Montessori bookshelves are open shelves that are usually low to the ground. That way, children can pick up books or other items by themselves.
They’re specifically designed to help children become more independent.
Interest in these bookshelves is growing because a growing number of parents are raising children based on the principles of Montessori education.
One highly-rated Montessori bookshelf brings in approximately $165K/month on Amazon.
Montessori bookshelves are part of the Montessori Furniture meta trend.
Searches for “Montessori furniture” have increased by 83% over the past five years.
There are approximately 60,000 schools across the world that use the Montessori education method.
And more and more parents have started practicing Montessori at home.
Which is why interest in Montessori furniture is growing.
Montessori tables, Montessori boards and Montessori chairs are trending Montessori furniture products.
Frequently Asked Question (FAQ)
Question: What is a Montessori bookshelf and how does it differ from a regular bookshelf?
Answer: A Montessori bookshelf is a type of bookshelf that follows the Montessori philosophy and principles of education. A Montessori bookshelf differs from a regular bookshelf in several ways, such as:
- It is child-sized, meaning that it is low enough for children to reach and access the books easily and independently.
- It is front-facing, meaning that it displays the books with their covers facing outwards, rather than their spines. This allows children to see and choose the books based on their interests and preferences, rather than their titles or authors.
- It is minimalist, meaning that it contains a limited and curated selection of books that are appropriate for the child’s age, level, and development. This prevents children from being overwhelmed or distracted by too many or irrelevant books, and encourages them to focus and engage with the books they have.
- It is organized, meaning that it arranges the books in a logical and aesthetic way that makes sense to the child. This may involve grouping the books by genre, topic, theme, or color, or using baskets, trays, or dividers to separate the books. This helps children to find and return the books easily and neatly.
- It displays a manageable selection of books, meaning that it does not have too many or too few books on it. This prevents overwhelm and boredom in children, as they can focus on the quality rather than the quantity of the books. It also encourages rotation and variety in the books, as they can be changed according to the children’s interests, needs, and seasons.
- It is functional and practical. A Montessori bookshelf is made of durable and natural materials, such as wood or metal, that can withstand frequent use and cleaning. It also has smooth edges and corners, to prevent injuries or accidents. It is easy to move and store, as it is lightweight and compact.
Question: Why are Montessori bookshelves low to the ground?
Answer: Montessori bookshelves are low to the ground to ensure that young children can access and interact with books and materials independently. The Montessori philosophy emphasizes promoting autonomy and self-directed learning, and having low bookshelves allows even the youngest children to select and return books without the need for adult assistance. This encourages a sense of responsibility and fosters a love of reading from an early age.
Question: What are the benefits of using a Montessori bookshelf for children?
Answer: A Montessori bookshelf has several benefits for children, such as:
- It fosters a love of reading and learning, as it exposes children to a variety of books that spark their curiosity and imagination.
- It promotes independence and responsibility, as it allows children to choose and access the books on their own, without needing adult assistance or supervision.
- It enhances concentration and attention span, as it provides children with a manageable and meaningful selection of books that capture and sustain their interest.
- It develops literacy and language skills, as it exposes children to different types of texts, vocabulary, grammar, and stories that enrich their communication and comprehension.
- It stimulates their curiosity and interest in reading, as they can see the attractive and diverse covers of the books and feel motivated to explore them.
- It enhances their literacy and language skills, as they can read the books at their own pace and level, and learn new words, concepts, and stories.
- It supports their cognitive and creative skills, as they can use the books as sources of information, inspiration, and imagination.
- It cultivates their aesthetic and cultural awareness, as they can appreciate the beauty and diversity of the books and their authors, illustrators, and themes.
- It respects their individuality and autonomy, as they can choose the books that suit their preferences, moods, and goals.
- It fosters a love of reading and learning. A Montessori bookshelf provides children with a variety of books that appeal to their curiosity and imagination. It also allows them to choose the books they want to read, at their own pace and level, which increases their motivation and enjoyment of reading.
- It develops independence and self-confidence. A Montessori bookshelf encourages children to take responsibility for their own learning and exploration. It also gives them the freedom and autonomy to select, handle, and return the books they read, which boosts their self-confidence and self-esteem.
