Create a Montessori Room That Will Grow With Your Baby
At its heart, a Montessori room is a calm, inviting place that inspires children to learn through play. Designed to spark creativity without limits, it teaches independence and self-confidence right from the start. Developed by Italian physician Maria Montessori, the main idea is that kids learn and thrive when they engage with activities they’re naturally drawn to. Given a thoughtfully-prepared room, children can explore their interests at their own pace. Your little one can benefit from these Montessori principles at home, whether you embrace them all or pick and choose what works for your family. Here’s how to create a Montessori room that will grow with your baby.
Table of Contents
- What is a Montessori Nursery?
- What are the five principles of Montessori education?
- How to make a Montessori baby room?
- What does a Montessori bedroom look like?
- Is Montessori good for infants?
- What are the benefits of a Montessori baby room?
What is a Montessori Nursery?
With a focus on beautiful, minimalist design, it’s inspired by the five pillars of the Montessori method. Just like in the classroom, a Montessori nursery is set up from your child’s point of view. The goal is to build a space that’s safe, neat and set up with all of your nursery must-haves. Start simply, then adapt the space at every milestone to transition into the toddler and preschool years.
Here are the four main areas of a Montessori nursery room:
- Dining: Whether you’re breastfeeding or using a bottle, choose a cozy chair to feed your little. Let’s be honest, you’ll spend a lot of time here, especially when your infant cluster feeds, is teething or goes through a growth spurt. A nursing pillow supports your little one to sleep - plus it’ll save your posture.
- Sleeping: A cuddly area for your little one to read and sleep. As they grow, toddlers will naturally curl up and read on a blanket, explore its design and characters or use it to master fort-making with sofa cushions.
- Clothing: A low hanging closet and cubbies where your little one gets dressed and ready for the day.
Activity: A small selection of toys and games chosen purposefully to teach different age-appropriate concepts.
What are the five principles of Montessori education?
Instead of teaching facts and figures, the Montessori style nurtures every child's unique interests within an organized environment.
- Respect and kindness. Students are offered choices to self-direct their learning, and given uninterrupted time to tackle projects.
- Young minds are eager. Children are always learning from their surroundings.
- There are times when learning comes easy. Teachers watch for these growth seasons, then offer up tools for students to master new skills.
- Children thrive in a prepared environment. They learn best in a child-centered space where they’re free to explore and choose what they learn.
- Auto-education. Children are able to teach themselves when we give the right inspiration and encouragement.
How to make a Montessori baby room?
A Montessori baby room promotes your little’s need to move without restriction in a safe environment where they’re immersed in play. This is often referred to as a ‘yes’ space - an entire room or enclosed area where they can touch, move and explore without being stopped or told ‘no’.
Create a Montessori room in your home with these hallmarks in mind:
- Curate consciously. Too many options can overwhelm young minds, so carefully select what’s on display based on age and development. Less is definitely more. Rotate toys every couple weeks, select only a few books and pack everything else away in a separate room.
- Keep it clean. When given a simple, well-organized environment that’s free from clutter and mess, your little one thrives. Encourage your child to know where everything lives by organizing toys in categories, and teaching them to put things back in their proper place.
- Age-appropriate toys. Though your newborn won’t be reaching for things just yet, the time will come (and pretty quickly, too). Start by hanging a mobile to get your little one’s eyes gazing up and engaged with playful characters and shapes. The Magical Forest mobile features deer and rabbits handmade in 100% wool to teach your little about animals early, with handmade stitching for tiny hands to explore sensory touch.
- Baby proof early. Starting very young, everything that’s safe for them to explore should be within your little one’s reach. In an open-ended environment (that means no rules!), curious minds are keen to explore. Cover electrical plugs, secure large furniture (or opt out entirely) and never leave small toys, blankets or any choking hazards in sight.
- Low shelving and storage. Place a few toys on a low-height shelf for your toddler to grab what they gravitate toward, and arrange board books, soft dolls and stuffies in Pom Pom Minis. Tuck away extra clothing in hideaway storage under a dresser to keep the space clean. You can also use an inviting, forward-facing shelf to display book covers for toddlers to choose from - like a magazine rack.
- Artwork and wall decor. Hang art and family photos low so your little can really see them, but they should still be out of reach for safety. Choose engaging and educational images for your Montessori room, like a garden in bloom, colorful shapes or an illustrated alphabet. Wallpaper that’s simple but adds dimension like the Into the Wild print doubles as a teaching tool, featuring 32 animals from around the world. Since it’s removable, you can create a temporary feature wall or change up the pattern as your little grows.
- Self-care station. We want to empower children to take charge and gain independence early. Before you know it, your little one will be eager to comb their own hair, brush their teeth and make silly faces in the mirror. Hang low hooks for toddlers to hang up their clothes independently. Fold clothing neatly in Pom Pom Pints - vivid shades like mauve, marigold and sage stand out - so your little can dress themselves.
- All-natural toys and decor. Most Montessori toys are made of wood and can be played with in many ways. Think vibrant colors, varied textures and dynamic shapes. Rattles, stacking blocks, lacing beads and an object permanence box are a few popular Montessori-style toys. Tactile decor like quilted playmats and three dimensional rugs made of safe, natural fibers like 100% wool all promote sensory touch. And they look beautiful, too.
- Encourage mobility. Whether it’s a pull-up bar for your infant or a climbing triangle with all the bells and whistles, these are popular additions to help your child gain muscle strength and mobility while having fun. Since a climbing triangle poses some risk unsupervised, we recommend bringing it into the room and storing it elsewhere (most models fold up and can be easily tucked away).
