“The greatness of the human personality begins at the hour of birth.”
Montessori The Absorbent Mind.
Becoming a parent is one of the most challenging and satisfying aspects of life. Children are given to us as the most precious gift.
There is not that much that is in our control, however, we need to give ourselves some credit for accepting this challenge and taking responsibility for their development, safety, and intellectual, spiritual, emotional, and physical well-being. I would love to share some thoughts on doing Montessori with babies from newborn to 3 months of age.
As a parent, it’s important to provide your baby with a nurturing and stimulating environment that promotes their overall development. One educational approach that has gained popularity in recent years is the Montessori method. This approach emphasizes hands-on learning and encourages babies to explore and discover the world around them.
Montessori for babies involves creating a safe and interactive environment that allows them to practice skills such as grasping, crawling, and walking. By providing age-appropriate toys and materials, parents can help their babies develop their sensory and motor skills, as well as their cognitive abilities. Additionally, the Montessori approach emphasizes respectful and gentle communication with babies, which can help them feel secure and loved. Overall, Montessori for babies offers a unique and effective way to support your baby’s growth and development.
First, three months of a child’s life can be extremely intense, especially for first-time mums and dads. Learning to soothe young babies, differentiate tones of their crying, and give yourself selflessly 24 hours a day to be with your beautiful, precious, demanding undivided attention and all your strength newborn child.
“It begins with a knowledge of his surroundings. How does the child assimilate his environment? He does it solely in virtue of one of those characteristics that we now know him to have.
This is an intense and specialized sensitiveness in consequence of which the things about him awaken so much interest and so much enthusiasm that they become incorporated in his very existence. The child absorbs these impressions not with his mind but with his life itself.” Maria Montessori.
The Montessori method helps to bring advice and support in establishing a close relationship with your child from the very start, creating an environment that meets the baby’s needs, changes and evolves along with your baby.
Not every aspect of the Montessori approach is going to fit each family’s unique style and parenting beliefs, but it will certainly enrich and make your experience of raising the child more satisfying. Just pick and choose what resonates in your heart and goes along with your family life.
Baby Home Environment
“The child has a different relation to his environment from ours… the child absorbs it. The things he sees are not just remembered; they form part of his soul. He incarnates in himself all in the world about him that his eyes see and his ears hear.” Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori emphasized the importance of the environment. It needs to be appropriately organized to meet the child’s ability and desire to explore the world around them from birth.
A Montessori baby environment at home focuses on creating a safe and stimulating space for infants to explore and learn independently. It involves providing age-appropriate toys and activities that promote sensory development, mobility, and cognitive skills. By using low shelves, a floor bed, and child-sized furniture such as tables, babies can easily access their toys and learn to move and explore on their own. Parents can also incorporate natural elements such as plants, wood, and fabrics to create a peaceful and calming environment for their child. Overall, a Montessori baby environment encourages self-discovery and independence from an early age.
To create a Montessori environment for babies, start by organizing their space with simplicity, natural materials, and order. Arrange developmentally appropriate toys and activities in low shelves and on a floor mat. Provide a low, stable mirror to encourage self-awareness. Place a soft rug or mat on the floor for free movement. Offer open-ended exploratory materials like stacking blocks, wooden toys, and sensory bottles. Give babies freedom of movement, encouraging exploration and autonomy. Lastly, establish a consistent routine and provide a calm, peaceful atmosphere for unhurried exploration and play.
Main characteristics of Montessori Nursery:
- attractive and pleasant to an eye
- not overly stimulating
- allows the child to move freely
Often you will find:
- floor bed
- mirror attached to a wall
- soft rug next to the mirror
- art picture on a wall (where a child can see it)
- baby care area
- nursing chair
A Montessori floor bed – usually just a mattress on the floor – is there for babies to allow them to move freely. The child is encouraged to choose when to go to sleep and when to wake up. Transition to the floor bed from Moses basket normally happens when a baby turns two months. It can be a convenient option for those who choose to co-sleep.