- It enhances concentration and attention span. A Montessori bookshelf helps children focus on the books they read, without any distractions or interruptions. It also challenges them to read books that are appropriate for their age and skill level, which improves their concentration and attention span.
Question: How do I choose the best Montessori bookshelf for my child?
Answer: There are some factors that can help you choose the best Montessori bookshelf for your child, such as:
- The size and capacity of the bookshelf, which should fit your child’s height and reach comfortably and safely.
- The material and quality of the bookshelf, which should be durable, sturdy, and easy to clean and maintain.
- The design and features of the bookshelf, which should be attractive, functional, and user-friendly.
- The price and value of the bookshelf, which should be affordable, reasonable, and worth the investment.
- Your child’s age and stage: Different ages and stages of children have different needs and abilities when it comes to reading. For example, younger children may need more sturdy and simple books, while older children may need more complex and varied books. You should choose a Montessori bookshelf that matches your child’s age and stage.
- Your child’s interests and passions: Children are more likely to read and enjoy books that relate to their interests and passions. For example, if your child loves animals, you may want to include more books about animals on your Montessori bookshelf. You should choose a Montessori bookshelf that reflects your child’s interests and passions.
- Your space and budget: Montessori bookshelves come in different sizes, shapes, materials, and prices. Some are more spacious, sturdy, elegant, and expensive than others. You should choose a Montessori bookshelf that fits your space and budget.
Question: How do I choose the right books for my Montessori bookshelf?
Answer: Choosing the right books for your Montessori bookshelf depends on several factors, such as your child’s age, interests, abilities, and goals. However, some general guidelines are:
- Choose books that are realistic and factual. Montessori books should reflect the real world and its diversity, rather than fantasy or fiction. They should also provide accurate and relevant information about various topics, such as nature, science, culture, history, etc.
- Choose books that are beautiful and engaging. Montessori books should have high-quality illustrations and photographs that capture the children’s attention and curiosity. They should also have clear and simple text that conveys the message and meaning of the content.
- Choose books that are appropriate and challenging. Montessori books should match your child’s developmental stage and reading level, so that they are neither too easy nor too hard for them. They should also challenge your child to learn new words, concepts, or skills that will help them grow.
Question: How do I set up a Montessori bookshelf for my child?
Answer: There are some steps that can help you set up a Montessori bookshelf for your child, such as:
- Choose a suitable location for the bookshelf in your home or classroom, where your child can access it easily and frequently. Ideally, the location should be well-lit, quiet, cozy, and inviting.
- Select a variety of books for your child’s bookshelf that match your child’s age, level, interests, and needs. You can include fiction and non-fiction books, picture books and chapter books, classic and contemporary books, etc. You can also rotate the books periodically to keep your child’s interest fresh.
- Arrange the books on your child’s bookshelf in a logical and aesthetic way that makes sense to your child. You can group the books by genre, topic, theme, or color, or use baskets, trays, or dividers to separate them. You can also label the books or the sections with words or pictures to help your child identify them.
- Introduce your child to the bookshelf and explain how to use it properly. You can show your child how to choose a book from the shelf, how to handle it with care, how to read it quietly or aloud, how to return it to its place when done. You can also model good reading habits by reading with your child regularly.
Question: How many books should I have on my Montessori bookshelf?
Answer: The number of books you should have on your Montessori bookshelf depends on several factors, such as your child’s age, level, interests, and needs. Generally, it is recommended to have between 10 to 20 books on your Montessori bookshelf at a time, as this provides a sufficient and diverse selection of books for your child to explore and enjoy, without overwhelming or distracting them. However, some parents or teachers may have more or less books on their Montessori bookshelves depending on their preferences and resources.
Question: How often should I rotate the books on my Montessori bookshelf?
Answer: The frequency of rotating the books on your Montessori bookshelf also depends on several factors, such as your child’s age, level, interests, and needs. Generally, it is recommended to rotate the books on your Montessori bookshelf every 2 to 4 weeks, as this keeps your child’s interest fresh and exposes them to new and different books. However, some parents or teachers may rotate the books more or less often depending on their observations and feedback from their children.
Question: What types of books should I include on my Montessori bookshelf?
