“If teaching is to be effective with young children, it must assist them on the way to independence. It must initiate them into those kinds of activities which they can perform themselves … We must help them to learn how to walk without assistance, to run, to go up and down the stairs, to pick up fallen objects … and to attempt to satisfy their desires through their own efforts.” — Maria Montessori
Schoolhouse Montessori Academy Infant Program: The Best Beginning
Infants are constantly growing, learning, and changing, which makes these early years critical in developing the tools and skills of learning. That’s why Schoolhouse Montessori Academy goes beyond what a daycare can offer and supports infants in absorbing the world around them in true Montessori fashion.
Montessori’s Nurturing Environment
Schoolhouse Montessori Academy provides an environment that is physically safe, cognitively challenging, and emotionally nurturing. Our teachers are kind, respectful and wise, and constantly mindful of the sounds children hear and the sights they observe. We do this with:
- A daily schedule based on the needs of the infants, each of whom may have a different feeding and sleeping schedule.
- Because infants thrive with stability, our classrooms have a consistent routine with the same staff each day.
- We also set clearly defined limits and expectations in order to create a positive discipline model.
By providing time for uninterrupted discovery and development, as well as freedom to explore and interact with each other, Schoolhouse Montessori Academy staff lovingly guides our infants to be initiators, explorers and self-learners.
Sensorial Stimulation Activities
Sensorial stimulation activities allow infants to discover the world before developing language skills and is the most important component of this earliest curriculum level. At this age, while infants are actively developing language skills, they experience the world primarily through their senses and create new associations that lay a foundation for language and vocabulary.
To encourage and support this early development, we work with infants to focus on and track objects, and identify and match parts of simple objects. They also develop a concept of size, shape and color vital to early learning activities. To build their tactile sense, they explore textures indoors and out, and learn terms such as soft, rough and smooth. Some specific activities include:
- Discrimination of Color – Teddy bear color matching
- Discrimination of Shape – Shape box; develops spatial reasoning
- Discrimination of Sound – Sound cylinders; develops auditory discrimination and voice recognition
- Discrimination of Touch – Texture balls and rough and smooth board
Our curriculum also includes materials that make sounds and encourages interactions with teachers and staff to develop auditory skills. Smell and taste expand as their eating habits evolve and associated language is used. Activities aim towards introducing concepts which are later expanded on in the toddler curriculum.
Movement Rich Environment
Because movement is critical to brain development, we have a movement-rich environment. This includes making the child an active participant rather than a passive recipient in all care-giving activities.
Infants initially refine their ability to move their head and control eye movement. They begin to roll over, creep, sit, crawl and eventually walk. To support these activities we conduct:
- Gross-motor coordination activities supported by stairs and a platform, movement mat, pushcart and wall bars.
- Eye-hand coordination activities using fine-motor coordination materials such as mobiles, rattles and objects to grasp.
- Activities that include threading, bead-stringing, placing cubes on pegs, putting puzzles together, folding and other practical life exercises.
Infants are actively absorbing language every moment they are awake. Teachers and staff talk with our infants, explaining what’s happening and what they’re doing near constantly to encourage this. This means:
- They sing together and listen to nursery rhymes.
- They experiment with their voices by imitating sounds as they grow.
- We’re careful to communicate as infants grow — to “listen” and “talk” with them.
We also use language-building materials such as books, objects and pictures for naming in all of our activities to encourage language-based thinking.
Schoolhouse Montessori Academy Environment
As infants grow in our program, they are introduced to other, basic concepts of a typical Montessori education:
- Art — Our infants explore their creative and artistic side as they paint, create, glue, work with dough, and participate in a multitude of classroom activities.
- Science — Our youngest students explore the natural world through discussions and experiences with the weather, seasons, and life around them.
- Math — Our infants explore the concept of numbers for example, when staff count as they do activities in the classroom.