Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Absorbent Mind, Chapter 9: The First Days of Life

“Children become like the things they love.” — Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind, p. 101

NAMC studying montessori absorbent mind chapter 9 first days of life baby laying

A carefully prepared environment is central to the teachings of Maria Montessori. We often think of the Montessori environment as the classroom itself. However, the environment extends to all of the conditions that influence the physical and mental growth of the child.

Studying the Works of Montessori - The Absorbent Mind, Chapter 9: The First Days of Life

NAMC studying montessori absorbent mind chapter 9 first days of life newborn baby

Dr. Montessori was very clear about the environment needed immediately after birth. She states that for the first few days the infant should be in direct contact with the mother. The surroundings must not be harsh, since this is infant’s first experience after the moderated, safe surroundings of the womb. “There must not be too much contrast, as regards warmth, light, noise with his conditions before birth, where in his mother’s womb, there was perfect silence, darkness, and an even temperature.” (Montessori, p. 98) The bond of mother and infant is to be nurtured and respected.

NAMC studying montessori absorbent mind chapter 9 first days of life baby on mother's shoulder

At home, the infant mentally prepares to learn about his environment through his senses. Montessori assures us that while he is helpless, the infant is not passive. Rather, he is an “active seeker…looking for impressions.” (Montessori, p. 100) We must surround the child with those impressions we wish the child to remember — calm, peace, joy, beauty — for “It is in babyhood, by means of his infantile powers alone, that the child acquires personal characteristics that will mark him forever…In doing so, he is happy and his mind matures.” (Montessori p. 102)

We know that in order to learn and develop language skills the child must be immersed in language. He must hear it spoken and make connections between the spoken word and the objects and actions associated with it. The same can be true for temperament. If a child is exposed to a calm and peaceful environment, he will develop that same temperament. When surrounded by natural beauty, the child learns to appreciate it and will cultivate it throughout his life.

NAMC studying montessori absorbent mind chapter 9 first days of life baby walking on grass

The environment of the child is not only what he encounters while at Montessori school. It extends to his home and beyond. And as such, it is up to us as parents and guides to control the environment our children encounter in order to prepare them for the adults we wish them to be.

Work Cited
Montessori, Maria. The Absorbent Mind. Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Press, 1964.
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 Tuesday, March 25, 2014.


Post a Comment

Have questions or comments? Let us know what you thought about this article!

We appreciate feedback and love to discuss with our readers further.

NAMC Blog Inquiries Contact Form


Email *

Message *

Search the NAMC Montessori Teacher Training Blog

Are you interested in reading back through NAMC's blog articles from years gone by, or for more information on a specific topic?

Browse a select list of our most popular categories below; by clicking on one, you will see every article posted under that topic since 2007. You may also use the lower archive menu to select a year and month, displaying all blog posts in the chosen time frame.

If you are seeking a range of information on a certain topic or idea, try this search box for site-wide keyword results.

Choose From a List of Popular Article Topics

NAMC Montessori Series

Montessori Philosophy and Methodology

Montessori Classroom Management

The School Year

Montessori Materials

Montessori Curriculum

Montessori Infant/Toddler (0–3) Program

Montessori Early Childhood (3–6) Program

Montessori Elementary (6–12) Programs

What is Montessori?

Search Archives for Montessori Blog Posts by Date

Thank you to the NAMC Montessori community!

This year marks NAMC’s 20th anniversary of providing quality Montessori distance training and curriculum development to Montessorians around the globe. Since we began in 1996, we have grown to build a fantastic community of students, graduates, and schools in over 120 countries. We are grateful for your continued support and dedication to furthering the reach and success of the Montessori method. Thank you for sharing this amazing milestone with us!