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Front-facing bookshelves seem to be a feature of every Montessori-inspired home. But why are they so important?
Children care more about the cover of a book than the spine. Think about it: young children who haven't learned how to read yet will like the colours and pictures more than the words.
This is true even for us adults. When we visit a bookshop, we naturally gravitate towards the beautiful display or maybe search for a particular title on the bookshelves.
- its a front-facing bookshelf - this allows your child to see the selection of books more easily
- it promotes independence: choose a bookshelf which enables your child to reach all the books
- it's neutral in decoration so the bookshelf doesn't distract them from the actual books
- it allows you to display books of different sizes
Furthermore, you may want to consider the material of the bookshelf (do you prefer wood or are you OK with a plastic/fabric one?). Do you want the shelf being a permanent fixture in a room or one that you can move from one room to another?
You may also want to take into account that a front-facing system is meant to present a small selection of books, not to store your child's entire collection. With toys, activities and books, less is more. It's important not to overwhelm your child. With a limited number of books on display, your child can focus on each book more. You can always rotate the books according to your child's interests, the seasons or a specific topic that you want your child to discover.
Without further ado, here are some Montessori aligned bookshelves:
This is a well-established company. The bookshelf is cleverly-designed and extremely easy to assemble. You can choose whether you want to personalise it, to sort the letters in alphabetical order or even have a Montessori-inspired alphabet on it.
At home, we have their Montessori bookshelf:
I like this model; it is well suited for toddlers and preschoolers. I like the Montessori- inspired alphabet although I would love a cursive option. We use this bookshelf in our living room to display our topic books. You should secure it to a wall.
The one downside is that the two middle shelves can only accommodate small books.
Tidy Books has some other options such as a wall shelf unit:
Enjoy 10% off on your Tidy Books purchase with this code AMBCR10
This is a new shop on Etsy.
The design is not as wide as the Tidy Books bookshelf (it's 20 cm less in width), but the 2 middle shelves can accommodate taller books. It is considerably cheaper than some other brands (not including shipping costs).
The company also has this kind of book display:
If you live in the United States, you may want to consider the Sprout brand. Sprout offers a collection of furniture - based on the Montessori principles - made in the US. There is a 5 year guarantee on each piece. They are sent as ready-to-assemble furniture, I wish they would easily deliver to the UK!
In our house, we used to have a basket with a few books.We also had 2 IKEA shelf options:
The Spice racks:
We make safe, natural wooden toys and educational material for Montessori parents.
These picture ledges:
This UK-based online shop has some great options.
On a budget:
For a cheaper option, check Dunelm:
Check it out here.
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Carine Robin has a Master’s Degree in Psychology, specialising in child psychology. She worked for various social services in her home country of Belgium, before moving to Ireland in 2006. It was there that she started working in a nursery and discovered Montessori education. After having her first child, her passion for the philosophy grew and she qualified as a Montessori teacher and managed a preschool. Carine has been running a Montessori based parents and toddler group and coaching families for 9 years. She now also runs an online group for over 14000 parents, sharing her knowledge and passion with people from around the world. In 2018, Carine realised families needed more support and launched her popular online parenting courses and monthly subscription boxes, full of personally designed Montessori materials.
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