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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. 

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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!

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