Becoming a parent is an incredible and terrifying experience; I guess we all agree on that. We come to the parenthood world with some or little knowledge but willing to do our best to make sure our bubs grow healthy and happy. As a first time parent I was quite anxious about that. How am I going to give my little boy the experiences he needs? When is the appropriate time to introduce things? What about his nursering room?
I love this Maria Montessori quote, she says ” Let the children be free; encourage them; let them run outside when it is raining; let them remove their shoes when they find a paddle of water; and when the grass of the meadows is wet with dew, let them run on it and trample it with their bare feet; let them rest peacefully when a tree invites them to sleep beneath its shade; let them shout and laugh when the sun wakes them in the morning.”
The whole idea in my understanding is that children need more simplicity. We over complicate things trying to put together everything we see at the shops or the fancy trends of the year, in fact we overcrowd the child’s mind when we do that, we create a super colourful and flashing chaos life and we immerse our children in it; a life they are not ready for.
Here are couple of principles we are trying to apply at home:
- Less is more. What I have incorporated in his nursering room: mattress on the floor, a shelf (where he can reach stuff), a chest of drawers which serves as a changing space, a mirror (wardrobe doors, it was already there), a table and a chair for when he gets older, a nursering chair, few books, a rattle, a floor mat, high contrast (black & white) pictures and a mobile (Couple of pictures above).
- Movement and freedom of choice. By creating an assessable environment we are fostering independence, self-esteem, confidence and offering our children freedom to make their own choices and discoveries. How do we do it? Low shelves, floor bed and materials, toys that instigate their curiosity and are safe for them to manipulate and explore independently. Most important equipments that are appropriate for their stage in development.
- Dynamic environment. We should be able to modify the environment to suit the child’s needs in every stage of his development. At least every three months you could create new opportunities in the room. For example: exchanging the black and white pictures for primary colours and then for a bigger colour palette, rotating toys and books, moving furniture once in a while, incorporating new challenges for bub.
- Beauty and order. Remember a child has an absorbent mind and having an environment that is beautiful, yet simple, where things have a place and order, that’s what he will absorb. In What’s going on in there, a fantastic book if you want to know how the brain and mind develop, the neuroscientist Lise Eliot says: “A young child’s environment directly and permanently influences the structure and eventual function of his brain.” Also: “All of the essential refinements in brain wiring-dendritic growth, spine formation, synapse selection, and even myelination-can be influenced by a child’s experience. Having boxes to keep toys organised, a book shelf or a basket, natural elements, simples and well displayed, stored.
There are many great resources online; we’ve used:
High Contrast Images (Black & White), we have used for his first weeks: https://littlelifelonglearners.com/2016/09/high-contrast-visual-stimulation-newborns-babies.html/ This is a free printable.
Primary Colours Images: http://www.montessorinature.com, search for 10 Montessori Watercolour Printables for Babies, it costs $2,00 and it comes in different sizes.
So so good to see the cheeky smiles and the shabby faces enjoying life and making their own discoveries. Sleepless nights totally worthy 🙂