Posts tagged #babies

Assistants to Infancy, Applied in the Home

A few days ago, a recent MNW graduate, Ms. Junnifa Uzodike, shared some pictures of her son. Beyond their obvious cuteness, they also demonstrate some great Montessori principles that can be applied in the home. To better explain what you see here, Gloria Singh, Assistants to Infancy Course Assistant, has contributed a few notes.

On the bottom left we see her child looking at himself in the mirror, getting visual feedback about himself and also getting a view of the rest of the room--very beneficial when a baby can't move well independently to see what's around. Babies really enjoy looking at faces, studying the expressions, watching lips move in talking--even their own.

In the background, you can see the toys organized simply, with very easy access for the child.

We also see the baby very busy at the weaning chair and table, in this case he likely used it to pull himself up into a standing position so that his hands can be free to explore whatever has captured his interest. Non-walking children use the smallest chairs with arms--the arms give lots of support if their sitting is still unsteady and also helps them to stay at the weaning table until they are done with their eating.

A chair without arms at a table is best for children who have begun walking, because it is much easier for them to get into the chair without having to maneuver around the arms and they likely will not have learned to pull out the chair to make room for their bodies to get into it.

Have you ever watched a young child work out how to sit down in a chair? It's quite an event to witness. "How to Sit in a Chair" is a Practical Life activity that we learn to demonstrate for young children on the A to I course.

We also talk a lot about how simple, uncluttered, and appealing an appropriate environment is for young children--a few toys that get rotated, a mixture of materials (fabrics, wood, metal, etc.). You can see this here too.

Want to learn more about MNW’s Assistants to Infancy Course? Click here for additional information.

On Infants & Toddlers

Corinne Stastny, Primary Course Assistant at MNW, mother, and former Montessori Teacher, lends her insights into Montessorians working with the youngest members of our world; babies and toddlers. 

Observation is at the core of the Montessori guide’s work. During 250 hours of observation of children aged birth to three, students at Montessori Northwest take detailed notes about what they see, and interpret these observations through the lens of Montessori theory and practice.

Observation is at the core of the Montessori guide’s work. During 250 hours of observation of children aged birth to three, students at Montessori Northwest take detailed notes about what they see, and interpret these observations through the lens of Montessori theory and practice.

The Montessori approach to children under the age of three evokes much curiosity and enthusiasm from those more familiar with Montessori at other age levels.  Those of us with Primary or Elementary backgrounds know we love our prepared environments, know we love Montessori, and are sure that babies and toddlers everywhere would no doubt fall in love with a Montessori learning environment designed for them!  However, we also know that Montessori is not always easy to convey or understand in just a few short sentences.   

I’ve picked the brains of Assistants to Infancy (A to I) trained alumni a bit, combined it with my own experiences applying A to I principles with my child, and am happy to give some introductory resources for families creating mindful environments for little ones.  My focus here is just on babies who are not yet walking, as the most common question I hear from curious enthusiastic souls is “Someone’s having a baby and is curious about Montessori. What should I tell them?”  Below is a menu of resources, choose what you feel best captures the imagination of your target audience!

Know that the same essential principles apply to Montessori at any age group: respect and communication, supporting independence, free choice within limits, learning through experience, preparing an environment that matches the specific needs of the child. 

While rather involved, the inspiring texts of Understanding the Human Being by Silvana Montanaro and The Child and the Family by Dr Maria Montessori can be a strong resource for families seeking to a deeper connection to theory.

AidToLife.org– This beautiful, clear, and powerful website, provided by AMI, offers simple, straightforward advice that is easy to understand and apply.

MichaelOlaf.net - Michael Olaf and Susan Stephenson have inspired Montessorians, parents, and parents-to-be for years. The Joyful Child, a book focusing on 0-3 in the home, is now available and a rich resource!

In a Montessori Home is an inspiring book and DVD package from NAMTA featuring families enjoying Montessori principles in the home.

There are some fabulous blogs about applying Montessori in the home. A few particularly enjoyable ones are The Full MontessoriMontessori Moms, and Montessori on the Double.

Aside from schools, A to I graduates often share their knowledge via private consultations.  Montessori Northwest has the names of a few of these parent educators, and would welcome the names of more!

Come to Montessori Northwest, where we have a model home and toddler community environments.  We have regular open houses and are happy to schedule individual tours Monday – Friday.  The Assistants to Infancy training course is enrolling for the summers of 2014 and 15, and we are seeking not only teachers-in-training for this level, but also families whose infants can participate in on-site observation sessions both summers.  Being part of the observation is an incredible window into the Montessori approach to this age group! 

Visit our website, http://montessori-nw.org/info-assistants-to-infancy, or Email Andrea for more information--503-963-8992.

A portion of Montessori Northwest's model home environment for babies and toddlers.

A portion of Montessori Northwest's model home environment for babies and toddlers.