Answer: The types of books you should include on your Montessori bookshelf should match your child’s age, level, interests, and needs. You can include a variety of books that cover different genres, topics, themes, and formats, such as:
- Fiction books, such as stories, fairy tales, myths, legends, etc., that stimulate your child’s imagination and creativity.
- Non-fiction books, such as biographies, histories, sciences, arts, etc., that inform your child about the world and its people.
- Picture books, such as illustrations, photographs, comics, etc., that appeal to your child’s visual sense and enhance their vocabulary and comprehension.
- Chapter books, such as novels, series, anthologies, etc., that challenge your child’s reading skills and expand their knowledge and perspective.
- Classic books, such as timeless and universal works of literature that enrich your child’s culture and values.
- Contemporary books, such as current and relevant works of literature that reflect your child’s reality and interests.
Question: How do I choose the best books for my Montessori bookshelf?
Answer: There are some criteria that can help you choose the best books for your Montessori bookshelf, such as:
- The quality of the content, which should be accurate, informative, engaging, and meaningful for your child.
- The quality of the language, which should be clear, appropriate, and rich for your child’s level and development.
- The quality of the illustrations, which should be attractive, realistic, and supportive of the text and the message.
- The quality of the presentation, which should be durable, easy to handle, and well-organized for your child’s convenience and enjoyment.
Question: How do I involve my child in choosing and arranging the books on my Montessori bookshelf?
Answer: You can involve your child in choosing and arranging the books on your Montessori bookshelf by following some steps, such as:
- Ask your child about their interests and preferences in reading. You can observe what types of books they like to read or listen to, what topics or themes they are curious about, what characters or authors they admire, etc.
- Invite your child to browse and select the books they want to have on their bookshelf. You can take them to a library or a bookstore or show them online catalogs or reviews of different books. You can also suggest some books that you think they might enjoy or benefit from.
- Encourage your child to arrange the books on their bookshelf in a way that makes sense to them. You can guide them on how to group the books by genre, topic, theme, or color, or how to use baskets, trays, or dividers to separate them. You can also help them label the books or the sections with words or pictures to identify them.
Question: How do I support my child’s reading development with my Montessori bookshelf?
Answer: You can support your child’s reading development with your Montessori bookshelf by following some tips, such as:
- Read with your child regularly and make it a fun and enjoyable activity. You can read aloud to your child, listen to them read to you, or take turns reading to each other. You can also discuss the books with your child, ask questions, share opinions, make connections, or relate them to your own experiences.
- Provide feedback and encouragement to your child’s reading efforts and achievements. You can praise your child’s progress and improvement, correct their mistakes gently and constructively, or challenge them to read more difficult or diverse books. You can also reward your child’s reading habits with stickers, certificates, or prizes.
- Expose your child to a variety of reading materials and opportunities. You can introduce your child to different types of texts, such as magazines, newspapers, websites, blogs, etc., that suit their interests and needs. You can also enroll your child in a library membership or a book club or attend reading events or festivals with them.
Question: How do you organize a Montessori bookshelf for your child?
Answer: To organize a Montessori bookshelf for your child, you should follow these steps:
- Sort out your books: Go through your existing books and decide which ones you want to keep or donate. You may want to keep only the ones that are in good condition, age-appropriate, and relevant to your child’s interests and needs. You may also want to donate or store the ones that are damaged, outdated, or unused.
- Select your books: Choose a limited number of books to display on your Montessori bookshelf. The exact number may vary depending on the size of your bookshelf and your child’s preferences, but a general rule of thumb is to have no more than 10 to 15 books at a time. You should also select books that are diverse and balanced in terms of genre, topic, style, and representation.
- Arrange your books: Place your books on your Montessori bookshelf in a way that is neat, attractive, and accessible. You can arrange them by category, theme, color, or alphabetically. You can also use baskets, bins, or trays to group similar books together. You should also make sure that the books are visible and reachable for your child, and that they are not too crowded or cluttered.
- Rotate your books: Change your books on your Montessori bookshelf regularly to keep them fresh and interesting for your child. You can rotate them according to a schedule, such as weekly or monthly, or according to a trigger, such as a season, a holiday, or a special event. You can also involve your child in the rotation process by asking them to choose which books they want to keep or swap.
