Understanding How Montessori Materials Can Help Toddlers In Four Developmental Areas

If you are trying to decide what type of daycare you want to send your child to, you may be considering a Montessori school. From your child's earliest years, they can benefit from the Montessori philosophy or Montessori methods in their day care center. If you are unfamiliar with Montessori materials, you may wonder why they don't look like ordinary toys. That is because they are meant to engage your child in practical skills and allow them to explore real-life activities in a safe, appropriate manner. Below are some examples of the ways Montessori materials help young children develop. 

Practical Life

Young children have a strong desire to participate in real-life activities. When given the choice between playing with toys that mimic practical skills and actually helping cook or clean, most children will choose the second. Many Montessori materials are smaller versions of adult tools, such as cooking instruments, brushes, and dustpans. These fit young children's hands, allowing them to practice real skills throughout the day. 


Understanding patterns is a critical pre-math skill. Montessori materials for toddlers include sorting trays and simple puzzles that allow children to explore the concept of height, size, color, and shape. Children are encouraged to sort materials in different ways or find different patterns among materials. This deep exploration will prepare your children for basic math skills. 


Music can help children recognize patterns and begin to understand abstract ideas. Materials for the youngest children involve hand bells, maracas, striking sticks, or a rain stick. These instruments help children understand the relationship between movement and sound and allow them to explore rhythms. Most Montessori instruments are real instruments, sized correctly for children, rather than toys mimicking real instruments. This respects the child's desire to engage authentically with the world around them. 


Toddlers need ways to increase their fine motor skills and their gross motor skills. Materials that help them practice fine motor skills involve simple puzzles, putting beads on sticks, placing balls in boxes or shapes through holes. Large motor skills materials at this age often involve a large mirror so the child can see their movement. Practical skills such as sweeping, washing windows, or setting the table also allow toddlers to develop gross motor skills. However, these may be developed during later years, depending on your child's interest. 

If you are interested in the benefits of Montessori materials, you should contact a Montessori-friendly day care in your area.