Montessori Mama

The Munari mobile and 1-week-old Paloma

***U N D E R   C O N S T R U C T I O N***

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Let's get one thing straight, we are not a 100% Montessori household. I don't even know if that's possible, but we do try our best to apply Montessori principles with regard to raising our children. 

What makes me a Montessori Mama? Well, I did take the ages 3-6 Primary AMI training from 2014-2015. I learned a lot, and since I was pregnant with my second child during the training, I was eager to learn more, which lead me to read Montessori from the Start by Paula Polk Lillard and Lynn Lillard Jessen as well as Understanding the Human Being by Silvana Quattrocchi Montanaro. I took some of what I read with a grain of salt, but the most important ideas I took away are this: It's our job as parents to help our children reach their full potential. We need to do our best to encourage growth rather than hinder it. With regard to his or her education, we must follow the child's lead. Above all, we must respect the child (even a tiny newborn) as an intelligent human being.

We are "cafeteria" Montessorians, if you will. We pick and choose based on what works for our family. Whenever I write about a Montessori topic, I will link to it here.

These are some of the ideas that work for our family:
-natural child birth (I gave birth to both Hunter and Paloma without the use of an epidural.)
-no swaddling (The idea is that swaddling a child too much hinders her need for movement, which is essential for development. She may be soothed by her hand near her face and swaddling impedes that. When Hunter was an infant, I thought swaddling was the thing to do. He was swaddled for 7 months! But with Paloma, I was determined to avoid swaddling and found that we never really needed it.)
-visual mobiles for newborns (There are at least 5 Montessori mobiles, but I chose and made only 3.)
-breastfeeding (Click here for my journey with Hunter. I am nursing Paloma, but it's been rough. Not giving up though!)
-cloth diapers (We washed Hunter's at home, but with Paloma we are using a service.)
-the floor bed for toddlers (Click here to see how it looks in Hunter's room.)
-toys and activities on shelves rather than toy boxes or bins (Click here to see how it looks in Hunter's room or here on our bookshelf.)
-a movement area for baby's exercise and exploration (Ideally equipped with a mirror and bar like this one.)
-helping in the kitchen from a young age (Hunter has been spreading his own butter since 20 months and chopping veggies for dinner since 24 months.)
-dressing babies and children in clothing for movement not fashion (I quickly discovered regular jeans are not practical for an active preschooler when Hunter, while wearing jeans, was unable to climb into our car, which he usually has no problem doing. Also, starting when Paloma is able to roll over until she no longer crawls, we will not put her in dresses. They hinder a child's movement by getting caught when the child attempts to crawl. In fact, according to Lillard and Jessen, in the Middle Ages they discouraged babies from crawling by dressing both girls and boys in long gowns!)

These are some of the ideas that don't work for us:
-the floor bed for infants (Maybe when Paloma is crawling and sleeping longer stretches at night we will introduce this to her, but for now she sleeps in a bassinet type thing next to my bed or we co-sleep for nursing and cuddling purposes.)
-no pacifier (Although Montanaro doesn't come out and say "no pacifiers," she does frown upon their overuse. Hunter did not take one, but maybe we didn't try hard enough. I don't like the idea of Paloma using a pacifier, but they are so helpful for car rides, which is really the only time she takes one.) all the time!
-no baby "containers" (Though we eliminated a lot of the baby gadgets we used with Hunter like a swing and vibrating chair, for Paloma we find it very useful to have this bouncy seat. She joins us at mealtimes in the kitchen sitting in this seat, rather than lying on the floor in the living room or in her bed.)
-the weaning table (This is a tiny table for feeding the baby at separate meal times. I prefer to have the baby join us at the table seated in a Tripp Trapp.)
-completely weaning the child from the breast between 6 and 9 months (Doctors recommend at least 12 months.)
-spoon-feeding a baby (We liked the principles of Baby-Led Weaning and plan to do that with Paloma.)


In addition to applying Montessori principles at home, we really want our children to attend Montessori school for as long as possible. I even started a summer co-op so he could continue his Montessori "schooling" between the school years. Click below for posts related to the co-op:
-how I started the co-op
-preliminary exercises part 1 and part 2
-food preparation activities for toddlers and preschoolers
-more practical life
-language lessons


I also wrote a series of posts about the three Montessori baby "items" that we found most useful after Paloma was born.
-The Topponcino
-The Movement Area
-The Mobiles

If you are curious about how to hang the Montessori mobiles, check out this post. You can hang them from the ceiling or a play gym, but we used this wooden hanger. It comes with two sticks, so you can adjust the height, but we only use one stick, as you can see in the photo below.

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