A Montessori floor bed is a bed that sits directly on the floor. It is designed to provide infants with a safe place to sleep while allowing them to move freely and explore their surroundings.
Floor beds promote independence and self-directed learning, as well as healthy sleep patterns. Infants who sleep on floor beds are able to move around, roll over and self-soothe without being confined to a crib.
Floor beds also promote a sense of security and comfort for babies, as they are able to see and hear their caregivers throughout the night. They are also more likely to develop a sense of ownership over their sleeping space, as they are able to climb in and out of bed on their own.
Additionally, Montessori floor beds can be a more affordable and sustainable option compared to traditional cribs. They can be easily DIYed or purchased from a variety of retailers.
However, it’s important to note that floor beds may not work for all families or living situations. Parents must ensure that the sleeping area is free from any hazards, and that older siblings or pets are not able to access the infant’s sleeping space. It’s also important to follow safe sleep guidelines to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Here are some tips to make your Montessori floor bed safe.
Choose a low profile bed frame: Montessori floor beds are all about keeping it low, so it’s important to choose a bed frame that is low profile. This means selecting a frame that is no higher than six inches from the ground to the top of the mattress. This way, your child won’t fall out of bed and can easily get in and out of bed on their own when they are older.
Use a firm mattress: Make sure your child’s mattress is firm and supportive, which is important for their safety and sleep quality. A soft and squishy mattress can also be a suffocation hazard for babies under one year old.
Add a bed rail: If you have a young toddler, consider adding a bed rail to prevent them from rolling out of bed at night. A bed rail doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive, a pool noodle or foam pipe insulation can be cut and used to keep your child from rolling out of bed.
Place the bed away from windows: Avoid placing the Montessori floor bed near windows or any other potentially dangerous structures or sharp edges as young children are unpredictable and can roll off the bed and into these structures.
Soften the landing area around the bed: If your child does fall out of bed, make sure the area around the bed is safe and soft. This can be done by placing pa foam play mat, or a rug underneath the bed.
Keep the room free of clutter: Montessori floor beds can create more floor space and give your child more freedom to move around when they are older; try to keep the floor space around the bed bare or with minimal items to avoid tripping over or bumping into toys or other items.
Supervise young children: Even with all the precautions, it’s still important to supervise young children around Montessori floor beds to make sure they are safe and comfortable.
A Montessori floor bed can be a great option for families looking for a more natural, child-led approach to sleep. It allows infants to move and explore their surroundings, while still providing a safe and secure place to rest.
Preparing a Montessori floor bed for a baby can be done in a few simple steps. First, choose a safe and clean space in the baby’s room. Next, place a soft, comfortable mattress on the floor. Add a fitted sheet to the mattress. Place a rug or mat underneath the bed to provide a cozy play area. Finally, add a low shelf or basket nearby to hold toys and books for the baby. With these steps, you can create a safe and stimulating environment for your baby to explore and grow independently.
There are different floor bed styles to choose from:
- single or double-size mattress
- floor bed frame
- wooden frame for bed with legs of the bed removed
- infant bed
There are numerous amazing examples of Montessori nursery setups out there. Why Not Montessori gives a tour of her beautiful Montessori nursery room in this video. The colors and details of the room are carefully chosen, every aspect of it presents a purpose and safety is a great priority.
The connection between mattresses and SIDs
On a side note. Not many people are aware of the connection between toxic gasses in mattresses and SIDS:
James Sprott, OBE, a New Zealand scientist and chemist, states that crib death is caused by toxic gases, which can be generated from a baby’s mattress. He says chemical compounds containing phosphorus, arsenic and antimony have been added to mattresses as fire retardants and for other purposes since the early 1950’s. A fungus that commonly grows in bedding can interact with these chemicals to create poisonous gases (Richardson 1994).
