Montessori Baby

The author, trained as a Montessori primary teacher (AMI), documents and analyzes her efforts to raise a "Montessori" baby.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Because Montessori education aims to provide for the unique developmental needs of each child as they emerge, Montessori teachers spend a great deal of their time observing children. In my training, my instructors would often demonstrate the link between observation and the provision of lessons. A child who stood by the coat rack touching the different fabrics might be given the fabric boxes or encouraged to work with the sandpaper letters. One little girl who was lining up the bells on their squares might have been interested in a game with the geometry cabinet.

As a Montessori parent, I have been trying to observe changes or developments in Alex's play. Now that we are a couple of weeks past his seven month birthday, quite a few have emerged. Unfortunately, I'm having trouble thinking of ways to better serve these interests. I wonder what teachers do in the Assistance to Infancy classrooms? What about experienced parents?

Lately, Alex is very interested in opening and closing books or turning over objects whose sides are different. I wonder if this relates to object permanence. Is he fascinated by the fact that the inside/other side still exists when he cannot see it?

Alex has also become interested in using pincer grip. We've started on finger foods and I'm working hard to keep carpet pills away from his eager fingers! However, other than food, it seems that there are very few opportunities for him to use this developing skill until he understands that he cannot eat everything small enough to put in his mouth. Puzzles with small knobs might serve this need. Is there anything else?

Alex is also now interested in putting objects into relationship with one another. He will often pick up two things at a time and touch them together. The other day, he worked to set one block on top of another that was sitting on the ground in front of him.

Movement is huge in our house right now. Alex spends much of the day going from sitting, to his stomach, to his back, and over again. He scoots fairly well; we often find ourselves saying, "How in the world did you get over there?" This work is sometimes frustrating for him though. How can we help without getting in the way?

These are the latest needs I'm working to serve. I welcome suggestions that may help me to do so effectively!


At 9:37 AM, Anonymous Sara said...

The puzzles with small knobs was a good one for us. Salome also liked picking up long ribbons when she was practicing her pincer grasp. I also would give her three large objects at a time, and she would spend quite a while picking up two, putting one down, picking up the third, putting one down. She seemed to be realizing that she could only hold two, and one always had to be put down.

From here on out, it seems like the (obvious) developmental leaps they make just keep coming - it's very exciting!

At 12:50 PM, Blogger Mich said...

If I remember correctly (Megan was 7 months old 6 months ago....eons, ago), this is when she really started getting interested in cause/effect as well..making her rattles shake, finding where to squeeze a toy to make it squeak,hitting two objects together for the sound and sensation, that sort of thing.

For her pincer grip, we did use all sorts of finger foods, as well as the knobbed puzzle pieces.
As far as the movement goes, before she started crawling, i would put different objects of interest on low shelves, which seemed to movtivate her to wiggle herself whichever way to explore what was in there (rotating them frequently).

And just when you've got some things together, you know, he'll move onto the next phase!!!

At 9:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The tiny interesting objects, like lint: We'd keep a close eye, as ever, on what our child was picking up, and if it were an icky piece of fuzz or something, we'd take great interest and say, "What do you have there? A piece of lint! It's a piece of lint! Well, look at that! May I see? Thank you! Thank you for the piece of lint! Let's put it over here!" ... then throw it in the garbage. He caught on to the "thank you" game and/or the "put the dried peas from the floor into the garbage" game pretty quick -- he'd pick up a tiny speck of something and hold it up or (when more mobile) bring it right over, to be exclaimed over and examined and then tossed ... or else (when he was older, and toddling) he'd carry it to the garbage can himself.

At 6:48 AM, Blogger Montessori Mom said...

Thanks so much for your ideas! The knobbed puzzles have proved a good challenge, and I hope to try ribbons soon. Alex quickly mastered crawling, and has now moved on to kneeling up on his low shelf to reach the higher items. You're right Mich, it is great motivation for him.

I especially love the idea of taking a great interest in the small items Alex finds. We've done this with dog hair, carpet fuzz, and bits of leaves, and once we've both explored the item together, he then doesn't seem to mind giving it up and moving on to something else.

Again, thanks!

At 4:35 PM, Blogger ThreadBeaur said...

For your pincher fingers, why not try small plastic tongs. Great for picking up cotton balls, or something similar in size.


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