Montessori Child Development Stages: First Year+

This page is being used in Montessori teacher training courses at all levels, and by schools to help parents discover the amazing potential of the young child, or to prepare families for future Montessori education. Please feel free to link it to any educational site and to share it. Toys and materials that support this development: montessori shop

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The videos are fantastic. Thank you so much for sharing them with us. I use them for parent conferences and in the birth preparation class. Thank you for being there to make such a big differences in children's lives. —Nertila Hoxha, International Montessori School, Tirana, Albania . . .MORE COMMENTS

The first essential for the child's development is concentration.
The child who concentrates is immensely happy.

— Maria Montessori, MD

NOTE: When you click on a video you will be taken to www.youtube.com. When a video is completed other suggestions are made that we do not recommend unless they are our "Montessori Infant Videos".


Baby watching the Butterfly Mobile

Link: baby watching the Butterfly Mobile. A variety of mobiles gives the child the opportunity to carry out important work in the first weeks of life that should not be interrupted (3 weeks): VIDEO

Link: source of good Montessori mobiles: MOBILES

Mother and baby "talking" or "singing" together

Link: first communication. When we emulate as closely as we can the sounds an infant makes, he or she knows what it feels like to communicate verbally with others. Over use of pacifiers can prevent this important stage of development (2 months): VIDEO

Link: from Scientific American Newborns May Start Honing Their Mother Tongue With Their First Cries: ARTICLE

In the first days and months of life the child is intensely interested in watching and looking. At first his ability to focus is the distance between his eyes and the mother's face during nursing. Soon he is interested in watching mobiles that move gently in the wind. Mobiles should have no more than 5 objects and they should be real, such as butterflies, birds, or fish—things that move through the air or water. (2.5 months)

When the older children and adults exactly mimic the baby's first attempts at making verbal sounds, a beautiful conversation, or song, can occur. Here the mother and baby are talking/singing to each other at the changing table. Using the kind of pacifier or gum soother that stays in the mouth and does not have to be held there, can cause an addiction and prevent this wonderful stage of human communication from occurring. (2.5 months)


A makeshift visual "mobile" for the baby Link: This baby watching and reaching for a makeshift "mobile" that has been set up to give him something important to do while visiting friends (2.5 months): VIDEO
Chimes Mobile Link: Finally a child can grasp the wooden ring of a chimes mobile and control the making of music by his own movements (4 months): VIDEO

Link: objects the provide for the reaching and touching stage of development:
TOYS FOR REACHING
The This baby was visiting a home where there were no visual mobiles and he needed to carry out this important daily "work". So the mother hung a scarf over a lampshade in front of an open window, creating a moving object for the baby to focus on. Suddenly she realized that it seemed he was ready to move beyond watching, to touch! He tried with his whole body to reach the fringe of the scarf, but is not yet at the stage of controlling his hands to this extent. (2.5 months)

At first the baby was able to kick or reach for the mobile only, but gradually learned how to grasp the wooden ring at the bottom and to shake it, making a kind of first music with the lovely sound of the wooden chimes. His excitement shows with the whole body as he experiments—moving, the sound happens, holding still the sound stop—over and over. This is valuable research and should not be interrupted.


Modeling speech for the infant
Link: Mother modeling correct speech for the infant and teaching him about his world (5 months): VIDEO
using hands on tummy
Link: many daily "tummy times" even at 4 months, helps the child develop his mind and body, and see the world from a new perspective (4 months): VIDEO
When a mother or father speaks to a child kindly, with correct language and in a normal tone of voice (not using baby talk), and explains what she/he is doing (in this case buttoning a sweater) the child intuitively knows he is being respected a a fully conscious human being. At the same time he is absorbing a wealth of language—during the time when he is focused intently on language in preparing for later speech and writing. "I am buttoning your sweater" or "One button, two buttons, three buttons," NOT "Mommy is dressing baby.") This is very important work. Age 5 months.
In the early weeks a child can lift his head, but needs daily "tummy" time from birth on, several times a day, in order to fully develop his whole body, his hand, and his naturally curious mind in all ways. This is very important work. Age 4 months.

Infant transferring toy between hands

Link: The child is working on passing an object from one hand to the other and back. Difficult work that takes effort and concentration (4 months): VIDEO

Listening to Music Link: Everything comes to a halt when the music begins to play, and the child focuses uninterrupted until HE decides he has heard enough: VIDEO

Link: objects the provide for the reaching and touching stage of development (4 months):
MUSIC
Each stage of learning to use the hand is important work for the child. Here the "work" is concentrating on holding an object with one hand, then grasping it with the second hand, and then letting go with the first hand. Then the reverse and repeat, and repeat. When not interrupted a child will work on this hand transfer for a long time. Until he is finished for now.
The child was looking around, exploring the environment visually, and suddenly the music began to play. He held very still, looking in the direction of the music, the CD player. Recognizing the intensity of the child's focus, the mother sat just as still for a long time, until the child showed her—by turning his head, sighing with satisfaction, and again focusing on the environment, that he had finished listening to the music.

