A new series all about Montessori for babies.
In our book The Montessori Baby we wanted to highlight families from around the world applying Montessori from birth. As there wasn’t space to fit in all their photos and the full interview with each of them, this is the perfect place to let you get to know these families even better.
Meet Jaya, Nikul and Anika from Forest Montessori and you can find them on Instagram here. They come from India and Uganda and currently live in New Zealand.
1. How has Montessori helped you with your baby?
Montessori has helped me to see that babies are whole sentient beings, who deserve as much respect as we give to another adult. When you observe a baby, while being absolutely present in the moment you realise that everything that Dr. Montessori and Dr. Montanaro said was absolutely correct and genius!
What were your favourite moments when they were a newborn?
I absolutely loved the “symbiotic period”. We kept visitors to a minimum and just bonded one on one at home with Anika, this was our most special time together. I also loved when Anika cooed back and started making conversations since she was 6 weeks old. I really think that not giving her a pacifier helped with her early speech development. Today at 15 months, she has a vocabulary of at least 200 words.
What were some of your baby’s favourite activities?
For the first 6 months….
Anika loved Montessori mobiles so much. Each mobile is developmentally appropriate to a child’s growing visual sense and absolutely genius! I was amazed that a baby could concentrate for so long. Dancer’s mobile, gobbi mobile and the wooden bell chimes mobile were her absolute favourites. She also loved grasping her rattles and play silks, she danced with joy every time she could see trees or rain, she loved seeing high contrast pictures during the first few months and we have read lots of books from birth.
6 months- 12 months…
Anika loved exploring safe to mouth treasure baskets, balls, books, playing peekaboo with play silks, dancing to music, using interlocking discs for hand to hand transfer, looking at pictures of other children and animals displayed at her eye level… Above all, the Montessori coin box, imbucare box, imbucare board, ring stacker, ball tracker, simple one shape puzzles, giant pop-up toy and object permanence box were her absolute favourites in the latter half of the first year.
What do you wish you would have done differently?
I wish, I did not sit her up with support when she was 6 months old. Once I sat her up, she was not happy to go back on tummy and this delayed her crawling by a few weeks. I wish, I had let the ‘sitting’ happen more organically, after she had started crawling.
Any Montessori advice for new parents for the first 12 months?
This is the most crucial year of your child’s life. Follow the child to every extent possible, you cannot spoil a baby! Long days and nights pass by fast but the trust they receive from you in the first year, will lay the foundation for their secure attachment and their personality. You will reap the fruits of your endless love and hard work in the first year, for the rest of your and their life.
How did your home play a role in your baby’s first months/year?
Anika spent a majority of her first year at home along with our daily outdoor visits. We created a safe space for Anika to explore in every room of our home from the beginning. This way she felt that she was a valued member of our family and it has instilled a strong sense of belonging in her.
Did your baby have a regular rhythm to their days?
Routines are very important for a baby, they like to know what to expect. We had a well-defined but still flexible rhythm to our day and Anika thrived knowing what to expect next. I even made us a weekly calendar with pictures and I would show Anika exactly where we were going before heading out in the car each day. This made car rides much more bearable for her.
Anything you’d like to add?
No pacifier, no swings, no jumpers, no walkers, no rockers, no screen time, no bouncers….it might all seem counterintuitive to the norm but it really does work. I can do it, so can you and this will help us raise a generation who are the best versions of themselves.
You can check out some timelines, I have made on how we used rattles, how I read to Anika and Montessori mobiles here, here and here.
PS – I also think Dr. Montessori was the original minimalist.
Thank you so much Jaya for this beautiful insight into your home applying Montessori for babies. And for being part of The Montessori Baby book.
You can find more from this series here:
- Montessori for babies with Maria from Montessori Chapters
- Montessori for babies with Junnifa from Nduoma Montessori
- Montessori for babies with Theresa from Montessori in Real Life
- Montessori for babies with Neus of Montessorian by Heart
- Montessori for babies with Ahoefa from Raising Yannis
- Montessori for babies with Nicole from The Kavanaugh Report