Skip to main content

Exploration -- Montessori Baby Week 41

It can sometimes feel like having the right shelf with the right toys is the most important thing for your Montessori baby. But, let me tell you, it's not. Babies are naturally called to explore their environment. They are always going to want to check things out, examine how something works, and test everything in the world around them. 

"The baby is next endowed with an urge, or need, to face the out world and to absorb it." Maria Montessori

And sometimes that means the shelf in their environment and the carefully selected toys. But a lot of the time, it means the power cord, the spot of sunlight on the floor, and kitchen cabinet door. A shift in our mindset needs to occur to accept that each is equally important. Dr. Montessori says, 
"At birth, the child leaves a person – his mother’s womb – and this makes him independent of her bodily functions.  The baby is next endowed with an urge, or need, to face the out world and to absorb it.  We might say that he is born with ‘the psychology of world conquest.’   By absorbing what he finds about him, he forms his own personality.” 
This past week has been all about exploration for Augustus. I mean seriously, he just wants to explore every last inch of everything. This week could have very easily been called "and nobody sleeps" because who has got time for that when there are bins in the kitchen to dump out!!? 

This stage can feel so exhausting because it feels like I am always 2 steps behind him cleaning up the wave of destruction in his path. Gus just wants to know what every single thing is, how it feels, how it tastes, whether he can pull up on it, and how it sounds when he bangs it on the floor. But, still we allow this exploration implicitly. It's just so important. 

Here are a few things we have done to make this exploration as easy for me, and safe for Gus as possible.
  • Move anything that you don't want to be part of the exploration
  • Make sure dangerous items are locked up 
  • Remove baby locks when the items they are hiding are only inconvenient for you to pick up
  • Allow the exploration, and provide simple language for new experiences 
  • Don't interrupt concentration, take a deep breath before reacting to something that you perceive as dangerous, give your baby a second to work out a solution  
  • Let the shelf "work" go, trust that your baby will come back to it when your baby needs that work

Does your baby like to explore? How do you handle it?

"The baby is next endowed with an urge, or need, to face the out world and to absorb it." Maria Montessori


Popular Posts

The Ultimate Montessori Toy List -- Birth to Five -- UPDATED 2019

When you are interested in Montessori, it can be difficult to know exactly what types of products you should get for your home. Or which types of "Montessori" materials are really worth the price. There are no rules about types of products can use the name Montessori which can add to the confusion. Not to mention, every toy manufacturer slaps the word "educational" on the package for good measure!

2019 UPDATE: This post has been updated to include a variety of brands and new product finds! Just a reminder that no one child will be interested in all of this or needs all of this. These toys are just here to spark ideas and give you a feeling for some Montessori-friendly options available! 

So, with this post, I'm going to try to help with this confusion! Here's a list of Montessori-friendly toys and materials for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. 

First, let's clarify that there is no such thing as a "Montessori toy." Montessori never created to…

Which Open-Ended Toys are "Worth it?"

As a Montessori parent, I try to provide a mix of materials in our home to engage my kids! That work that will spark joy, concentration, and repetition. It's not always an easy task, as Maria Montessori said, "Life is mysterious...only the choice of life can choose the work that the child truly needs. Therefore, the teacher respects this mysterious process and knows to wait with faith." So, there does sometimes feel like there is a bit of trial and error when it comes to choosing materials that your children need. 

For us, the right balance is easier to find when I spend time deeply observing my children. Watching their interests, sitting on my hands if I have to, letting them struggle a little with things, and letting them get bored. And what I have personally found is that here at home, a combination of open ended materials and more structured work have been the right balance. Open ended toys wouldn't necessarily be found in a Montessori classroom, but they are perf…

A Montessori Approach to Purging Your Toys

Becoming a Montessori family has been life changing in so many ways, most obviously with the amount and type of materials we use in our home. Once you see why having so many toys is a problem, or when you make the decision to move towards Montessori, it can be completely overwhelming. But, taking a Montessori approach to purging your toys is possible! And, it doesn't exactly mean that you have to throw away everything you have and start over with only expensive wooden toys. It will mean taking a hard look at what you have and whether it really fits with Montessori.

One note, however, Montessori is at its core about following your child's own path and respecting your child as a whole person. So, if your child has a toy, lovey, book, or whatever that your child super loves or is super attached to, but it doesn't fit Montessori ideals, don't take it away. Follow your child, that is more Montessori than whether or not you own some specific consumer product. 
How to Purge You…