Montessori Shelves

Key Takeaways:

  1. A Montessori Shelves are a distinct piece of furniture that is inspired by and aligned with the Montessori Method of education
  2. Montessori Shelves are easy-to-access, front-facing, child-sized shelves that promote children independently select books, materials, or activities of their choice.
  3. Montessori Shelves ideally accommodate Montessori toys, materials, and activities that spark the child’s interest in hands-on learning
  4. Infants, Toddlers, and Elementary children require different dimensions or sizes of Montessori Shelves. 
  5. Parents must pay attention to the Height, Weight, Depth, Safety, Quality, and Design of the Montessori Shelf when purchasing.

If you have seen the basic layout of a quintessential Montessori Classroom, you might have noticed several unfamiliar yet intriguing aspects and furniture.

The Montessori Method promotes children to become independent entities and encourages them to make their own decisions in a controlled environment. 

Most of us have misconceptions or reservations about Montessori Education as it encourages children to indulge in auto-didactic education. The Montessori Environment on the contrary this one-of-a-kind pedagogical tool is far from chaotic. 

The Montessori Prepared Environment is controlled, organized, and systematic to help bring a sense of order as well as structure to children. 

Montessori Shelves are the highlight of a Montessori classroom layout. These wonderful pieces of furniture help create an organized environment all the while improving the room’s aesthetics. 

Here is a compilation of essential information, to help you understand this piece of Montessori Furniture intimately. 

What are Montessori Shelves Exactly?

A Montessori Shelf is a distinct piece of furniture that is inspired by the pedagogical tool, the Montessori Method. 

This Montessori Furniture promotes children to become independent and explore their surroundings confidently. 

The function of these shelves is similar to common shelves, but what sets them apart from other shelves is the fact that they are based on the Montessori Philosophy. 

Montessori Shelves are child-sized shelves that accommodate Montessori toys, materials, books, and activities that spark the child’s interest in hands-on learning. 

These shelves do not have any doors or drawers to effectively and efficiently display these Montessori Materials.

With the help of a Montessori shelf, the Montessori materials become easily accessible to children which encourages them to independently take out and put back their designated materials. 

What are the characteristics of Montessori Shelves?

Montessori Shelves based solely on function are similar to basic shelves, but with a Montessori twist. 

The child-sized shelves are exactly what your child needs to become confident and independent.

Here is a list of characteristics that set Montessori Shelves apart from other shelves:

Easy to Reach

Montessori Shelves often sit low, hence these shelves make the materials adorned on the shelves easily accessible. 

The child can also use the edges of the shelves as grips or handles to hoist themselves up to teach the topmost shelf. 

No obstructions

Montessori Shelves do not have any drawers or doors that may obstruct the child’s view of the materials. 

The materials placed on the shelves are easily visible to help the child make decisions before approaching any new activity. 


Montessori shelves are strong as they are manufactured from long lasting and durable materials that weigh the shelves down. 

Regardless of the child grabbing onto the shelf with their whole body weight, these stable pieces of furniture will stay put and are completely child-safe. 


Montessori Shelves have a calming, clean, as well as uncluttered appearance. 

These shelves should have a limited amount of toys and materials to avoid overstimulating the child as well as promote the child to make decisions without being overwhelmed. 


The shelves are adorned with artistic, vibrant, and eye-catching Montessori materials, as well as Montessori Toys that cater to the child’s sensorial needs. These materials are easily visible and accessible. 

What is the appropriate height for a Montessori Shelf?

Whether you are using Montessori shelves for placing toys, Montessori materials, inspirational Montessori quotes, or family photographs, a Montessori Shelf should always be easy to reach and child-sized. 

Child-sized furniture is amongst the cornerstone of Montessori Philosophy, as it is easily accessible and maneuverable.

Here are some basic dimensions of Montessori shelves based on the child’s age. 

Age group Dimensions 
Infants Between 12 to 16 inches tall
ToddlersBetween 24 to 32 inches tall
Elementary ChildrenBetween 32 to 40 inches tall

What to look for when purchasing a Montessori Shelf for your child?

