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Learning to Walk -- Montessori Baby Week 48

Movement is so important in every Montessori environment -- especially for babies. The freedom of movement is an essential tenant in Montessori and its importance really cannot be overstated. It's through movement that children come to know and understand their environment and themselves.

Supporting the freedom of movement and walking with a Montessori baby.

As I've said many times before, we are taking a new approach to movement with Augustus that is more in line with both Montessori and RIE. We have avoided placing him in positions that he is unable to get into on his own, including sitting him up or propping him to sit. But, this didn't just end when he could finally sit up on his own, but it continues now as he is learning to walk.
"Movement, or physical activity, is thus an essential factor in intellectual growth, which depends upon the impressions received from outside. Through movement we come in contact with external reality, and it is through these contacts that we eventually acquire even abstract ideas." Maria Montessori
By avoiding placing a baby in a position that they cannot get into, you are helping to keep them safe. They are much less likely to get hurt when they got themselves into a situation. Also, your boosting their control, their self confidence, and truly following their own path. This method avoids skipping steps and really gives a baby incredible control.

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It's been awhile since I've updated about Gus' gross motor progress. Augustus was born with torticollis and low muscle tone and has needed physical therapy to overcome the physical challenges this has presented. But, he's done it. He is officially "caught up" according to doctors -- not that their timeline mattered much! And, Augustus is learning to walk. 

To support this movement, we make sure we are offering him plenty of opportunities to practice these skills. This means we PROVIDE:
  • time for free movement 
  • lots of interesting objects to push -- chairs, stools, his walker wagon {in these pictures} 
  • objects to pull up on -- coffee table, weaning tables, pull up bar in his movement area, shelves
  • loose and comfortable clothing that does not inhibit movement 
It also means we avoid some other things. We AVOID:
  • the use of any baby container that restricts his movement -- no baby walker, exersaucer, jumper 
  • standing him up before he could do it on his own
  • walking him around by the hands 
  • baby socks or shoes 

It's been kind of nice to have a baby that is still crawling at 11 months since my other kids walked well before this. But, we will continue to follow his path and let him take his time! He knows what he needs more than we do! 

Supporting the freedom of movement and walking with a Montessori baby.

How have you supported your baby's freedom of movement? How have you supported walking? 


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Comments

Nathalie Bouvy said…
Hey! Thanks for your article, our daughter is now 12 months old so there is a lot I can relate too :-) Our baby does not walk yet, but she stands up as often as she can. We use the same approach (pull up bar, low shelves, little chairs,...) but we try not to "make her walk" by holdinh her hands. Still we find it difficult not to do it sometimes as she asks for it : she asks to be held, and once i have her in my arms, she put her feet on the ground and walks... i did it several time and she loves it. So hard to decide whether to do it or not. We try not to do it if she's not asking...
How exciting! We used a similar approach and let our little guy take his time and he looked SO happy and SO pleased with himself when he started pulling up, cruising, and walking (and now running!) It's such a beautiful think to watch them progress on their own, perfect timeline :)
Sarah V. said…
I'm not sure how this Radio Flyer Walker Wagon is in any way different than a walker or having mom and and dad hold him by the hands and walk around the house.
The Radio Flyer is just one example of a walker that supports the freedom of movement by letting a baby take the lead, but it's not the only option. I personally like it because it is super sturdy and doesn't tip when a baby pulls up. The wheels are also slowed so that it doesn't move too quickly away from a baby. I also like the large wagon that can be weighted down and used for years to come by toddlers and preschoolers.

Here are some other resources about walking a baby by the hands: http://www.janetlansbury.com/2011/03/9-reasons-not-to-walk-babies/

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