How to start with MONTESSORI MOBILES FOR BABIES

The common mistake of the parents is that they think newborn babies do not remember anything and that’s the reason they keep little ones unattended and alone. But the first years are the most important ones. Whatever child’s absorbent mind soaks in is creating his personality. First 6 years child absorbs all the available information and learning happens without the efforts, naturally. If you are expecting baby or have one infant at home and you are reading this article you just started your Montessori lifestyle 🙂

You really don’t need a lot to prepare the environment for little one so you incorporate Montessori principles directly from birth. All you need is mattress on the floor/floor bed, mirror, mobiles, order and time. I would like to get more into details of Montessori visual and tactile mobiles.

Montessori mobiles are first specially designed materials used for the smallest babies to develop the eyes, vision and focus. As the sight of the baby changes also mobiles changes. You can make them at home by yourself or you can get ready made ones.

Montessori mobiles are completely different from typical mobiles you can get in toy stores. Made simply and precisely from beautiful materials, without noise interrupting babies attention, they are great for learning about fixating the eye sight, following the movement, focusing on colors and dimensions and later developing motor skills. 

HOW TO INTRODUCE VISUAL MOBILES:

You can introduce new mobile every 2 weeks or once you see your baby became bored of the recent one. You don’t have to get rid of the old mobile, you can again take it out whenever you feel like if your baby is its fan. Agastya just felt in love with his Gobi Mobile and his love lasted till he was 7 months old and managed to remove the sphere and throw it to our dog 🙂

Following weeks are approximate only. All depends on babies interest. So prepare your mobiles in advance, hang one and just watch your baby.

  1. 2 – 6 weeks old babyThe Munari Mobile – baby sees only contrasting colors of black and white. Munari Mobile is developmentally appropriate. Not overstimulating or overwhelming neither. Develops both vision and concentration.

                                                  Source: www.lecoinmontessori.com
  2. 6 – 8 weeks old babyThe Octahedron Mobile – “The octahedrons are designed to lay the foundations for future understandings of geometric proportion, relationships and patterns. “ At Home with Montessori. Octahedron introduces basic colors.

                                                                                                                                               Source: www.mothering.cz
  3. 8 – 10 weeks old babyThe Gobi Mobile – The Gobbi mobile consists of light weighted spheres (so they can move in air) in graduated shades of one colour to stimulate the visual sense.

    Photo source: http://howwemontessori.typepad.com
  4. 9 – 12 weeks old babyThe Dancers Mobile – This mobile moves relatively slowly so can be introduced also earlier which can be helpful for teaching baby to fixate the eye sight and focus. 
  5. 12 – 14 weeks old babyThe Rainbow, The Butterflies

HOW TO INTRODUCE TACTILE MOBILES:

  1. start around 12 weeksBell on the Ribbon – Hanging the bell on the elastic would be best idea as it comes back again and again. It is great for developing eye-hand coordination, concentration and learning about cause and effect.

    https://lambrineblog.wordpress.com
  2. start around 12 weeksThe Primary Colors Mobile – When moved, wooden spinning disks in primary colors (red, blue, yellow) attract the child’s attention. Serves as both tactile and visual mobile.

    http://www.beginningmontessori.com
  3. start around 12 weeksRing on the Ribbon – Easy to grasp and if hanged on elastic it returns back after releasing. Great to understand and learn about cause and effect.

    https://lambrineblog.wordpress.com

IMPORTANT POINTS:

  1. Hang them at the time of activity (when baby is not tired). It is ‘work’ for baby and he has to remain active. Mobiles are not used to make baby sleep.
  2. Hang them approximately 25-30 cm above the baby so he can not touch them. (First weeks babies can focus only 30 cm max.and only on slow moving things.)
  3. Once baby is around 3- 4 months old you can introduce tactile mobiles where baby is encouraged to practice batting skills.

When I started with Montessori with my son, I did not have any idea one day I will end up writing about all I learned on our Montessori journey so all the photos used above are from different bloggers. Surely check their websites 🙂 Happy Montessori.

Montessori apparatus – abstract concept made into concrete material.

