Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Baby J's Montessori Room

So this is Baby J's Montessori room.  I only came to the Montessori method when L was around 12 months so she had your typical adult oriented nursery (crib, change table, pretty decorations which appeal to adults!).  I was super excited this time around to be able to fully apply the Montessori approach right from the beginning.  So here is the tour...
View from the door.  The room is not very big but seems a lot bigger because it has only the necessary items in it.  I love this room so much!  It just radiates a sense of calm and order as soon as you enter it.  It is my little sanctuary from the chaos of the rest of the house and sometimes if I need a break or to de-stress I'll come into this room. 
This is how the room is now for Baby J at 3 months but it will constantly evolve and change with his ongoing development.  For instance once he starts moving I will remove the rocking chair and we will do something about the baseboard heater (any suggestions on baby proofing this?)
We use the rocking chair for just settling Baby J or spending quite time singing. I nurse him in the living room or on his floor bed at night.   I love how he is able to look out the window at the trees and sky.  On the window shelf are toys he will be able to use when he is older.

The floor bed.  This is an essential part of a true Montessori room.  The floor bed gives the child the freedom to move and explore at will.  Baby J has just started to move a bit when he sleeps so I've put a thick folded blanket at the side of his bed so there is less of a drop to the carpet.  I researched a lot of Montessori rooms on line before creating this one and was torn on whether to have the mirror and mobile by the bed or to just leave them for the work area.  In the end I decided I would like to have them beside the bed so that Baby J could entertain and engage himself when he wakes up or before he goes to sleep.  I have made a work area for him in the living room where I hang the more vibrant mobiles. 
I decided to use an acrylic mirror for safety reasons as Baby J will be in his room unsupervised at times.  This was much lighter than a real mirror and easy to put up.
The shelves.  I asked my husband to make this simple shelf for the room.  It is just the right size so that when Baby J starts pulling himself up he can hold on to the top shelf.  On the top shelf is a wooden rainbow stacker which Baby J will use much later but it is still beautiful to look at.  A canvass painting that L actually did when she was two and an ABC book of art work.  I like to prop up this book for Baby J to look at when he is on his tummy.
The bottom shelf holds items that he is using right now or will be using very soon.   Starting from the left are wooden teething beads, a crocheted rattle with bells in it, a basket with a wooden ring teether, a cloth rattle and a knitted fish rattle.  At the moment while Baby J is not moving I have put several of these items in a basket and keep them by his work area for him to use which is in the living room.  It's not practical to spend all the time in this room when L is around all the time.  Once school starts up again for her we will change things up a bit.  The items on these shelves will also change as Baby J gets older.
The changing area.  I debated on whether to get a change table or not but in the end decided that with the state my back is in it would be a good idea.  We got this change table second hand and just painted it white.  I like how it is so solid and heavy and also the storage shelves which work perfectly for all of the cloth diapers.  At the moment we are lucky enough to have six months of diaper service which is amazing.  Above the change table are two pieces of artwork.  I decided it would be nice if these could be L's contribution to Baby J's room.  We keep changing them as he develops but I always get L to participate in making them.

The closet.  At the moment we keep the doors open for convenience but once the Baby J is moving we'll keep them closed.  There are two shelves for his clothes.  I wanted them both to be low enough for L to be able to reach them to help pick out clothes and also the bottom one is low enough for Baby J to access when he starts walking and dressing himself.  The blue organiser holds socks, bibs, hats, blankets and towels.  I will also change this up once Baby J is able to get his own cloths.  I will be able to put things in the bottom two cubicles for him to access.
On the floor is the trash can for wipes, the charcoal filter nappy bin and the laundry basket.  There is also a top shelf where we store toys and clothes that he will use when he gets older.  At the moment the closet is set up for my convenience but I love how it will easily adapt to his needs when the time comes.
So there you have it.  It seems so sparse and simple, especially when I show it to other people but that is the beauty of it.  Nothing that doesn't have a purpose.  So far I absolutely love it and can't wait until Baby J is mobile and able to explore the room himself.  Then we'll see if I still love it! Ha ha. 
Please leave a comment if you have any ideas of how to baby proof the heater or if there are any other things you can see that may be a hazard once he is moving.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Can you see me now?

 I saw this super fun camouflage activity over at Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational and just couldn't wait to try it out with L.  First we had to order the book   Where Else in the Wild? More Camouflaged Creatures Concealed … and Revealed by David M.
Schwartz from the library.  This book has great pictures of different animals totally camouflaged in their environmet.  It has a game-like feel as it gives the reader clues in a poem to help to detect the animal.  On the inside flap of the page it shows the outline of the creatures plus
gives a ton of info about the actual animal.  L loved this book and some of them were so tricky it took her a while to find them.  She was so eager to turn the page and find out if she guessed correctly.

 After reading the book together I asked L to get all of her animals.  She was super excited when I told her to hide them "camouflage style" while I closed my eyes (and nursed the baby, oh ya multi tasking!) Once she had hidden a ton of animals it was my turn to try and find them. 

This little preying mantis was my favourite find sneakily hiding on the actual book!  Once we both had a few turns being the camouflager I have to say I petered out(she could have kept playing all day)and told her to hide some for when Daddy came home. 
She even packed a bunch of animals in her backpack this past week for a trip to her Aunty's in Vancouver to play the game with her!

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Solar System Part 3

We finished the solar system unit quite a while ago now but I only just got around to taking pictures of our last two projects.
The first is an Our Solar System book which L made using her library books and three part cards.  She made this after we'd finished all the other activities so the information was fresh in her mind.  She drew a picture of each planet on one page and wrote a few facts on the other.
 The piece de resistance!! Our solar system mobile.  We used different sizes of Styrofoam balls and painted them with a mixture of acrylic paint and Modge Podge.  This project was so fun until it came to hanging the planets.  That's when I sat with invisible thread, a needle and bunch of planets cursing the day I decided we should do the mobile.  L had long moved on to something else!  Well finally I finished it and I think the result was worth it.  We hung it above our kitchen table for a few weeks so we could observe it while we ate!

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Mother and baby whales mobile

I'm not sure if this is part of the Montessori infant mobile series or not but it is for sale in the Michael Olaf catalogue.  I wanted to make it because I think it is so beautiful and calming.  I decided to hang it in Baby J's room after the Munari mobile.  I am hanging the more calming mobiles in the bedroom and the more vibrant ones in the living room in his work area.
I made the whales by printing off pictures of Orca and Humpback whale mommys and babies and then tracing them onto silver and black scrapbook paper.  I used flower stem wire to hang them.  This was one of the easiest mobiles to make so far.  I have to say though I'm glad I made the whales while I was still pregnant because I don't think I would have gotten around to it after!

Baby J seems to like them.
In the background you can see his shelf which I will talk about in an upcoming bedroom post.
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