Fostering Independence with a Montessori Shelf

Fostering Independence with a Montessori Shelf

A Montessori toy shelf is a low, open, organized wood shelf where children can access and select the toy of their choosing. This simple design is a staple in Montessori classrooms and homes for its many benefits, namely fostering independence. 

The Benefits
It is easy to forget that babies and toddlers see the world from a completely different vantage point and need adult help for nearly all of their needs. All it takes is getting low to the ground to realize how little is accessible to them. That's why increasingly offering opportunities to access the things they like best can promote independence and confidence. Additionally, organizing toys and books on a low shelf ensures they are:

  • Clearly visible from their vantage point giving them rich visual cues
  • Fully accessible for their own selection, exploration and interests
  • Able to experience a sense of order and organization and in time, a sense of responsibility for cleanup

Key Considerations

  • Low to the ground
  • Free of clutter
  • Solid and stable
  • Open with no doors
  • Clean but "undone" (more to come on this important topic)
  • Organized with trays and baskets

Our Favorite Toy & Book Shelves 

Sprout Birch Low Montessori Shelf

Ikea Kallax (laid on its side)

Sprout Lexico Book Display

KidKraft Sling Bookshelf