- Use baskets or trays to group the books by category or theme. For example, you can have baskets or trays for animals, plants, geography, art, etc. This will help your child find the books they want more easily and quickly.
- Rotate the books regularly to keep them fresh and interesting. For example, you can change the books every week or month according to your child’s interests or seasons. This will prevent your child from getting bored or losing interest in reading.
- Label the baskets or trays with pictures or words to help your child identify them. For example, you can use images or words that represent the category or theme of each basket or tray. This will help your child learn new vocabulary and concepts.
Question: How do you use a Montessori bookshelf with your child?
Answer: To use a Montessori bookshelf with your child, you should follow these tips:
- Introduce the bookshelf: Explain to your child the purpose and function of the bookshelf, and show them how to use it properly. For example, you can say something like “This is your bookshelf. It has many wonderful books for you to read. You can pick any book you like and read it by yourself or with me. When you are done, you can put it back where it belongs.”
- Model the behavior: Demonstrate to your child how to handle and enjoy the books on the bookshelf. For example, you can pick a book and say something like “This book looks interesting. I wonder what it is about. Let me read it and find out.” Then you can read the book aloud or silently, and comment on what you see or learn.
- Invite the participation: Encourage your child to join you in reading and exploring the books on the bookshelf. For example, you can say something like “Do you want to read this book with me? What do you think it is about? What do you see on the cover?” Then you can ask them questions or share opinions about the book.
- Respect the choice: Allow your child to choose which books they want to read and how they want to read them. For example, you can say something like “You can read any book you like on this bookshelf. You can read it by yourself or with me. You can read it from start to finish or skip some pages. You can read it once or many times.” Then you can support their choice and follow their lead.
Question: What types of materials are typically found on Montessori bookshelves?
Answer: Montessori bookshelves primarily contain a carefully curated selection of books and educational materials suitable for the age and developmental stage of the child using them. These materials may include:
- Board books: Sturdy books designed for young children, often with simple illustrations and textures.
- Picture books: Colorful books with engaging illustrations and age-appropriate content.
- Educational materials: Montessori-specific materials that focus on various aspects of learning, such as language, math, science, and geography.
- Puzzles: Educational puzzles that enhance cognitive development.
- Art supplies: Materials for creative expression, such as coloring books and crayons.
The selection of materials can vary depending on the Montessori program and the child’s age.
Question: What are some good Montessori bookshelf options?
Answer: There are many great Montessori bookshelf options available in the market. Here are some of the best ones:
- Chitrani’s Nursery Low Bookshelf
- Bush Acres Large Montessori Bookshelf
- SEIRIONE Kids Book Rack
- Wall Mount Kids Bookshelf
- KidKraft Wooden Bookcase with Reading Nook
- Floating Bookshelves
- Children’s Factory Book Display.
Question: What is the ideal size for a Montessori bookshelf?
Answer: The ideal size for a Montessori bookshelf depends on the age group of children it is intended for. For infants and toddlers, low bookshelves that are easy to reach are ideal. For preschoolers and older children, taller bookshelves that can accommodate more books may be more appropriate.
Question: How should books be labeled on a Montessori bookshelf?
Answer: Books on a Montessori bookshelf are labeled using pictures instead of words whenever possible, as young children learn visually before reading. Photos of the book covers work well. For chapter books without pictures, a simple image representing the topic or genre helps children select independently. Labels are placed at eye level for a child using the bookshelf so they can easily match the book to its picture.
Question: How many books should be displayed on a Montessori bookshelf?
Answer: The number of books displayed on a Montessori bookshelf depends on the age group of children it is intended for. For infants and toddlers, displaying 5-10 books at a time is recommended. For preschoolers and older children, displaying 10-20 books at a time may be more appropriate.
Question: How do I introduce my child to my Montessori bookshelf?
Answer: Introducing your child to your Montessori bookshelf depends on your child’s age and readiness. However, some general steps are:
- Show your child where the bookshelf is located and how it works. For example, you can explain to your child that this is their special bookshelf where they can find many wonderful books to read. You can also show them how to take out a book from a basket or tray, how to open and close it, how to turn the pages, and how to return it to its place.
