Where to find Montessori shelves in the UK?

A Montessori toy shelf is a specially designed, low, and easily accessible shelving unit where children independently select their preferred activities, including toys or materials. This concept is a hallmark of Montessori classrooms, and it has also become popular in homes of Montessori-practicing families, often replacing traditional toy chests or closed storage baskets.

Interestingly, Maria Montessori initially stored educational materials in locked cupboards, choosing herself what children should work with, thereby restricting their access. However, a pivotal incident changed this approach. One day, her assistant accidentally left the cupboard unlocked, and the children, upon arriving, freely accessed the materials. They engaged with these resources calmly and focused, using them as they had been instructed. Witnessing this, Montessori was initially surprised but quickly realized the profound impact of allowing children free access. This observation led to the evolution of the Montessori shelf as we know it today, promoting open display and accessibility of learning materials at all times.

I never bought a specific Montessori shelf for my home. We used the bottom of the bookshelf we had already and later on, I used the Ikea Kallax system.

Nowadays, there are several options on the market. While you can of course make do with what you have, as the main idea is to display neatly a few activities, if you want to invest then let's have a look at the following options. 

Little Bug - Montessori furniture


Carefully designed furniture to suit children's needs. Their in-house design team created a click-lock assembly method, so that each item can be built in minutes, without the need for tools.

The toy shelf is currently on sale for £88

Little Helper

They describe this one as a bookshelf but it's a three tier shelf that is more suitable to display a few activities. 

Children's Wood Montessori 3 Tier Bookcase.

Absorbent Minds

This is the favourite shop for Montessori schools in the UK. They are the official stockist for Nienhuis (the official brand of Montessori materials as approved by Maria Montessori herself in her time). 

So here is the link for the Nienhuis toy shelf.

The Babber

They stock a set of toy shelf + front facing bookshelf for £199. They seem of great quality and ideal size for toddler and preschooler.

Tree tale

This shop is based in Poland but delivers to the UK. I like that it is plain wood.

Bookcase Nale

Shabby Bear Cottage


If you want a very stylish shelf (and a bit luxurious), this combination of metal and plain wood is very pleasing. This shelf is made in the UK with reclaimed wood. 

They have another option, slightly cheaper.

Lovevery:

Their play shelf is cleverly made as you display the activity at the front of the shelf. Then the back has a hidden storage with soft close hinge for the toys out of rotation. The shelf comes with two storage baskets and two trays. 

More options:

The options above are the ones that are described as being Montessori but they can be quite pricey. Over the year, I used cheap 3 tier bookshelves, wooden shoe shelf and many options from Ikea. So check also my Ikea posts for more affordable options here and here and here. 

About the Author Carine Robin

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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