Now that Liv is officially a full toddler (running, talking, exploring everything!) I have continued to add to her room, building on Montessori principles and rotating and buying a few new toys now that she is older. Her room has changed even since I took these pictures (they are from February and she now sleeps in a big girl bed)! Woo hooo!
Montessori is an educational philosophy and a whole system of education (based on the scientific work of Maria Montessori) in which the environment is very intentional and set up in a very ordered way. There is a lot more to it, but the environment is a really key piece. Activities are grouped and stored on a tray or in a basket. One of the cool things I learned from the Montessori philosophy is to store all the pieces of a puzzle in a basket on top of the puzzle. If you store the puzzle with the pieces in their proper place (already complete) there is little desire for a child to pick it up and do the puzzle, because it's already done.
I am not 100% Montessori by any means, but I have used many Montessori principles throughout our home. I rotate our toys/books not putting them all out at once in an effort to keep the space organized and so that Liv can enjoy them without it feeling overwhelming or stuffy in her room. I have been so surprised how well Liv puts her toys back and I think it is because it is easy for her to know where it goes. One toy, one spot. Skills such as sorting, hand-eye coordination, and the exploration of materials to build etc...are all Montessori rooted. It is a beautiful approach to education. Here are a few of my favorite Montessori resources: The Kavanaugh Report & The Montessori Notebook. I love building a fun space for Liv and I'll continue to change and tweak it as Cohen eventually moves in there too.
Liv using her water painting board (below) and of course drinking the water (haha, my fault for putting the water in a tea cup)!