- Read a book with your child and model how to use the bookshelf. For example, you can choose a book that your child likes and read it with them. You can also point out the pictures and words, ask questions, and make comments about the content. You can also demonstrate how to handle the book gently and respectfully, and how to put it back where it belongs.
- Invite your child to choose and read a book on their own. For example, you can ask your child what kind of book they want to read and help them find it on the bookshelf. You can also encourage them to read the book by themselves or with a friend or sibling. You can also praise them for their efforts and achievements.
Question: How do I encourage my child to use their Montessori bookshelf?
Answer: You can encourage your child to use their Montessori bookshelf by displaying books that interest them, rotating the selection of books regularly, and reading with them often.
Question: At what age is a Montessori bookshelf appropriate?
Answer: Montessori bookshelves are suitable for children as young as infants and can continue to be used throughout their early childhood years. The specific materials and books on the shelf will vary based on the child’s age and developmental stage. Infants may have board books and sensory materials, while older toddlers and preschoolers may have more complex books and educational materials.
Question: Can I make my own Montessori-style bookshelf?
Answer: Yes! There are many tutorials available online that show you how to make your own Montessori-style bookshelf using materials like wood or cardboard.
Question: Are there any safety concerns I should be aware of when using a Montessori-style bookshelf?
Answer: Yes. When using a Montessori-style bookshelf, it is important to ensure that it is stable and secure so that it does not tip over when children use it. Additionally, you should ensure that any sharp edges or corners are covered or padded to prevent injury.
Question: How do I maintain and clean my Montessori bookshelf?
Answer: Maintaining and cleaning your Montessori bookshelf depends on the material and design of your bookshelf. However, some general tips are:
- Dust your bookshelf regularly with a soft cloth or brush to remove any dirt or debris that may accumulate on the surface or in the corners.
- Wipe your bookshelf occasionally with a damp cloth or sponge to remove any stains or spills that may occur on the material. You can also use a mild soap or detergent if needed, but make sure to rinse and dry thoroughly afterwards.
- Repair any damages or defects that may occur on your bookshelf, such as cracks, chips, or scratches. You can use glue, nails, or paint to fix them, depending on the severity and location of the damage.
- Involve your child in the maintenance and cleaning process, as part of their responsibility and learning. You can show them how to dust, wipe, or repair their bookshelf, and let them help you with these tasks. You can also explain to them why it is important to keep their bookshelf clean and in good condition.
Question: What materials besides books go on a Montessori bookshelf?
Answer: In addition to books, Montessori bookshelves often include practical life materials like sorting objects into shape boxes or containers. Language materials like sandpaper letters, metal insets, or moveable alphabet may have a dedicated section. Math materials such as number rods or counting sticks are also common. Additional sections can feature science, geography, or cultural items that complement book topics.
Question: What wood is best for a Montessori bookshelf?
Answer: The most popular wood types for Montessori bookshelves are pine, birch, or oak. These woods hold up well to frequent use by children. Pine is affordable and easy to work with, while birch and oak have more durability. Avoid woods that emit strong smells, off-gas chemicals, or have rough textures that could irritate skin. Stain or paint the bookshelf with non-toxic finishes safe for young children’s environments.
Question: How can I build my own Montessori bookshelf?
Answer: To build a basic Montessori bookshelf, use sturdy wood such as pine and cut boards to desired dimensions. Assemble shelves, sides, and back panel securely with wood glue and screws or nails. Sand all surfaces smooth. Stain or paint the exterior. Cut labels from cardstock and affix with double-sided tape. Add casters or felt pads under legs for easy mobility. Consider adding decorative molding, natural wood finishes, or customized sections to suit your space and materials. Measure child height for proper scale.
Question: What is the best way to introduce new books to a Montessori bookshelf?
Answer: When adding new books to a Montessori bookshelf, first read the book yourself to become familiar with the content and language level. Then introduce just one or two new books at a time to avoid overwhelming children. Read the new arrivals together and help children find the matching picture labels. Encourage exploration of just the new books for a few days before adding more. This allows focused interest and helps establish where items belong on the shelf. Rotate materials periodically to maintain engagement.
