"Order is one of the needs of life which when satisfied, produces real happiness"
- Dr. Maria Montessori
Having too many toys out in a visual space actually detracts from creativity, sustained attention, focus and imaginative play.
The answer to this problem is toy rotation. This idea that you put out some toys now, and then store the others. You then rotate the toys as needed so that your children have things that fit their interests and present the appropriate amount of challenge. But, what does that practically mean in a Montessori environment?
Sense of order
Young children (birth to around age 6) are in the sensitive period for order. They have this incredible sense of order that can be disrupted with changes in environment and routine. If we are frequently changing toys in the environment, we can disrupt this sense of order in our children which can lead to undesirable behavior.
In Montessori, we try to create the best environments, where children are able to deeply concentrate on their own interests. Dr. Maria Montessori found that when children were able to concentrate, they had great joy and satisfaction in their play and work.
Children are naturally driven to explore their environments, so when something new is added, they may feel this pressure to bounce around checking out every new thing.
Be careful not to rotate toys simply because your child has mastered the work. Give your child space and time to repeat until he or she is done with the work. Do not place a value on the work your child is doing, instead respect it. Be careful not to rotate things that your child is drawn to and uses.
Observation is one of the central roles of an adult in a Montessori environment. Without observation, we can't determine your child's interests, we can't see whether they feel good in their environment and are able to concentrate, we can't see if they are able to repeat their work, we can't decide when to rotate, what to rotate, how to rotate.
Rotation should be based on your observations. It should be based on your child's interests. It's that simple. No rotation schedules. No huge sweeping changes. No adult-led desire to use all the new educational toys.
Simply child-led ❤️