How To Determine A Premium Montessori Material
Recently, many customers have contacted our company to express how they felt cheated by other discount vendors who claimed their products were premium quality, but were not (hereafter, refer to "Discount Quality Materials"). These products experience immediate paint chipping, horrible paint smells, etc. In response to our conversation with those victims, Montessori Outlet R&D department decided to prepare this guideline for our customers on the following topics:

We hope that through this article, we can help our teachers to avoid bad experiences with other discounted vendors and keep the classroom safe.

How to Differentiate Premium Quality vs. Discounted Quality

Premium quality Montessori materials are sold by industry-leading companies such as Nienhuis Montessori and Montessori Outlet. They provide excellent quality products made of solid beechwood and Baltic birch plywood with perfect finishing. A Montessori material can be recognized as premium quality only if it meets all of the following requirements:

  • The materials must be produced based on the authentic blueprints. All Montessori materials must be made according to the authentic blueprints, since the blueprints contain many technical details regarding the products' safety control. Currently, many discount vendors purchase materials made in Asia which copies either Nienhuis or Montessori Outlet materials without paying attention to safety controls.
  • The production facility must be 100% owned by the Montessori materials distributors so that there will be a 360-degree quality-control monitoring system implemented at the factory according to the specifications listed on the authentic blueprints. Currently, many discount vendors are buying materials from Asian wooden toy manufacturers as a reseller, and they cannot control such facility's production quality and management behaviors. Most of these manufacturers are not officially audited or certified by the local government.
  • The production facility must be ISO-9001 and ISO-14001 audited and certified by a European independent quality-control auditor such as UK National Quality Association or TUV Rheinland Laboratory. According to our research, many Asian wooden toy factories obtained their ISO licenses from local auditors through bribery, thus avoiding strict audits from European QC auditors.
  • The products must be made of non-toxic paint tested at TUV German Rheinland Laboratory and obtain the CE mark. As the world's largest and most reputable independent testing laboratory, TUV helps Montessori Outlet to regularly test its products and make sure all of our products satisfy European and US toy-safety standards. With TUV's recognition, a CE mark can be legally printed on our packages. Currently, many discount vendors still use traditional oil-based paint, which has strong and unpleasant odors when you open the package. Due to the high expense, all other discount vendors don't test their products at TUV nor their manufacturers in Asia, thus releasing potentially dangerous materials to the market.
  • The products must be made of FSC or PEFC certified lumber. As the world's leading Montessori materials producer and distributor, Montessori Outlet actively participate in all kinds of environmental protection programs. Using FSC or PEFC certified lumber is a contribution toward our environmental protection efforts. Currently, all discount vendors and their manufacturers are using non FSC or PEFC certified lumber. They are using local Asian lumber and almost all Asian lumber is not FSC or PEFC certified.
  • A premium-quality Montessori company not only provides premium-quality materials, but also premium-quality customer services. As the world's leading Montessori materials producer and distributor, Montessori Outlet currently has more than 100 employees providing complete customer service worldwide. Most discount vendors have no more than five employees with limited product safety knowledge, and most of them are family members working from home. How can a small reseller with limited production knowledge guarantee adequate product safety and quality control to our kids?

Why People Should Stop Buying Discount-Quality Materials

People should act immediately to stop buying discount-quality materials from other discount vendors, but relying on Nienhuis or Montessori Outlet, because:

  • All discount-quality materials are a violation of federal copyright laws. Nienhuis and Montessori Outlet are the only legal owners of the blueprints that we produce our materials from.
  • No discount-quality materials are made of FSC or PEFC certified lumber, creating significant environmental problems for our earth and our future.
  • All discount-quality materials are made of traditional oil-based paint, which may contain lead and endanger our kids' health.
  • All discount-quality materials are not TUV and CIQ tested, thus not satisfying European and American toy-safety standards and threatening our kids.
  • All discount-quality materials manufacturers are not CIQ certified, thus not qualified to produce Montessori materials.

Why Choose Montessori Outlet?

  Montessori Outlet Nienhuis Montessori Discount Vendors
Legally Owns the Authentic Blueprints? Yes Yes No
Operates Its Own Production Facility? Yes Yes No
Safety & Quality
Professional Knowledge on How to Produce Safe Montessori Materials? Yes Yes No
Factory Is ISO-9001 and 14001 Certified through the UK National Quality Association? Yes N/A No
Factory is Governmentally Certified by CIQ to Legally Import Wooden Toys to the USA? Yes N/A No
Factory is Legally Certified by the Chinese Government to Produce Montessori Materials? Yes N/A No
Products Passed the TUV Test? Yes N/A No
Products Comply with European Toy-Safety Standards and Have CE Mark? Yes Yes No
Products Comply with American Toy-Safety Standards? Yes N/A N/A
Products are Made of Water-Based Finishes? Yes N/A No
Products are Made of FSC or PEFC Certified Lumber? Yes N/A No
Customer Service
Live Customer Service Support? Yes Yes Maybe
Offering Products at Affordable Prices? Yes No Yes
Stocking inventory without major backorders? Yes Yes No
Free Return and Exchange Policy? Yes Maybe Maybe