Montessori play groups can help bring parents together—here’s how to start one

Make friends and boost your little one's development: Win-win.

How to start a Montessori play group in your community

Even the most self-sufficient mamas can sometimes feel isolated during the first years with a baby. Moms' groups, play groups and parent-child classes offer community, connection and support during a vulnerable time—especially for mamas who don't have a ready-made group of mom-friends.

For many, a Montessori-based play group is an ideal way to meet like-minded moms, build meaningful friendships and help encourage baby's development.

By design, a Montessori-based play group is a bit different. Maria Montessori believed that education begins at birth—which is why the Montessori practice focuses on promoting children's independence and development from the get-go. Rather than comparing developmental milestones or offering structured entertainment (like singalongs and storytimes), Montessori play groups encourage parents to actively observe their children as their little ones follow their own unique developmental paths.

Here's how a Montessori-based play group works, plus how you can start one in your own community:

What is a Montessori play group?

Like most mama-and-me classes, Montessori play groups typically consist of a small number of caretakers with children ranging from newborns to preschool age. Ideally, these groups include infants or babies who are in the same general age group, or in a similar developmental phase.

Montessori-based groups celebrate each child's unique journey. Some babies are early talkers, while some are early movers, and it's often a mystery as to how each baby will develop, or at what rate. These play groups emphasize language, and later, collaboration, to involve babies and toddlers in everyday activities—both key in helping children gain a sense of independence as they grow and progress.

In-class teachers or experts are often present to offer practical information and help prepare a safe, child-friendly environment that promotes independent exploration without fear. Montessori experts are also trained to observe children's behaviors and reframe actions that might be initially regarded as misbehavior into opportunities to discover children's underlying needs.

With the support of both fellow parents and the group expert, Montessori-based classes provide a social and educational foundation for both parents and children, and a solid launching pad for independent learning.

How to start a Montessori play group near you

1. Find a local Montessori educator

Including a local Montessori specialist in the class—a teacher or parent who can provide valuable insight and guidance—is ideal, as they can help prepare the environment, answer questions and offer ideas for activities to do at home. Another option is to gather like-minded moms to form a Montessori-based group, and perhaps hire a Montessori expert to come in intermittently to answer questions and help prepare the environment. Montessori schools often offer free or low-cost parent-child classes, too.

2. Find a space to host

Rather than renting a public space, which can be costly, consider hosting at your home, or rotating with group members, which allows each mom to feel a sense of ownership in the group. Another option is to meet at your local library, either in a private event room or in the children's section.

3. Stock up on some Montessori materials

Montessori materials are generally made from natural fabrics and substances, in primary and secondary colors—nothing flashy or battery-operated. Blocks in various geometric shapes, puzzles, fabrics, nesting toys and simple musical instruments are a few materials that encourage exploratory play for babies and toddlers.

Looking for more ideas? Monti Kids offers monthly subscriptions of expert-selected, age-based Montessori toys, making it simple to get just-right materials for every age and stage. For Small Hands and Montessori Services are also great places to find wonderful materials for little ones.

For mamas in the group, Montessori books like Montessori from the Start by Paula Polk Lillard and The Montessori Toddler by Simone Davies are ideal to read and share as a group, along with the Maria Montessori classic, The Absorbent Mind.

4. Invite new moms in your neighborhood

If you're new to the neighborhood, put up a flyer at the local coffee shop, send an invite via Nextdoor or a local online group, or ask around at prenatal classes.

Making mom friends is one of the biggest benefits of starting or joining a play group. And if you feel nervous about inviting other mamas to join, just remember this—every new mama, every single one, is looking for her "village." A play group that celebrates your children's growth, independence and development is a great way to connect with other mamas, and that makes all the difference.

Products that solve your biggest breastfeeding challenges

Including a battle plan for clogged ducts!

When expecting a baby, there is a lot you can test-run in advance: Take that stroller around the block. Go for a spin with the car seat secured in place. Learn how to use the baby carrier with help from a doll. But breastfeeding? It's not exactly possible to practice before baby's arrival.