- Safe sleep space. Whether it’s a bassinet, crib or floor bed, follow safe sleep guidelines at every age and always keep the bed free of items that might restrict movement. Use sleep bags in different TOG ratings for the first 18 months, fitted crib sheets, keep your nursery at the ideal temperature and only introduce blankets and stuffed animals once your toddler is old enough. If you choose a floor bed, aka a mattress on the ground, toddlers and older children can literally roll out of bed and explore independently.
- Practical play. Little ones naturally want to play copycat. They’re drawn to the same activities they see parents doing - like washing dishes and prepping food. The Montessori method favors teaching children the tasks of daily life with real cleaning and cooking supplies instead of a smaller play kitchen and toy cleaning set. With safety in mind, there’s plenty of opportunities to get hands dirty in the kitchen - peeling bananas, pouring pre-measured ingredients into a bowl, stirring or simply fetching what you need.
- Musical instruments. A few baby and child-sized instruments are pivotal teaching tools, so choose rattles, maracas, xylophones, drums and tambourines. A Montessori baby room takes full advantage of stimulating all five senses.
What does a Montessori bedroom look like?
A Montessori room is, above all, a beautiful space with soft lighting and just the right amount of furniture and toys. Environment affects mood, and we want your little one to feel secure and relaxed. The space promotes calm and welcomes creativity.
Here’s a few Montessori room ideas to consider:
- With a neutral palette, paint walls in muted tones that help brightly colored toys and artwork really pop.
- Elements of the natural world like wooden toys, wool rugs and organic cotton sheets are all key.
- Adding plants to the windowsill brings the natural world indoors.
- Blackout blinds encourage deep sleep, especially during sensitive periods when infants and toddlers may wake more easily.
- Giving less options encourages your little to focus deeply on play and problem-solving. Avoid anything that brings a sense of clutter and chaos, like too many toys, messy books and noisy electronics.
We already live in a hyperstimulated world, and delaying exposure to anything that overloads your little one’s nervous system and developing brain is really important in a Montessori bedroom. Creating a relaxed ambience will make all the difference.
Is Montessori good for infants?
The Montessori environment has benefits right from birth. Infants safely discover new things and feel a sense of freedom to explore during tummy time, engaging with art and mobiles or learning to crawl. A Montessori room catered to infants is called nido, meaning “nest” in Italian. All the warmth, love and connection felt in the womb now translates to the living space. Soft rugs and muted colors create a peaceful vibe so little ones feel calm and cozy. Furniture that supports infant growth is also recommended, like pull-up bars and mirrors, as your child can observe how their body moves, learn to sit on their own and eventually stand with confidence.
What are the benefits of a Montessori baby room?
Children pick up leadership skills, and gain independence and self-confidence early on in a Montessori baby room. They learn they’re capable of being self-sufficient. These are valuable lessons that support them throughout their lives. It can help your child grow into a capable, confident adult who’s a self-motivated learner. Recent studies have shown the benefits of a Montessori education on adult well-being. Since parents are the first teachers, applying these concepts to the home environment has its benefits too.
Even if your child isn’t attending Montessori school, they can benefit from introducing its core philosophies early. Especially in the first 3 years marked by major development stages, learning begins at home. The deep concentration young minds experience in Montessori is similar to a mindfulness practice. It teaches your little to remain calm, self-regulated and aware of their mood, which is crucial in the years often referred to as the terrible twos.
Children are most motivated to learn when they seek out information that’s meaningful to them. In a Montessori room, your little one’s interests are nurtured - they can truly let their imagination run wild - as adults resist the urge to intervene or micro-manage.
Parenting is a balancing act. As soon as you get in a rhythm with your child, they’ll remind you they’re unpredictable by nature. There’s a whole lot of growth in the first few years of life, so remember you can always switch things up as you go.
Whether you start out with a Montessori nursery before baby’s arrival, or adopt a few elements of a Montessori room in the toddler years, there’s no rule that says any parenting style should be followed to a tee. As always, trust your instincts and remember that you know your baby best.
Frequently Asked Questions
Since 90% of brain development happens before the age of 5, ages 0-6 are thought to be the best years to start Montessori. Whether you’re sending your little one to Montessori school or not, you can try the principles at home at any age with key Montessori room ideas. Some programs start as young as 8 weeks, while most Montessori schools begin at 2.5-3 years when toddlers are rapidly developing new skills.
Dr. Montessori wasn’t against fantastic and imaginative play, but she argued it should be balanced with real-world experiences that pique a child’s natural interests. Young children can’t decipher between fantasy and reality, so the focus of this method is to encourage practical life activities and education through skill building.
Depending on the child’s ability, you can introduce a Montessori floor bed as soon as they are able to sit up and move around on their own. That could be as early as 6-8 months, or you may want to wait until your little one reaches 1-2 years. As long as the sleep area is safe, it’s up to you whether you transition to a floor bed.
Play with a newborn might look like cuddles, tummy time, high contrast flash cards, or mobile gazing. Since newborns sleep up to 18 hours daily, pay attention to when they’re alert and can benefit from play. Smile and make faces, read stories, and sing songs. Your newborn needs a few tummy time workouts throughout the day. Start with a few minutes and work up to longer stretches as they grow.
- Rainbow sensory ball
- Teether and rattle
- Object permanence box
- Stacker (ring or blocks)
- Wooden puzzle
- Bead lacing
- Race track
- Climbing triangle and balance board