Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A day of toddler Montessori

Recently, I took my 10-month-old son Jacob to work with me. Most may think that this is a ludicrous idea, but for me it was quite enjoyable.

You see, I work at a Montessori school, and that makes for a very child-friendly environment. Okay, so my office may not be child-friendly, but the majority of the campus is since children from 14 months all the way up to the 8th grade are on campus. The main reason for Jake's visit was because all of my coworkers were wondering how big he is now and wanted to see him, so I figured I'd bring him in on staff service day.

At home, we have brought a couple of Montessori thoughts into Jake's bedroom: He has a floor bed, and a movement mat. At work, I am able to utilize these aspects of a Montessori environment in the Parent Infant room which makes it very nice come nap time.

For those that don't know, a floor bed is basically a crib mattress or a small mattress that is simply on the floor. This creates a bedroom environment that is open to the child, and not closed off by the use of a crib. A movement mat is just a mat placed on the floor across the room that has a mirror on the wall. This helps with the child's mobility and sense of the entire room environment.

It was very interesting to see Jake as he entered my work place. The last time he saw most of these people, he was only a couple weeks old and never left his car seat/carrier. We walked into the building and he seemed very timid at first. Looking around with an expression of confusion: "this isn't my school." A few of the office staff came up to us, and he wasn't too interested, still showing signs of slight nervousness. That was until we entered my office. I woke my computer up as Jake sat in my lap, and as he saw a familiar face appear on the monitor (his own), he lit up with joy. He then began to notice other familiar faces on my desk, his brother and his mother. It was quite amusing, because once he saw these faces; the world was once again good and happy. You could see that sense of nervousness disappear immediately. Now, we could make our rounds to the various people of the school so they could enjoy his company.

After a while of visiting, he was ready for his morning nap. We proceeded to the Parent Infant room and I laid him down on the floor bed. Within only a few minutes, he was out ever so peacefully. It was also quite convenient with the room being just down the hall from mine. I was able to check on him quite easily.

When Jake awoke from his late morning nap, he was quite happy. I decided to put off his next feeding a little, and give him some time in the room to explore. Jake isn't much of a mover yet, so I thought I'd show him the Walking Line, a material used to help young ones become more comfortable with walking. As I said, he isn't much of a mover at all, let alone walking, but I just wanted to see what he thought of this....he loved it!

After a little time playing, we prepared for lunch. This is one of the things I was really looking forward to. Jake got to sit at his own table, no high chair or straps of any sort. He totally enjoyed his lunch experience, but then again, anyone who has met Jake, knows he hasn't had a lunch he didn't like...well except for peas or green beans.

After lunch, we had more time to play in the room. Most of our time was spent on the Walking Line...and I really don't think Jake minded one bit :) All in all, I'd say it was a very fun day for the both of us.  
  Brian Brooks is dad to 10-month-old Jake and 12-year-old Brendan, and husband of Megan Brooks, Sr. Public Relations Specialist for Texas Health Resources.

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