Montessori Baby

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

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Self-Actualization

After weeks of hard work, Alex is now mobile. This was a huge milestone for the both of us. Clearly, Alex loves his newfound freedom. At the same time, I am seeing now just how well Montessori philosophy and, in particular, its ideas regarding the setup of the environment, support self-actualization.



Alex's ability to move means that he can seek out objects, noises, or areas that interest him. One of his first missions was to crawl over to and scrape at a red sticker attached to a piece of equipment in the living room. He also grinned once he managed to get himself underneath one of the dining room chairs. Crawling also allows him to access his favorite piece of the wooden train set on his shelf - the smokestack. In short, it has made very plain the fact that Alex already has strong preferences.



Having been skeptics of the Montessori bed initially, my husband and I were particularly interested to see how it would work for our family once Alex was crawling. This morning, he called me out of bed at 6 am to come look at Alex. When I rounded the corner of the hallway, there he was sitting at the gate to his room.



In that moment, I loved the bed. He had wanted to get up and come find us and had been able to do a part of that work himself. The low bed, then, has two purposes in my mind: it helps Alex to better communicate with us (as when he rolls out when he is not ready to go to sleep) and allows him to do the work of getting up himself. I'm still waiting for the day when he communicates his readiness to sleep by crawling on to the bed; perhaps that's a little much to hope for!



I can see already that this is by no means the end. Rather than rest on his laurels, Alex is already working to stand. It will be exciting to see what new parts of his selfhood emerge when that victory is accomplished!

4 Comments:

At 8:00 AM, Anonymous Sara said...

He's so beautiful! Isn't it amazing how fast they go from crawling to standing? Almost immdediately. I'm a big big fan of the low bed too - Salome will climb on to lay down now. She hasn't fallen asleep that way yet, but she does take a book with her often and lay down to read. Love it!

 
At 5:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How exciting!! He is such a cutie! M pulled up to standing and starting climbing the stairs 2 days after she started crawling, so watch out!!

We love the floor bed too--we keep M's door shut, so now she knocks when she's ready to come out. It's intersting, because she'll often get out of bed and start looking at books, and it's not til I go check on her do I know she's up.

And yes, she does crawl into bed when she's ready for sleep. Sometimes I'll see her playing contently and leave her, or she'll get up after I put her down. 9 times out of 10 though, she'll move back to her bed when she's ready for sleep. She's even covering herself with a blanket these days!!

 
At 5:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi! i'm a new mom (ethan is 9months old) and a 3-6 montessori teacher, and i am really enjoying your blog! i'm finding that the child expert i used to think i was has almost NO idea what to do with an infant (montessori-wise that is). i've been following my heart and my natural instinct in trying to follow my son, but am finding that i may perhaps be throwing all of my montessori ideals and philosophies out the window as parenting is obviously so different than classroom teaching!!! i want the absolute best for him (of course), and worry that i'm thwarting his independence as we develop our family rituals and habits. for example, and probably the biggest challenge so far, is our sleeping situation. perhaps you would have some insight??? we have been co-sleeping since the very beginning. with nursing all the time i found it to be the most convenient, most peaceful and most comfortable way for us. at 9 months ethan still wakes throughout the night to eat and only falls asleep nursing for all sleep times, including naps (so i am the only one ever able to put him down). he sleeps best when i'm next to him (fewer wakings) and needs me to nurse him back to sleep each time he wakes. overall, it's ok for me. in the night i'm half asleep and do ok with less sleep than most- also i'm home all day with him. i only worry about ethan. i want him to be independent and to be able to sleep on his own, but at the same time love sleeping with him as it feels truly right for us . i'm considering transitioning into his own room but worry about the trauma at this point. i've tried his crib a couple of times and he hated it! i could take the bed out and try a floor bed as montessori says i suppose- but worry about safety, etc. do you have any words of wisdom for us? many thanks! -julie

 
At 3:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello there! I'm just about to set up a montessori-style room for our 4 month old and I've been looking high and low for a floor frame for the mattress like the one you have in your pictures. I like the wooden one and it will keep the mattress in place. Did you purchase this somewhere? Would love to get that info if you have it. Thank you! P.S. Love your blog...

 

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