Sunday, January 9, 2011

To Crib or Not to Crib?

"Supposing I said there was a planet without schools or teachers, where study was unknown, and yet the inhabitants—doing nothing but living and walking about—came to know all things, to carry in their minds the whole of learning; would you not think I was romancing? Well, just this, which seems so fanciful as to be nothing but the invention of a fertile imagination, is a reality. It is the child's way of learning. This is the path he follows. He learns everything without knowing he is learning it, and in doing so he passes little by little from the unconscious to the conscious, treading always in the paths of joy and love."
—Dr. Maria Montessori, MD

if you haven't figured it out by now, i am a huge maria montessori fan. june started primary montessori education at the age of 4 and beila started at 3. beila has been there just over a year and can read now, write her name, write lots of things. juniper can read and pronounce anything i set in front of her. they both know all the continents, types of land masses, life cycles of animals and insects, the list goes on and on. daily, i am amazed at what they know, the power they each have at their finger tips, the potential they each have is amazing. i am very lucky they are able to go to their school, i realize not everyone has the same opportunities that they do.

here i am, going on and on about the girls' awesome school, and you might not even know what a montessori school is. people are often confused and have the wrong idea about montessori, so here is a quick rundown...

montessori is"a method of seeing children as they really are and of creating environments which foster the fulfillment of their highest potential - spiritual, emotional, physical, and intellectual - as members of a family". teachers are "guides", they guide the children in their multi-aged classrooms. they all work together to learn and to teach. there are rules, and they are enforced, consequences to actions is a gift many kids don't know anything about, montessori kids know that every action has a reaction. they are treated with respect in the class. shoes are taken off, snacks eaten if one is hungry, bathroom breaks are on a need be basis, water drunk when thirsty, the floor used as a desk if a child wants...all these things are things one might need to be comfortable in a day, to make learning comfortable, to enhance the experience. all those things i was not allowed at my public school.

okay, where am i going with this all, and what does it have to do with a crib? montessori learning starts at birth, and i want to make sure my Greek goddess has it all, that she grows up, like her sisters, to be bright and curious. maria montessori suggests the crib is an inhibitor for the learning baby. she suggested floor bedding instead. it is so simple really, a mattress on the floor in a baby proof room. the child sleeps when sleepy because of the access to the bed, wakes and explores when he wants and in the process learning about things. if we keep our child in a crib, what exploring can one do? it all makes sense. i think june and beila would both done great on a floor bed. they are both wonderful at independent play. i might have gotten more sleep if they had control over their sleep. so this is where i am wondering, to crib my popi, or not to crib? a total baby proof room, a mattress on the ground that rolling off of would do no damage, toys at baby level, and a gate to keep her in and other things out. and this is where i am at, confused because i don't think cribs are bad, we have a lovely red crib, but i want what is best for my baby. hmmmm, i have some mulling to do.

oh, and p.s., if you think montessori is hokey, or if you don't "get it", guess where the founders of google went to school as children. that's right, montessori.


Sandie said...

When do they have to go to "traditional" school? Must be tough to adapt.....still, as a teacher, the concept sounds lovely and sadly like nothing that we do in my school. What's the child/adult ratio?? It's me alone with 25 first or second graders!

Sandie said...

Ah and I say go with the crib-free room! What the heck, it's your last chance and you seem to really want to give it a go! I personally ended up doing the family bed with Carla with zero regrets, it worked for us!!!

a. said...

i dunno if you're thinkin' 'bout a bed on floor separate from y'all or with y'all? we have 2 queen futons on the floor & have LOVED all the interactions this has made possible. SO many cuddly moments upon 1st waking, etc. hi sasha, it's carrie's friend antonia. i love popping in here & there on your blog :)

sacha said...

i have heard montessori kids don't have trouble adapting to "traditional" schools. they are taught too be adaptable. but unless their school starts a high school they will be done with montessori after eighth grade.
hi antonia! i don't know if i would keep her in my room or move her to hers. i love the moments we have in the morning together, i will have to keep that in consideration. thanks.

Mrs. O said...

Sacha, I googled it and you can find a lot of terrific images of this setup. Don't let the fact that you have a nice crib impede you from making this decision; it doesn't necessarily need to be written in stone and if you know you can change your mind if it's not working then what's to lose? You can keep the crib put away in case you decide it's not working for some reason. Here's a floor bed you can order:

Good luck!