Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Montessori Moments: 2 Years, 3 Months

These "Montessori Moments" posts are meant to highlight some of the ways we implement the Montessori method in our home. Many of the activities that are featured--cooking, cleaning together, going out into nature, etc.--overlap with other parenting philosophies or might seem like things that parents just do with their children intuitively. I've still chosen to highlight them here because they are integral to the Montessori approach to parenting and education and fit within a comprehensive continuum of activities that support children as they undergo the important work of forming themselves. For more information about incorporating Montessori into the home, I recommend How to Raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way for a basic overview. For more insight into Montessori as an educational philosophy, I recommend Montessori Today. When trying to implement Montessori with infants and toddlers, I recommend Montessori from the Start and my favorite resource, which is a DVD documentary of Montessori at home with a 20 month old called Edison's Day.

Montessori Moment #1: Vacuuming the Floor
  • The other night after dinner, Henry climbed out of his high chair, retrieved his vacuum, and began running it over the kitchen floor because he had gotten some food on the floor during dinner. It was such a beautiful moment on so many levels. I love the Montessori emphasis on the connection between competence and confidence. Between the ages of 0 and 6, children are literally working on the formation of their "selves" and constructing their personalities. When they are given opportunities to do the things that the adults around them are doing, they build their self-confidence. He is most successful when we give him child-size tools that he can manipulate. We bought this one at Montessori Services, but you can buy any sweeper that has a segmented handle. When you assemble it, you simply leave out the middle piece of the handle to shorten it for toddlers.

Montessori Moment #2: Peeling Bandaids
  • Henry has been getting gobbled up by mosquitoes this year and he frequently scratches his bites until they bleed. To prevent this, we cover them with bandaids to let them heal more quickly. Henry loves peeling the bandaids himself (he says it's like peeling a cheese stick). The process takes him forever from start to finish, but we wait patiently so that he can continue to build his fine motor skills in authentic ways, strengthen his focus and concentration, and develop his confidence.  

Montessori Moment #3: Hanging the Mobile
  • We are getting ready to welcome baby Tate any day now.  Henry and I hung up a black-and-white mobile for him. I made the mobile for Henry (using this metal mobile as a base), following Montessori principles. First, the mobile is designed to be looked at from the bottom up. I'm frequently surprised by how many nursery mobiles are easier for the adult to see from the side than the baby to see lying underneath it! The mobile is simple with only five separate elements (Montessori recommends about 3-5 to avoid over-stimulation and to help the baby develop focus, concentration, and the ability to track objects). The mobile moves with air currents as opposed to batteries. The mobile is made with abstract pictures (or realistic pictures) as opposed to fantasy pictures because babies are trying to absorb and understand the concrete world. Since the first mobiles in the series are used only when the baby is looking at them (as opposed to batting at or grabbing), I was able to screw only a lightweight hook into the ceiling. I made the cards with thick black-and-white paper. A variety of mobiles is an essential part of implementing Montessori with a newborn. The mobiles provide visual stimulation as they spend time flat on their backs with the freedom to move their arms and legs. Mobiles are considered their first "work."

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great post. It's great to see that all of the moments are practical and natural. I tend to forget to photograph those everyday activities and focus more on the activities I set up. I am inspired to do a similar post :-)

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