Why design a Montessori-based playspace for your baby?
The Montessori philosophy fosters independence and self-direction through the thoughtful design of each toy, the layout of the play area, and the way the adult interacts with the child. Creating an environment for your baby that fosters their independence, confidence, and learning can be easy.
“When parents encourage independence from birth, they are often pleasantly surprised by how much their child is able to do by themselves from an earlier age,” says Montessori parent and educator, Christie Stanford.
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4 tips for creating a baby play area to support concentration in your child
- Choose a space
What makes sense for your family? The play space might be in your child’s room or the living room. Identify a place that works for you, perhaps where you and your family spend most of your time together. This will provide you a chance to do your own activity nearby, like wash the dishes or prepare lunch, while your baby plays independently. Many parents are surprised by how long a child can concentrate and play independently when given developmentally appropriate Montessori toys and a safe, prepared environment.
- Find a shelf
A simple play space at your baby’s eye level will further empower them to play and learn independently as they grow. Use a store-bought shelf, a built-in bookshelf, a cabinet, or a heavy coffee table, and make sure it is stable or bolted to the wall. This creates an organized place for your child’s toys and helps you develop the practice of putting their things away when they are finished. As your baby grows, they will see you modeling this behavior. Taking out one thing at a time promotes concentration. Enable them to make choices without being overwhelmed by options.
Here are some toy shelf suggestions from Monti Kids.
- Rotate a small number of toys
Keeping just a few toys and books on your play space shelf will help your child focus as they play. An uncluttered environment helps your child build an internal sense of order and calm. With the burden of overstimulation lifted, they are free to learn from and appreciate each toy they endeavor to engage with. Display 6-8 toys at a time, and rotate them periodically.
- Allow infants time and space to work on visual skills
Montessori methods encourage us to introduce each toy and allow babies time to look and interact with it according to their own curiosity. If you place your baby on a blanket under a mobile, he or she will watch the movement of the mobile and look away when overwhelmed or fatigued. It is okay if they don’t want to look at the mobile; you don’t need to shake it or demand their attention. Practice with a mobile develops baby’s concentration.