Having trained in the Montessori Method and being besotted with Montessori parenting at home i'm always on the look out for objects that will not only encourage my childrens development but are practical, well made, have no imperfections and are beautifully simple in their design.
There seems to be alot of online shops that cater for the smaller people in our lives in the U.S and Australia, but here in the U.K products are difficult to come by. There are a couple of well known shops that sell the actual Montessori materials but it is debatable whether such equipment should be used at all in the home or just be reserved for use by trained Montessori staff in nurseries.
One important thing that i feel the Montessori materials can teach us to ape in objects used in the home is the simplicity of them. For example, the pink tower, is all one colour because it minimises distraction so that the child can focus on the size of the blocks. How many objects/toys for children do you see like this in shops or supermarkets? The nearest you'll get, (which is about as near as pluto is to the sun) to something like the pink tower is plastic stacking cups that are all different colours.
I'm constantly on the search for objects made from natural materials, one colour or tone, practical to use employ Montessori principles, such as encouraging focus and concentration, and also if possible unique...
This is where products from Montessori Design by Nuccia comes in.
I first saw Nuccia's, the founder, products at a Montessori seminar up in London a couple of years ago and was smitten. Her products are well thought out, beautifully simple, practical and designed with young children in mind to be used at home or in a Montessori nursery.
In February i bought this for S, to help develop her wrist movements, (something she was struggling with, especially when trying to open jars)
its called the Bambini Bolt and can be found here.
I had the pleasure to meet and speak with Nuccia and she kindly agreed to partake in an interview with me so we can know more about her lovely products..
How did you first come across the Montessori Method? What appealed to you about it?
Nuccia: I first came across Montessori when I visited a small Montessori nursery on the Isle of Wight owed by a family friend twenty years ago and I remember being impressed by how calm the classroom was and how ‘homely’ it felt. Looking back I now realise that the school had limited amounts of equipment, the majority of the children’s day was spent gardening or cooking, perfect.
What motivated you to set up a business?
Nuccia: I set up Lymington Montessori School in the heart of the New Forest, in 1997, I sold the school as a going concern after 10 years. Through my experience as a Montessori Directress and school owner I realised that there was a lot of time spent sourcing appropriate equipment for the children to use. This experience and knowledge enabled me to set up Montessori Design.
Your products are notable for their well-designed handcrafted look. How do you think these items benefit the Montessori environment either in a classroom or at home?
Nuccia: “….. what is above all essential is, that it should be ‘artistically beautiful’. In this case beauty is not produced by superfluity or luxury, but by grace and harmony of line and colour, combined with that absolute simplicity necessitated by the lightness of the furniture.” The Advanced Montessori Method 1 Maria Montessori Clio 1991
When we design our equipment we follow the Montessori principles in that the equipment must be ‘fit for purpose’, attractive and where possible natural.
Have you seen your products in action in the classroom?.
Nuccia: The majority of the equipment we design and make came about because I made it for my school following the designs and requirements established by Maria Montessori, so I know they work and last. The Spanner Cube was design by myself and made for me when I had my school and now Andy (my partner) makes them for Montessori Design! I am the Accreditation Coordinator for MEUK (Montessori Education UK) and so I am constantly in contact with the schools that have bought pieces of my equipment therefore, I am regularly updated with information, suggestions, comments and re- orders.
Have you ever practised the Montessori Method at home? If so what was your experience of it?
Nuccia: I don’t have children of my own, so I have not personally implemented the Montessori methods at home, other than with my nephews, nieces and 22 year old step son.
Have you found that the Montessori Method has influenced your life outside being a parent or teacher?
Nuccia: My whole life revolves around Montessori (except when I’m riding my horse!) I work part-time at Bournemouth Montessori College and part-time for MEUK so everyday I am ‘doing’ something regarding Montessori. One of the things it does give me is a sense of order and structure to look at things in manageable stages and to deal with what life puts in front of me as a
Thank you for your time, Nuccia. Its good to see someone here so dedicated to the Montessori Method and producing such well thought products that are also accessible to nursery staff and parents. We can learn alot about the Method from the way you have made Montessori's principles into actual objects. If you wish to order items from Nuccia then the best way is to email her. Her details are on her website, the link to which is provided above. :-)