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.
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.
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 regularly offered at MNW, 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 us for more information--503-963-8992.