Montessori method with 9-12 month old - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 03-27-2012, 09:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello! I am completely new to this forum, and relatively new to the Montessori method. smile.gif I would love some advice, if you don't mind reading my story:

I am a 21 year old college student with a 9 month old daughter. My fiancé and I are renting a bedroom in his parent's house, essentially living with his parents while we finish school. Basically, very limited space. We both work part time.

While I have an idealistic goal that I strive for with my daughter, it has been hard to incorporate all my wishes. I want to lead a natural, wholesome life with my little family. We are blessed that his family has nice garden that we help with, as well as chickens and an expanse of property. I have managed to exclusively breast feed for 6 months, and now only supplment with organic formula since I have started working, but this is only rarely. I cloth-diaper, feed her primarily organic foods and fresh produce, avoid plastic and processed foods, and try to allow her many self-directed experiences and exploration. Almost all of her toys are handmedowns and gifted items, and while I am beyond grateful, they are almost all plastic and battery-operated noise-makers. She already seems bored with them. She prefers to play with our "real life" items, such as cooking utensils and large hair clips, video game controller... Still not ideal items.

I have been really busy with the end of the semester and feel like it's taking a toll on both my daughter and I. Luckily, next month I will be free to focus on her and my fiancé, albeit 15 hours of working each week.

I took the time to explain all this so you would have a basic picture of our life. I would love for her to have a Montessori bedroom with a floor bed and child-sized furniture, but that is not possible at this time. She is on absolutely no sort of schedule except for eating times, and bath-tooth brush-book-nurse-sleep at night.

I would like to create some sort of basic (not rigid) schedule for her, as well as inexpensive and enriching activities. Is there any way to incorporate more natural parenting, Montessori and Waldorf inspired, for my family? Can anyone point me in the right direction?

Thank you for taking the time to read my novella! Hah.

smile.gif Paige
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#2 of 7 Old 03-29-2012, 08:48 AM
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It's easy to become entranced with all of the lovely accoutrements of Montessori and Waldorf - the specialized Montessori materials like the pink tower and cylinder blocks, the expensive natural wooden Ostheimer toys, the pretty playhouses and kitchens and all that stuff. It's important to realize that it is just "stuff". Having it won't necessarily make your child smarter or better, not having it won't necessarily be hurtful. It's more important to support a child's natural interests and learning style, allow them to explore and play, and respect their development and capacity to achieve. You don't need a lot of space or expensive "stuff" to cultivate a supportive and respectful attitude about your child's development and learning. 


I'd say that some of the most helpful things you can do require almost no expense at all. Lots of time to play and explore. A daily nature walk - even if you live in an urban environment, there are usually parks and community gardens. A library card and weekly trips to the library. There are lots of activities and toys that you can create with simple household objects and found materials from your nature walks. There are books and blogs that are all about that sort of thing. For purchase, try Goodwill shops and yard sales for gently used toys and books.     


A couple of books that you might find helpful: 


How to Raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way by Tim Seldin

Teach Me to Do It Myself: Montessori Activities for You and Your Child by Maja Pitamic 


It sounds like you are a caring mom and your family is doing wonderfully. You already have a great start smile.gif



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#3 of 7 Old 03-29-2012, 07:00 PM
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ollyoxenfree has given you good advice. I agree with everything she said.


I think Montessori is more about your approach to child-rearing than having fancy materials. And there are some Montessori activities that you can do cheaply and easily. For example, a floor bed is really just a mattress on a floor. If your baby is sleeping on a mattress, simply take it out of her crib and put it on the floor. Hang up art at her eye level in her room and/or around the house. It doesn't have to be anything fancy. It could be stuff you or she made. My son started using a shot glass when he was about a year old -- you can pick those up inexpensively at Ikea if you don't already have one. Playing with things from around the house or nature is great! You can set some things up in baskets for her to explore.


I've gotten a lot of our son's things from consignment stores/sales, craigslist, etc. It sounds to me like you are being too hard on yourself. You seem to already be on the right path and you have a destination in mind. You just need to figure out a plan to get there. Be creative! Search the blogosphere. There are tons of Montessori blogs with great ideas (mine among them hopefully, although my son is much older than your daughter). Here's one place to start:

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#4 of 7 Old 08-24-2012, 07:14 PM
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Originally Posted by ollyoxenfree View Post


It's easy to become entranced with all of the lovely accoutrements of Montessori and Waldorf - the specialized Montessori materials like the pink tower and cylinder blocks, the expensive natural wooden Ostheimer toys, the pretty playhouses and kitchens and all that stuff. It's important to realize that it is just "stuff". 

