"Our goal as we prepare the infant's environment for movement ... has to do with psychological rather than physical reasons and reflects our attitude toward the child. It should reflect the view that this infant is an individual who is going to grow and change and separate; this is not someone who will remain a baby forever." Montessori from the start. p73
Every so often I realise that Fox has raced off developmentally. He's suddenly reached the next stage and I wasn't ready for it. I'm dawdling behind him still trying to figure out the previous stage. I often feel like I'm letting him down.
I thought these things would be easier with the second child. Some things are easier. In a lot of ways Fox is an easier baby than Bear was. The trouble is that Fox is so different from Bear. His temperament is so different. His interests are so different. I'm having to work through everything anew. I am needing to reset all my expectations.
There are things we are doing well for Fox. He has a collection of interesting objects to explore and practice manipulating. He has low shelves for his things. He can look out low windows. He can see himself in a low mirror. But the environment isn't quiet working for him. We're missing something...
At the moment Fox needs a proper Montessori movement area. Bear skipped this stage altogether (he was crawling much earlier) so I didn't realise it's value.
"The infant's bed is large and on the floor. A double-bed-size is best and the mattress must be only a few inches high." Montessori from the start. p31.
The floor bed makes so much sense to me at the moment! It's soft. The floor is so hard and rough. It's big. In the cot he rolls into the sides. It's safe. One of Fox's favourite things at the moment is to roll around our queen size bed. But I cant give him freedom there because he needs our constant supervision. Otherwise he'll very quickly end up on the floor with a bump on his head!
I think a good solution would be to have a thin mattress in the playroom where we spend most of our time. It would be nice if this space met Fox's need for movement better. He is so much more mobile on a soft mattress. He would be able to get to his shelves and the mirror. He'd be able to move himself to join Bear in whatever he's doing.
It takes me such a long time to make these decisions! I don't want to buy something new and change everything around. I'm hoping Fox gets up and crawls any day now so I don't need to worry about it any more! It is such a challenge to keep adapting to little children who change so quickly.
This reading corner has been a long time coming.
I had the idea of turning this unused doorway into a book shelf before Fox was born. Little by little I've been chipping away at this project. Now it is finally finished (well mostly finished...). At least it is ready to use!
I have experimented with various ways to store and display books that haven't worked out. I tried a basket on the floor. A basket on the coffee table. A basket on Bear's shelves. A regular book shelf with spines facing out. A regular bookshelf with books standing up. Books in a box. We were having problems with each of these. My biggest problem was mess - the books wouldn't stay where they were supposed to be!
So I brainstormed goals for book storage/display:
- beautiful to look at
- easy for Bear to choose a book
- easy for Bear to take out one book at a time without disturbing the other books
- easy for Bear to put books away by himself
- flexible in terms of the number of books it can accomodate
- separate from toys
- in an area that is peaceful and comfortable
- a special area that acknowledges how special and precious books are
I think this ticks all the boxes.
The 3 lower book shelves are only 10cm deep so books stand up easily on their own but they will be able to accomodate several layers of books in future. There's a 3cm lip that stops the books slipping off. The shelves are removable but very sturdy. They have a catch that will stop Fox pulling them off when he inevitably starts to pull up on them.
We don't have room for child sized furniture in this area. We're a bit tight on space as it is. Bear gets himself onto the couch easily and we can both read together comfortably. We used to have a footstool for Bear to climb up. We'll bring it back out when Fox is ready for it.
Rotating the books keeps bringing Bear back to the couch. He's asking to read books that were being ignored before. I love when he asks me to read with him. It such a great invitation for a cuddle and a chat!
Fox is appreciating the low shelf too - it might just be the thing that inspires him to crawl!
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.