What Are Montessori Shelves? Plus A Few Popular Setups


One of the highlights in Montessori homes and classrooms is the shelves. These beautiful furniture pieces improve the aesthetics of a room and serve a significant role in the development of a child.

Montessori shelves are children’s shelves occupied with toys or activities that promote interest, independence, and accountability. They’re typically low and have no doors or drawers so that the child can see what is being stored on them.

You can keep these shelves in your child’s room, playroom, or any other space they usually hang out. Read on to learn more about Montessori shelves and their importance, plus some fantastic Montessori shelf setups and ideas for what to display on them.

What Are Montessori Shelves?

Montessori shelves are inspired by the Montessori method of educating kids where children play in an environment that provokes a child’s interest to be independent and accountable. They can take the toys out of the shelf and place them back later.

Montessori shelves are usually:

  • Low: They sit low so the child can view every activity comfortably and also use the edges as grips to hoist themselves up and move around their activities.
  • Open: This is so the toys can remain visible and let the kid know they have activity options to choose from.
  • Stable: The shelf should hold the child’s weight if they grab it to keep the child safe.
  • Clean and uncluttered: The shelves should be clean with spaces that aren’t filled with too many toys. The fewer options available, the better the child can focus.
  • Interesting: The shelves are usually filled with colorful and artistic materials to spark interest in the child.
  • Durable: Since they’ll have to last through all the stages of early childhood, the shelves are made with long-lasting materials.

The following table shows common Montessori shelf dimensions:

Development StageHeightLengthWidth
Infant (less than two years)12-16 inVaries40 in
Toddler (more than two years)Up to 24 inVaries40 in

(Sources: North American Montessori Center Training, How We Montessori)

Montessori Shelf Ideas: Some Popular Setups

When looking for Montessori shelves, it’s essential to find those that fit the purpose. Below are a few of our favorite options available for purchase. Or, if you are trying to build the shelves by yourself, you can check out some of the following setups made according to Montessori standards and policies.

Minimalist Montessori Shelves

We just love this sleek, minimalist open shelving unit from Etsy. The baltic birch shelves are low and open, allowing easy access from all sides.

Here’s a list of its features:

  • Made from baltic birch
  • Two open-back shelves
  • Measures 45.3″ W x 24.2″ H x 13″ D

Birch Montessori Infant Shelf

This birch shelf is perfect for babies and young toddlers since it’s low enough for them to reach the top. It’s completely open design is good for displaying various small and large toys. An infant can also use this shelf to lift themselves and maintain support while moving around thanks to its sturdiness.

Here’s a list of its features:

  • Made from 100 % Baltic Birch
  • Weighs 23 pounds
  • Available in 45″ W x 13″ H x 11.5″ D or 30″ W x 13″ H x 11.5″ D dimensions
  • One open-back compartment

Birch Shelf Storage Cabinet

This shelf is made for kids aged three years and older and can store everything from books to games. It’s strong, heavy, and can bear the weight of most kids. If you want two open compartments in a Montessori shelf, this Birch Shelf Storage Cabinet might suit your needs.

Check out its features:

  • Birch material
  • Weighs 27 pounds
  • Measures 36″ L x 13″ W x 26″ H when assembled
  • Each shelf measures 34.75″ L x 12″ W x 10.75″ H
  • Two closed-back cubbies
  • Four casters for mobility included

Luce Shelf

This beautiful luce shelf is a great design to include in a child’s room or any adult space. It’s specially built to maximize the light illuminating the shelves. With its open front and back design, arranging a variety of toys is easy.

Here are its main features:

  • Made from birch
  • Measures 31.5″ L x 59″ W x 14.5″ D
  • Three open shelves
  • Wall-anchoring kit included

Classic Wood Bookshelf

The adjustable Classic Wood Bookshelf may be just what your kid needs to play and learn with whatever toy or book they want. You can adjust the height of the three sections to fit any of their activities. This Montessori shelf guarantees lifetime satisfaction and serves children aged three and older best.

The following are this shelf’s specs:

  • Made from birch
  • Weighs 46 pounds
  • Measures 36″ L x 12″ W x 36″ H without adjustments
  • Three closed-back shelves
  • Adjustable shelf height in 1.25″ increments

Angeles 2-Shelf Storage

This Montessori shelf from Angeles is small enough to fit tiny spaces but can accommodate a good number of toys for your child. It’s fit for kids aged two years and above and can be set up anywhere in your home or school.

Here are the Angeles 2-Shelf Storage features:

  • Made from eco-friendly maple-melamine
  • Weighs 39 pounds
  • 22.5″ L x 8.63″ H for upper storage dimensions
  • 22.5″ L x 11.38″ H for lower storage dimensions
  • Two closed-back shelves

Eight Cube Shelf

The Eight Cube Shelf is the ultimate storage space for any kids aged three and over. With plenty of cube space, children can keep their favorite supplies near and boost their tidiness in the process. With plenty of vertical space, they can grow taller and still find the shelf useful and interesting.

Here’s a list of its specs:

  • Made from Baltic Birch
  • Measures 32″ H x 55.5″ W x 14.5″ D when assembled
  • Eight closed-back cubbies
  • Fits Wove Wood Short Bins and Crates

Montessori Open Shelf Unit

This Open Shelf Unit on Etsy is handmade and well designed. It features two shelves on top and two shelves on the bottom with a closed back.

Here’s a list of its specs:

  • Made from Birch
  • Measures 28″ H x 40.5″ W x 12″ D when assembled
  • Four closed-back cubbies
Montessori shelves
By HoneyBallKids on Etsy

Conclusion

Montessori shelves are open storage spaces where kids can keep their toys and develop independence and organization. With the ideas provided above, you can bring this concept to your home and help your kid grow the Montessori way.

Oh, and don’t forget to use trays to help organize your shelves!


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Stacy Jones

When I became a foster mother, I started researching different parenting and education ideas. Learning about the Montessori Method has been intriguing and fascinating, and I have enjoyed watching the little ones in my life learn and grow from incorporating Montessori elements into our family's lifestyle. Montessori For Today was started to provide answers to my own questions, which will hopefully become a great resource for others to learn about the Montessori Method, Montessori Schools, and how you can incorporate elements of Montessori into your own home and lifestyle.

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