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Also up there on the list of reasons women stop breastfeeding: the toll the early days can take on nipples. Made from just five ingredients, this all natural healing balm is ideal for soothing chafed nipples, making for a much more comfortable experience for mama as her body adjusts to the needs of a breastfeeding baby.


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We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this


14 sweet 'just thinking of you' gifts for every mama

A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs.

Who says you have to wait for birthdays or holidays to give your bestie a great gift? A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs in these more-than-trying times. We've rounded up some of our favorite go-to gifts that are certain to be a bright spot in her week. But be warned, you may want to snag a few for yourself. (You deserve it, mama.)

Here are some our favorite "just because" gifts to give our hardworking mama friends.

New Mother face + body care duo

volition face + body care duo

This correcting oil and stretch mark minimizer is perfect for the pregnant mama looking to keep her pregnancy glow. The correcting oil brightens the skin while reducing dark spots, and the stretch mark minimizer works to smooth her ever-growing belly.


Allover roller

esker allover roller

This jade roller goes beyond your typical face roller and can be used anywhere on the body. It works to increase stimulation and reduce puffiness and is perfect for applying any oils to the face or body. Plus, it feels like a mini spa treatment.


Kombucha making kit

farmsteady kombucha making kit

What could be a more perfect gift for the health-obsessed friend? This kombucha making kit comes with everything you need to brew your own homemade green tea kombucha. They'll think this is the tastiest gift ever.


Laetitia lipstick

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This red lipstick is perfect for your makeup enthusiast bestie who is looking to spruce up her life in quarantine. Crafted in the United States, these bee and vegan-friendly and cruelty-free lipsticks are created to flatter all complexions. Cupid and Psyche Beauty makes finding the perfect red lip way too easy!


Jigsaw puzzle

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Mamas need to destress now more than ever during quarantine. This adorable jigsaw puzzle is perfect for the mama who needs a brain break! The 500-piece puzzle designed by artist Ray Oranges features an abstract gradient design that fits a standard frame when completed. Bonus: It's printed on recycled paper and the company donates $1 from every puzzle sold to youth mindfulness programs.


Matilda's Bloombox

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If we have to be stuck inside, we might as well have some gorgeous florals to brighten up the space. Matilda's Bloombox locally sources blooms, delivers them to her door and provides simple tips on how to arrange it into a beautiful bouquet.


'I Am Enough' bracelet

I Am Enough bracelet

Let this dainty bracelet serve as a constant reminder to your bestie that she is enough. She'll wear this on her wrist and read this daily oath to herself, "I Am Enough."


Glow assorted teas

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This tea gift box set covers the entire spectrum of flavors from sweet to spicy. Individually packaged in beautiful tins, your gal pal will feel like a queen sipping her morning tea. Originally $40, this set is currently on sale for just $24. We'll take two, please.


Find your voice journal

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Journaling is a great way to ease anxiety and will slow your bestie's racing mind before bed. This gift is perfect for first time journalists and includes prompts, daily quotes and coloring pages to help her unlock her potential and find her voice.


Premium frother

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This gift is fitting for your latte-sipping bestie who can't go a day without her coffee. All she has to do is add two scoops of collagen to her favorite drink, and she'll have a perfectly foamy drink ready in seconds. Skipping the drive-thru line has never been so easy!


Bath soak infusion kit

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Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

It's a hard-earned title she answers to a hundred times per day. Whether she's new to the club or a seasoned professional, this delicate script 'mama' necklace is guaranteed to be a perfect fit.


Superfood honey

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Calming midnight mask with melatonin

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We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


In Montessori schools, parents are periodically invited to observe their children at work in the classroom. I have heard many parents express shock to see their 3- or 4-year-old putting away their own work when they finish—without even being asked!

"You should see his room at home!" or, "I ask him to put his toys away every day, and it's a battle every single time" were frequent comments.

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