These heavier-than-air gases are concentrated in a thin layer on the baby’s mattress or are diffused away and dissipated into the surrounding atmosphere. If a baby breathes or absorbs a lethal dose of the gases, the central nervous system shuts down, stopping breathing and then heart function. These gases can fatally poison a baby, without waking the sleeping baby and without any struggle by the baby. A normal autopsy would not reveal any sign that the baby was poisoned (Sprott 1996).
Over the past 20 years, New Zealand has successfully prevented all cases of SIDS through an ongoing campaign focused on encouraging parents to wrap mattresses. Midwives and other healthcare professionals have actively advised parents on this safety measure, resulting in no reported crib deaths during this period.
For parents, the safety and well-being of their child is of the utmost importance. They will go to great lengths to ensure that their child is safe and secure, even if that requires an extra effort on their part. One such measure that parents in New Zealand have been taking over the past two decades is to wrap mattresses.
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), also known as crib death, is a tragic occurrence that, until recently, was a source of worry for many parents around the world. SIDS is an unexplained death that occurs during sleep in babies under the age of one. Over the years, researchers have tried to identify the causes of SIDS, and while there is still no clear answer, there are certain precautions that parents can take to reduce the risk of SIDS.
One such precaution is to wrap mattresses in a special material that is designed to reduce the risk of SIDS. The practice of wrapping mattresses has been recommended by healthcare professionals in New Zealand for over two decades. The campaign to encourage parents to wrap mattresses started in the early 1990s when the rate of SIDS in New Zealand was one of the highest in the world.
Midwives and other healthcare professionals have actively advised parents on this safety measure, resulting in no reported crib deaths during this period. According to the New Zealand Ministry of Health, the incidence of SIDS in New Zealand has decreased by more than 70% since the campaign started.
The campaign to reduce SIDS has been very successful in New Zealand, and it has been recognized around the world as a best practice in preventing SIDS. The practice of wrapping mattresses has since been adopted in other countries, including Australia and the Netherlands, where it has also been successful in reducing the incidence of SIDS.
While there is no guarantee that wrapping a mattress will prevent SIDS, it is one of several measures that parents can take to ensure their child’s safety. Other measures include placing their child to sleep on their back, avoiding smoking during pregnancy and in the presence of the child, and keeping the baby’s sleeping area clear of any objects that could obstruct their breathing.
The campaign to encourage parents to wrap mattresses in New Zealand has been a great success in preventing SIDS. The ongoing efforts of healthcare professionals and the willingness of parents to adopt this safety measure have led to no reported crib deaths for over 20 years in New Zealand. It is a reminder that even small measures can make a significant difference in ensuring the health and safety of our children.
If you are interested in buying one – here is where you can find it: Toxin Shield Mattress Cover.
I personally strongly believe in the great benefits of co-sleeping. In our case, we found a mattress wrap that fits a large mattress and protects our baby from toxic infusions. If you are skeptical about it, I suggest reading this book: “The Cot Death Cover-Up”
This information is for educational purposes only. It does not provide medical advice. The information shared here is meant to encourage you to make your own decisions based on your own research.
A mirror on the wall in the baby’s room
The mirror on the wall provides a great perspective for the baby. He or she can look around, and see themselves in the mirror. In addition to mobile, the floor play area is an entertaining play spot for the baby as they do get bored.
Also when lying on the floor baby is safe, she is encouraged to look around from side to side, up at the mobile, and in the mirror. This position is perfect as it creates a safe environment for the baby to move freely and develop, also it will help to avoid flat head syndrome.
To set up a mirror on the wall for a Montessori baby at home, take these steps:
- Choose a safe, shatter-proof mirror that is appropriate for your baby’s age.
- Decide on the height of the mirror and mark the wall with a pencil.
- Drill holes in the marked spots and insert wall plugs.
- Attach the mirror to the wall using screws.
- Ensure that the mirror is securely mounted and is at a suitable height for your baby to see themselves in.
By providing a mirror, your Montessori baby will be able to develop their sense of self-awareness and improve their motor skills during tummy time or sitting-up exercises.
