Friday, November 4, 2011
"So are you still doing that bed on the floor thing?"
I get this a lot from my friends, who probably think I’m nuts but are too nice to say so.
While patiently awaiting Jacob’s arrival, I’ve been preparing his Montessori-inspired nursery, bed on the floor included. What exactly does that mean? This excerpt from “Montessori from the Start” by Paula Polk Lillard and Lynn Lillard Jessen sums it up nicely:
The room is carefully, if minimally, furnished to address the four areas of necessity for the infant: an area for sleeping, for changing, for nursing, and for activity. Almost everything within the child’s room is low to the ground and each item will adjust to her changing needs as she grows.
Here are the main components:
An area for sleeping…
The floor bed is meant to give the child an unobstructed view of his environment and, once he’s mobile, the freedom to move in and out of his bed and explore as he chooses. It’s meant to foster the child’s independent spirit. That being said, the environment needs to be as baby-proofed as possible. Won’t he roll out of the bed onto the floor? Maybe, or maybe not. One way to prevent this is rolling up receiving blankets and sticking them under the crib sheet along the outer edge to form a speed bump that helps keep him on the bed. Note: the pillow and stuffed animal are just for show – these will be removed from the bed before he would sleep in it. The quilt (which moves freely) was homemade with love.
This is Jacob’s care area. Eventually, when he starts walking, this open cabinet that is currently chock full of cloth diapers will instead house a few outfits he will be able to access on his own and choose from. The diapers will have to find another home.
...and for activity.
This is Jacob’s movement mat – an area for tummy time, playing, and focusing on different mobiles (to be added soon) that will help develop his concentration. Montessorians like the idea of changing mobiles based on the developmental stages of the baby. His first mobile will be a black and white Munari mobile that helps develop his visual discrimination, tracking, and focus. The mirror, securely attached to the wall, is meant to give him the opportunity to study his own reflection and movements, provide another view of the room, and encourage him to lift his head during tummy time. And the giraffe play mat? It’s there just for fun and because I like it!
This is by no means a perfectly Montessori room. For example, the paintings aren’t hanging at his eye level and we’re lacking toddler-sized furniture. But these are just a few Montessori concepts we’d like to try out and discover if they’ll work for us or not.
What has worked well in your nursery for you and your baby?
Megan Brooks is a Sr. Public Relations Specialist for Texas Health Resources, Stepmom, and Soon-to-be-Mom due November 12.