170 results found
- Preparing for the First Day of School: 0-3
It makes sure you feel confident about what you'll need that first day and it gives you the chance to notice what you might need to work-around with items that will be stored at school instead of home. 3.
- Concentration in the First Plane: 0-3
Feeling distracted? Overwhelmed? Like your checklist keeps getting longer but you have less and less time to get it done? In a climate so full of distractions, the ability to concentrate on just one thing at a time, until it is complete or until you choose to move on, is both invaluable and at risk. The same is true for children, whose everyday lives are filled with "stimulation" that's supposed to help them learn or keep them entertained but may, instead, be keeping them from the ability to concentrate on their own. You might not think of infants and toddlers as having noticeable attention spans. Indeed, we are often told to expect infants and toddlers to be scattered, with a limited ability to concentrate on any one thing for long. Research suggests, though, that infants begin concentrating in utero, at about 34 weeks, when they start to store information that they'll be able to remember later. In early infancy, children self-regulate the stimulation in their environments by closing their eyes or turning away. Between two and three months, infants are able to concentrate long enough to understand sequences and patterns. By four months old, infants can predict the direction a ball or toy will roll and will look ahead to where they expect it to land. Around this same time, infants' eyesight improves to be able to turn their attention between different stimuli more easily. By the end of their first year, infants can attend to a single toy for as long as a minute without distraction (that's longer than you'd think: go ahead, time it and see.) By the end of the second year, toddlers can attend for up to six minutes without distraction. Infants and toddlers are able to engage in activities for even longer- sometimes looking up or looking around, but returning to their activity to begin concentrating again. Montessori classrooms support children's developing concentration through the design of the classroom. You'll notice that there the classrooms are visually sparse: neutral colors on the walls, simple wooden shelves. Your eye, when visiting an Infant or Toddler community, should feel drawn to the activities available, and not distracted by too much visual noise. Intentional use of color and a neutral background helps children to attend to the things in the classroom we want them to attend to: the activities and manipulatives rather than wildly colored or animated backgrounds. Likewise, you should notice that the materials are designed to be acted upon. You won't see electronic screens, toys with flashing lights or preprogrammed noise. We know that children's concentration is best supported through activities that give them real reactions to their actions, and we don't distract from that with loud, flashing stimulation. Infants and Toddlers have more sensitive hearing than older children and we don't want to encourage them to tune out the classroom, so we protect a quieter environment. Finally, we help to keep children's concentration focused by engaging with them in the activities they choose, monologuing for children what they are doing or observing, supporting their engagement by participating in it. Most importantly, Montessori teachers understand that infant and toddler concentration is a skill to be practiced, not an absolute condition. We offer children extended time to complete tasks. We avoid rushing them along. We know that the opportunity to attend for a long period of time, even to a task that we could do more quickly, is more important than the task getting done right now. We are patient in the meantime, observing without intervening, describing without judgement. As with so many issues of development, we slow down, knowing that it's best that children have ample time to grow and learn in these critical foundational years. If you want children who can concentrate, you have to give them time to practice concentrating, first in small things, then in longer periods of time, without interruption, until they have mastered it themselves. #Concentration #FirstPlane
- Bedrooms in the First Plane: 0-3
Imagine a nursery: the crib, the bright plastic toys, the sparkling mobile swinging above. Maybe there's a detailed mural painted on the wall. Maybe there's a changing table for adults to change diapers without bending too far over. Maybe there's a play-chair, to place your older infant or young toddler in, their feet dangling just close enough to the floor to push themselves around or spin their seat. Now think about a Montessori classroom: neutral colors, with selected choices for children of beautiful, durable materials. Everything is at the child's level - even the smallest child - and the child is free to move about the room without relying on an adult to unbuckle or retrieve them. Like all Montessori classrooms, Montessori Infant-Toddler spaces reflect what we know about the children they serve. In this case, that means they allow for free movement to support the child's growing body and brain, reliable materials that teach the child about how the world works and their influence on it, and opportunities for independence to the degree their development allows. So those floor beds aren't just there because they're pretty. We use floor beds because they allow children to self-regulate their sleep and to feel confident that, when they are awake, they can return to activity without waiting to be retrieved. Likewise, we offer the children sturdy, low chairs for sitting at equally low tables, from which they can push back when they are finished. We offer the children durable, often wooden materials that they can act upon, free from misleading lights or electronic sounds, because we want them to learn how the world they influence responds to that influence. We avoid bouncing chairs or infant spin-chairs because we want to support children moving between the activities that interest them, rather than spinning within a contraption within which they are buckled and stuck. We offer, instead, surfaces for crawling up and over and through, practicing gross and fine motor control as they learn about the world. Finally, we support children through standing diaper changes, allowing them to manage as much of the process as they can (even if it's a little less contained) so that they continue to follow the signals their bodies give them as they learn to regulate their own toilet needs. Consider the same for your home. There's no need to invest in an expensive crib: a crib mattress on the floor in a simple frame is an elegant invitation to rest. Replace the large toy box with a few low shelves, accessible by the crawling child, and the toys with simple teethers, bells, books, animal figurines or puzzles. Hang a full-length mirror sideways on the wall, near to the floor, for your infant to admire themselves on their bellies or backs. Secure family photos or nature pictures down low as well, and avoid the bright murals. Install a banister low to the ground for your child to practice pulling up on, and for an extra place to hold during a standing diaper change. And those diaper changes? Ask your child's Infant or Toddler teacher to let you observe some. They're simpler (and cleaner) than you might imagine, and soon you'll wonder why you ever lay your child prone at all. Foremost, your child's bedroom in infancy and toddlerdom should be a place that's inviting for soft experiences, warm time with a loving caregiver, a secure climate that feels quiet and calm- in other words, the way you want to feel as you're falling asleep: safe, peaceful and full of love. #FirstPlane #Bedroom #Sleep #Infants #Toddlers #ForParents #MontessoriAtHome
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