The whole idea of these beautiful shelves at home for infants and toddlers comes from the Montessori classrooms. Not every home has the space to have a shelf for the child and space to store materials that are not on the shelf. In this post, I address some of the shelf-related questions I’ve heard from you in recent times.
What these shelves mean to our home?
Allows the little to see all the materials, reach for them and work with them since they’re available at her level and are not locked away.
Brings order to the environment since she knows where she can find her materials and where they go back (even though she’s not yet into putting back things).
It is not overstimulating to the child since the materials are displayed individually on the shelf, rather than dumping them in a large bin.
Helps keep the environment visually appealing by putting out a limited number of developmentally appropriate materials in an organized way. This means less mess to clean up too.
What if the child does not play with the material the way it is intended?
As parents we might have the expectation for the littles to work on the materials which we have set up. Babies and toddlers love to explore all the materials. It is totally normal for them to NOT use the material the way it is intended. They may mix up the materials and make up their own activity. They’re making those connections to understand the world around them.
How long do we spend at the shelf?
Shelf work is a very small part of our day and it’s not something LO does all day long. Time spent at the shelf really depends on her interest that day. Sometimes it might mean just playing peek a boo with a play scarf for 15 mins.
What do we do outside of shelf work?
LO loves any kind of gross motor activity that keeps her moving. She enjoys pushing her walker wagon; there’s lot of crawling around and so we come up with impromptu obstacle courses which is fun for her while we get some office work done. Young children have that intense drive to be on the move as they are mastering different body skills before they can sit still for an extended time.
Practical life activities are big ones. This includes but not limited to unloading dishwasher, wiping any surface.
Reading together, singing songs, going out for a stroll or just talking to her as she tries to mimic sounds are other activities that we enjoy other than shelf work. 😊
Please remember that young children are learning everywhere, not just at the Montessori shelf. ❤️