Skip to main content

Using an Infant Shelf - Montessori Baby Week 17

I've noticed something in the past few days that I thought was very interesting and wanted to highlight it before my tired brain completely forgets about it! Teddy has discovered his infant shelf in his movement area. This seems like a little detail, but this means we are on the cusp of some really amazing discoveries. And, not only has he discovered his shelf, but he has been watching me restore the materials from his shelf more and more. 

This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. 

Ok, so why do I care? For a couple of reasons! One, with the discovery of his shelf, I suspect that Teddy will have some extra motivation to start moving toward objects in his environment. Right now, he sort of waits for us to offer him a choice, but if he knows where to make a choice he will want to do it himself. Gross motor movement and development are so fun to watch and I can now feel we are really close to some major changes. 

Another reason this is exciting is because Teddy will now start to have some agency in his play. He won't just have to accept the materials we *think* he wants, he will be able to make the choice himself. Giving babies a choice in what material to explore is so important to Montessori at home. Right now I simply pick two items and offer him both. The one he looks at or reaches for is the one he gets. But now he will have more agency and control. For example, I noticed that Teddy was looking at his wooden ring while I was taking these pictures. While he can't move enough to get it on his own, I was able to help him get what he wanted and he could use the rings! 

Some thoughts on using an infant shelf with your Montessori baby. Why this discovery is so important and exciting. Plus some things to look for when choosing a shelf for your baby.

Finally, I LOVE seeing that Teddy is starting to watch me place materials back on his shelf. I do this when he stops using a toy or seems ready for something else (no longer wants to grab it after it's dropped, for example.) As he watches, he is internalizing that order. Not only will that help him know where to get materials, this is the foundational building blocks to putting away toys on his own when he is older. Children are born with a strong sense of order and as that sensitive period strengthens that shelf is going to be an important part in maintaining order in the environment. 

Here are some tips to consider when looking for an infant shelf:
  • low to the ground
  • safe/sturdy enough to pull up on 
  • open enough for a variety of materials (cube shelves work but open shelves are more flexible) 
  • place items back in the same place to increase sense of order 
Some thoughts on using an infant shelf with your Montessori baby. Why this discovery is so important and exciting. Plus some things to look for when choosing a shelf for your baby.

Have you used an infant shelf with your baby? 



My3 said…
This was very helpful and answered the question I had posed on the previous post, thank you!

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…

Sensitive Periods from Birth to 6 - A Chart and Guide

Dr. Maria Montessori spent her life observing, studying, and writing about children. During her lifetime of work she discovered that young children move through a series of special times when they are particularly attracted to specific developmental needs and interests. She called these times, sensitive periods. During the sensitive period, children learn skills related to the sensitive period with ease. They don't tire of that work, but seek it, crave it and need it. When the sensitive period passes, this intense desire is gone, never to return. 

That doesn't mean the skill is lost forever once the sensitive period is over. Instead, it just means that it will take a more conscious effort to learn. As Dr. Montessori explains, 
This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.
"A child learns to adjust himself and make acquisitions in his sensitive periods. These are like a beam that lights interiorly a battery that furnishes energy. It is this sensibility which enables a…

Working from Home with Kids - A Montessori Schedule

One part of my life that I haven't talked a ton about here on The Kavanaugh Report is how I'm a work-from-home parent. Eight years ago I started to work at home while parenting full time. For the first several years, I worked as a legal writer while maintaining this space on the side. When Gus was born, I moved into working on sharing our Montessori life full time. It has blossomed into a full time career sharing content here, teaching courses, and now the podcast! Through it all, my kids have been home with me. 
This all seems more relevant to so many of us now that Covid-19 has closed schools and forced parents to stay at home and work while caring for children. I'm not going to lie - it's tough. It's hard to balance work and kids, especially when children are used to a completely different routine. But, it's not impossible! And, it can even be enjoyable. 

As I talk about in my podcast Shelf Help, we block our days into 3 hours groups. It helps me remain fle…