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April 07, 2020

Natural Gross Motor Transitional Movements - Montessori Baby Week

Teddy is on the move! He started rolling from his back to his front at just over 4 months, then front to back at around 5. Over the last month, he has started to roll, scoot, reach, and everything in between. His movements are purposeful and direct and he really gets around. I love seeing babies go from these little tiny helpless beings to these strong independent children. It's really amazing to think about how much work they are doing every day to get to that point. 

Montessori baby activities don't always need to be about the toys. Sometimes it's more important to sit back and observe little milestones, like all the beautiful natural gross motor movements that come from following the child.

With Teddy, we are taking a natural gross motor approach. This is based on the work of Dr. Emmi Pikler. The method is often associated more with RIE, but I find it to be very compatible with Montessori parenting as well. In a nutshell, this means:

  • We give him as much floor time as possible from birth
  • We skip baby containing devices like bouncy chairs, bumbos, or jumpers 
  • We don't prop Teddy to sitting while he plays (he does use a Montessori friendly highchair to eat) 
  • We respect his movement timeline, however fast or slow that may be
  • We don't pull to stand, walk around, or otherwise move his body before he does it himself
Montessori baby activities don't always need to be about the toys. Sometimes it's more important to sit back and observe little milestones, like all the beautiful natural gross motor movements that come from following the child.

We took a similar approach with Gus but he has some medical concerns that made his journey a bit different. He was delayed and once he finally did start moving he went from barely rolling to crawling in less than a month. This time it has been amazing to see Teddy. What has struck me the most is all the transitional movements that happened so quickly for Gus (at a much older age.) 

Montessori baby activities don't always need to be about the toys. Sometimes it's more important to sit back and observe little milestones, like all the beautiful natural gross motor movements that come from following the child.

These illustrations are from Emmi Pikler's Book, Unfolding of Infants' Natural Gross Motor Development. I've just put arrows around where Teddy is in these pictures. The movements happen so quickly that I don't often capture them exactly. But I do find it fascinating how similarly Teddy moves to the illustrations. 

Montessori baby activities don't always need to be about the toys. Sometimes it's more important to sit back and observe little milestones, like all the beautiful natural gross motor movements that come from following the child.

I urge you to observe your own baby and soak in the goodness of all these little movements. We tend to celebrate just the "big ones" like rolling, sitting, crawling, and walking. But there is so, so much in between that can and should be celebrated as well.

Montessori baby activities don't always need to be about the toys. Sometimes it's more important to sit back and observe little milestones, like all the beautiful natural gross motor movements that come from following the child.

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