A hallmark of a Montessori bedroom is a mirror on the wall. This mirror serves a purpose for your little one from their newborn days through the rest of their childhood. While the specific purposes for the mirror change as your baby grows into a toddler, its usefulness remains constant. Throughout childhood, it will support visual activity, movement, cognitive development, and independence.
What are Montessori mirrors?
Montessori mirrors are a key component of the Montessori classroom and are used to support the child’s development of self-awareness, spatial awareness, and sensory development. They are typically large, unbreakable, and have a smooth finish. They can be used in various ways, such as:
- Sensorial Exploration: Children can explore their own reflections and the reflection of objects around them. They can also observe light and shadows and how they change with the movement of the sun.
- Gross Motor Development: Children can use mirrors to observe and imitate movements, such as jumping, skipping, or clapping, thus promoting their gross motor development.
- Fine Motor Development: Children can use mirrors to practice fine motor skills, such as holding a pencil, drawing, or even applying makeup with a play makeup set.
- Language Development: Children can use mirrors to observe facial expressions and learn to identify emotions and feelings, as well as learn new words to describe them.
- Self-Awareness: Children can use mirrors to observe their own growth, and changes and to become familiar with their own bodies.
- Spatial Awareness: Children can use mirrors to observe the reflections of the environment and learn about spatial relationships.
Montessori mirrors can be used both in the classroom and at home to support children’s development, they can be a versatile tool to explore, play and learn in a fun and interactive way.
How do I introduce mirrors to my child in a Montessori setting?
Studies show that between 18 and 24 months, many toddlers start to recognize themselves in a mirror and in photos. It’s a big deal when they discover that they are looking at their body, their self—this is a critical step in developing self-awareness.
By age two, children are starting to recognize and identify more and more facial features, as well as the emotions they can express. More specific words, like eyebrow, cheek, wrist, and chin, may begin to enter their receptive vocabulary (words they understand but might not be able to say yet), and children’s mirrors are a great opportunity to introduce a broader range of emotion words. Here are some suggestions for introducing mirrors to your child in a Montessori setting:
- Start with simple activities: Begin by introducing simple mirror activities that are easy for your child to understand and engage with, such as looking at their own reflection or observing the reflection of objects in the mirror.
- Provide a safe and stable mirror: Make sure the mirror is securely mounted and at a safe height for your child to use. Use a large and unbreakable mirror that has a smooth finish, this will avoid any sharp edges and potential accidents.
- Use natural light: Use natural light to illuminate the mirror, and encourage your child to observe how the light changes throughout the day. This can help them understand concepts such as light and shadows.
- Provide a comfortable seating area: Provide a comfortable seating area for your child to use when engaging with the mirror. This will help them to focus and be more comfortable during their activities.
- Encourage exploration: Encourage your child to explore the mirror on their own and to use their imagination. Let them discover and experiment with different ways to use the mirror.
- Provide guidance: Provide guidance and support as needed, but also give your child the freedom to discover and explore the mirror at their own pace.
- Use descriptive language: Use descriptive language when talking about the mirror and what your child is seeing. This will help them learn new words and concepts.
- Introduce other activities: Once your child is comfortable with the mirror, introduce other activities that can be done with it such as using a brush, writing, drawing, or even playing dress up.
- Encourage self-care: Encourage your child to observe their own reflection and learn how to take care of themselves by brushing their hair, and teeth and taking care of their appearance.
It’s important to keep in mind that children learn best through hands-on experiences and that the goal is to encourage children to take control of their own learning and development. Be patient, and let your child explore and learn at their own pace.
How can I ensure that mirrors are used in a safe and appropriate manner in a Montessori setting?
Use a mirror made of plexiglass rather than real glass for your baby’s room for safety standards. If they roll against it, bang it, or kick it, especially as they are older and stronger, then the plexiglass can withstand the abuse better than real glass. Here are some suggestions for ensuring that mirrors are used in a safe and appropriate manner in a Montessori setting to prevent accidents and injuries, and to ensure that children are getting the most out of the educational experience:
- Securely mount the mirror: Make sure the mirror is securely mounted and at a safe height for children to use. This will prevent it from falling or being knocked over and causing injury.
- Use unbreakable mirrors: Use large, unbreakable mirrors with a smooth finish to avoid any sharp edges or potential accidents.
- Provide adult supervision: Provide adult supervision when children are using the mirror, to ensure that they are using it safely and appropriately.
- Limit access to the mirror: Limit access to the mirror to appropriate times and activities to ensure that it is being used in a safe and appropriate manner.
- Use descriptive language: Use descriptive language when talking about the mirror and what children are seeing. This will help them understand and appreciate the mirror in a safe and appropriate manner.
- Use natural light: Use natural light to illuminate the mirror, and encourage children to observe how the light changes throughout the day. This will help them understand concepts such as light and shadows.
- Teach children to take care of the mirror: Teach children how to take care of the mirror by showing them how to clean it, properly store it and handle it with care.
- Incorporate it into routines: Incorporate the mirror into your children’s daily routine, but do not rely on it excessively.
- Observe and adjust: Observe how children are using the mirror and make adjustments as needed to ensure that it is being used in a safe and appropriate manner.
It’s essential to keep an eye on the children’s behavior and use of the mirror, to ensure that it is being used in a way that aligns with Montessori principles and supports their development.
How do I care for and maintain Montessori mirrors?
Here are some suggestions for caring for and maintaining mirrors in a Montessori setting:
- Clean the mirrors regularly: Clean the mirrors regularly with a soft, clean cloth and a mild cleaning solution. Avoid using abrasive or harsh cleaning products, as they can scratch or damage the mirror surface.
- Store the mirrors properly: Store the mirrors in a safe, dry place when they are not in use. Avoid storing them in humid or damp areas, as this can cause the mirror to become foggy or discolored over time.
- Handle the mirrors with care: Handle the mirrors with care, to avoid scratches or damage to the reflective surface.
- Check for damage: Check the mirrors for any damage, such as cracks, chips, or scratches, and replace them if necessary.
- Keep them accessible: Keep the mirrors at a safe height and easily accessible for children to use.
- Use natural light: Use natural light to illuminate the mirror and avoid any direct sunlight, which can cause the mirror to overheat.
- Teach children to take care of them: Teach children how to take care of the mirrors, by showing them how to clean them, properly store them, and handle them with care.
The mirror is a beautiful and simple addition to your little one’s room, no matter what their age. It serves different purposes at different stages of life and supports your child’s development in many ways. It is useful, classic, and always relevant.
Our suggestions of Montessori Mirrors at A Matter Of Style
- Cat Montessori Mirror42,00 € – 94,00 € Inc. VAT
- Cloud Montessori Mirror42,00 € – 94,00 € Inc. VAT
- Think Cloud Montessori Mirror42,00 € – 94,00 € Inc. VAT