Setting up our Home

By Christie 

When we found out we were having twin boys I thought to myself, “Now this is REALLY going to put my Montessori theory to the test!!”  It was finally time for me to put my many years of experience with other people’s babies into practice and I was ready for the challenge.

A huge factor in the Montessori philosophy is preparing the environment.  This is a fancy way of saying that you must spend a good deal of time getting your house ready for the child/ren in such a way that you take into account their needs at each developmental stage.  By creating a beautiful, calm, simple space for the baby with the right amount of stimulation it is hoped that he/she will form a secure and healthy attachment to his/her new family and world.

My husband and I have a fairly small house so we really needed to be mindful of how we were to set up the space for not one but two babies!  Setting up their room was so exciting (to be discussed in a future post) however one of the components which we term the area for movement (aka play zone) I chose to create outside of their room and make it a part of our common living space.  I wanted a visible area where I could put the boys down and they would be able to entertain themselves while I made a much needed cup of coffee!

So, I needed to prepare such an environment.  What did I need?  A movement mat, mirror, cabinet, shelf, and materials.  Please keep in mind that we were on a budget so the items that I bought are not the top of the line but still serve the purpose.  I wanted the space to be beautiful, calm, and simple and not have my house overtaken by baby items so had to be selective with what I chose to buy.

The movement mat that I purchased is a mattress topper from Ikea similar to this one and I covered it with a rubberized flannel pad and a neutral bed sheet (also purchased at Ikea).

The mirror I got was from Canadian Tire.  Ideally it would not be framed and you need to make sure it is secured to the wall.  I LOVE using these Velcro-type strips for all the things I hang for the boys as they can easily be removed when they grow and when the height of the pictures etc. need to be adjusted.

I had the hardest time finding the right cabinet with enough shelves and glass doors but not too large in size.  I finally found one at Winners/Home Sense however this is the one that I am still on the hunt for (although totally out of my price range).

Now, what to put in the cabinet?  Well, I was lucky!  Since I had been running Parent-Infant classes for a few years now, I was able to simply bring my materials home from school.  What do I mean by materials?  Basically they are toys.  I am sure you have noticed by now that we have a particular lingo in the Montessori world.  We choose to call them materials as they all have a specific developmental purpose however simply put, they are educational toys.  I purchased the majority of mine from: Beginning Montessori and Michael Olaf.  I occasionally find nice items at places around town, keeping in mind some key factors like the toys need to be small, preferably made from wood or another natural substance, and purposeful.

In the first few months you don’t need much except a few small grasping materials, a music box or other source of music, and a selection of mobiles.  We hung one of those plant hanger hooks in the ceiling above the movement mat (my husband was not too happy about this) and this is where the mobiles are hung.  The specific toys were placed on a small low shelf (actually a shoe rack from Canadian Tire).

The space was ready! Thank goodness because the boys chose to arrive almost a month early! 🙂


Don’t forget to enter to win the Five Pack of Toys from Beginning Montessori by commenting on our blog or our facebook page with something you’d like us to write about in future posts. Entries must be submitted by Saturday, August 24 11:59PM PST.  (Contest has now closed)


Filed under 0-3 Months, 3-6 Months, Christie, Play Area/Toys, Uncategorized

10 responses to “Setting up our Home

  1. Andrea

    This is exactly what I was looking for! Thank you, Christie. So practical and inspiring.

  2. Maria Sundell

    That Silver Rattle is adorable! I had no idea you could find one that small. Where is it from? Thank you for this lovley post!

  3. Paije

    I’d love to see y’all do a write up on music, toileting, and the prepared outdoors!

  4. randi slobin

    So interesting Christie. So many of the tems i had when my kids were babies- baby swing, playmat, exersaucer etc.. seem like according to montessori they are not really needed. Too bad i didn’t read these posts 6 years ago. I would love to see you all write about music, art and outdoors.

  5. Stephanie

    Great post, Christie! I’ve been wondering exactly what’s needed for the early stages, so the links are especially helpful. I’d love to see more detail on the first month. Oh and perhaps a pattern or instructions on making a Topponcino? *Loving* the new blog! 🙂

  6. Vicky

    This is really helpful!! Thank you!! I am a new mom, I have a 7months old baby girl and expecting a new baby, and I have been feeling a little overwhelmed by how to start their room with such a small space we have, but you gave some really good ideas, and make me so excited about starting, hope to keep reading all your posts 🙂

  7. Thanks for sharing christie. I’d love to see someone post info about infant elimination communication. Not sure if this is very Montessori or not. I’d also love to hear about people’s experiences with low beds. When I tried it with my daughter she wouldn’t nap on it more than 45 min whereas she’d nap a full 1.5 hours in her crib. Wondering if this is common; trying to decide whether to try a low bed with our new son.

  8. Pingback: Crawling – Part One: Tummy Time | Montessori Moms

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