Montessori furniture pieces are home items inspired by the teachings of Dr. Maria Montessori. These items are kid-sized pieces of furniture that are designed to nurture self-reliance in your child. This includes products such as tables and chairs, bedroom shelves, and even kitchen items.
Montessori furniture isn’t just about how tall or short the product is. When you incorporate Montessori’s educational structure into your home life, you want to ensure that your child will benefit emotionally, cognitively, and socially as they learn to use the furniture. Continue reading to learn more about what Montessori furniture is and how to find and use it.
Best Montessori Beds
Your child’s Montessori experience surrounding their bed should be focused on two main elements:
- Accessibility (just like the shelf)
- Independence, specifically because they should not have to depend on either parent to help them into or out of bed
- Note: Sleeping alone is already a challenge for many children. You want to give them as much autonomy as possible in their bedtime routine to ease their experience of sleeping alone. This may be difficult for parents that are co-sleepers, and, again, you will need to take your child’s specific personality into account when selecting their bed design. While some children may respond positively to this facet of the Montessori lifestyle, others have trouble with the level of freedom it provides.
When choosing a Montessori bed, ensure that it is short enough for your child to climb into and out of without help. As mentioned above, they should not depend on you for this aspect of their bedtime routine.
Remember that the height should enable them to reach all corners of their mattress while cleaning up, too, as you should be teaching them how to make their bed on their own. You don’t want to make this step of their maintenance and clean-up any more difficult than it should be, so ease the process with a reasonable height and width.
The best Montessori beds, according to age, are as follows (Source: The Good Estate):
- Infants: You and your baby should both feel safe and secure with a floor-height mattress.Note: When your baby learns to crawl, you can raise the bed slightly to a “low bed.” This allows them to begin learning how to freely crawl in and out of bed with as much freedom and safety as possible.
- Toddlers: These heights will vary as your child develops new physical capabilities. Of course, you shouldn’t make your child jump in and out of bed just because they’ve learned how to. However, you will need to increase the bed’s height when they transition from crawling to walking.
- Kids: At this stage, you can begin providing your child with the freedom to express themselves in their bedroom. You can incorporate bed canopies or get a “cubby” or “teepee” style to jumpstart their imagination.
Allow your child to exercise control over when they are ready to sleep (within reason). For this, you can give them access to specific toys and books before bedtime; ideally, those that help them wind down for the day. (For example, silent toys such as building blocks are great options, as they do not provide too much stimulation that might keep your child awake.)
Best Montessori Highchair
Many parents opt for a Montessori table to guide their baby through the weaning process. However, a highchair can work just as well. The guiding principles will remain the same and will manifest in the following features:
- Adjustability: You should be able to adapt the seat as your child grows for both comfort and safety in posture (the footstool should be adjusted as needed).
- Removable tray: Ideally, you should be able to pull your child up to the table with you and the rest of the family so that they can eat alongside everyone else.
- Accessibility: Eventually, your child should be able to climb into the highchair themselves with minimal hassle.
Best Montessori Kitchen
Families spend a lot of time in the kitchen. It is one of the main hubs of creative freedom, where both adults and children can express themselves in fun, exciting, and inventive ways. Thus, it is one of the perfect places for toddlers, adolescents, and teens alike to discover their autonomy and innovative capacities.
To practice Montessori in the kitchen, like all rooms, you’ll need to start with child-sized furniture. Specifically, you’ll need a table and chair that are perfectly suited to your child’s body, especially their height.
Keep the following in mind as you design your kitchen (Source: Montessori Life):
- Tables: According to experts in the AMS, the tabletop should not exceed 14 inches in height for your child to sit comfortably.
- Chairs: There are chairs specifically designed by Dr. Maria Montessori, which you can identify by the slatted seats. These are intended to be very lightweight, perfect for your child to pick up and move around as they see fit, yet strong enough to provide support while sitting.
- Table settings: Allow your child to learn how to properly set the table by providing them with the components of a standard place setting. For Stephanie Woo, this included:
- A pitcher*
- A bin for cleaning
*When collecting your kitchen items, don’t be afraid to buy real glass. Woo noted that giving your child real glass for their table setting gives them the chance to experience real, genuine consequences if they fail to handle their belongings carefully. When they experience the sound and sight of shattered glass for the first time, they will undoubtedly learn to be more mindful of their kitchen conduct from then on.
Any time there is a spill or broken dishes, instruct your child to use the plastic bin, which, ideally, you will have stored underneath the table for accessibility. Additional kitchen materials, such as napkins, placemats, and utensils, should all be stored in a designated cabinet for your child to access on their own. (Avoid having them store their items in drawers, as this may discourage or hinder them from locating critical kitchen tools later on.)
The incorporation of Montessori furniture is focused on multiple facets of your child’s development. As you shop for these items, remember that you must focus on the following elements of Montessori’s teachings:
- Emotional stability
- Social confidence
- Physical health
Keeping these factors in mind, you are sure to provide your child with the best possible tools to grow within themselves and ensure that they gain autonomy for their future lives.