I've been meaning to share pictures of Henry's new Montessori bedroom. It's a lot different than his Montessori nursery in Houston.
In our 1930s bungalow in Houston, we only had two bedrooms, so Henry's nursery also functioned as our office, guest bedroom, and craft room. We designed it with all those functions in mind. It was also my favorite room in the house, so when Henry and I were home together, we hung out in there like a living room (which is why we put his movement mat, mirror, and mobiles there instead of in the living room).
Now that we live in a ranch-style home with three bedrooms in Austin, Henry has his own room, and we have a separate room devoted to the office, crafts, and guests. Henry primarily uses his bedroom for sleeping and a little playing. We tried to make the environment simple, natural, calming, beautiful, and orderly.
Henry has an IKEA shelf that holds some toys, including bell and ball cylinders, a xylophone, a box/ball toy that helps with object permanence (I removed the rubber pieces and the hammer, so it more closely resembles an authentic Montessori toy), a discovery basket, a Skwish toy, another ball toy, some hand grasping toys from Etsy, and a basket of books. I also made him a set of rattling jars with pistachios, quinoa or couscous, black-eyed peas, and popcorn (I used little jam jars from restaurants). Everything has a place, so it's easy to restore the environment after Henry has been playing in there. If we had more toys, we would rotate them out every couple weeks. But honestly, we have toys in the bedroom, three different places in the living room, and in the car, which means we don't have any extra in storage.
We hung three pieces of art on the wall, at a height that was low enough for Henry to have a good view of them but high enough to keep them out of his little reaching hands.
His floor bed is against the wall, with a handmade decorative pillow and a quilt for added warmth. The Montessori floor bed is still working out really well for our family. At nap time, I put Henry on his bed (he sleeps on his stomach) with a pacifier, leave the room, and close the door behind me. If he's tired, he falls asleep right away. If not, he plays by himself in his room. It's designed to be as safe as a crib would be. When he is tired, he crawls back over to his bed and falls asleep. Sometimes, he'll play up to 45 minutes by himself before deciding he's tired.
I like to look at the room from Henry's perspective and make adjustments as necessary. I love the view out his window!
On the window sill (which is safely out of reach), we keep plants and other natural objects.
We still need to modify the room a little to facilitate independent dressing. We need to get his closet set up properly so he can pick his clothes each day, and we need to hang his mirror on the wall and add a stool and laundry basket. We will also add little rugs to the rug basket, when he starts pulling activities off his shelf and siting down to work on them.
I feel so thankful to have found the Montessori philosophy. It resonates so deeply with Matt and me, and its principles align with what feels right to our family. Although it's not a valid science experiment because the sample size is so small (one!) and there's no control and I'm not a scientist (and the list of other reasons goes on and on), I feel like we see some of the expected outcomes. Henry is very comfortable in new environments, and he enjoys exploring independently. We just found out that he got accepted to an authentic Montessori school in Austin (just up the road!), which he will start in the fall when he's 18 months. When I observed the youngest children's community, I honestly had tears in my eyes because it was so beautiful. If you are at all interested in Montessori, I highly recommend that you schedule a tour. It's a truly inspiring thing to watch.