What is a Montessori nursery? Methods, toys, activities, and play tips.

Posted by Kristin Northup on

A Montessori nursery is a type of preschool or early childhood education program that is based on the educational philosophy of Maria Montessori. These ideas emphasizes the importance of self-directed learning, and encourages children to explore and discover the world around them through hands-on activities and play.


In terms of toy recommendations, Montessori nurseries typically use materials and toys that are designed to be open-ended, allowing children to use their imagination and creativity to explore and learn. Open ended play does not require a specific singular way for the toys to be used, but rather utilizes more simple objects that can be played with in multiple ways (trust us, your child will come up with many interesting ways to use objects other than there ‘intended’ purpose!)


Some examples of toys that are commonly used in Montessori nurseries include:


Wooden blocks: These blocks can be used for building, stacking, exploring different shapes and sizes, sorting, etc.

Sensory materials: Items like sand, water, crinkle paper, and play dough can be used for exploring different textures and experimenting with different forms.

Manipulatives: Toys like stacking toys or nesting blocks can be used for exploring spatial relationships, numbers, counting, and basic math concepts.

Nature materials: Items like rocks, shells, and leaves can be used for exploring nature and learning about different natural materials.

Dolls and dress-up clothes: These can be used for imaginative play and developing social skills.


In terms of play tips, Montessori nurseries encourage children to take the lead in their own learning and discovery. As such, adults should not be too directive and let the children explore and play at their own pace, allowing them to work through their own process and learn independently. This style of play can encourage a child’s creative thinking and problem solving skills, and foster the confidence for self expression. Open-ended play has been shown to help kids process their emotions and even calm themselves when they become overwhelmed.


Montessori toys are educational materials designed to foster children's cognitive, physical, and emotional development. These toys are typically simple in design, made from natural materials, and encourage hands-on exploration and learning. They often involve sorting, stacking, matching, and building activities, and are meant to promote independence, concentration, and problem-solving skills. Examples of Montessori toys include wooden blocks, sensory beads, shape sorters, and building materials such as blocks, wooden planks, and connectors. The goal of Montessori toys is to allow children to learn at their own pace and in their own way, helping to develop their natural abilities and interests.


Montessori toys are often made of natural materials, such as wood, cloth, or metal, to support the philosophy of using materials that are as close to nature as possible. These materials are durable, safe, and often encourage tactile exploration, which helps children develop their sensory awareness and hand-eye coordination. The use of natural materials also promotes sustainability and is in line with the Montessori  convictions of fostering a love and respect for the natural world. However, not all Montessori toys are made of natural materials and some may use other materials that are safe and non-toxic for children.


In Montessori, toys are simple. This follows the belief that babies and children are naturally curious, and so they don’t need literal bells and whistles, like electronic that do most of the work for them. Instead, you can let your kids’ imaginations and creative thinking skills do the work.


A Montessori nursery is a child care or pre-school setting that follows the principles of the Montessori educational philosophy. Montessori nurseries are typically characterized by the following features:


Prepared Environment: The classrooms are designed to be orderly, attractive, and stimulating, with specific areas dedicated to different activities such as practical life, sensorial, language, and mathematics.

Hands-On Learning: Children are encouraged to explore and learn through hands-on activities, such as sorting, matching, building, and manipulating materials.

Multi-Age Grouping: Children of different ages are typically grouped together, allowing for peer-to-peer learning and a sense of community.

Child-Led Learning: Montessori nurseries emphasize self-directed learning, with teachers serving as facilitators rather than lecturers. Children are free to choose activities that interest them and work at their own pace.

Respect for the Child: Montessori nurseries respect the individual needs and developmental stage of each child, allowing them to learn and grow at their own pace.

Emphasis on Independence: Montessori nurseries encourage children to be independent and develop their own sense of self. Children are given the opportunity to make choices, take responsibility for their own learning, and engage in practical life skills.


Overall, a Montessori nursery provides a supportive and nurturing environment that promotes exploration, creativity, and a love of learning.

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