A “floor bed” may not be your idea of a beautiful addition to a nursery, but Jeanne-Marie Paynel of Voila Montessori says the floor bed is central to a baby-friendly room.
Long before you might explore Montessori education for your child, you can create a Montessori home environment for your infant, toddler and preschooler. Jeanne-Marie explains how…
Montessori is an educational approach characterized by an emphasis on independence, freedom within limits, and respect for a child’s natural psychological, physical, and social development. A Montessori-influenced home is one that is designed with the child in mind. It’s about routine, simplicity, exploration and giving security to the child.
The Montessori approach recognizes four basic areas of the home; the sleeping area, the feeding area, the physical area and the movement area. Simple changes like the following can make your child feel welcome, peaceful and independent.
The sleeping area, a simple low bed will suffice from the very beginning. This area will need minimal changes over time, if properly set-up as a safe relaxing area. Preferably this area is toy-free, meaning no distractions so that children know it’s a place to lay down and sleep.
The feeding area, should be set-up for the caregiver to be comfortable and free of any distractions. A small table and chair or a chair that will evolve with the child such as a Tripp Trapp is ideal. Meals are a time for bonding and social relationships, it is important to model proper cultural etiquette and be fully engaged and present with children at mealtime.
The physical care area or the baby care area is also set-up for the caregiver to be comfortable and organized, having everything at arms reach. Consider the orientation of the changing table; it is best if you are facing your child. Looking at them straight on and not sideways. You are giving important information about your child’s body image and body scheme, when caring for them, make sure to communicate and ask permission.
The movement area changes as the child’s developmental needs evolve and both their gross and fine motor coordination develops. A comfortable thin matt or a folded blanket will do the trick at first. It is best placed against a wall with a horizontal mirror along side. The mirror will give the child information about her body and encourage movement. As the child begins to get into a stable sitting position on her own it is a good idea to place a low bar in front of the mirror to encourage pulling up to a standing position. No need for contraptions such as bouncers, saucers, playpens, etc.
As your child begins to be mobile, the entire home will become the movement area! Let her explore. Movement is life. Children need to be able to safely move and explore their home environment.
An important thing to remember is that the child’s home should be simple and free of clutter; less is more in a child’s home. Use low shelves, with only a few toys, contrary to the overstuffed toy box. Prefer natural made toys and objects for them to explore. Crawl around your home, see it from their eye level, lower a few family photos and artwork for them to admire. Most importantly, enjoy this special time of life.
Want to learn more? Jeanne-Marie inspires and guides families to design baby and child-focused homes, creating peaceful and harmonious homes that encourages independence, confident and life-long learners with easy and simple solutions. Join Jeanne-Marie at her workshop “Your Child’s Home – Little Changes, Big Results” on Thursday, September 18th from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. at the Baby Garten Studio.