Few days ago I got into conversation about Montessori toys…As I think about it deeper, the term ‘Montessori’ became just fashion and label for all educational and cool stuff out there but Maria Montessori’s philosophy and her material is about something else. 

Photo source: www.montessoricircle.com
What is Montessori material? 
Montessori material was designed by Maria Montessori herself. As she first worked with mentally handicapped children the apparatus was primarily made for their use. Some of materials were taken from Itard and Sequin and adjusted by Montessori according to the needs of the children in her House of Children. When she made her own apparatus for the normal children she had let the children work with them and she observed the frequency of use and the advantages derived from them. Through the trial and error method she modified her apparatus that allows to detect the defects at an early stage and correct them. For example the sound boxes can detect deafness and the color boxes can detect color blindness.
Maria Montessori is not talking about the toys. According to her, child in process of play works and that’s why she is talking about materials. Materials which have to be presented to child in such a beautiful and organized way that it feels like getting the gift. Only beautiful things attract our senses, allow the brain to work and create millions of new neural connections.

Characteristics of Montessori material:
* Natural materials
* Beautiful – all of the material is aesthetically pleasing.
* Neat and clean
* Complete – all of the material must be complete. This allows the child to finish through the entire piece of work without having to stop and find a missing piece.
* It has control of error – this calls to the child to make the corrections himself.
* Each material isolates one quality – this allows the child to focus on that one quality.
* Limited -there is only one of each material in the environment (building of patience in other children present) and only few qualities are presented to the child. The child is not given every color in the world, but only a selected few. This gives the child the key to the information so it peaks his curiosity.

“The technique of my method as it follows the guidance of the natural physiological and psychical development of the child, may be divided into three parts:
Motor education. Sensory education. Language.
The care and management of the environment itself afford the principal means of motor education, while sensory education and the education of language are provided for by my didactic material.” M.Montessori

Montessori categorized the Sensory Exercises into eight different groups: Visual, Tactile, Baric, Thermic, Auditory, Olfactory, Gustatory, and Stereognostic. The material she developed has either never been seen or never been used by the child in his everyday life. With this said however, the child will receive no new experiences through the use of the material. This was purposefully thought through in order to give the child what he knows, but might not yet realize, and to then refine his knowledge. In order to do this, the material is presented in a specific way or in a specific pattern.

“The didactic material for the education of the senses consists of:
(a) Three sets of solid insets.
(b) Three sets of solids in graduated sizes, comprising: (1) Pink cubes. (2)
Brown prisms. (3) Rods: (a) colored green; (b) colored alternately red and blue.
(c) Various geometric solids (prism, pyramid, sphere, cylinder, cone, etc.).
(d) Rectangular tablets with rough and smooth surfaces.
(e) A collection of various stuffs.
(f) Small wooden tablets of different weights.
(g) Two boxes, each containing sixty-four colored tablets.
(h) A chest of drawers containing plane insets.
(i) Three series of cards on which are pasted geometrical forms in paper.
(k) A collection of cylindrical closed boxes (sounds).
(l) A double series of musical bells, wooden boards on which are painted the lines used in music, small wooden discs for the notes.

                Photo source: http://julianagroup.com
Didactic Material for the Preparation for Writing and Arithmetic:
(m) Two sloping desks and various iron insets.
(n) Cards on which are pasted sandpaper letters.
(o) Two alphabets of colored cardboard and of different sizes.
(p) A series of cards on which are pasted sandpaper figures (1, 2, 3, etc.).
(q) A series of large cards bearing the same figures in smooth paper for the enumeration
of numbers above ten.
(r) Two boxes with small sticks for counting.
(s) The volume of drawings belonging specially to the method, and colored pencils.
(t) The frames for lacing, buttoning, etc., which are used for the education of the movements of the hand.
(u) Beads material.
(v) Binomial cube. ” M.Montessori

Most importantly, all of the material could be called “materialized abstractions”. This means that in Montessori materials, abstract concepts are made into concrete materials.
If above written is Montessori material then remaining toys can be called Montessori inspired or educational materials.