*Available only at our Gilbert, Arizona Campus
Our Infant classrooms embody Maria Montessori’s vision of a “Nido” or nest; they are peaceful, loving places where babies can explore and feel secure. Teachers speak in gentle tones, the daily pace is unhurried, and the décor is understated and homelike. Each child in our care is a unique individual to be nurtured with affection and respect. As with all authentic Montessori environments, every detail is selected with the child’s whole development in mind.
We have two Montessori Infant environments: one for younger infants, and one for older infants. The purpose in dividing the program is to separate children who are outgrowing the developmental challenges of the younger infant state and /or beginning to walk from those who are not yet fully exploring their environment and/or mobile. The transition ages may vary by several months, depending on the individual child’s development as well as space availability.
The younger infant rooms welcome children as young as 6 weeks of age. The age range for moving up into the older infant rooms is from 8 months to 12 months, with 10 months being the median age.
The older infant rooms welcome children from around 10 months to as old as 24 months. A child must be at least 18 months of age to transition to our Toddler Program. Again, this transition depends on the individual child’s development and needs. Some children are ready for the greater social interaction of the Toddler Program sooner while others need the comfort and nurturing of the Infant program longer.
The Prepared Environment
A child’s first years are a time of great sensitivity to bonding in order to establish trust in his world, as well as language, order, sensorial impressions and development of coordinated movement. The classes provide opportunities for both fine-motor (grasping, use of spoons, etc.) and gross-motor (sitting, crawling, walking, etc.) development. Each of the Infant rooms reflects the child’s development of movement, independence, and capacity for active exploration. Since an infant’s brain is wired for language acquisition, our Infant communities offer continual opportunities for babies to gain language through reading, singing and an ongoing dialogue as your child’s caregivers explain the events of your child’s day to him or her. Our respect for each child shows in how we engage him or her in each care-giving opportunity (feeding, changing, playing, etc.), rather than merely doing things to the child.
In our 6 weeks to 10 month Infant rooms there are special mobiles and images to stimulate brain development, as well as a variety of tactile objects for the children to explore. Since this is the period when infants learn to roll over, slither, sit, crawl and potentially walk, the room as many opportunities for movement. There are significant differences between a Montessori Infant environment and other, more traditional care settings: Montessori babies do not spend their active time in playpens, jumpers, walkers or other containers. Instead, you will se3e:
- Many soft floor mats and bolsters on which babies can move freely.
- Mirrors positioned close to the floor to stimulate tummy time and self-discovery.
- Low bars mounted to the wall and soft low furniture for children to pull themselves up.
- Many Boppy-style pillows for infants to climb over and prop themselves onto.
In our 10 to 24 month environment, where crawling and newly walking babies have their hands free for exploring, you will see:
- Low shelving with materials for fine-motor development and learning cause/effect, such as puzzles, rings on a post and balls dropped into a box.
- A stair with low steps and a railing for practice climbing up and down.
- Pull and push toys to promote gross motor movement.
Both environments use low tables and chairs for snacks and solid meals once the child is able to sit up. This provides young children with a valuable first experience at gaining independence with self-feeding. We also have multi-child strollers for taking infants on regular “buggy rides” around our building and outdoor environment.