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Montessori at home with a baby can be a wonderful way to promote independence and exploration in your little one. Here are a few tips to get started:
- Create a prepared environment: Set up a safe and inviting space for your baby to explore. Choose a few age-appropriate toys and materials and rotate them regularly to keep your baby engaged and curious.
- Follow your baby’s lead: Observe your baby to see what interests them and then provide opportunities for them to explore those interests further. This can help build confidence and independence.
- Encourage self-care: Teach your baby how to dress themselves, wash their hands, and feed themselves. This can help them develop important life skills and promote independence.
- Foster language development: Talk to your baby often and read books together. This can help promote language development and a love of learning.
Remember, Montessori is all about following the child’s lead and creating a supportive environment for them to learn and grow at their own pace. With a little planning and effort, you can create a Montessori-inspired home that supports your baby’s development and helps them thrive.
Maria Montessori touches thousands of lives even today because of her passion and respect for children that thread through her teaching and method.
Her findings regarding a baby’s development are fascinating and predate many modern discoveries. Understanding what lies behind aspects of the Montessori approach when it comes to babies from 4-6 months old is something I will try to tackle in this post.
“In the soul of the baby, there are secrets still hidden from the adult”. M. Montessori
Childhood is not a race for a child to reach every single milestone by a certain time. Don’t get me wrong, milestones are important, but chances are that babies will get there regardless of our worries if we allow them to develop their full potential and enjoy this precious time.
KEY FACTORS I WOULD LIKE TO EMPHASIZE
- an uncluttered environment with low shelving and low wall art “..the small baby cannot live in disorder. Disorder disturbs him, upsets him, and he may express his suffering by despairing cries, or by an agitation that can even assume the forms of illness “.
“Images fall at once into a pattern in the service of reason: it is in the service of his reason that the child first absorbs such images. He is hungry for them, and, we may well say, insatiable.
It has always been known that a young child is strongly attracted to light, colors, and sounds, in all of which he takes visible delight…it is important that the child should be able to preserve the images he is taking in with a maximum of clarity; for it is through the clarity and brilliance of impression distinguishing one from the other, that the ego can build the mind”. Maria Montessori
- freedom of movement
“The small baby is immediately aware of a disorder that grown-ups and even bigger children pass by without perceiving Order in his outer environment evidently affects a sensibility that vanishes as he grows bigger.
It is therefore precisely one of those periodic sensibilities proper to creatures in process of development and which we call “sensitive periods”; it is one of the most important and most mysterious of such periods”. Maria Montessori
- stimulation. I believe “stimulation” is a keyword for this period of life. It is way too easy to go about the day without making eye – contact or picking up a book. Babies thrive on our attention. Contact physical and emotional provide necessary stimulation for brain development.
“Studies suggest that babies who are stimulated reach developmental milestones and become independent earlier. They have keener senses, better muscle coordination, and a more secure self-image. On the other hand, babies who are not stimulated are found to grow up at a distinct disadvantage in their first grade in school.
This disadvantage may linger for years. It has also been observed that babies with the same genetic background or coming from the same family turn out differently when raised in different environments. Babies who are nurtured in an intelligent environment grow up to have better personalities and more advanced intelligence levels. Infant stimulation can be fun for both you and your baby. Your baby is not the only one who learns, but you also get to know your baby better, and hone your skill to be her effective first teacher”. (source -via raisesmartkid.com)
- one-on-one interaction
- allowing “alone playtime”
- nurturing a feeling of security. To know what is best for the baby is to understand their primary needs – babies need to feel safe. When babies feel safe, they are healthier, they are better dispositioned to learn, discover and absorb their world.
BABIES FEEL SAFE WHEN THEY
- allowed to be independent – pull things from shelves, reach for all sorts of objects
- hear calm sounds
- see familiar faces
- know they are loved
- know that their needs will be met (promptly, but not immediately, they still need to experience some sort of discomfort)
- see a smile on your face
- know what happens next – announcing what you are about to do is not only a fun way to continue daily interactions, but also helps your little angel feel relaxed knowing what to expect next.
- are touched, held, nurtured
- given an opportunity to concentrate without interruption
- spend time in nature
We need to give them freedom of choice and a sense of being in control and empower their abilities whenever possible. For example, offering to choose one object from two given, such as clothes to put on, or book to read, or a toy to play with by presenting two objects in front and letting the baby reach for the one he or she likes. Usually, you will find that baby’s room has low shelves with only a small variety of toys for the baby to choose from.
