Using the Montessori Approach with Infants
The Montessori method of education was developed by Maria Montessori over 100 years ago. This child-centered education approach, views a child as an individual who is eager to learn in a supportive, thoughtfully-prepared learning environment. The Montessori method values a child's physical, emotional, social, and cognitive development.
Since the main environment for an infant is his or her bedroom, for the first 8 weeks the Montessori method recommends maintaining a quiet and dark room, much like a mother's womb. Beyond that time period, natural lighting and a window is recommended. Soft classical music is also suggested.
One of the biggest differences between a Montessori nursery and a traditional one is that the Montessori method does not use a crib. In a Montessori nursery, a baby sleeps on a floor bed. Floor beds allow the child to have freedom in movement. Typically a newborn is kept in a Moses basket until about 2 to 3 months, when they are transitioned to the floor bed.
In order for a child to remain safe with a floor bed, it is important to baby proof the entire nursery. For additional information on floor beds visit The Baby Sleep Site.
Montessori inspired toys are made from naturally derived materials, such as wood. They typically encourage open-ended play and learning. The best part about these type of toys is that they never become outdated. Living Montessori now has a wonderful list of Montessori style infant and toddler toys.
The Montessori method believes that babies and toddlers are very sensitive to order and suggest keeping a routine to the day. Although the method does not use a strict schedule, the overall daily routine of activities should remain the same.
Would you consider using the Montessori educational method with your child?