Having a mirror on the wall can benefit Montessori babies by promoting self-awareness, curiosity, and motor development. By looking at themselves in the mirror, babies can explore their own movements and facial expressions, as well as develop a sense of identity and self-recognition. Additionally, the mirror can serve as a visual stimulus that encourages them to reach and crawl towards it, supporting their physical development. Furthermore, a mirror can promote social interaction, as babies can enjoy looking at and communicating with their own reflection, as well as with others who may also be present in the room.
Wall art in baby’s room
Low-hanging art for Montessori babies at home provides several benefits. First, it encourages the development of a baby’s visual skills and hand-eye coordination as they reach out and touch the artwork. Second, it sparks creativity and imagination, allowing babies to explore different shapes, colors, and textures. Third, it promotes independence and self-confidence as babies can choose and hang their own artwork. Finally, low-hanging art can serve as a tool for language development as parents and babies talk about the different images and colors. All of these benefits contribute to a nurturing, stimulating, and engaging environment for a Montessori baby at home.
When choosing low-hanging art for Montessori babies at home, it’s important to consider their development stage and interests. One idea is to display simple black-and-white patterns or pictures of common objects at their eye level to stimulate visual development. Another option is to hang colorful art prints or photographs of nature, animals, or objects that they may enjoy looking at. To further encourage exploration and independence, choose lightweight frames or hang art with removable adhesive strips to make it easy for babies to touch and interact with the art.
Paintings and pictures. Place them where your baby will see them – above the changing table, in front of their car seat, or attach to a mobile. In the beginning, babies are able to see only about 20 to 30.5 centimeters and cannot differentiate tones of colors, hence, ONE-month-old infants are able to focus on black, white, and red colored pictures. In the month of TWO, they can focus on primary colors and more complicated shapes.
Mobiles play a very significant role in the Montessori approach as an educational tool for infants learning to develop their eye focus and concentration. Appropriate mobiles can be used from the very start.
Montessori mobiles for babies are carefully designed to promote a baby’s development in various areas. The mobiles offer visual and auditory stimulation, encourage focus and concentration, and promote hand-eye coordination. These mobiles also aid babies in developing their physical skills such as reaching and grasping. Additionally, Montessori mobiles are designed to be aesthetically pleasing and durable, ensuring that babies can enjoy their use for a longer time. Overall, using Montessori mobiles can provide babies with a fun, stimulating, and educational experience that lays the foundation for further development.
Montessori mobiles aren’t just any mobiles for babies; they play a crucial role in the developmental stages of the child. There are different types of Montessori mobiles available for newborns, such as the Munari Mobile, Octahedron Mobile, Gobbi Mobile, and Dancers Mobile.
The mobiles are designed to appeal to the baby’s senses and cognitive development. Munari Mobile, for instance, focuses on black-and-white designs that attract the child’s attention and helps them develop their visual perception. The Octahedron Mobile, on the other hand, features geometric shapes and patterns that develop a child’s ability to differentiate between sizes and shapes.
The Gobbi Mobile has lightweight hanging balls and helps develop the child’s visual tracking skills. The Dancers Mobile has different-colored characters that sway to the baby’s movements, which helps develop their visual and spatial awareness.
Furthermore, instead of the usual bright colors and loud sounds, Montessori mobiles are typically made with simple, natural materials such as wood and cloth. This is because Montessori focuses on creating a peaceful and nurturing environment that’s free from unnecessary stimulation.
Montessori mobiles are also designed to be placed at a particular distance from the baby. This is essential to promote the baby’s ability to focus and concentrate on the mobile. The mobiles are usually suspended by a parent, and the child can interact with them while lying on their back.
The Montessori mobiles are handmade, and parents can choose to make them themselves or purchase them from certified Montessori material suppliers. They are generally simple to assemble and come with instructions.
Therefore, if you’re looking to encourage your baby’s development and provide them with a peaceful and nurturing environment, Montessori mobiles are a great place to start. These mobiles are designed to develop your child’s cognitive, sensory, and motor skills, and to help create a sense of calm and relaxation.
