Monday, June 23, 2008

Montessori Statement of Philosophy 0 to 3, Infant / Toddler

NAMC Montessori Statement of philosophy 0 - 3 infant toddler mirror
I was browsing through the newspaper the other day and came across an ad for a nanny for a two-month old baby girl. In addition to the parents' request for a description of experience, credentials, and references, they also asked for a statement of philosophy. I thought this was a good idea. A statement of philosophy is often requested when applying to work at a school or childcare center- why not one for a private nanny.? Then I thought, what is my statement of philosophy for working with different age groups? I decided I needed to think about this and write down what my Montessori philosophy is.

Statement of Philosophy
I believe…

Montessori Statement of Philosophy 0 to 3, Infant / Toddler

  • From birth, infants are receptive and respond to all aspects of their environment.
  • Babies are complete human beings that absorb every sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch around them.
  • These first experiences become one of the earliest memories.
  • During the first three years of life, the brain absorbs and processes more information than at any other time in life.
Soothing and Settling
  • Babies need to be spoken, cooed, sung, and read to.
  • Adults should use soft tones when interacting with infants.
  • Babies should be held often (one cannot spoil a baby by holding them).
Communicating with Infants
  • Communication involves not only words and tone, but body language, attitude, actions and reactions.
  • Genuine appreciation and respect for children is shown by the caregiver at all times by speaking and listening respectfully.
  • Speak quietly, slowly, and clearly, looking into the eyes of the child.
  • Communication with touch should be used often in the form of cuddling, rocking in a rocking chair, and stroking or massage.
  • Model grace and courtesy, using words such as "May I?", "Please", and "Thank you" to even the youngest of infants.
  • Slow down and match the pace to that of the child.
  • Use correct words for things, not slang or 'baby talk'.
  • Practice proactive guidance, rather than empty praise or punishment.
  • Socializing is an everyday experience.
  • Interventions should be done quietly, gently, and only when necessary.
  • Directed choice should be implemented.
NAMC Montessori Statement of philosophy 0 - 3 infant toddler eating
  • Feed infants according to their needs.
  • Hold infants while they are being fed.
  • Eating is a social experience. Look into his or her eyes while you are feeding them so they know you are present and aware.
  • Speak very little to young infants while they are eating so they can simply focus on the pleasure of being held and receiving nourishment.
  • Breast milk is most beneficial.
  • Introduce older infants to hand-washing before and after eating.
  • Wean infants directly from a bottle to a small cup, not a sipping cup. This helps the children move towards independence. Involve the child in helping clean up spills.
  • As soon as the infant can grasp a utensil, introduce spoons and forks for their own use.
  • Model appropriate serving and table manners.
  • Serve homemade baby food preferably using organic materials. Organic food has more taste and texture than commercially prepared baby food.
  • Cotton diapers help babies sense when they are wet and help them learn when they urinate. This is important when the child is ready to learn how to use the toilet.
  • Diapers should be changed as soon as they are wet or soiled.
  • Cornstarch helps protect the skin from chafing and is a natural alternative to powder.
NAMC Montessori Statement of philosophy 0 - 3 infant toddler sleeping
  • Babies need to sleep not only to rest, but to allow their minds to process the experiences that have been absorbed while they were awake.
  • Place babies on their back to sleep to reduce the risk of SIDS.
  • Allow babies to wake up on their own, if possible.
NAMC Montessori Statement of philosophy 0 - 3 infant toddler gardening
The Environment
  • Infants should experience a wide variety of environments.
  • Floor time is crucial.
  • Experiencing the outdoors and nature should start early.
  • Offer developmentally appropriate toys at all stages.
  • Allow time for infants to play independently and with adults.
  • Observe when the child is ready for new experiences and provide new learning experiences as they are developmentally appropriate.
Support Competence and Independence
  • Even young infants need to feel they are important and needed members of the family and their environment.
  • Allow the child as many daily opportunities to develop competence and independence.
  • Include and involve the children in daily routines.
  • Show the children how to take care of their environment. Talk to infants about how you are putting the toys away. Older babies can help clean their play area. Toddlers can carry items or help set the table.
  • When the child is able to stand steadily, diapering should be done standing up, with the child encouraged to take over much of the routine. This is in direct preparation for toileting.
  • Learning to use the toilet is a practical life skill that the child develops when she is ready, interested, encouraged, and provided the opportunity to practice.
  • Steps that lead to being able to toilet are:
    • Recognizing when diapers are wet or soiled 
    • Staying dry for at least 2 hours 
    • Wishing to avoid wetting or soiling in diapers or underwear
    • Recognizing the physical signs that the bladder or bowel needs to be empties
    • The ability to get oneself to the toilet 
    • Being able to pull down one’s own pants or underwear 
    • Being able to seat oneself on the toilet 
    • Being able to sit long enough to empty the bladder or bowels 
    • Being able to wipe 
    • Being able to get down off the toilet 
    • Being able to flush 
    • Being able to wash and dry one’s own hands
    • Cloth underpants should be used during the daytime so children have the opportunity to recognize what "wetness" feels like. Disposable training underpants prohibit the child's ability to sense when they are wet.
    • Consistency is key.
    • Clothing with elasticized waistbands allow the child to pull their own clothes up or down.
    • Accidents are normal and to be expected. They should be treated respectfully. Children are involved with helping change their clothes and clean up.
Presenting Learning Activities to Infants
  • Have prepared materials and activities on hand for when the child expresses readiness.
  • Choose materials and activities that will interest the child and appeal to her senses.
  • Introduce the idea of a work space using a mat placed on a rug. This helps develop the child's sense of order as well as helping learn to set and clean up her area.
  • Present familiar and unfamiliar activities equally.
  • Present activities only when the infant is alert, comfortable and rested.
  • Wait for the child's attention before presenting the activity.
  • While presenting, move slowly so the child can watch what you are doing.
  • Hold objects at the infant's eye level until vision is properly developed.
  • If the child becomes frustrated or irritable, calmly finish the activity and take the infant with you to return the materials.
  • Stay attentive to safety.
  • Allow the infant to explore freely, as long as she's not in danger.
Observing and Sharing Information with Parents
  • Throughout the day, the caregiver should take notes about the child in a journal.
  • The journal should include, but it is not limited to, information on daily routine, feeding, sleeping, diapering, as well as special developmental milestones.
  • A digital camera may be used during the day to document activities and milestones.
NAMC’s 0-3 Classroom Guide provides direction on how to prepare yourself as a Montessori caregiver.
As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community.
© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Monday, June 23, 2008.


  1. I would like more details sleeping. This seems to be a key issue for parents and sleep problems effect so many homes.

    I would add infants should be left alone in their beds when they are awake, in a state of calm peace. This enables them to learn to fall asleep on their own.

  2. "Healthy Sleep Habits" is a great book on creating a healthy sleep environment for children. We have done this with our twins, and they sleep easily at our house and elsewhere. There is a singleton and a twins version of this book. I'd highly recommend it.

    I would also stress that toddlers are not infants. When they become toddlers, it is best to encourage independence and to not treat them like babies.

  3. Thank you for sharing the information on "Healthy Sleep Habits".

  4. This article is a great and useful summary of all the themes about the Montessori Education involving all the things and recommendations for new and experienced teacher to put in practice the Montessori method.

  5. The presenting Learning activities to infants is a very complete part that explain and brings the tools to the teachers the effective form to present each presentation to achieve the goal of each activity and how the child develop different skills.

  6. This article is a great and useful summary of all the themes about the Montessori Education involving all the things and recommendations for new and experienced teacher to put in practice the Montessori method.


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