There have been many articles written on the topic so I thought it would be nice to address it here too. Most Montessori parents would agree that pretend play is important. It may be a critical part of the child's development. Role play, acting out scenarios, it's a way for children to process their experiences, process their thoughts and develop a whole range of social skills, coping strategies, creativity and important critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Through pretend play Otis develops characters, storylines, and plots both simple and complex.
Pretend play often involves dress up, dolls, and toys. While these are not necessarily provided in the Montessori classroom it doesn't mean this play isn't valued. As a parent, I support not having these materials in the classrooms and feel there are plenty of opportunities for this type of play at home. I feel the home is best placed for this type of play. Although some Montessori classrooms have space for pretend play, in the playground, in the sand box, in water trays.
Otis is no longer interested in playing with blocks and vehicles, which entertained him for many years. Otis often gets involved in pretend play with nothing but a (wooden) sword in his hands although I can also see how much he enjoys more developed play scenes and playing with more involved materials.
The pictured Playmobil Adventure Treehouse has been set up in the boys' room for almost six months. It has a lot of parts and details which makes it really stimulating for Otis. It has bunk beds that swing down, doors and windows that open, a manual lift, and a hidden gold treasure. It has two people which are really important for his play right now, he needs play where people can talk and interact and there is also a whole range of animals. The idea of an Adventure Treehouse is exciting for Otis and it provides lots of opportunity for creative, pretend play and story telling.
Our Adventure Treehouse is c/o Child.com.au. Child.com.au currently have 20% off Playmobil until the 14th of November 2016, see the website for further details. Playmobil is perfect for birthday or Christmas gifts. It's also good for language materials! Because there are many sets it's easy to find one that will interest the child. While we love the Adventure Treehouse, this year we have given friends the Space Shuttle and the Fire Engine. Due to the many parts and for the child's enjoyment, I would recommend for ages 4-5years+.
The same Playmobil Adventure Treehouse is also available in the US here.
P.S I read a review saying the treehouse was hard to set up. We found the set up simple, Caspar (at the time 8yrs) put it together independently within 20-30 minutes.