Exploring the home
Link: Exploration of the living room: VIDEO
Drum lesson
Link: Learning how music is really made. It is not created by the CD player. but by humans : VIDEO
This child is being provided with valuable "tummy" time with is important for developing neck and upper body muscles and preparing for crawling with is vital for brain development. He is exploring "rough" (the carpet), "smooth" (the wood floor), and manipulating the carpet fringe with his hands. This is very important work. Age 5 months.
Children should learn, as early in life as possible, that music comes from a real human's actions; this child's eyes move back and forth from the drummer foot and hand, the two sources of sound. Parents should singing every day (No one has to be a Bonnie Raitt), and whenever possible provide exposure to real instruments being played. This gives the child the real world in all its musical possibilities and provides a model for his future. This is very important work. Age 5 months.

Child with the Perfect pacifier

Links: This "perfect pacifier" gives the child independence in meeting his need to either suck or sooth gums when teething (5.5 months):
VIDEO #1
VIDEO #2

Tibetan Independence bib: BIB

Learning to turn over

Link: the excitement of turning over intentionally is a joy to behold. VIDEO

This "perfect pacifier" is far superior to the kind of fooler or pacifier that stays in a child's mouth for long periods of time, with the potential interruption of language development and physical development of teeth and gums, not to mention the risk of creating a habit of creating happiness from oral stimulation (overeating or drinking, smoking, etc.). This "tool" has just come back into production and will soon be available from the Michael Olaf Montessori Company. www.michaelolaf.net

At first the child turns over accidentally and often to his great surprise, but eventually each child learns how to turn over intentionally and to do so with great joy and anticipation. Now he will be able to balance his own exercise routine, on back and on tummy. This is another reason whey the child must be kept o a flat surface for most of the day in a safe environment. this is important work.


"creeping" to learn to crawl

Link: "creeping" stage of crawling: VIDEO

Trying to reach a ball

Link: silent video of baby reaching for the ball, which encourages natural efforts to crawl: VIDEO

Link:
toys that support this stage of development:
TOYS FOR CRAWLING

Jan crawling

Link: rocking, crawling, moving out into his world all by himself: VIDEO

Link: furniture links for this stage of independence:
FLOOR BED
and other FURNITURE

For months a child has been exploring the environment visually and can hardly wait to taste and touch! The drive to move forward in any way possible also builds a healthy brain; "creeping" and crawling prepare for reading and writing and thinking. the best thing we an offer the child at this safe is a safe and interesting environment and freedom to move without being rushed or interrupted. This is very important work. (4-5 months) NOTE: Some people reverse the terms "creeping" and "crawling."

Children all over the world exhibit the same stages of development when they have an environment that supports them. A mattress on the floor, freedom to move and explore in a very safe place. This little Polish boy shows us the whole body rocking stage that precedes crawling, the balance and confidence to develop the abilities to get off of his floor bed, and no doubt the excitement to move from the bedroom to the wider world of the home. NOTE: Some people reverse the terms "creeping" and "crawling."

Learning by watching the adult
Link: intent focus on everything the adult, the child's true model, does: VIDEO
Box with wooden ball

Link: Until the child is ready to join in the work of others there are a number of wooden toys that provide what he needs: VIDEO

Link: objects appropriate for this stage of development: TOYS

From the moment of birth children are watching us, from the first inspection of the mother's face during nursing, to the way we stand and walk and talk and treat each other. We are their models by our actions, not by what we think we are teaching them intentionally, but by how we really are. Seeing another person, adult or child, standing up and walking, chewing food, using the bathroom, washing hands, reading—these are the things that inspire the very young child to work hard to do the same.

As soon as the child can sit up the hands are freed for important work and we should provide for this need. Over many years of the Montessori Assistants to Infancy work around the globe materials, made of natural products instead of plastic, have been developed that charm the child and at the same time provide a motive for concentration, problem solving, and the repetition of movements of the hand and arm and whole body that help the mental and physical development of the child.


Pulling up at the bar and mirror
Link: The child should be able to practice the skill of pulling up at will: VIDEO

Link: bar and mirror: bar and mirror
Pulling up practice on a walker wagon
Link: Now practicing in the living room with a toy in each hand: VIDEO

Link: first toy shelf (in background of this picture): shelf
When an adult holds a child's hand to walk the child becomes dependent on the adult for exercise that he can do at any time if a bar like this one is provided. And the hidden message can be "I want you to walk." instead of "Your stage of development is perfect for you. You are fine just the way you are." it is much better to provide an environment in which a child can decide when and for how long to practice each new skill, such as pulling up.
This walker wagon (old style, no longer made) has been weighted with free weights to it does not move. Placed on the living room rug it gives the child the opportunity to practicing acquiring balance while bulling up while observing the daily life of the family. In this video you will see the child setting a task for himself—pulling up while holding a toy in each hand!

safe outside environment
Link: the safe outside environment: VIDEO
pulling up practice
Link: The child should be able to practice the skill of pulling up at will: VIDEO

Just as the wise parent explores every inch of the inside of the home for safety so the child can be free to go everywhere, the outside environment needs to be continually examined and adapted for safety and the development of the young child. In this video camping mats have been placed under the upper level of the deck so the child can practice going up and down a step, and all dangerous nooks and crannies have been blocked off. 10 months.

