Montessori Basics 7: Essentials of a Toddler Classroom

Welcome to the next post in the Montessori Basics series! This one is an overview of basic materials for the toddler classroom. While Maria Montessori put 0-3 year olds in a subgroup of the 0-6 plane of development, most schools have an infant room and a toddler room, separating the environments. Children usually move to the toddler room from 18 months on up, once they are walking steadily.

The Montessori toddler classroom will be made up mostly of Practical Life materials, with many “pre-Montessori” materials that are typically used with this age group even in non-Montessori settings (puzzles, stringing beads, etc.) Cultural lessons are generally included in the language part of the classroom; this would include learning about weather, the calendar, and basic names of objects in the classroom and in nature.

As you read this list, you may be thinking, “But Lori, how do I use all these materials? And where can I find them?” Please look at the end of the list, where I show resources for finding toddler albums, lessons, and materials. I’m including every toddler resource that I know about, including some great blog posts; if you know of others, please email me.

General Equipment:

1. Long, low shelves
2. Small table and chairs
3. Table mats (placemats) and small rugs
4. Plants, artwork, and a pet to care for
5. Age-appropriate books, musical instruments, and art supplies

Practical Life:

1. Control of Movement
   a. Pouring, Scooping, & Spooning work
   b. Transferring work (both for whole hand and fingers)
   c. Sorting (colors, shapes, sizes)
   d. Stringing Beads & Lacing Cards
2. Care of Person
   a. Dressing Frames
   b. Folding (napkin, washcloth)
   c. Scrubbing and Washing
3. Care of Environment
   a. Sweeping and Mopping
   b. Polishing
   c. Dusting

Sensorial:

1. Pink Tower
2. Small Cylinder Block Set
3. Color Tablets Box 1

Language:

1. Wooden Puzzles of all kinds
2. Matching Work (picture/picture, object/picture, etc)
3. Picture Sequencing
4. Sandpaper Letters
5. Classification Materials

Math:

1. Sandpaper Numbers
2. Stacking and Nesting Cubes
3. Number blocks and puzzles
4. Sorting and Counting Materials

Toddler Resources:

Comprehensive List for Toddlers
Montessori Research & Development: Infant & Toddler Albums
Montessori Services – practical life materials, art, games, and more


Helpful Blog Posts:

Montessori for Everyone Blog: Infant & Toddler Posts