefer a mirror with a shiny/metallic finish. Lastly, you should prefer picking a longer mirror rather than a shorter one; the goal is that it should last you at least a few years.
- Shelves and Storages
Storage units are important in any nursery, so what’s the difference here? Generally, storage units are bought from the perspective of parents. From their utility to their heights, everything is as per your needs. It makes sense, too; if you use them, shouldn’t they be as per your preferences? However, in the Montessori method, all baby furniture in the room must be as per the child's requirements. This includes shelves and storage.
To begin with, the storage units, similar to kids' tables and chairs, need to be accessible to the toddler. The idea is that they should be able to crawl up to them and access them (including opening the drawers/doors of the shelves). They can learn to pick up their toys or clothes and put them back on the shelves as they grow up. This is an important goal of the method – teaching independence, responsibility and self-reliance.
The shelves and storage units, like the bunk beds for kids, should be short and the same height as the toddler. You don’t need big shelves; the Montessori method promotes minimalism, so there won’t be too many items to store in the kids' wardrobe. However, you can still have variety in nursery furniture, like toddler tables and chairs, kids' bookshelves, dressing tables etc.
- Movement Area
Perhaps the most important element of the Montessori method is the movement area. Remember, the method teaches your kids to move around and explore. To make this possible, having a spacious, safe and comfortable movement area is vital.
For starters, you must have the entire floor covered in a rug. Floors, even wooden ones, can be hard on a toddler's knees. Furthermore, any sharp object on the floor – like a nail or gravel – can hurt your kid. A soft rug makes crawling around comfortable and safe for your little one. If you can’t afford a rug, you can go with any old soft carpet to cover the entire room.
It is also important that there is enough movement area for the toddler. If they have to bump into something like study tables for kids every two steps, they will not like moving around. This is where minimalism comes into the picture. By reducing the clutter and only keeping the essentials around, you can save a lot of space for your kid's movement.
As parents, we want nothing more than to watch our kids grow into healthy, intelligent adults. But the journey of genius often must begin right from the very start. The Montessori method is a time-tested technique to promote the overall growth of a toddler. Everything in a Montessori-inspired nursery, from the kids' beds to the playing areas, aims to develop your precious toddler into the next Einstein. We hope the guide will inspire you to look into the method yourself and design the perfect home for your little genius.