Teach Me to Do It Myself: Montessori Activities for You and Your Child by Maja Pitamic 


It sounds like you are a caring mom and your family is doing wonderfully. You already have a great start smile.gif



This is so true! I just sold & passed on $$$$ worth of seemingly-awesome waldorf and montessori toys. Why? Because my kids collect sea glass, rocks, branches, acorns and use craft materials to make their own toys! They use old halloween costumes for dress-up and spend most of their time outdoors or drawing! Kids don't need all!

Consciously mothering 3 girls and 2 boys
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#5 of 7 Old 08-24-2012, 07:34 PM
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I have a 7 month old son and we "do" Montessori at home. What does that mean? It means we're out in nature a lot, I let him explore the grass/leaves/sticks/sand/dirt that's around him; he sleeps on a floor bed, which is a simple mattress on the floor; he has a shelf with 4-5 toys at floor level (his "toys" right now are: a recipe box from Goodwill, a basket with homemade beanbags made from different fabrics, a basket with household items that roll b/c he's starting to crawl, a basket with four wooden cylinders from Goodwill... You get the picture?).

It sounds to me like you're "doing" Montessori just fine. Take the time to know your daughter, see what her interests are and what she's driven towards, and then come up with a few activities that will support her developmental stage. In Montessori, less is more...

When she's a little older (walking steadily) she can help you do chores like fold laundry, cook, clean, etc. They enjoy these activities much more than playing with toys, and these activities will help you establish a rhythm to your days. HTH!

Me (38), DH (47) and big Z (2 1/2)
m/c 07/14 and Baby EDD: 5/24/15! Stick, baby, stick!

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#6 of 7 Old 08-26-2012, 09:24 AM
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I think it is wonderful that you are thinking about Montessori already, and I agree that the Montessori materials are not what I would focus on right now, but for reasons other than those expressed so far.


The Montessori materials are designed for children of approximately 2-1/2 to 6 years old, and are only appropriate for a child that is developmentally ready for them. Having them around for a 9-12 month old baby will do no good and worse, your child may develop bad habits of unintended use that will need to be erased later, which will be no easy task.


Montessori herself taught that greatest gift we can give to a child of this age is to incorporate him into our daily lives to the greatest degree possible, and give him whatever he is ready for in searching for his independence. This means letting him, to some degree, choose his own clothes or what to eat. Only offer valid choices, then abide by the choice. For example, give an (a) or (b) choice in what to wear that day. Narrow the choices. A swimsuit is not appropriate to go outside in in January in Manitoba, so that is not a valid choice, but sweater (a) or jacket (b) may be appropriate. Allow the child to dress himself, help with meal preparation (he can help pour, mix, etc.), carry things to help out around the house. Above all, let him be there. As the late Nancy McCormick Rambusch, a founder and the first president of the American Montessori Society once said, what is important is not that you have quality time with your child, what matters is quantity time.



Mariann Seaman

Sweetwater Montessori School

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#7 of 7 Old 08-26-2012, 10:40 AM
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I am in a similar situation and have similar goals for my family : ) I'm 23 and my fiance and I live in a small apartment with our 8 month old daughter. We have some hazards in our apartment (lots of radiators) that stop me from setting up a Montessori environment how I envision it but I can still include aspects into our daily life. I've mostly turned to blogs for Montessori tips and tricks, I found a great one: where they make most of the materials themselves. I found that blog to be a great jumping-off point as she posts many great links. Feel free to PM me if you'd like, I have a ton of links!


My fiance is not "handy" but I've found I can purchase the wood cheaply and have friends who have all the tools make what I various materials, usually just for some dinner or cookies, some kind of barter. Is it possible for you to make the room your all share baby friendly? That way your DD could roam around the room freely, maybe put a cloth book holder up on the wall for her. 


Gotta go, sleepy baby needs me!

lactivist.gifnovaxnocirc.gif Acd.gif'ing, winner.jpg,familybed1.gif,femalesling.GIFread.gif Momma to one DD 1/1/12 ribboncesarean.gif. Trying to goorganic.jpg and hoping for a hbac.gif next time!

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