The goal of early childhood education should be to activate the child's own natural desire to learn - Maria Montessori
Montessori play for our little ones
Montessori is an approach that lends itself to both play and learning and focuses on the child and their interests. A Montessori playroom or place space is an environment that has been carefully planned and designed to foster independence and concentration. Toys are usually selected with the aim of being able to grow with the child. Montessori toys can also usually be played with in a number of different ways, promoting curiosity and creativity within the minds of our little ones.
You might be interested in the Montessori approach, or heard the term ‘Montessori’ thrown around a lot. If this is something that you’re interested in, but you also find quite overwhelming, don’t stress. You don’t have to completely change your entire way of life to fit this approach. You can simply implement the parts that you would like.
Montessori also doesn’t have to be expensive. The aim of this approach is to be engaging, stimulating and accessible for your little one. You will probably find you can create a number of activities that provide this type of learning experience to your child just by using items you already have in your house.
Displaying and rotating toys
We often hear about ‘toy rotations’ when we are talking or learning about the Montessori approach. Furthermore, toys are often displayed in a particular way. You might notice when you google ‘Montessori play’ that many playrooms or play spaces are fitted out with some sort of open shelving where toys are on display and are easily accessible to little hands. Displaying toys like this is a great invitation to play for children. It’s also a nice organised way for children to be able to see what is on offer for them to play with. Now there’s no set number for how many toys you should have out on display at one time. You might like to consider what works well in the space you’re working with. Often something around ten is a pretty safe number. This gives your child enough variation without overwhelming them and cluttering their play space (and their mind!)
A toy rotation is beneficial for a number of reasons. By offering a limited number of carefully selected toys, we are encouraging our children to be patient learners. To choose a toy and sit with it, learn with it, explore it, and enjoy it, before moving on. When children are surrounded by endless toys, they often move quickly from toy to toy, or activity to activity, feeling the need to get through everything. Leave no toy unturned!