Monday, January 17, 2011

Our Newest Montessori Baby

My husband and I just found out we are expecting yet another little girl!  This makes three girls-- not including the two female dogs-- so I think my husband might go running for the hills pretty soon!

I've already started planning the nursery and how I can "Montessorify" it as much as possible.  For a person who runs a Montessori School, you would think it would be much easier to set up my house in a Montessori fashion.  However, two adults also share this space and we need to be sure everyone's needs are met.  Of course, if it were up to me, everything would be child-sized including the kitchen sink!

I've created a list of items you might want to consider when setting up an infant's nursery.  Many of these items you can either order from Lord Company or Michael Olaf.  Keep in mind, our ultimate goal being to aid in the growth and development of the child.  Lack of overstimulation, beauty, and simplicity are key.

Floor Bed

Now this is the most important aspect of a Montessori nursery, and also the one that I can't convince my husband to go along with!  A child should have the freedom to crawl to his bed and sleep at his own leisure.  He should be able to get into and out of his bed without assistance, and should never be "caged" in.  I've seen this work in Montessori infant classrooms and it's quite a beautiful thing.  The children will feel tired, and willingly put themselves "down for a nap".  Talk about independence.

Low Shelf

Here's an item you could possibly make yourself, or ask someone's father in-law to make it for you.  The shelf should be low with rounded corners.  Some people put carpeting on the shelf to avoid frustration from toys slipping and sliding.  This shelf is for age appropriate and well-organized toys.  A book or two can also be displayed on top.  Groups of similar items can be organized in baskets.  This beautiful baby shelf is from Community Playthings:


Toys should be placed on the low shelf in a neat and organized fashion.  Rolling toys can be placed in natural baskets or bowls.  Keep most toys organized out of the baby's room and rotate often to maintain interest.  Some great beginner toys are available from Michael Olaf (see link above).  The first few months of life, you should have out grasping and teething toys:

And later...

Wall Hangings

Keep wall hangings interesting and attractive.  It's very easy to find simple and attractive photographs or paintings to frame and hang low.  You can also change these pictures often to keep the interest of the child.  Think about using photographs from other cultures as a conversation starter during diaper changing.

Work Table

A low, functional table and chair should be available to the child as soon as he can pull up to standing.  The child will eventually bring his activities to the table to work.  An excellent table is available from Community Playthings- the legs expand to grow with the child.  The table should be approximately 12-15 inches high, the chair should be 8-12 inches.

When you have a chance, take a look at this Montessorian's nursery that she created for her first child.  I can only dream of a nursery this beautiful!  As always, if you have any questions, feel free to post them.  Other people just might be wondering the same thing.