- paint small branches
- let the paint dry,
- make a cross by tying branches together,
- ask your child to cut out some colorful shapes, for example, butterflies
- hang them off the mobile
- attach your mobile safely for your little treasure to enjoy.
DIY baby mobiles
Here are a couple of ideas for DIY baby mobiles:
Please, remember to place the mobile above the child’s chest, not their face for safety reasons, and never leave your child unsupervised.
Baby language development
Talking to babies the Montessori way involves using a calm and respectful tone of voice, addressing them by their name, and using simple, clear language. Engage in face-to-face conversations and let them have time to respond. Make eye contact and give them your full attention to make them feel valued and heard. Use descriptive language to talk about their environment and point out interesting objects. Avoid baby talk and instead use real words and correct grammar to help develop their language skills. Let them explore and discover on their own, and follow their lead in their learning journey.
As parents, we naturally want to communicate with our babies but it can be difficult at times to know how to talk to them effectively. This is where the Montessori method comes in.
The Montessori approach to communication with babies is all about respecting their intelligence and communicating in a way they understand. Maria Montessori, the founder of the method, believed that babies are born intelligent and capable of learning from their environment. By talking to them in a clear and respectful way, we can help to foster their development.
Here are some tips on how to talk to babies the Montessori way:
- Use simple language: Babies learn best from clear and simple language. Avoid using baby talk and instead use short, clear sentences to communicate with your baby. For example, instead of saying, “Oh, look at the pretty wittle baby!” say, “Hello, baby. How are you today?”
- Give them time to respond: When you talk to your baby, it’s important to give them time to respond. This helps them to process what you’re saying and develop their own language skills. Embrace pauses and give them time to think and respond in their own way.
- Use eye contact: Eye contact is important in any conversation, including with babies. When you talk to your baby, make sure you make eye contact and engage with them on their level.
- Use real objects: Babies learn best from real objects that they can touch, feel, and explore. When you talk to your baby, use real objects to help them understand what you’re saying. For example, show them a toy car when you say “car” or take them outside to see a real tree when you say “tree.”
- Follow their lead: Babies are natural explorers and will often show interest in different things. When you talk to your baby, follow their lead and talk about what they’re interested in. For example, if they’re looking at a flower, talk about the color and the petals.
By talking to your baby the Montessori way, you can help to foster their language development and give them the tools they need to communicate effectively with the world around them. Remember to be patient, and respectful, and engage with them on their level.
Pediatricians all over the world have been urging parents to start reading to their children from birth. While many may dismiss it as just another parental advice, research shows that early reading is indeed crucial for the child’s brain and language development.
As many parents would know, reading helps with developing vocabulary, but it also does much more than that. A child’s brain is like a sponge in the early years and picking up language skills is crucial for their growth and development. When a parent or a caretaker reads to a child, they not only introduce new words and sounds but also engage the child in a conversation. This helps the child build better communication skills and cognitive abilities.
The Montessori community recommends books with realistic pictures, black and white patterned pictures, and books with a lot of people’s faces. Realistic pictures help the child better recognize objects and animals, while black-and-white patterns are easier for young babies to see and can help with their visual development. Books with people’s faces are also great as babies are naturally attracted to faces and this can help them with developing social skills.
Apart from reading to young children, it is essential to encourage them to read and engage with books as they grow older. A child who learns to love reading will have a much easier time adapting to new knowledge and acquiring new skills. It is also a great way for them to unwind and relax, which is essential in this day and age where screens and social media are so prevalent.
Reading to your child from birth is one of the best things you can do for their growth and development. Not only does it help with language and brain development, but it also fosters a love for learning and exploration that will be invaluable as they grow up. So pick up a book and start reading to your child today!
Here are some of our favorite books for infants:
- First Soft Book
- First 100 Words
- Baby Animals Black and White
- Spots and Dots
- Black and White
- Art for Baby
- Faces for Baby
There is nothing in this world that will delight your cherub as much as seeing your face close to them, watching you, and interacting with you.
