Thursday, February 14, 2013

Helping Parents Create an Effective Infant Toddler Montessori Home Environment

 NAMC Infant Toddler Montessori Home Environment
As Montessori educators, we know that the Montessori environment is key to helping children learn and develop, both at school and home equally. Parents looking to prepare their home environment to support the method may find themselves seeking advice, especially for their infants and toddlers. One of the wonderful things about a Montessori community is the relationships between parents and teachers; it is one that means you will be in a position to guide parents who may have questions! There are many excellent tips that you can provide for creating an effective Montessori home environment, especially for infants and toddlers, who have very different needs from older children.

Tips for an Effective Infant Toddler Montessori Home Environment: The Bedroom and Beyond

 NAMC Infant Toddler Montessori Home Environment
Dr. Montessori believed in giving children freedom right from the start. In the Montessori nursery you will find a floor bed rather than a crib. Montessori believed children need to be free, not caged. The floor bed allows parents to feed or soothe an upset infant by being able to lay down with them. Once crawling, the baby can actively explore her environment without waiting for the adult to set her free. A soft pad or blanket beside the bed provides extra padding in case the baby rolls off during the night. Changing the baby on the floor bed also means you do not have to worry about the baby falling off a changing table. It also means that you are physically getting down to the level of the child to tend to her needs. This shows respect for your child. You are not making her accommodate your needs. Instead, you are adjusting to her needs.

Since babies like looking at themselves, installing an inexpensive mirror alongside the floor bed is a wonderful way for little ones to explore and learn. Mobiles are another way to develop and stimulate the visual sense. The Montessori mobile series may be hung safely out of reach over the floor bed to engage the baby while he is awake. There are four mobiles in the series, which are designed to be presented chronologically as the baby grows and develops:
 NAMC Infant Toddler Montessori Home Environment
1. The Munari Mobile (3-6 weeks)
2. The Octahedron Mobile (5-8 weeks)
3. The Gobbi Mobile (7-10 weeks)
4. The Dancer Mobile (8-12 weeks)

Another important aspect of the Montessori infant environment is feeding. Once the baby is ready for solid food, an infant-size table and chair are preferable to a high chair. Again, the importance is freedom. The child is free to come to the table on her own. And, as soon as she is able, she may begin eating at the family table in a proper chair. From the start, her dishes should be of the same material as the rest of the family’s: real glasses for drinking and dinnerware. This teaches the infant to be careful and if spills or breakages occur, she can see and learn how to clean.
 NAMC Infant Toddler Montessori Home Environment
Finally, infants and toddlers should be encouraged to walk on their own as much as possible. Babies who are unable to walk should be carried or ride in a pram or stroller. But once they are mobile, they may walk on their own. While it may be easier for the adult to push a stroller, it is far more beneficial to the child to have the freedom to learn from and explore their environment.
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 Thursday, February 14, 2013.


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