– Posted by Leah
I have a song I sing to Jonah – I changed the words to the Christmas carol “Away in a Manger”…
Away in Atlanta, no crib for a bed
My little boy Jonah laid down his sweet head
The stars in the sky twinkled with delight
As my little Jonah slept all through the night
Okay, so the sleeping through the night part might be wishful thinking, at least at first… but it’s true that we won’t have a crib for Jonah. Why? Well… most people have heard of the Montessori approach to education – there are Montessori schools all over the place. The Montessori method encourages creativity, self-directed learning, and independence. The learning environment is set up to facilitate the child’s development – books, simple toys, plants, etc. are kept within reach of the child. Child-size tables, sinks, and real plates and glasses enable children to wash and eat on their own, as well as handle fragile items with care – no sippy cups here!
You don’t have to wait for preschool to implement the Montessori method, though – you can do it in your own home, starting in infancy. We are creating a Montessori-style room for Jonah. This includes a low bookshelf with a few simple, age-appropriate toys, a basket of books, an activity bar – which is sort of like a movable mobile, a mirror along the wall near the floor, and a floor bed – which will be a twin foam mattress on the floor. No crib. People are a little surprised when they find out we’re not putting our child in a crib. But… is that safe? What happens when he wakes up or doesn’t want to sleep?
What happens is that the entire room is childproof. We’ll close off the door with a baby gate. The whole room is a safe place for Jonah to explore. Once he is mobile, if he wakes up he can roll around on his bed, crawl over to his bookshelf to play, etc. Freedom of movement encourages more movement – which supports muscle development, motor skill development, and, of course, brain development.
We plan on keeping Jonah in our room in a co-sleeper bed for the first few months. But once he is moving around and sleeping a bit longer between feedings, we’ll move him to his own room. I’ll post photos and updates once the nursery is all set up! (Nudge, nudge Marky Mark)
To see examples of other Montessori-style nurseries, go Here and Here and Here and Here! For more info about implementing Montessori in the home, here are some useful resources: Montessori from the Start, Montessori at Home, Feeding the Soil, and At Home with Montessori.