Montessori with your baby month-by-month (4-6mo)
4 months old
When it comes to Montessori with a 4 month old child, there are a few things to keep in mind. First and foremost, it’s important to create a safe and secure environment that allows your little one to explore and learn at their own pace. This might mean setting up a play area with soft toys and plenty of room to move around, or simply creating a cozy spot where you can snuggle and read together.
Another key aspect of Montessori with a young baby is providing plenty of sensory experiences. This might include introducing different textures and materials for your child to touch and examine, or playing with water and other tactile objects. As your baby grows and develops, you can also start incorporating more structured activities that encourage exploration and problem-solving skills.
Key skills developing: grasping and reaching out. The baby usually starts to reach out for objects. Now is the perfect time to hang a ring on elastic instead of a mobile. The baby will enjoy practicing reaching out for the ring and pulling it in his or her mouth. There are a handful of techniques to hang objects for baby to explore:
- I used our bassinet that had a canopy on top which allowed us to hang on mobiles.
- baby gym
- attaching ribbon to the ceiling
Another way to entertain your bub is to hang a chime bell mobile. The baby will be delighted to hear soft sounds he or she can make all on his or her own.
- Wooden bell chimes
- Puzzle ball
- Wooden teething toy
- Organic teether and rattle
- Sensory Wooden Teether
- Bell on ribbon
5 months old
Montessori is a great philosophy to incorporate with a 5 month old child. At this age, they are just starting to explore the world around them and Montessori principles focus on allowing the child to learn through their own experiences and natural curiosity. One way to incorporate Montessori at this age is to provide a safe and stimulating environment for the child to explore.
This can include simple toys and objects that the child can manipulate and investigate on their own. You can also incorporate Montessori principles by following the child’s lead and allowing them to set the pace for their learning and development. Remember to always provide a safe and nurturing environment that encourages exploration and learning.
Above all, remember that Montessori is about fostering independence and self-discovery in your child. By following their lead and providing a supportive environment, you can help your little one thrive and develop a lifelong love of learning.
Have you noticed that children gain a special fascination with their little feet around this time? Occasionally, you can dress the baby’s feet in a sock with rattles. Alternatively, make exploration socks by sewing simple but fun objects to the end of socks for the baby to explore.
Vocalizing your actions while making eye contact will help engage your treasure in your everyday routine, and make them feel like they are an important part of everything that is happening around you.
Rattles will still probably be your cherub’s favorite toy at this time. You may notice that they start passing objects from one hand to another.
At this stage, the child becomes more independent in their movement. it is important to make sure they are safe to do so.
- Silver-plated rattle
- Socks with rattle
- Wooden rattle
- Skwish classic rattle and grasp toy
- Interlocking disks
- Set of wooden rattles
6 months old
Montessori is a great method to introduce to your 6 month old child. At this age, they are eager to explore and learn about the world around them. The Montessori approach emphasizes hands-on, sensory learning through play and exploration. You can create a Montessori-inspired environment in your home by providing age-appropriate toys and materials that encourage your child to use their senses and develop their motor skills.
Some great ideas include soft blocks, rattles, and textured balls. You can also set up a low mirror and a sensory basket filled with items such as fabric swatches, wooden spoons, and natural objects like seashells and pine cones. Remember to always supervise your child during playtime and allow them to explore at their own pace. By introducing Montessori principles early on, you can help your child develop a love for learning and foster their natural curiosity.
I found that six months was a good time to introduce themed treasure baskets. Replica animals are great for babies to play with because they have many intricate details they love to investigate and poke with their little fingers. At this stage, the baby tends to spend time sitting up, which gives him or her a whole new perspective of the surrounding world.
There are many gorgeous books to choose from that suit perfectly a Montessori playroom at this age, for example.
Outdoor natural experiences are going to benefit children at any age. Being in nature is the single best gift you can give your little one, it provides a wide variety of sensory experiences.
Raising a multilingual child
Here is a very interesting piece of advice from Isabel – a group member – who shares her knowledge and experience raising a baby in a multilingual environment. Check out her blog packed with great information and inspiration – Uno Zwei Tutu.
” My husband always speaks German and English with our daughter while I speak Spanish and English. I think introducing sign language helped a lot since she was a baby. We would use the same sign in the three languages and I think it helps her to make a relationship between the three languages from a very young age. At only 2 years old she makes 3-5 word phrases in the 3 languages and she still signs”.