It is important to have many safe places for the child to pull up. It can be a laundry basket large enough to be supportive, an ottoman, a low shelf, a stool, the edge of a stuffed chair or sofa. With these possibilities the child can decide when and for how long he desires to work on this skill. He can grow in confidence and know that his attempts are valued by those around him. With this kind of preparation of the environment, instead of teaching the child to pull up only with the help of the adult, the child gains the confidence he needs.


learning to climb stairs
Link: crawling up stairs: VIDEO
learning to go down stairs
Link: coming down stairs: VIDEO

Climbing stairs is another thrilling ability for the child to master. In this video the grandfather is following and watching every movement to make the trip safe. As this was the child's first attempt he was carried down the stairs and allowed to climb back up as many times as he desired. Child have an natural instinct to repeat and repeat until they have learned enough for the moment. 10 months.

Going up stairs is so much easier than coming down! It is not uncommon for a child to just turn around and try to crawl down headfirst so we must be ready for that. It takes patience on the part of the adult to gently show the child how to crawl down backwards. This mother and child found a perfect place to practice in a 2-level furniture store in town. 12 months.


Single post with rings

Link: manipulative toy: VIDEO

Two Links:

Sturdy furniture the perfect size and weight for this work: FURNITURE

Single post & rings type toys for this age: TOYS

going for a walk in town

Link: best walker wagon inside and outside: VIDEO

Link: walker wagon: WAGON

While it is true that many of the things a child needs to develop physical skills can be found in the home, sometimes there are toys that provide just what a child needs in learning to use hands in a variety of ways, toys that challenge the child so that he will concentrate for long periods of time which is always valuable. 12 months.

The "perfect walker wagon" allows a child to practice pulling up and walking at any time and can be used out in public as well as in the home or infant community. This mother tied a cord to the walker so when the child gets tired of walking she can pull him. 12 months.


practicing waking with the stroller

Link: WAlking practice with a stroller, when the walker wagon is not available can work: VIDEO

Link: walker wagon

 

Joyful Child Montessori 0-3 overview and catalogue is available from Michael Olaf or Amazon

MONTESSORI PARENT AND TEACHER
NEWSLETTER
(click to read and/or sign up)

MORE 1st YEAR INFORMATION:

  • ARTICLE: Baby Einstein, Not So Smart After all: article on Baby Einstein Videos: Einstein Videos
  • WEANING: An interesting article written by Susan Stephenson, and a fellow Assistants to Infancy (Birth to Three) teacher. This is a PDF file: weaning
  • TOILET LEARNING: In the Montessori 0-3 program children are not "trained" to use the toilet, but they are taught the natural steps. An article by a Birth to Three teacher in Amsterdam: toilet learning
  • BIRTH TO THREE MATERIALS: for the home or infant community: materials

This child in this picture was practicing walking with the walker wagon throughout the day. You will see him in the video. But when the family went on a plane trip that dad held on to the top of the stroller at the airport so the child could practice walking holding on the to the stroller. Now, when they go for walks at home, the child pushes the stroller. The walks are slow, but the parents are providing for the needs of the child to "work."

SHARING THIS PAGE: Please feel free to link this page to your school website, training center website, or any other educational site for parents or students.You may share any of this text, or the pictures or videos, as long as it is for the purpose of educating young people or adults, or helping children. Please credit "With permission of http://www.thejoyfulchild.us"

This site is was created by Susan Mayclin Stephenson

MORE BIRTH TO THREE YEARS INFORMATION
Click here for the main birth to three page, The Joyful Child, which contains all 18 chapters of the Montessori Assistants to Infancy (birth to three) overview, and ideas for materials, toys, furniture for children at this age and their parents. It is also a catalogue of mobiles, toys, books, and other materials to order: Joyful Child

DEVELOPMENTAL MATERIALS FOLLOWING MONTESSORI PRINCIPLES
The Montessori Shop

GENERAL MONTESSORI INFORMATION
The main Michael Olaf page has very interesting information about Montessori in general: www.michaelolaf.net

ADOLESCENTS LEARNING ABOUT PARENTING
The Montessori 0-3 information is part of the Human Development curriculum for a Montessori Middle school: Human Development Course