"... a study of the psychology of the child in the first years of life is so marvellous, so full of miracles, that all who understand it cannot help but feel a great emotion... is not nature full of magic? Full of miracles?" Maria Montessori. The Absorbent Mind. p38.
Bear is in the thick of his sensitive period for order. It is a joy to watch him play in a new way. He radiates peace and calm as he lines things up neatly or puts something in it’s proper place.
These amazing moments happen when the environment is just right. "If the child meets with obstacles, his creative work becomes less perfect... We have realised that the child is endowed with great creative powers, that these great powers are delicate in their nature and can be thwarted if obstacles are placed in their path." (p39). Everything needs to be in its place. He needs to have an uncluttered space. He needs time and peace and quiet to work. Then - just as Montessori described - "whatever is in his environment comes to be part of his mind"(p35).
I feel a profound pride and connection with him as I watch him play like this. It is a joy to watch him incorporate into himself something that speaks so strongly to me. I love order and symmetry and patterns. I feel real peace and tranquility when things are where they should be.
On the other hand I feel such uneasiness when there is chaos. Chaos makes me long with such homesickness for heaven.
I love the image of heaven in Revelation 4. God is sitting on his throne with a sea of glass, clear as crystal, spreading before him. Even the power and unpredictability of the ocean - an ancient symbol of chaos - is still before this God.
This God forms little toddlers - wild and chaotic as they can be - in his own image. He has them sit still, mesmerised, to organise screwdrivers - for the joy of it. It’s like watching a seed germinate or a flower open. The complexity and beauty nature at work takes my breath away.
“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” Revelation 4:11
Praise God for his amazing Creation. And thank you Maria Montessori for observing it and explaining it to me.
I made a nail block for Bear which he still loves to use. Putting the nails in the holes is still a fun activity for him at 2 years old. But it doesn't hold his attention the way that it used to.
So I've taken it to the next level and given him a hammer!
I found the little hammer in a regular hardware shop. It's not a toy or specifically a children's hammer but only weighs 250g so Bear can use it comfortably. There are some terrific tools that were designed for the elderly but are perfect for toddlers. Bear's little shovel (you can see him using it in the sandpit here) is another example.
The block is sitting on 3 cork boards from Ikea. They stop the nails from going into the floor and are the perfect texture for Bear to hammer through.
He needs to use a quite a bit of force to drive the nails in so he has had to work on his swing and his aim.
The next step will be learning to use the claw to pull the nails back out. He still needs my help for that part but is watching closely.
My little Fox is almost 4 months old. He's my sweetheart. You just can't help falling in love with him. He's adorably chubby with big blue eyes and perfect soft skin. He smiles and coos and squeals. All you need to do to make him laugh is kiss him on the cheek. Then he snuggles into you and falls asleep in your arms.
I wanted to have all the Montessori infant materials for Fox but that just hasn't happened. Instead I've been improvising on the go to give him things that will keep him engaged. This is what he's been doing...
Fox is starting to gain control over his hands. I can put a small toy in his open hand and he will hold it and bring it clumsily to his mouth. He will hold it for a very short time and then let go. In a little basket by his mat I have a collection of objects made of a variety of materials that he is able to hold. A metal baby spoon, a small cotton rattle, a rubber Sophie the Giraffe, a wooden peg, a knitted finger puppet. It's fun to see him interact with different objects and start to explore them! Bear also loves to choose an object from the basket and put it in Fox's hand..
Just a word about my favourite baby toy - the Oball. So light and soft. The delicate web is perfect for the clumsiest tiniest hand to hold. Fascinating to look at, Nice to suck on. Lots of fun in water. Easy to throw and bounce. The faster it rolls the more beautiful it is. It's squashable. Bear is still coming up with new ways to play with this toy. One of those justifiable plastic toys.
Fox is getting better at tummy time. It's still hard work and takes a bit of encouragement. Here are some of the ways I keep him motivated:
Without doubt Fox's favourite thing to watch and play with is his big brother Bear! Nothing makes him squeal and dance like watching Bear do something crazy and noisy. He just can't wait to join in!
My name is Vicky I am wife to Ranger and mum to two boys - Bear (2) and Fox (8 months). Somehow I stumbled across Montessori and now my goal is to raise and educate my children with a Montessori philosophy in country NSW Australia.