And one more great tip from Maryam:
“My nephew is 13 months and is just now starting to say small things verbally, but has been signing “milk” since he was 5 or so months (We’ve signed the basics with him since birth and he always watched attentively) and signed a 3-word sentence at a few days before 12 months. For the most part, he does single signs, 2-word sentences, and some sign babbling. A recent compilation of the signs he’s used showed that he has 40 signs, the majority picked up in the last month.
So my advice would be to be patient and keep going even if you feel discouraged. I still do at times and then he’ll do something that surprises me! I’d also say that it isn’t an issue to start out slow and build up what you do when you’re a little older. A new baby can be a lot of work and there are so many things to figure out and adjust to.
Don’t stress yourself out trying to jump in feet first if you’re also learning the language. Do what you can. Despite my best intentions when my nephew was 10 months and under I only used about 5 signs with him and was as consistent as I could have been. However, he still uses ASL to communicate (and tell people to say thank you and excuse me, haha) so it wasn’t an issue”.
Resources You Might Enjoy
- The trouble with talking toys. “That’s bad because the best way a toy can promote language in infants and toddlers is by stimulating interaction between parent and child. There’s simply no evidence that a young child can learn language directly from a toy. It isn’t responsive enough. It isn’t social”. Continue reading here.
- Our Montessori Floor Bed Experience
- How I Weaned Myself
Montessori Learning and Living - Books and Learning Resources
The Joyful Child: Montessori, Global Wisdom for Birth to Three
Montessori guidelines presented here have held true all over the world, no matter what the culture of the child, for over 100 years and prove to be as true in 2021 as ever. It is the goal of this book to help parents look for, discover, appreciate, and support the mental, physical, and emotional needs of the child in the first three years of life, in their own culture.
THE MONTESSORI FAMILY, THE ULTIMATE STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE FOR AGES 0 TO 5 Create an Empowering Montessori Home Environment and Help Your Child Grow Their Independence, Creativity and Confidence
Then you probably support the concept of Montessori, a unique educational philosophy that fosters the growth of the whole child.
No wonder studies show that across a range of abilities, children at Montessori schools significantly out-performed those given a traditional education.
Practical Guide to the Montessori Method at Home: With more than 100 activity ideas from 0 to 6 (Montessori Activity Books for Home and School)
The Practical Guide to the Montessori Method is aimed at parents who want to integrate the Montessori philosophy at home with their children.
An international besteller in education and homeschooling, translated to four languages.
A basic introduction to the principles of the Montessori philosophy,
Numerous illustrated examples of how to apply it at home, classified by subject and age, and explained clearly and concisely,
The Red Corolla: Montessori Cosmic Education for Age 3-6+
This is the perfect book for families helping with their children's education during the Covid epidemic. Homeschooling, or helping provide a balanced well-rounded education in an enjoyable way.
These "culture" lessons are taught in Montessori teacher-training course—physics, biology, history and geography, and the art. They are presented here in great detail and lay the foundation before age six for the older child’s search for his Cosmic Task.
The Montessori Toddler Activity Book: 60 At-Home Games and Activities for Curious Toddlers
Some of children’s most important social and emotional developments happen during their toddler years. Encourage learning and inspire discovery at home with this toddler activity book based on the Montessori method, a child-centered and scientifically based approach to engaging kids in their own development. From moving to music to creating a suncatcher and playing card games, this wide range of fun activities for toddlers will foster independence and build confidence.
Child of the World
The word "Montessori" is not legally protected and is used sometimes in ways that have little to do with authentic Montessori practices. In this book the author, who has almost fifty years of AMI Montessori teaching and consulting experience and work as an oral examiner for teacher-training courses, briefly presents authentic Montessori practices for ages 3-6 (the primary class), ages 6-12 (the elementary class), and ages 12-18. Here are ideas for using Montessori principles in the home. One mother put it very well, "This book is deep yet simple. Even my husband had the time to read it and now we are using the ideas together, a happy couple."
The Montessori Baby: A Parent's Guide to Nurturing Your Baby with Love, Respect, and Understanding
It’s time to change the way we see babies.
Drawing on principles developed by the educator Dr Maria Montessori, The Montessori Baby shows how to raise your baby from birth to age one with love, respect, insight, and a surprising sense of calm. Cowritten by Simone Davies, author of the bestselling The Montessori Toddler, and Junnifa Uzodike, it’s a book filled with hundreds of practical ideas for understanding what is actually happening with your baby, and how you can mindfully assist in their learning and development.
