Before Montessori School: Bringing Baby Up the Montessori Way
Many parents wish to incorporate Montessori methods into their child's life before he or she turns three and is eligible to be enrolled in Montessori School. Here are a few things mothers and fathers might consider doing in order to begin their babies' Montessori lifestyle right away.
Freedom and Independence
Offer your baby freedom to explore his or her surroundings. Exploration leads to discovery and learning. Create a safe environment for your little one by covering outlets, anchoring tall furniture to the walls, and putting sharp (or otherwise unsafe) objects out of reach. Place your child's mattress on the floor and forgo the crib. This gives baby the opportunity to get up and play in the morning without needing to call out for mom and dad. Baby gates, play yards, and other "baby cages" should be avoided whenever possible.
Speak To Them
Talk to your little guy or girl as you would to an adult. Don't use baby talk or gibberish, and ask family members to do the same. Offer names of things, people, and places whenever possible. These simple habits will help grow your child's vocabulary and language skills, and may even make learning another language a far easier task in the future. Reading to your baby at least once a day also has amazing benefits. Some of these include learning to read more easily, and a lifelong love of literacy.
When purchasing toys for your baby or young child, look for simple, open-ended, manipulative toys. Items that stack or nest are great for little ones. Toys that can be sorted are also a good option. For older babies, tools that encourage them to complete tasks usually done by adults, such as cooking or gardening, are also wonderful options to add to their collection of toys and tools.
No matter the age of the child, all items should be arranged on shelves and presented in an organized manner. Everything on the toy shelf should have a purpose and a place. All toys and tools should also be within the child's reach, allowing him or her the freedom to choose an activity independently.
Avoid "one button toys" or toys with flashing lights and obnoxious noises. These encourage children to play passively instead of being truly engaged in the task at hand.
Walk in Their Shoes
Sometimes babies and toddlers are frustrating. It is important that parents respect their child's emotions. Try talking to your child about his or her emotions. Make sure to tell your little one that their emotions are valid and that you understand how they are feeling. If your baby or toddler is old enough, offer to help find a solution to their problem. Put yourself in your baby's situation and ask yourself how you would want to be treated.
Give Them Opportunities to Help
It might take a bit longer to do the dishes, but your two-year-old will learn many valuable life lessons if she is expected to help rinse them after you have washed. Age-appropriate chores instill self-confidence, independence, and good work ethic in even the youngest children. As soon as your child is old enough, find age-appropriate tasks for them to accomplish. You may even find that your child is eager to help. Before your baby's first birthday they should be able to do such simple tasks as putting toys back into a bin.
If you are interested in preparing your little one for life by providing them with a Montessori education, please contact us at Brooksfield School. We would be thrilled to have the opportunity to see your children blossom into inquisitive, free-thinking, young people.