How to Start a Montessori inspired Infant toddler playgroup Ideas and Inspiration

Montessori Inspired Infant Toddler Playgroup is a type of early childhood education program that emphasizes independence, exploration, and hands-on learning. It is based on the teaching philosophy of Maria Montessori, which emphasizes the child’s natural curiosity and desire to learn. In these playgroups, infants and toddlers are encouraged to explore sensory materials, practice self-care skills, develop fine motor skills, engage in social play, and learn through play. The activities are developmentally appropriate and are designed to foster physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development. The Montessori approach emphasizes respect for the child and supports each child’s unique learning style and pace.

How to start a Montessori Toddler Playgroup Montessori Nature

importance of Montessori Inspired Infant Toddler Playgroup for Child’s Development

Montessori-inspired infant toddler playgroups are specifically designed to provide young children with a nurturing and stimulating environment that supports their physical, cognitive, and social-emotional development. Here are some reasons why they are important for a child’s development:

Promotes Active Learning: Montessori playgroups encourage active learning by providing children with opportunities to explore and engage with their environment. The hands-on activities and materials promote independent exploration and problem-solving skills.

Animals and their homes montessori nature sort matching free printables sign up

Develops Cognitive Skills: Montessori activities focus on developing cognitive skills such as memory, attention, concentration, and perception. Children are given tasks that help them to understand concepts such as spatial awareness, pattern recognition, and sequencing.

Fosters Social Skills: Playgroups provide children with opportunities to interact with other children and learn essential social skills such as sharing, turn-taking, and communication.

Encourages Independence: The Montessori philosophy emphasizes the importance of fostering a child’s independence. By providing children with opportunities to make choices and take responsibility for their actions, they develop self-confidence and a sense of autonomy.

Builds Gross and Fine Motor Skills: Playgroups incorporate activities that develop both gross and fine motor skills. From crawling and walking to manipulating small objects, children are given tasks that support physical development.

Montessori-inspired infant toddler playgroups provide a nurturing, stimulating, and developmentally appropriate environment for young children. Through hands-on activities and materials, children develop cognitive, social, and physical skills that support their growth and learning.

How to start a Montessori Toddler Playgroup Montessori Nature

Montessori Inspired Ideas For Infant Toddler Playgroup

Sensory Play

Sensory bins filled with various materials like rice, beans, sand, water beads, and more.

Soft and textured toys that the babies can explore with their hands and mouth.

Different instruments and objects such as rattles, shakers, bells, and containers for them to manipulate and discover sound and movement.

Language Development

Books with large and simple illustrations that the babies can look at and touch.

Singing and music activities to expose them to new words and sounds.

Talking and discussing simple topics like animals, nature, and colors.

Gross Motor Skills

Soft play equipment such as tunnels, mats, and balance beams.

Play with balls and hoops that encourage reaching, grasping, and moving around.

Exploring in nature- taking babies for strolls in natural settings and letting them observe and experience the environment around them.

Fine Motor Skills

Finger painting activities that are safe and non-toxic.

Manipulative toys such as nesting cups, wooden puzzles, or blocks for stacking and building.

Playdough allows them to mold and shape different objects.

Practical Life Skills

Self-care activities like helping themselves to snack, brushing their teeth, and washing their hands.

Participating in small tasks such as putting away toys, holding utensils during snack time, and helping to wipe up spills.

Creating a positive and safe environment that fosters independence and responsibility.

Social and Emotional Skills

Encouraging social interactions and modeling appropriate social behaviors with others.

Independent play opportunities that help them learn how to entertain themselves.

Bringing in pets or animals creates a sense of empathy and responsibility in the children.

Remember, Montessori principles aim to help children develop naturally and at their own pace. So, adapt these ideas to fit your child’s interests, needs, and abilities while keeping consistent with Montessori values.

how to start Montessori Inspired Infant Toddler Playgroup

Identify your goals and objectives: The first step in starting a Montessori-inspired playgroup is to identify your goals and objectives. What do you hope to achieve with your playgroup? Do you want to create a nurturing and engaging environment for infants and toddlers to learn and grow? Do you want your playgroup to be focused on Montessori principles and methods? Establishing your goals and objectives will help you to design an effective program.

