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The role of toys in a Montessori Bedroom. Let's discuss.

Montessori Bedroom at How we Montessori

Do your children have toys or materials in their bedrooms? I was recently told that Montessori bedrooms do not have toys in them so I thought I would explore this idea further. 🤔

In Montessori from the Start Polk Lillard and Lillard Jessen suggest that for an infant Montessori bedroom parents consider four main areas including areas for sleeping, changing, feeding, and for activity. Polk Lillard and Lillard Jensen go on to suggest parents create a bedroom that encourages concentration and that furthers self-formation "into complete human beings capable of independence, coordinated movement, language and will". 

For a child in the 3yrs+ range there may not be a need for an area in the bedroom for feeding however the other three areas still apply:

  1. Sleeping
  2. Changing - including dressing and care of self 
  3. Activity

The need for toys in the child's bedroom or an area for activity can vary depending on your family's needs and home structure. If you have a playroom (or play area) near the bedroom then perhaps it works best to keep the bedroom minimal, to have the bedroom as an area for rest and sleeping only. However, if you don't have a lot of space in your home or don't have a space for toys or materials near the bedroom, then it only makes sense to have some toys in the child's room.

Toys and materials in the bedroom are particularly important for our family. All of our three children have a bookshelf in their room and a desk/work table. Why should this be different for the youngest in the family? We all have quiet time in our rooms. When the child rises in the morning, before nap time, for quiet time in the afternoon when the child doesn't nap, in the evening before bed, these are all times when we rest in our rooms but are not sleeping. I've found these times, while quiet and restful, can be for the child significant uninterrupted periods of intense concentration.  The child could simply read during these periods but my three-year-old will also dance, sing, listen to music, draw, do puzzles, and play with open-ended toys. These activities do not only promote concentration they also assist in self-formation. 

Montessori Bedroom at How we Montessori

I find that having some of their toys, perhaps their favorites or most personal, in their bedrooms is respectful to the child. When toys are in the living room or perhaps a playroom, they are there for all to see and play with. When the toys are in the child's bedroom, the toys can be placed exactly where the child wants them and are left untouched by others. In the child's bedroom, the child has more ownership over their belongings, perhaps they learn to care for them better. Perhaps the child knows when playing with their toys in their room they have greater privacy and have greater freedom to play as they wish. Perhaps the child can be more creative, more expressive when playing in the comfort of their own room. 

Otto playing Montessori bedroom

I wouldn't suggest that all of the child's toys need to be in the bedroom. There is a role for the child to have space throughout the home including in shared play spaces and in living areas. The toys that are in the bedroom need to be safe, age and developmentally appropriate, perhaps even minimal in nature as to not overwhelm the child and so the child, along with the parents can maintain a level of order. Perhaps we should also be considering the makeup of toys in our children's bedrooms to ensure they are calming and do not emit toxins or odors. 

Are there toys in a Montessori bedroom at How we Montessori

"The parents' challenge is to establish a home environment that encourages the development of concentration from the child's infancy and that supports flow experiences for all family members. Such a home reflects the complexity of life." - Montessori from the Start.

Let me know if you have strong thoughts one way or the other. Toys in the bedroom yes or no?

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