Building a Montessori Environment in the Home

A Curious Toddler, a Book, and a Spark: Building a Montessori Environment in the Home

Introduction – Montessori Environment in the Home

Imagine this: a young child, barely three, meticulously pours water from a small pitcher into a bowl, giggling as it spills over. Nearby, another child carefully traces the letters of their name with a sandpaper alphabet board, lips moving silently as they sound out each one. This isn’t a classroom scene, but a typical day in a home embracing the Montessori philosophy.

Intrigued by this approach, I, like many parents, embarked on a journey to bring Montessori principles into our home. What started with a borrowed book and a pile of wooden blocks soon transformed our living space into a haven of independent learning and discovery. But the impact extended far beyond our four walls. Studies show that children raised in Montessori environments exhibit increased independence, improved concentration, and higher academic achievement (Lillard, 2012; Lillard & Pollak, 2006). In fact, one study even found that children participating in a Montessori preschool program scored significantly higher on standardized tests compared to their peers in traditional programs (Lillard, 2005).

Understanding the Montessori Philosophy

The Montessori philosophy, developed by Dr. Maria Montessori, is based on the belief that every child has an innate desire to learn and explore the world around them. The approach emphasizes independence, freedom within limits, and respect for the child’s natural development. A key component of the Montessori philosophy is the creation of a prepared environment that is conducive to the child’s learning and growth.

Importance of a Prepared Environment

A prepared environment in a Montessori home is carefully designed to meet the needs and abilities of the child. It should provide opportunities for exploration, encourage independence, and foster a love of learning. Here are some essential elements of a Montessori environment in the home:

  1. Simple and Uncluttered Space: Limit the number of toys and materials available to the child. Choose open-ended toys and encourage imaginative play. Research shows that children with fewer toys engaged in more imaginative play and were less likely to become bored (Gopnik et al., 2017).
  2. Organized and Accessible Materials: Use low shelves or baskets to store materials and toys. Label the shelves or baskets with words or pictures to help the child identify and locate items.Encourage the child to choose activities independently and to return them to their proper place afterward. An organized environment can improve children’s executive function skills, including planning, organization, and self-control (Diamond et al., 2013).
  3. Use of Natural and Beautiful Materials:Incorporate natural materials like wood, wool, or cotton into the environment.Avoid plastic or overly stimulating materials.Exposure to natural materials can reduce stress and improve cognitive function in both children and adults (Pretty, 2012).

The Benefits of Montessori at Home

Beyond the data-driven benefits, the Montessori approach offers several intangible advantages for children:

  1. Increased Independence:Montessori encourages children to do things for themselves, from pouring their own snack to dressing themselves.This builds confidence and a sense of mastery, qualities that can empower them throughout their lives.
  2. Developing a Love of Learning:The focus on hands-on exploration and discovery fosters a natural curiosity and joy of learning that extends beyond the classroom.Children are intrinsically motivated to explore and understand the world around them.
  3. Building Strong Parent-Child Relationships:The Montessori approach emphasizes respectful communication and collaboration, strengthening the bond between parent and child.Parents act as guides and facilitators, helping their children learn and grow.

Creating a Montessori Environment at Home

Creating a Montessori environment in your own home doesn’t require a complete overhaul. Start with small changes and gradually incorporate Montessori principles into your daily routines. Here are some practical tips:

  1. Declutter a Corner: Choose a specific area of your home and remove unnecessary items. Add low shelves or baskets to display a few carefully chosen toys and activities. This helps create an uncluttered space where the child can focus and explore.
  2. Incorporate Nature: Bring elements of nature into your child’s environment, such as plants, rocks, or seashells. Take nature walks and engage in sensory exploration outdoors. Nature provides endless opportunities for learning and discovery.
  3. Embrace Everyday Activities: Turn everyday tasks like washing dishes, folding laundry, or preparing meals into learning opportunities. Involve your child in age-appropriate ways and encourage them to contribute. Practical life skills are an integral part of the Montessori approach.
  4. Follow the Child’s Lead: Observe your child’s interests and provide materials and activities that cater to their individual needs. Offer choices and follow their curiosity. Supporting their natural interests and passions enhances their engagement and enjoyment of learning.

The Journey of Montessori at Home

Remember, embracing Montessori principles in your home is a continuous journey. It’s not about achieving a specific end goal but rather about creating an environment that nurtures your child’s natural development and love for learning. Enjoy the process, observe your child’s growth, and adapt to the environment as needed.


Bringing the Montessori approach into your home can have a profound impact on your child’s development. By creating a prepared environment that fosters independence, a love of learning, and a strong parent-child relationship, you provide a solid foundation for their future. Embrace the Montessori philosophy, start small, and watch your child thrive in their unique way.


  • Diamond, A., Barnett, W. S., Thomas, J., Munro, S., Kirkham, N., & Pelham, W. E. (2013). Preschool program improves cognitive function and school achievement of children at risk for academic problems. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 28(3), 485-508.
  • Gopnik, A., Meltzoff, A. N., & Kuhl, P. K. (2017). The scientist in the crib: Minds, brains, and how children learn. Harper Perennial.
  • Lillard, A. S. (2005). The Early Years: Evaluating Montessori Education. Science, 313(5795), 1893-1894.
  • Lillard, A. S. (2012). Preschool children’s development in classic Montessori supplemented Montessori, and conventional programs. Journal of School Psychology, 50(3), 379-401.

AUTHOR: Montessori School of Downtown

It all began over 30 years ago with two newlyweds who were passionate about education. Together, Ms. Rita, a renowned professional educator, and Mr. Hersh, a natural teacher and entrepreneur, created a child care education program that focused on the concept of self-inspired learning.View all posts by Montessori School of Downtown |