This Infant Montessori Box is ideal for parents who want to introduce Montessori into the home from day 1. The items in this box are compiled by an Infant Toddler Montessori (MACTE) teacher.
Each piece is designed to support a child's development from 6-12 months and includes instructions on why and how to introduce them to your child.
Includes 9 Beautiful and Natural Montessori Items Designed To Support Your Infant's Development From Six to Twelve Months
The infant box is designed to support your child's development from approximately 6 months to 12 months, although you will likely use many of the materials beyond this age.
1. A Wooden Maraca Rattle develops and strengthens the hand(s) while exploring cause and effect and music. The two-sided spherical shape invites the child to hold it with one or both hands.
2. The Cube in a Box invites sensorial exploration of a geometric solid, developing what Dr. Montessori referred to as the child's 'mathematical mind.'
3. The Fine Motor Set promotes hand-eye coordination and strengthens the hand and wrist as infants learn to remove the items and place them into the corresponding cup. This set helps develop fine motor skills and encourages the use of two hands working together.
4. The Plan Toys Wooden Roller stimulates the senses while being light enough to be pushed or grasped by the infant. This roller encourages movement and develops gross motor skills as the infant reaches for and moves after it.
5. The Spinning Drum is an aid in the development of sitting up with (and eventually without) support but can also be used during tummy time. The infant spins the drum and explores the sound of the bell inside, the brightly coloured panels and a mirror to explore their own reflection.
6. The Rubber Sensory Ball is a great material for safe, independent sensorial exploration of the various textures and colours. The ball encourages movement and the development of spatial relations.
7. The Stacking Rings are introduced to develop fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination as infants gradually learn to remove and replace the rings onto the dowel. As they get older, the concept of sequence and size can be introduced.
8. The Imbucare Object Permanence Box is a great material for learning about object permanence, while also developing problem-solving skills, strengthening the hand and developing hand-eye coordination. It also introduces the practical skill of opening and closing a drawer.
9. A Cotton Rope Basket is used to create order in the environment. You can use it to contain some of the materials included in this box or in other areas of the home.
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A Montessori approach is an amazing way to help children develop:
Natural curiosity about the world
Love of learning
Critical thinking skills
And it does this in a few simple ways:
1. Less Is More
“The child who concentrates is immensely happy.” - Dr. Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind
While some Montessori materials can be expensive, the beautiful thing about Montessori is that less is more. This allows you to invest in fewer high quality items instead of piles of plastic toys.
Maria Montessori and other researchers have found that children learn through repetition. Performing the same actions over and over help establish neural connections, cementing a concept in a child's brain.
To encourage repetition and keep the playspace to feel less overwhelming, you can setup a Montessori shelf with a limited amount of activities:
For infants (under 12 months): place 1-3 toys on the shelf at a time
For toddlers (12 months and up): place 3-6 toys on the shelf at a time
You can also encourage your child to choose just one activity or toy at a time, placing it back in its place before choosing a new activity. This helps children focus and prevents them from becoming overwhelmed by a room cluttered with toys all over the ground.
2. Follow Your Child's Interests
This concept is so simple but it helps your child develop a true love of learning. If your child shows interest in something, whether it be birds, the beach, or even ice cream, provide them with opportunities to explore that interest.
Don't feel the pressure to create the perfect Montessori-themed shelf for every interest. This can be time-consuming to regularly organize. As parents, we already have so much on our plate!
It can be as simple as getting books from the library on the topic, exploring the topic out in the world (i.e. going for a walk to look for different kinds of birds, taking binoculars and a bird identification book along), printing out some information on the topic from the internet and talking about it, or doing a simple craft related to that topic.
For babies and young children, it can be as simple as giving your child the freedom and time to explore. Dr. Montessori observed that children 0-6 are “sensorial explorers”, which means they want and need to explore the world with their senses.
When they’re under 3, these “interests” will more likely be the development of different fine and gross motor skills - stacking things, climbing, nesting objects into one another, etc. When you notice their interest in a certain movement, simply provide more opportunity for that movement.
For instance, if they are regularly using a set of nesting cups, offer sets of tupperware that fit into each other or pots, if they’re strong enough to lift them.
3. Teach Care For the Environment
Montessori believed that a child's environment is a key component to learning. Yes, there are more strict ways to set up Montessori in your home but if you're just getting started, don't stress about the details.
What's important is that your child learns to respect and care for their things and the things in their environment.
This can simply be reminding them to handle their toys with care, watering the plants, cleaning up after a meal, or making their bed.
4. Sit On Your Hands
This one is so simple. It means don’t intervene until your child asks for help or becomes overly frustrated, once you’ve modelled or demonstrated a skill.
This gives them the opportunity to become more independent and enjoy the satisfaction of doing something for themselves.
I will warn you though, it sounds simple but it’s actually quite hard in practice!
With kids and busy schedules it can be easy to jump in and do things for them - dress them, make their plate of food, and clean up their messes - but there's so much to be gained by allowing children to do things for themselves.
Next time your child is working on a task, whether it’s your infant reaching for a toy or your toddler putting on their shoes, simply sit on your hands or count to 10 in your head. Wait to intervene until they become visibly frustrated or ask for help.