Find a location: Once you have identified your goals and objectives, the next step is to find a location for your playgroup. This could be a dedicated space in your home, a community center, or a rented space. Look for a location that is safe, comfortable, and accessible for parents and children.

Recruit members: Your playgroup will need members to thrive. Start by recruiting parents who are interested in Montessori principles and who are looking for a supportive community for their infants and toddlers. You can advertise your playgroup on social media platforms, local parenting groups, or through word of mouth.

Design your program: Once you have recruited members, it is time to design your program. Consider incorporating Montessori activities that are appropriate for infants and toddlers such as sensory exploration, gross motor play, and simple problem-solving activities. Your program should be designed to encourage language development, socialization, and independence.

Establish a schedule: Set a schedule for your playgroup that works for all members. Consider meeting weekly or bi-weekly for a set amount of time. Make sure to include time for free play and structured activities during each meeting.

Plan activities: Plan age-appropriate Montessori inspired activities that challenge and engage the infants and toddlers in your playgroup. Incorporate sensory exploration activities, art projects, and opportunities to explore objects and materials.

Provide support and resources: Make sure to provide support and resources to your playgroup members. Encourage parents to share ideas and collaborate with each other. Provide access to Montessori-inspired resources such as books, articles, and blogs.

Reflect and adapt: Always be open to feedback from your playgroup members. Reflect on what is working and what is not working in your program and be willing to adapt to meet the needs of your members.

Here is a sneak peek into one of the Montessori Playgroups in Australia

These activities stimulate and help to develop various skills such as fine motor skills, hand grip, finger strength, taking care of self, gross motor skills, hand coordination, logical thinking, and problem-solving on a basic level. However, it is important to remember that activities are not the purpose, but the opportunity for the child to be independent, and be able to concentrate for as long as they want with what they want uninterrupted.

Descriptive box with coloured figures and shapes of different sizes and materials

I hope these ideas will inspire you.
Here are only some fragments of the room. We also usually have an easel set up for children for painting, simple craft activities, food activities, such as egg peeling and cutting, and a bookshelf with Montessori-friendly books.

Balls with different textures. These are great too: Developmental Sensory Ball Set – Inspires Touch

Wooden basket with soft globe, coloured play balls of plastic and material

Dolls for color matching. Here are cute fabric dolls Plan Toy Doll House Doll Family

wooden tray with dividers and little figurines of different colours with coloured dots matching for sorting

 Opening and closing activity

wooden basket with various objects including a little bottle cardboard box, plastic jar and hinged box

Taking care of self

wooden table with objects including a glass jar and windowed wooden box and a mirror

Sock matching activity

Wooden basked with coloured socks

Key matching activity

tray with pad locks and keys with key rings with plastic tags of various colours

Montessori materials for infants and toddlers.

wooden shelf with varied wooden puzzles for sorting

Montessori Puzzles for Infants

wooden shelf with wooden sorting puzzles of different shapes and colours

Activity Corner

a cane basket and wooden puzzles of varied shapes and sizes and colours

Transferring activity

tray with metal cups and dropper

 Activity shelf

wooden shelf with can basket with various objects of different shapes and sizes, various trays with socks keys padlocks plastic key tags and keyrings and metal cups

Gross motor corner

wooden walk bridge with soft play shapes of different sizes and colours and safety mats

Pull along toys

wooden shelf with lots of wooden toys of different shapes and sizes and colours

Opening and closing activity

tray with an assortment of pouches in different colours
wooden tray with cane basket with fish figurines with placemat with matching fish pictures

photo credit: IMCH

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About Anastasia - Anastasia is an early childhood teacher and the founder of Montessori Nature - a blog about Montessori living and learning and nature-based explorations. With many years of experience working in a Montessori environment and homeschooling her children, she directed her passion for all things Montessori and nature into creating educational resources. You can learn more here and browse her printables on Teachers Pay Teachers.