Montessori Homeschooling, One Family's Story
A fifteen-year experience of day-by-day, year-by-year, learning how to create an authentic Montessori education at home through elementary, middle, and high school. The main guide or teacher during these years had taken AMI teacher training courses for 0-3, 3-6, and 6-12 and had taught for many years. Even though this is not to be thought of as an instruction manual for Montessori homeschooling it is hoped that the book will be helpful for parents and teachers wanting to understand the value of a unique educational path, rather than thinking that all children should be educated exactly the same way (in both traditional and Montessori schools).
The Montessori Toddler: A Parent's Guide to Raising a Curious and Responsible Human Being
It’s time to change the way we see toddlers. Using the principles developed by the educator Dr. Maria Montessori, Simone Davies shows how to turn life with a “terrible two” into a mutually rich and rewarding time of curiosity, learning, respect, and discovery.
With hundreds of practical ideas for every aspect of living with a toddler, here are five principles for feeding your child’s natural curiosity, from “Trust in the child” to “Fostering a sense of wonder.”
Aid to Life, Montessori Beyond the Classroom
In "Aid to Life, Montessori Beyond the Classroom," the author shares stories based on fifty years of Montessori work in thirty countries, first as a teacher of children from 2-13 in Montessori schools, then discovering new ways to use Montessori principles in a variety of situations—all aimed at inspiring, and providing practical ideas, to parents and teachers today.
The Universal Child, Guided by Nature: Adaptation of the 2013 International Montessori Congress Presentation
"Traveling with Susan Stephenson through her book The Universal Child, Guided by Nature was a pleasure. Montessori practices applied to all cultures today, highlighted by Maria Montessori’s words, the author’s experience in many countries, and the eloquent photographs, generated in me a great enthusiasm to continue my journey through this path. Thank you for being a source of inspiration."
Montessori and Mindfulness
This book is based on 50 years of work in 30 countries, teaching, and observing and consulting with schools. Mindfulness is an ancient practice in the East, a great need for health and happiness in the West, and an everyday practice in Montessori schools. The author tells her own story of 45+ years of meditation and working in the Montessori field, and gives detailed suggestions for both parents and teachers to aid the development of this skill in themselves and in the children they live with.
Positive Discipline in the Montessori Classroom: Preparing an Environment that Fosters Respect, Kindness & Responsibility
Positive Discipline, developed by Jane Nelsen and based on the work of Alfred Adler and Rudolf Dreikurs, is designed to help young people become responsible, respectful, and resourceful members of their communities. In this book, Nelsen and Chip DeLorenzo bring together Montessori and Positive Discipline for the first time, offering a methodology for addressing behavior in the classroom that is consistent with the core Montessori belief of respect for the child.
Toddler Discipline for Every Age and Stage: Effective Strategies to Tame Tantrums, Overcome Challenges, and Help Your Child Grow
Make it easier to manage your little one’s most challenging behaviors with these highly effective toddler discipline tools. This standout among parenting books helps you learn how to effectively support your toddler as you deal with day-to-day difficulties.
Written by mother of two and child development expert Aubrey Hargis, this guide to parenting toddlers teaches you about the behavioral challenges you’ll face and the ways you can address them while fostering important life skills like curiosity, respect, independence, and confidence.
At the Heart of Montessori IV: The Pre-School Child 3-6 years
The At the Heart of Montessori series provides a thorough and easy-to-follow explanation of Maria Montessori's philosophy and educational method for all ages from birth to adolescence. These books will be of special interest to Montessori teachers or trainee teachers, acting as a support to, but not as a substitute for, Montessori teacher training. In addition parents, teachers and others who wish to find out about how children develop and how to help them as they grow, will find the books useful and interesting.
At the Heart of Montessori II: Core Principles in Action
The At the Heart of Montessori series provides a thorough and easy-to-follow explanation of Maria Montessori's philosophy and educational method for all ages from birth to adolescence. These books will be of special interest to Montessori teachers or trainee teachers, acting as a support to, but not as a substitute for, Montessori teacher training.
The Family Virtues Guide: Simple Ways to Bring Out the Best in Our Children and Ourselves
Bring compassion, generosity, and kindness into your home with this essential interfaith parenting guide to raising kids in a virtuous and spiritual household, with week-by-week strategies for living your best lives.
