In Praise of Shelves

Parents who are new to Montessori classrooms often remark on the beauty of the space, noting the order and the arrangement that facilitates independence for even our youngest students. Many are seeking  methods of bringing some elements of the Montessori classroom into their own home routines, and our first suggestion is often the simple addition of low, easily accessible shelves in lieu of toy boxes.

This topic was recently covered by the wonderful blog, How We Montessori. The entire post can be found here. We wanted to share this incredibly helpful list of reasons why shelves can work better than a toy box:

  • Respect (we look after our toys, it is easier to prevent them getting broken, and it’s easier to see if they are missing a part or need repairs, when we respect something we treat it with care)
  • Order (toys are put away after being used not left lying on the floor until clean up, everything has a place)
  • Accessibility (the child can see all of their toys at a glance, all of their toys are within easy reach, like toys can be stored with like in a basket)
  • Variety (easy to rotate toys, easy to see what toys the child has)
  • Satisfying, minimalist (not overwhelming, possibly fewer toys available to the child) Clean up easier for the child (everything has a place)
  • Teaches responsibility (tidy up is expected)
  • Calm, can lead to a calmer and less chaotic environment
  • Visually more appealing, toys are beautiful, why not display them, use them to beautify the environment.   (from How We Montessori, retrieved on May 19, 2017)

One of these reasons deserves extra attention: variety. Fewer toys, carefully chosen while the rest are hidden away facilitates variety? Yes! Shelves help parents and children get the most out of toy rotation, giving children the chance to rediscover toys at different stages of development. More information on the value toy rotation can be found here.

tmsIn Praise of Shelves