The Waldorf and Montessori educational methods were created in the 20th century and inspired several schools. Now they have also moved into the area of decoration and have become a trend among some parents-to-be who want to plan out a room for their little ones that covers all the values they want to teach them.
By Ana Roque
THE WALDORF ROOM
WHEN LESS IS MORE
The Waldorf style was inspired by the educational methodology of the same name, which emerged in Germany shortly after the end of the First World War. Created by German philosopher Rudolf Steiner, the Waldorf method is based on the idea that teaching must always take into account one’s individual characteristics and that proper intellectual development depends on a solid emotional foundation. It is a more humanistic teaching method than the conventional one, and aims to form human beings endowed with clarity of reasoning, emotional balance and initiative of action. It is more artistic and free than the style of education many of us are used to.
Rooms decorated in this style should be designed to bring children closer to nature and instil a more minimalist lifestyle, focused only on the essential. When it comes to colours, preference should be given to light and peaceful pastel tones. Furniture made from natural wood is best, cut in the most artisanal way possible without great adornment. One should feel total tranquillity in these spaces, with the idea being to use simple, unadorned materials and to reduce the number of decorative elements and furniture as much as possible. Electronic devices are also on the list of items to avoid. There should be a very large and free play space which stimulates children’s imagination. Lighting should also be as natural as possible.
In a Waldorf room, children should feel free to let their imaginations soar. That’s why even toys inspired by this style eschew excessive detail and even facial traits so that kids can imagine them as they wish. When decorating a room like this, the aim is to create a free but safe and welcoming environment for our youngest.
THE MONTESSORI ROOM
INDEPENDENCE IS KEY
A Montessori-style room is decorated purely with children in mind. This style was inspired by the teaching method created in 1906 by the Italian Maria Montessori, the first woman in her country to graduate in medicine. Maria’s teaching method, which remains quite a trend today, favours the autonomy of children above all else. Adapted to decoration, the idea of Montessori is that children’s rooms should be made exactly to their measure. In this sense, the choice of the various decorative elements, furniture and toys should be made by placing ourselves in our children’s shoes. In a Montessori room, everything should be up to the kids, so that they can explore the space at will and gain independence without the constant monitoring of their parents.
The bed should be low or, alternatively, the mattress can even be placed on the floor. This way, kids will be able to lie down and get up without help. Like the bed, everything else should also be planned by taking into account the stature of the little ones. Toys should be placed on low shelves or boxes without lids. There should be a reading area with books available at children’s height. Even clothes should be placed in lower shelves and racks. The Montessori room must also include a mirror, again at the height of the children, so that they learn to recognise themselves. It is also advisable to place a support bar next to the walls to promote the independence of the youngest when they start walking.
Since children will walk freely around the room, it is essential to cover all power sockets.