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Is Doll Play Montessori?

Montessori Dolls
Is doll play considered to be Montessori? You don't find dolls in Montessori classrooms. But you will find them in Montessori homes. I don't think you would find a teacher (Montessori or otherwise) that would be against doll play in the home. Playing with dolls is role-play, I do not see it as fantasy or harmful in any way, it is something that many children are naturally drawn to. While my children have never really engaged in doll play they have role played with people and particularly worker figures, mostly during block play. We allow our children to play with model animals, why not model people?

However, I recently received an unfriendly comment suggesting that Maria Montessori would not recommend doll play. 

"Please inform yourself before buying products: The Maria Montessori pedagogy does not recommend dolls, on the contrary. Taking care of a fake baby is not recommended for a child..." Reader comment on Multicultural Dolls - Montessori Suggestions.

The Montessori Method was designed to be used in a classroom and therefore cannot be 100% applied to the home. So while dolls are not Montessori materials I am not convinced that Maria Montessori would be against their use at home. It appears that Polk Lillard and Lillard Jessen would endorse doll play:

"A cuddly doll represents real beings that can love back. The young child uses it to mimic the actions of those about him: to bathe, to put to sleep, to feed, and to dress and undress repeatedly. This repetitive "play" develops skills for feeding and undressing himself and leads him to further identify with the dolls as a symbol of self or other family members." - Montessori From the Start.

Talking to other parents I know that most Montessori families prefer to use dolls that are as life-life and realistic as possible, choosing those that are anatomically correct. Which makes sense. You can read a few more of my thoughts and a few doll recommendations at Multicultural Dolls - Montessori Suggestions. Let me know what you think, do you agree with the reader comment, is doll play against the Montessori pedagogy?

Further reading:

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