Creating Themed Montessori Shelves

Montessori shelves are a staple of Montessori classrooms. Shelves have Montessori teaching materials displayed on them, facilitating a hands-on, interactive approach to learning where children engage in activities that are of specific interest them. Here is how to create themed Montessori shelves.

Understanding Montessori Shelves

If you are familiar with the Montessori classroom, you know that every classroom features shelves with various teaching materials on them. Here are some additional pieces of information that will help you to create your own themed Montessori shelves, whether in the classroom or at home.

Shelves Pertain to Specific Areas of Study

Every set of shelves pertains to a particular area of the curriculum, such as language arts, math and so on. For younger students, shelves are based on their particular curriculum areas, such as practical life, cultural activities and so on.

The above set up reflects what a child would find in the classroom, but there are also other ways to set up themed shelves, especially if you are setting up shelves at home for your own child. For example, you can set up shelves based on your child’s current interests.

Alternative Setups

While the Montessori classroom does have a certain order, you can feel free to set up the shelves according to any theme you want. One such example is having an animal-themed shelf. For those setting up shelves at home, the most important step is to ensure that the shelves are individualized to your particular child. Other options are to set up shelves based on holidays or the seasons.

Materials are arranged from left to right, with the simplest materials being on the left and the most difficult materials on the right. Themes are meant to be rotated, but again, the time frame for doing so is not set in stone. A general guideline is to change themes roughly once per month. You can also change your theme weekly or even every other week. Keep in mind that materials within these particular themes can change as often as you’d like as well. If there is a material that doesn’t necessarily fit with your new theme, feel free to keep it on the shelf anyway.

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