The most important job parents have is to pass basic virtues on to their children, and this invaluable book is designed to help make that job a little easier. Compiled by The Virtues Project, an international organization dedicated to inspiring spiritual growth in young and old alike, this multicultural, interfaith handbook shows parents and teachers how to turn words into actions and ideals into realities.
Montessori Made Easy: Practical Life Lessons: A Guide for Parents, Teachers, Preschools, and Child Care Centers for Creating Activities and Teaching ... Skills Using Simple Inexpensive Materials
Montessori Made Easy: Practical Life Lessons is a guide for Parents, Teachers, Preschools, and Child Care Centers. It is filled with ideas, pictures, and information for creating and teaching Montessori Practical Life skills. All of the materials and activities are simple, inexpensive, and you can put them together yourself. In this book you will find, "Montessori Made Easy."
The Child Is the Teacher: A Life of Maria Montessori
A fresh, comprehensive biography of the pioneering educator and activist who changed the way we look at children’s minds, from the author of Oriana Fallaci.
Born in 1870 in Chiaravalle, Italy, Maria Montessori would grow up to embody almost every trait men of her era detested in the fairer sex. She was self-confident, strong-willed, and had a fiery temper at a time when women were supposed to be soft and pliable. She studied until she became a doctor at a time when female graduates in Italy provoked outright scandal. She never wanted to marry or have children—the accepted destiny for all women of her milieu in late nineteenth-century bourgeois Rome—and when she became pregnant by a colleague of hers, she gave up her son to continue pursuing her career.
How To Raise An Amazing Child the Montessori Way, 2nd Edition
A parent's guide to building independence, creativity, and confidence in their children using Montessori learning techniques, written by Montessori president Tim Seldin.
An international bestseller, How to Raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way adapts Montessori teachings for easy use at home. Packed with Montessori-based preschool activities and educational games that build confidence and independence through active learning, this authoritative illustrated guide helps raise self-reliant and creative children. Celebrate physical and intellectual milestones from birth to age six with activity checklists, and encourage development through proven child-centered teaching methods.
The Absorbent Mind (Unabridged Start Publishing LLC)
The Absorbent Mind was Maria Montessori's most in-depth work on her educational theory, based on decades of scientific observation of children. Her view on children and their absorbent minds was a landmark departure from the educational model at the time. This book helped start a revolution in education. Since this book first appeared there have been both cognitive and neurological studies that have confirmed what Maria Montessori knew decades ago.
The Montessori Method
The Montessori Method by Maria Montessori immediately captivated social reformers and educators around the world. First published in Italian in 1909, The Montessori Method has been translated into twenty languages, including the 1912 English translation. Its ideas were new and innovative compared to the traditional Lancasterian method in which large groups of children recited the teachers' words, word for word in unison.
Montessori Today: A Comprehensive Approach to Education from Birth to Adulthood
Paula Lillard, director of a Montessori school ranging in age from 18 months to fifteen years, provides a clear and cogent introduction to the Montessori program for the elementary and later years. In detailed accounts, Lillard shows how children acquire the skills to answer their own questions, learn to manage freedom with responsibility, and maintain a high level of intellectual stimulation by using the Montessori method. This is an essential handbook for parents and teachers who have chosen the Montessori alternative for the older child.
12 thoughts on “Doing Montessori At Home With Your Baby ( 4 – 6 mo )”
This is FABULOUS! Such a great resource!
Thank you! It's been fun sharing my experience and knowledge.
This is such a helpful post for doing Montessori at Home with my baby! I'm really looking forward to starting with an infant with Montessori. 🙂
So sweet! I love the baby stage 🙂 Great information too!
Very interesting read. Can you guide me as to where to find your post on weaning please?
I am very sorry for being slack catching up on my promise to write post on weaning! I am in the process of putting it together though! I will make sure to email you once it’s done! Thank you for visiting my blog today, Lilian!
I have floor bed for my son as well. If you wonder where you can buy it then this is shop on Etsy https://www.etsy.com/shop/SweetHOMEfromwood?ref=hdr_shop_menu
Such a great resource it is. This is such a helpful post for doing Montessori at Home with my baby. Thanks for the sharing this with informative.
You are so very welcome! Thank you for stopping by!
I love your blog! Really encouraging! Thank you!
Thank you, Helen, for your kind comment! I am so glad I could help!
Loved your post.
Can u tell me what type of signs u used with baby to communicate
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