Question: How do Montessori bookshelves promote early literacy?
Answer: Montessori bookshelves promote early literacy by creating a conducive learning environment that encourages children to explore and engage with books independently. Here’s how:
- Accessibility: With books within easy reach, children can choose books that interest them and read at their own pace.
- Choice: Children have the freedom to select books based on their preferences, fostering a love for reading.
- Order and organization: Montessori bookshelves are typically organized, making it easier for children to select and return books. This promotes orderliness and responsibility.
- Focus: Limited materials on the shelf encourage focused exploration and engagement with each book or material, enhancing concentration.
- Modeling: Children often observe older peers or adults using the bookshelf, reinforcing the importance of reading in the Montessori environment.
Question: Where can I buy a Montessori bookshelf and how much does it cost?
Answer: You can buy a Montessori bookshelf from various online or offline sources that sell Montessori or educational products. Some examples are Montessori Outlet, Montessori Services, Amazon, Etsy, etc. The cost of a Montessori bookshelf may vary depending on the brand, quality, size, and features of the product. However, generally, a Montessori bookshelf is affordable and cost-effective, as it can last for a long time and provide many benefits for your child.
Question: What are some alternatives or DIY options for a Montessori bookshelf?
Answer: If you do not want to buy a Montessori bookshelf or cannot find one that suits your needs or budget, you can also use some alternatives or DIY options that are similar to a Montessori bookshelf. Some examples are:
- Use a spice rack or a picture ledge as a mini-bookshelf that can display a few books at a time. You can mount them on the wall at your child’s eye level and rotate the books regularly.
- Use a wooden crate or a cardboard box as a portable bookshelf that can hold several books in different sizes. You can decorate them with paint or stickers and place them on the floor or on a table.
- Use a magazine rack or a file holder as a vertical bookshelf that can store many books in a small space. You can place them on the floor or on a shelf and label them with categories or themes.
Question: How can parents create a Montessori bookshelf at home?
Answer: Parents can create a Montessori-inspired bookshelf at home by following these steps:
- Select appropriate materials: Choose books and educational materials suitable for your child’s age and developmental stage.
- Keep it organized: Arrange the materials on a low, accessible shelf, ensuring that they are well-organized and not overcrowded.
- Rotate materials: To maintain interest, periodically rotate the books and materials on the shelf, introducing new items and removing those that the child has outgrown.
- Encourage independence: Encourage your child to choose their own books and materials, return them to the shelf after use, and explore independently.
- Create a cozy reading nook: Include a comfortable chair or cushion near the bookshelf to create a cozy reading space.
- Model reading: Spend time reading with your child and modeling a love for books and learning.
Question: Can Montessori bookshelves be used in traditional educational settings?
Answer: Yes, Montessori bookshelves can be adapted and used in traditional educational settings, such as preschools, daycares, and elementary schools. While Montessori materials are often associated with Montessori schools, the principles of organization, accessibility, and independence can benefit children in various educational environments. Teachers and educators can incorporate Montessori-inspired bookshelves to encourage early literacy and independent learning.
Question: Can a Montessori bookshelf be used in a classroom setting?
Answer: Yes, a Montessori bookshelf is commonly used in Montessori classrooms to promote independent reading and organization skills. It provides a designated space for children to choose and return books, encourages responsibility, and fosters a love for reading. In a classroom setting, the bookshelf can be part of a literacy area or a cozy reading corner.
Question: How can a Montessori bookshelf be maintained and kept organized?
Answer: To maintain and keep a Montessori bookshelf organized, it’s important to establish a routine for tidying up the shelf. Encourage children to return books to their designated spots after use. Regularly check the bookshelf for any damaged or torn books and replace them as needed. It’s also helpful to periodically rotate the books to keep the collection fresh and engaging.
Question: Where can a Montessori bookshelf be purchased?
Answer: Montessori bookshelves can be purchased from various online retailers, educational supply stores, and specialized Montessori suppliers. It’s advisable to look for bookshelves that are child-sized, sturdy, and made from child-safe materials. Additionally, some parents and educators choose to make DIY Montessori bookshelves using simple materials like wood or repurposed furniture.