Many of you already know that Andrew and I plan on homeschooling our children, so because of that, and because I know how important the first several years of a child’s life are in regards to their brain and development, I read lots of learning/education/homeschool materials as I come across them.
The Montessori philosophy of learning is one that I’m only vaguely familiar with. Although I have mixed feelings about some of the specifics, the overarching theme is that children thrive on independence, freedom within limits, and a sense of order. Montessori encourages children to make the most of their environment, and use what is around them to develop themselves.
I agree that children (and babies) need freedom to explore and learn on their own, but I’m also a big believer in boundaries and limits, so we are choosing certain elements of Montessori to incorporate into our home, and adapting them slightly to fit our lifestyle, etc.
For babies, a big part of Montessori is creating an appropriate space for them to play, learn, and explore. The space should be safe enough for babies to be able to explore independently.This space should be simple yet stimulating. It should include toys made from natural materials, but not an overwhelming number of toys. We stray from this some, because Bonnie does have plastic toys; however, she does not use battery operated, noisy toys. The use of treasure baskets is a great idea that we’ve really enjoyed. Bonnie also really enjoys her mirror. One thing Bonnie loves that is not “Montessori approved” is her jump up! But again, we aren’t strictly following every Montessori recommendation. That would actually be impossible since I don’t even know them all.
Bonnie has her own space in the living room, since that’s our main living space in our house, but her special space is her bedroom. She seems to understand that her bedroom is hers, and we’ve already begun teaching her what kind of play is appropriate in her bedroom (reading, blocks, dolls, puzzles, instead of rough-housing, noisy toys, etc.)
Bonnie sleeps in a crib, but because we’ve had some crib issues lately, I am especially intrigued by the Montessori idea of the floor bed. According to the Montessori philosophy, the room should be tailored to the baby. Pictures should be at the child’s eye level. Shelves should be accessible for the baby, and safe for the baby to reach onto and pull up on. The idea behind the floor bed is that the baby should, again, be able to move freely and explore within the boundaries of his or her safe bedroom, rather than being confined to the limited space of a crib. With a floor bed, the baby’s entire room becomes his or her crib!
I am really torn about the whole floor bed thing. I can see the benefits of a floor bed, especially if the baby’s room is set up properly, but the safety and tight boundaries that the crib provides are also appealing.
Even though we are on the fence as to if and when we’ll ever switch Bonnie’s crib out for a floor bed, I have come across some really pretty, well-designed floor beds that are Montessori-inspired. I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorites with all of you, since searching for floor bed ideas consumed way too much of my free time over the weekend!
I love the weaning table and chair in the room below. This is something I’d love to use with Bonnie, but we don’t have the table and chair, whereas we do have a high chair, so we’re using what we already have!
There is not a thing I don’t love about this next room. The colors are so fun, and the room design is just genius.
This bedroom is exactly to my taste, and it makes me want to get rid of Bonnie’s crib right this minute!
- Here’s a post that provides 9 simple steps for setting up a toddler’s Montessori-inspired bedroom.
- To Crib or Not to Crib— This post gave me some great food for thought.
- This mom goes into detail about each element in their Montessori baby room in this room tour.
- Here are some lovely, simple ideas for creating an infant play space.
The idea of a floor bed for a baby is a bit unconventional, but I could actually see it working well for Bonnie. My husband and I have tossed the idea back and forth quite a bit, and may give it a shot. I’d love to hear feedback from any of you who have done this or plan on doing this with your little ones.