Friday, July 6, 2012

Montessori at 2 Months

While engaged, I fell in love with the blog  The author, Sarah, seemed to really resonate with me... and as I read more and more, I found out that we had lots in common including having worked for Teach for America!  So I was thrilled, post wedding, to find out that she had a second blog called which chronicles her post-wedding life including her attempts (and successes!) at getting pregnant and raising children.  It was via Sarah that I started investigating Montessori ways of raising children.  Now I'm excited to follow her attempts at starting a Montessori school in Austin, TX.  

Anyway, I'm not sure what formal education will look like for Baby O going forward, but Montessori principles of raising my child in my home really make a lot of sense to me.  Montessori encourages parents to promote independence, encourages following the child's lead, and really highlights putting the child in an environment that is intentional and prepared for the child's developmental stage.  So what does that mean for Baby O when she's just a couple months old and not "doing much" yet?

Well, the earliest Montessori materials are mobiles that baby is supposed to look at and engage with.  But I'll be honest, thus far, Baby O is uninterested in a) laying on her back or b) being left alone.  So while I had grand ideas about mobiles, I haven't spent much time pursuing them.

However, now that she's beginning to engage more with her body, hands, feet, etc, I'm excited to introduce some simple Montessori toys.  For itty bitties like Baby O, Montessori educators encourage fluffy toys, cloth books, rattles, and soft balls that help babies learn to grasp and use their hands.  They discourage flashy/fancy toys that children are "just watching" rather than engaging with.  After doing some searching, I decided to buy Baby O a set of infant materials from Beginning Montessori.  When they arrived last week, I was officially in love!

I purchased 5 items: a Bell Rattle, Grasping Beads, and an Interlocking Disc, Ball Cylinder, and a Bell Cylinder.

You can find descriptions of how each toy is meant to work and what skills it helps develop at Beginning Montessori's etsy page, here.

Thus far, the only toy I've introduced to Baby O is the bell rattle.  It fits PERFECTLY in her tiny hand (though it's a bit of an effort to get it in there some times, since she still has a strong grasping reflex).  I'm not sure, yet, that she realizes anything is actually in her hand.  And she does have to be monitored closely while she holds it, because every time I look up, the little bell is in her mouth.  Which doesn't seem like a great idea.  But the goal isn't to have something that she can play with independently, the goal is to teach her that when she moves her arms/hands, things happen!  Music is created and there's something to look at!

(side note: this is the last time she wore a size 0-3 onesie.  We sold those all early this week and she's now officially wearing size 3 months!)

Someone asked me recently what type of toys or items that I'd want as gifts for Baby O through this year's holiday season.  I found this great list at for ages birth through 18 months:

- soft toys
- things with bright contrasting colors
- rattles (wooden or silver)
- mobiles (that catch children’s attention/ reflective)
- squeaky toys
- music boxes
- balls (of various sizes and textures)
- knock down toys
- blocks
- bath and pouring toys
- simple wooden musical instruments
- push or pull toys
- spinning top
- drop boxes
- stacking toys
- rings and bases
- board books

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