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.

    1. Mariah JeffersonJune 12, 2018 at 8:15 PM

      A challenge i have come across with toileting is punishment and reward being done at home but in our class room its a different story. Our philosophy in our class room is a silent smile and encourage meant when they use the potty all on their own. But with some of our children they expect candy or a toy when they do because that is what happens at home. I have tried encouraging parents to go with the montessori guide to potty training but it doesn't seem to be sinking in. What should i do?

    2. Mariah JeffersonJune 12, 2018 at 8:20 PM

      This article is so useful. I love the section on communication with parents. I feel like that is one of the most important things that should go on throughout the day. Some parents leave after dropping if their crying child, unsure and worried about how their childs day will go. Another reason i feel its important because speaking as a teacher and a mom, i will want to know the milestones my child has succeeded.

  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.

  7. Toileting: I love toilet training! in my experience, I jump to it right when a child shows interest. when a child shows interest in it, it is a great time to start.

  8. I think that sleep is a touchy topic. Make sure you communicate with the parents about the techniques they use at home whether it be crying out method, using a pacifier, rocking then laying them down. These things are the child's home routine, so its important to use that routine for consistency.

  9. I love the communication with parents. Always tell them about their child's day. They love to hear about it and develops more and more trust.

  10. I really like that you encourage the parents to make their own organic baby food. I feel this is very important and let ing the parents know that you will provide this for their child may make them start doing it on their own as well.

  11. I am noticing a lot of people commenting on the sleeping of the infant or child. I realize this can be a very touchy subject. I agree with most of what you have listed but I feel that you will have to definitely follow what the parents deem as fit fort heir child. This definitely applies to crying it out or rocking baby to sleep, etc.

  12. I really love the idea of keeping a journal of the child's day to share with the parents. That is very thoughtful! I know working parents feel guilt for missing some of their child's major milestones! With today's technology you could even make short videos for them throughout the day as well.

  13. Toileting is an area where I feel you need to follow the child’s lead. The toddler will show signs of being ready to begin toileting. Age alone is not a predictor, nor is the parent’s eagerness. In fact, if the child is not ready, they may become obstinate toward toileting. Once they are ready, however, independent toileting can occur within a short period of time. I have even had a few of my own children learn to toilet within a day by giving them many opportunities to be successful as well as learning to clean up after themselves after any accidents, placing them in complete control of the whole process.

  14. One of the philosophies I concur with is holding and cuddling an infant or toddler. Touch is very important to a child and is one way to communicate caring and warmth. I have worked at a center where we were forbidden to hold the children for any length of time and I felt that this was ignoring the child’s basic need for connections and relationships. The children were not the happiest and cried frequently. Needless to say, I left this center and found one where cuddling was encouraged. Here the children are happy and content, coming to get a cuddle whenever they want and knowing that their needs are being met.

  15. Sharing information with parents is beneficial and necessary. However, it is not as easy as it appears. With a large classroom size (I currently have 15 students with 2 aides) it can be challenging to put observations and notes down on paper quickly and timely enough for the parents to receive them at the end of the day. There are times when the day doesn’t go well, or there were too many interruptions when the best I can do is just give the parents the basics (toileting, sleeping and eating).

  16. While reading this I specifically found the toileting part interesting. This gives parents and teachers great tips when a child is ready to toilet train and it also gives ideas on things you can work on with a child. Teachers can show the child how to flush, wash hands, and get on and off the toilet.

  17. Presenting learning activities to infants is already a hard task because their attention span is so short. My experiences have shown me that being prepared is the only way. If you do not have your materials ready infants can easily loose interest, then the activity is over before it even starts, so I agree be prepared.

  18. By personal failure, the environment can play a big role in the classroom, from the way it is set up to the way the teacher carries herself, the experience infants have outside and giving an even amount of attention to the infants. I have learned that when all these are in check the class or group runs a lot more smoothly.

  19. Thank you for this great blog it is very informative and great to look back on.

  20. I agree that when a child is working on his/her toileting skills, it is very important to be consistent in all aspects. I have experienced that when parents decided that their child was not ready for toileting and put the pull-up back on, after only two weeks with a few accidents, end up with the child got confused. It is crucial to be consistent between the family and teachers.

  21. After reading about the intervention part of teaching strategy, recently I have been more aware about when I should intervene and make sure not to have unnecessary intervention. I also make sure not to correct a child when he/she is working on the activity, so he/she can work on the trial and error skills. It is working really well.

  22. I also like the part of communicating with the parents and updating their children's learning during the day to the parents. I use the StoryPark to upload the photos and let the parents know how their children settled in and what they have been doing, and parents really enjoy reading it and it's easier for them to reply and a good way to get parent's feedback.

  23. Awesome read. Thank you for such an insightful post. I feel you hit a lot of points that are often missed in traditional training programs. I am considering doing this myself. Great post!

  24. Feeding is an important issue that must be addressed carefully.

    As eating is a social experience, it is important to look lovingly at a child while you are feeding him/her as this helps them to know you are present and aware.
    Try not to speak to very little or young infants while they are eating so they can focus on the pleasure of being held and receiving nourishment. As soon as the infant can grasp a utensil, introduce spoons and forks for their own use.

  25. Toileting is regarding as another important issue that cannot be overlooked as it involves personal hygiene and good personal habits during development.

    Children learn to use the toilet is a practical life skill when they are ready, interested, encouraged, and provided the opportunity to practice.
    Basic steps that begin with firstly recognizing when diapers are wet or soiled. Then they learn to ask and go to the toilet. There, they become able to sit on the toilet and relieve themselves. Finally, they learn to wash and dry their hands. As consistency is key – parents need to collaborate at home.
    Remember that 'accidents' are normal and expected, so these should be treated respectfully, and not punishable or reprimanded. Children are involved with helping change their clothes and clean up.

  26. Communicating with infants is extremely vital for the following reasons as this will affect the development and behavioural patterns of the child.

    While communication involves not only words and tone, body language, attitude, actions and reactions will also convey a lot of unspoken meaning too. When speaking to a child, it is important to speak quietly, slowly, and clearly, looking into the eyes of the child. Be polite and courteous by using words such as "May I?", "Please", and "Thank you" to even the youngest of infants. It is most important to slow down to the same pace of the child, using correct words for things, instead of 'baby talk' and NEVER use slang or or vulgar/aggressive language.
    Communication should be seen as a proactive guidance, rather than empty praise or punishment.

  27. Mariah JeffersonJune 12, 2018 at 8:27 PM

    I love that it is recommended that parents and i guess even teachers could make their own baby food. Healthy eating habits are great and the earlier the batter


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