Sure, we've all heard of Montessori schools, but the latest and greatest way to introduce the Montessori philosophy to your little learner?
A few design changes to baby's room and throughout the home could have lasting impacts on your child's development.
We love these ideas for turning your tot's abode into a Montessori haven. Maria Montessori would be proud!
Short and sweet.
In the living room and baby's room, make books, toys, and safe household items accessible on shelves at baby's height.
The Montessori Method stresses the importance of fostering independent learning in your child.
If your child is overly reliant on you for meeting basic play needs, there will be less opportunity for self-exploration and the building of self-confidence.
You can even put baby's clothes in bottom dresser drawers for easy access. With any luck, baby will be mixing and matching adorable outfits before you know it!
For once, think small.
In the kitchen, provide baby with a small table and chair to call their own.
This table can be used as a creative work space for coloring, painting, building, reading, or sculpting (bring on the homemade KineticSand and PlayFoam!). And when baby gets hungry, this is a great spot to nosh. A few durable (and inexpensive!) glass cups and real plates area great addition to a Montessori home and can easily be used if baby's seat is close to the floor.
Offering real tableware to your child sends the message that you trust your tot to be careful and responsible…and there's no better way to promote self-confidence than by putting your own faith in baby!
Indeed, many schools with a Montessori philosophy use real glass and tableware with students, so this is a great way to prepare your child if they will be attending a Montessori institution.
Unlock the five senses.
In the bathroom or outside, set up a simple sensory table (read: a clear, shallow tub on a baby-height table).
Baby can explore the five senses by splashing in water, digging for “dinosaur bones" in rice, or squishing around in cooked pasta.
You can also incorporate different types of sensations throughout your home and yard for baby to explore. Whether it is the smell of a freshly potted plant, the feel of a furry floor rug, or the sound of nature on Pandora, everyone in the home will enjoy these new sensorial experiences.
According to Montessori theory, a wide variety of sensory experiences opens your child to more effective learning as they are able to build on these sensations to make real world connections between their own experiences and what they learn from others.
Let baby toy with an idea.
A wise piece of advice I try to remember when selecting toys for my little one? “A toy should be 10 percent toy and 90 percent child."
Montessori toys are just that—traditional toys that require a child to interact, explore, and wonder. Rhythm instruments can be used to introduce the powerful feeling of creating artistic sound. Colorful wooden puzzles can stimulate baby's creativity and problem-solving abilities. Or textured balls offer a simple sensory exercise at home or on-the-go for tots at any age.
Providing high quality Montessori toys to your child doesn't have to break the bank.
On the contrary, the Montessori philosophy tells us that our children will benefit more from a few simple toys than a room full of expensive clutter.
Perchance to dream.
For the coup de grâce, if you are feeling brave, consider switching out baby's traditional crib for an inexpensive Montessori-style floor bed.
Okay, okay. I admit it. I haven't gone this far myself. The thought of my tiny tot running rampant in his room (gasp) independently at bedtime keeps me awake at night!
But, as long as baby's room is carefully baby-proofed, this may be a good option for your family, depending on your tot's temperament.
Although I think some children (including mine) need the security and confines of a crib for a good night's sleep, some children as young as two months may rest in perfect peace with a little more freedom.
Offering your child the independence to choose when to get in and out of bed can promote self-regulation of play and sleep. Plus, all tots have to make the transition eventually, so now might be as good a time as any!
If you have any words of courage for making the big sleep leap, feel free to send them my way! Reach me at email@example.com.