Creating a Montessori environment doesn't have to wait until your children are older. In fact, even infants respond well to a Montessori environment in the home. This is a great time to begin this transition because you're just starting out with your child and can slowly incorporate ideas and adapt as your baby grows. If you're planning to implement Montessori principles into your infant's home environment, here are four things you can do.
1. Baby-Proof Your House
Cover electrical outlets, place safety latches on doors and remove objects that could hurt your baby — or that your baby could hurt. The goal is to create an environment that allows them to move and explore freely as they begin to be mobile.
2. Use Baby Gates to Create Areas for Exploration
Most people think of gates as ways to restrict their little ones, but you can use them to outline their play spaces and keep them in the areas designed for their learning and exploration.
3. Make Their Bedroom Child-Friendly
Try putting a mattress on the floor and age-appropriate toys within reach. This encourages them to move from sleeping to playing without your assistance once they're able to crawl and eventually walk. You'll want to keep a baby gate across the doorway so they stay in this designated area.
4. Utilize Child-Sized Furniture
Rather than using a high chair, try using a small table and chairs for mealtimes. Place it in the kitchen or dining room — next to the table where the adults eat — and use it for mealtime, snack time and activity time, as well. Once your baby can sit, they'll be able to attempt this with an adult close by to provide stability and assistance.
Once you've created a safe space for your baby to explore, there are a lot of ways you can encourage their curiosity over the world around them. When they're too young to move around by themselves, babies respond well to a low-hung mirror and other small toys. As they develop, choose toys and objects that help them make use of all five of their senses. Give them a box and some objects to practice putting in and taking out of the box. Help develop their sensory skills by playing with sand, water and other textured items.
A hallmark of a Montessori program for younger children is the "Treasure Box." This is something you can make on your own at relatively little cost. Again, the goal is to help your little one develop each of their five senses. The basket can contain items made out of wood, leather, fur, feathers, metal and any other natural materials. Always make sure the objects do not pose a choking hazard or have sharp edges. Also, avoid including plastic items in the box.