How To Determine A Premium Montessori Material

Many customers have contacted us to express how they felt cheated by other discount vendors who claimed their products were premium quality, but were not. Customers who bought discount materials often experience immediate paint chipping, horrible paint smells, and unsafe product structure. Here are some useful quality and safety guidelines prepared by Montessori Outlet R&D department:

  • How to differentiate premium quality vs. discounted quality?
  • Why shall we stop buying discount-quality materials?
  • Why choosing Montessori Outlet?

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 Beech wood and Baltic birch plywood with lead-free finishing. A Montessori material can be recognized as premium quality only if it meets all the following requirements:

  • Design - Authentic Blueprints

Premium Montessori materials must be produced based on the authentic blueprints which contain important technical details regarding products' quality and safety control. Discount vendors copy either Nienhuis or Montessori Outlet materials without knowing safety and quality requirements.

  • Quality – Controlled ISO Production Facility

The production facility, especially its quality and safety management system, shall be controlled by the vendor so that all quality specifications from the authentic blueprints can be adopted at factory. The production facility must be ISO-9001 and ISO-14001 certified by a European independent quality-control auditor such as UK National Quality Association.  Discount vendors, as a reseller, import materials from Asian wooden toy manufacturers which are not ISO audited and certified. They can’t control such factory’s production quality and management behaviors, thus avoiding strict European QC audit.

  • Safety – CPSC Certified Lab Testing

According to the federal CPSC regulations, all children products must be tested at a CPSC certified independent lab such as TUV German Rheinland Laboratory. As the world's largest and most reputable independent testing laboratory, TUV helps Montessori Outlet to regularly test its products and raw materials, making sure all testing results satisfy European and US safety standards.  With TUV’s recognition, a CE mark can be legally printed on products packages.  Due to the high testing cost, neither discount vendors nor their suppliers test their products at TUV, thus releasing potentially dangerous materials to the market.

  • Green – FSC or PEFC Certified Lumber

Premium vendor shall request its manufacturers using environmentally-friendly raw materials throughout all production phases. From sustaining forest lumbers to water-based non-toxic finishes, Green shall be found at all corners of factory.  Using FSC or PEFC certified lumber is a great contribution toward such environmental protection commitment.  Discount vendors’ manufacturers are using non FSC or PEFC certified lumber to make their products price competitive, instead of building a green community.

  • Responsibility – Listening to Customers

A premium-quality Montessori company not only provides premium-quality materials, but also premium-quality customer services.  Premium companies frequently improve services based on customers’ feedback.  In-house engineer transfers customer feedback to better quality materials.  Discount vendors have limited product safety knowledge.  Their employees are part time students or neighbors who have limited product quality and safety knowledge.


Why People Should Stop Buying Discount-Quality Materials

Teachers and parents shall act immediately to stop buying discount-quality materials from other discount vendors, because:

  • Discount-quality materials are a violation of federal copyright laws. Nienhuis and Montessori Outlet are the only legal owners of the authentic blueprints.
  • No discount-quality materials are made of FSC or PEFC certified lumber, creating significant environmental problems for our earth and our community.
  • Discount-quality materials are made of traditional oil-based paint, which may contain lead and endanger our kids' health.
  • Discount-quality materials are not TUV tested, thus not satisfying European and American children products safety standards.

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 Federal CPSIA HR4040 Children Products Safety Standards? Yes N/A No
Products Comply with European Toy-Safety Standards and Have CE Mark? Yes N/A N/A
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 N/A
Offering Products at Affordable Prices? Yes No Yes
Stocking inventory without major backorders? Yes N/A No
Free Return and Exchange Policy? Yes N/A No

N/A = Information not available at the time of research.