At three years of age, the child has already laid the foundations of the human personality. The period from birth to three is that for forming the mind.
——Dr. Maria Montessori
The program is NOT a crèche, daycare or a baby-sitting environment. While Montessori programs provide care in a safe and healthy way, we facilitate learning and development.
Here are a few of the differences between a Montessori infant program and a typical crèche or daycare:
- Our program is highly developmental, recognizing that a human’s brain grows most rapidly in the first two years of life.
- The first two years of life are also a period for your child to internalize a strong sense of order in their environment. We actively support your baby’s need for order, ensuring there is a special place for each material. Infants as young as 14 months begin learning to put things where they belong.
- We work hard to stimulate the development of language in the infant. We provide vocabulary as we interact with the infants through each day, and give the language that goes with the activities/interests.
- The environment provides freedom for the child to explore. There are no high chairs, cribs, or play pens. Soft floor mats in front of mirrors encourage tummy time and self-discovery. Low bars mounted to the wall and soft furniture entice children to pull up. Our loft and slide call for practice climbing up and down.
- Montessori infant-toddler environments are calm and soothing, with carefully designed developmental materials made mostly from natural materials. Our environments are carefully prepared not to over-stimulate infants, but rather, to nurture the mind.
- Each baby is a unique individual treated with great respect and awe. Our environments follow the child’s rhythm rather than strict schedules all babies must adhere to. Babies are fed on demand instead of lined up in high chairs. The same goes for all other activities and needs of your infant.
Does the education of the young child really matter? Do the early years really make a difference?
A very good but brief answer is here extracted from a study done by the University of Maine, USA:
The human brain begins forming early in prenatal life, but in many ways brain development is a life-long project. The major difference between brain development in a child versus learning as an adult is a matter of degree: the brain is far more impressionable in early life than in maturity. This has both a positive and a negative side. On the positive side it means that young children’s minds are more open to learning and enriching influences. On the negative side, it also means that young children’s brains are more vulnerable to developmental problems should their environment prove especially impoverished or un-nurturing.
The curriculum for infants and toddlers focuses on:
- Language Development – the development of receptive and expressive language.
- Cognitive Development – to learn to think.
- Emotional Development – to learn about themselves and their feelings.
- Social Development – to learn about others.
- Motor Development – the development of coordination.
- Independence – to develop capacity to “do it by myself”
The children engage in spontaneous, pleasurable experiences that foster natural development. Activities are mostly open-ended; There are also closed activities such as puzzles and shape sorters.
Children are free to choose which activities they want to participate in and are offered encouragement to try new experiences.
Each classroom is guided by a Montessori trained adult.
Infant Program (3 months to 15 months)
Discovery House currently operates the infant program at Mindscapes Children’s Museum. The program is for children from 3 months to 18 months.
Toddler Program (15 months to 3 years)
The toddler community meets the needs of children 15 months to 3 years of age, to assist the child during this special period of growth. It provides children of this age with an opportunity to explore new relationships with friends and to interact with adults in a loving and nurturing environment. As part of their early Montessori experience, toddlers are introduced to age- appropriate Montessori materials and invited to make choices from a variety of activities that support their developmental interests and needs.