There are five basic factors one must consider before purchasing a Montessori shelf for your child. These five factors contribute to the shelf’s functionality and accessibility. 

The Five factors are delineated below:


The Height of the Montessori Shelves is essential as it allows the child to function independently as well as confidently. 

The appropriate height for a Montessori Shelf is mentioned above, but it is important to note that a Montessori Shelf should always be in the child’s line of sight. 

If you prefer to have multiple levels on your shelves to display a wide range of materials, it is best to purchase a shorter shelf. 


The Depth of the Montessori Shelf is as important as the height of the shelf but it is often overlooked by most parents. 

The shelves should be deep enough to effectively accommodate all the bins, baskets, and buckets. 

The ideal depth for a Montessori Shelf should be approximately 11.5 inches


To avoid any unintended accidents, it is best to look for a Montessori shelf that has a combination of wood as well as steel. 

Montessori shelves made with steel have more weight to them which is an added benefit as they will not sway or shake when held on to. 


A Montessori Shelf should be so safe that the child can operate around it without any adult supervision. 

It is best to avoid any shelf that can easily fall down when pushed or pulled. To have optimum safety it is best to affix the Montessori shelf to the wall. 


It is best to think of your Montessori shelf as a blank canvas, that is to be adorned with exciting Montessori toys, activities, and materials. 

A blinged-up shelf may overstimulate the child, hence it is best to think of neutral tones and earthy shades. 

How to select the best Montessori Shelf for our child?

Here are some points to consider and tips one should follow in order to select the best Montessori shelf for their child. 

Age of the child

The age will help you determine the appropriate height of the Montessori Shelf for your child. 

  • Infants should have a shelf that is no taller than 16 inches, the shelf should be bottom-heavy to help the infants hoist themselves and act as great standing support. 
  • Toddlers and children should have a shelf that accommodates both the middle and top sections of the shelf.
  • The shelf should be deep enough to incorporate all the bins, buckets, as well as baskets that have Montessori materials. 

The number of children who will use the shelf

If you have more than just one child at home and you would like all the children to share a common shelf, it is best to invest in a Montessori shelf that has multiple compartments. 

These compartments will be separately designated or assigned to each child for their specific belongings. 

Amount of time the child will spend

The sole aim of the Montessori shelf is to display Montessori activities and Montessori Materials. 

The amount of time the child will be spending their time around the shelf will contribute to one choosing an appropriate shelf. 

If your child is always at home and spends the majority of their time around the shelves, it is best to purchase a Montessori Shelf that is larger in terms of size. 

If your child mostly spends their time outside the house or away from the shelf it is recommended to purchase a Montessori shelf that is comparatively smaller in size. 

How much space it will occupy

The size of your Montessori Shelf is heavily influenced by how much space you may have in your home. 

The Montessori Method is all about keeping things clean, neutral, and clutter-free. 

You should always find a shelf that will be big enough to accommodate all the materials as well as belongings of the child, but also compatible enough that it won’t obstruct movement. 

What is the Purpose of the Shelf

It is important to understand what the purpose of your Montessori shelf exactly is. Whether it is a playroom shelf or a bedroom shelf will influence the safety factor of the shelves. 

If you are purchasing a Montessori shelf for the bedroom and your child tends to sleep on a Montessori floor bed, it is best to go for a sturdier shelf for safety purposes.

Should you purchase Montessori Shelves for your child?

The Montessori Method of education promotes children to become confident, independent, and self-reliant by providing them with appropriate opportunities and control freedom.

Along with this newfound freedom, the Montessori Method of education also inculcates integral values of order, structure, and responsibility.

Montessori Shelves are quintessential Montessori Furniture that instills the value of the order in children. These amazing and innovative pieces of furniture promote children to take responsibility and encourage them to become independent.

Montessori Shelves are easily accessible for the child which allow the child to independently take out Materials, toys, or activities and place them back in their designated areas.

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