Montessori Elementary Homeschool Blog - with documentation of our infant Montessori, toddler Montessori, and primary Montessori experiences; as well as preparation for the upcoming adolescent Montessori homeschool years.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Exercises of Practical Life in Infancy

An infants' focus is almost entirely on practical life and sensorial experiences. And almost everything requires NO materials.

In our home, we had the following material-required skills for the infant years - up to 12 months old.

  • toothpicks into a jar wide mouth jar, then water bottle, then mounting onto salt shaker holes
  • beginning to cut with scissors - at tray on booster seat with blunt-tipped scissors and narrow strips of paper on special tray that is indicated just for cutting
  • using slots and holes (balls into holes; large poker chips into a slot on a coffee can lid --- start with objects that require no force to push through, then ones with more force required)
  • feeding self

Mostly we focused on movement skills, language, reading, and being together. We had the mobiles, floor bed, long mirror, and lots of loved ones to provide love and attention. No specially purchased materials here:

  • couch cushions for climbing and tumbling - remove cushions from couch to create a safe climbing and tumbling game
  • can or heavy jar that rolls across the floor to encourage crawling
  • stairs with a gate across the 4th or so step (move it up as the child is safely climbing up and down)
  • textures of various fabrics

Above all else, focus on reality - and encourage baby to participate in his own way. Talk to him with whole language (yes, high-pitched motherese is fantastic for the youngest babies!), smile, interact - all those grace and courtesy lessons coming in a few years in primary. 

Everything is practical life and sensorial at this age! 

Infant Montessori is so easy in retrospect - it really IS a minimalist approach! 

Climbing the couch cushions for the first time
(look at the happy face!)

waiting for his new friend to join him


  1. I see you posted this at 7:30 a.m. I appreciate you documenting your journey. My daughter is 11 months, and I'm started to get serious about using a Montessori approach to our life at home!

    1. Ruth,

      You are welcome.

      I'm not sure about your comment about the time of day posted? This post went up on June 8, 2012 (almost 2 years ago) and was probably written about a month or so before it was posted (I tend to write posts, schedule them to post at a particular time, so the time posted does not necessarily mean I am online at that time). ????