Talking to your baby when they are awake, the outside time when they are concentrating on something is very important. When a child looks at their facial expressions they learn to recognize and relate to different emotions.
Baby care and Baby massage
Baby massage is a gentle, non-invasive way of helping babies relax and feel secure. This technique involves using gentle strokes along with pressure points on the baby’s body to promote relaxation and aid in digestion. The Montessori approach to baby massage is based on respecting the baby’s individual needs and providing a loving and nurturing environment. Massage can also benefit parents and caregivers, helping them to bond with the baby and develop a deeper understanding of their needs. By incorporating baby massage into their daily routine, caregivers can help their baby to feel calm and comfortable, ultimately promoting healthy emotional and physical development.
Massage is an amazing way to bond with the child. Soft-touch – sensory stimulation that calms the child. Touch is essential for brain development and important for skin-to-skin contact.
Here is our favorite baby massage we do every day.
Nappy change time and baby dressing
When changing a baby it is only natural to engage in conversation. It is the best time to give the child your undivided attention.
When putting on clothes – show every piece before putting it on and speak as you dress the child. Always let them know what you are about to do – talk them through every step of the process.
For families with older siblings, it is a brilliant opportunity to incorporate Practical Life and invite older siblings to help take care of the baby with supervision from parents, for example:
- fold clothes
- give a massage
- restuck nappies and wipes for changing table
- choose clothes for the baby to wear
- make sensory toys (making sure there are no loose parts)
- clean changing mat
- choose music for the baby to listen
Baby and nature
Exposure to nature has numerous benefits for babies, including improved cognitive development, better sleep, improved physical development, and reduced stress. Nature allows babies to use their senses to explore and learn about the world, helping to stimulate their brain development. Time spent in natural environments can also help babies establish healthy sleep patterns and build their motor skills through play. Additionally, exposure to nature has been shown to reduce stress levels in both infants and parents, promoting more positive experiences and connections during early development.
Nature outings are very pleasant for little ones. Outdoors provide such a rich spectrum of learning sensorial experiences – sounds of birds singing, waves crashing on the shore, grass in baby’s fingers.
Babies can enjoy nature in a number of ways, including taking them on walks in strollers or baby carriers, introducing them to different sensory experiences (such as touching soft leaves or listening to bird songs), and providing them with age-appropriate outdoor toys, such as textured balls or squeaky animals. Additionally, simply spending time outside with your baby and pointing out interesting sights and sounds can help them develop a love and appreciation for the natural world. Always remember to prioritize your baby’s safety by keeping a close eye on them and ensuring they are protected from the sun and other potential hazards.
If your baby enjoys tummy time, he or she may enjoy lying on the side of the picnic rug at the beach or in the park where he or she will be able to feel grass or sand with fingers.
To implement Montessori safely at home with a baby, parents can follow a few simple steps. First, create a baby-safe environment by securing furniture and removing any small objects that could be a choking hazard. Second, provide a safe place for the baby to move and explore, such as a low mirror or a soft mat. Third, offer age-appropriate toys that encourage exploration and learning. Fourth, supervise the baby at all times and offer guidance and support as they grow and develop. By following these guidelines, parents can provide a safe and enriching Montessori environment for their baby at home.
Montessori at home for babies can provide a wealth of benefits, including promoting independence and confidence, enhancing cognitive development, stimulating creativity, and fostering a love of learning. It encourages parents to create a safe, stimulating, and thought-provoking environment that allows the baby to explore, experiment, and develop at their own pace. Montessori principles also emphasize respect for the child and their abilities, as well as fostering a strong connection between the parent and the baby, which can lead to healthier emotional and social development.
Monti Kids is the only at-home, safety certified Montessori toy program for babies from birth to 3 years. Through their subscription-based, learn through play program, they provide authentic Montessori toys thoughtfully designed for a baby’s specific stage of development, on-demand expert support from AMI certified Montessori educators, and access to a private community of parents in similar stages of life, giving parents everything you need to support your child’s brain development. Learn more here.