Saturday, June 13, 2009

Montessori and the Tactile Sense

When you visit a Montessori classroom for infants and toddlers, the first thing that all parents remark upon is how calm the teachers remain. There is never an outburst of "No, don't touch that!" in the classroom.

Ah, but how about in real life? Yes, it does get tricky to maintain a Montessori like calm presence about everything, especially in a world of vehicles, power tools, and other dangerous things.

Since touching, tasting, squeezing, biting, watching, listening, shaking, and grasping are primary routes to discovering the world around them in these early years, our task is to help them go about this process!

So, here are some suggestions to try steer your child's touching and testing towards good and helpful activities for children under three:
  • Provide a touchable environment at home. No breakables, no glass tables, and no access to electrical outlets and similar hazards.
  • Put together a low shelf full of Montessori equipment (see our earlier posts for DIY, which will save you tons of money) such as
    • the Imbucare set (shown in my May 15th post Hand Eye Coordination and Grasping Practice) -- these are fantastic DIY candidates or Amazon wish list items
    • Soft blocks in a variety of shapes
    • Hard building blocks
    • Dressing Frame Sets (another earlier post on Practical Life Material)
    • Three shape puzzles
    • A Mystery Bag full of delightful and toddler or infant safe objects such as soft toys, a smooth large pebble, a soft squishy beanbag, a feather, and a small book.
    • Children's picture and word books as well as more difficult children's books for you to read aloud to your child.
    • And other tactile and friendly items!

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