The learning philosophy of any Montessori school is geared towards developing children with well-rounded learning. The idea is to trust students that they are capable of their own learning experiences; an incredible way to recognize and develop the child’s inherent ability to discover the world through meaningful play.
The learning process is guided with the idea of challenging students physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially. The best thing about Montessori learning is that most (if not all) theories are relatable and feasible even at home.
This guide is beneficial for parents who want to be able to extend their learning at home using the Montessori approach, as well as for new teachers who are looking for new materials and inspiration. If you want to build the basics of the child’s learning, you can start with the materials and essential items in a Montessori classroom for toddlers.
Compile Montessori albums
To start with, you need a curriculum to follow. There are a lot of Montessori albums (and e-books) available out there and each one is a little different. When shopping for albums, do your due diligence to find the right one that fits you. Read reviews and ask around in communities and groups about the titles and authors they can suggest.
Variety of trays
Whether they’re made up of acrylic or plastic, you will need a bunch of trays in different colors and sizes. You can use different colors to match specific materials or themes that you present.
Choose trays that are light and small enough for a child to carry. Obviously, choose sturdy trays that don’t break easily.
Sensorial and Practical Life Materials
- Pink Tower (the welcoming sign of a Montessori environment) – a stackable set of blocks that help kids refine their senses; to have a better understanding of the things they see, touch, smell, and feel
- Small cylinder block set (wooden blocks with 10 cylinders and knobs) – engages the sense of sign and touch and designed to help children make distinctions in their environment
- Color tablets box – for a child’s visual development and to distinguish color
Practical life materials
- For eating and control of movement, spoons, plates, bowls, and pitchers are absolute must-haves. These materials will teach a child how to do the basic movements of feeding themselves – from pouring beverages into a glass and eating on their own. Pouring beverages in small bowls and pitchers can also help kids develop better hand and eye coordination.
- For self-care, dressing frames and hair brushes will do, as well as scrubbing and washing materials.
- Cleaning tools like brooms, dusters, mops, and more can help kids learn how to take care of their environment.
A low table, a work rug
A small work table placed in a spot where children can call their own “work space” is an essential in any Montessori setting. The same goes with work rugs. It’s hard to find a cuter image than children working on their own personal rugs.
Trays and various materials must be set and ready for use on shelves. If you are homeschooling, then having storage shelves for Montessori materials will help you present an entire space dedicated for fun and learning.
When shopping for storage shelves for your Montessori toddler classroom, make sure you choose low shelves that are not too deep and preferably with the option to adjust its height. Also, make sure you consider (measure) the space where you want to place the shelves.
If you don’t have the luxury of space to put up multiple low shelves, then you can opt for roll-away shelves.
Printer, colored ink, and paper, (laminator optional)
Montessori learning is hands-on. But there will be moments where you will need to print images to explain (and show) specific things to the children. This is where a printer, ink, and paper come in handy.
Also, it is good to invest in a laminator to keep printed flash cards neat and durable.
Nothing will make a child’s life easier in navigating the world than being able to practice with child-size equipment. Young children inherently want to be independent. They are eager to try things and everyday objects on their own. Thus, giving them child-size equipment can help shape their understanding of different everyday objects.
You can start by giving your child chairs and tables fit for his size. A step-tool for the bathroom sink and kitchen can also help greatly.
The same goes with basic art supplies and musical instruments. They should be small and light enough to fit a child’s hand.
Incorporating the right tools and materials in a toddler classroom is vital to success in learning the Montessori way. There are more helpful materials that you can add but you can start with these 7 to teach them the basics.