Montessori Babies

Montessori Foundations of Teaching Babies to Clean

November 25, 2021 Bianca A. Solorzano, M.Ed. Season 1 Episode 27
Montessori Babies
Montessori Foundations of Teaching Babies to Clean
Show Notes Transcript

In Episode 27, I spoke all about laying foundations for teaching our sweet babies to clean...the Montessori Way! We discussed:

  • Montessori Approach to Cleaning
  • "Help Me Help Myself" - Montessori
  • Finding Moments to include baby
  • Making cleaning part of the Montessori lesson
  • Modeling pride in environment
  • And more!

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Bianca A. Solorzano, M.Ed.
Baby Development & Montessori Consultant
And Your Baby Tour Guide

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Bianca: [00:00:07] Welcome to Baby Tour Guides, Montessori Babies podcast. I'm your host and baby tour guide Bianca Solorzano And for the last decade, I have dedicated myself to helping parents, educators and caregivers optimize baby development through a Montessori lens. This podcast is all about evolving our Montessori practice to make our time with our sweet babies easier, relaxed and so much fun. Let's jump into it.


Bianca: [00:00:39] Hello, everyone. Welcome to Episode Twenty Seven of our Montessori Babies podcast. Today's episode is a really fun one that I think will help babies and parents alike. So today we're talking about teaching babies to clean the Montessori way. So when you think of babies and cleaning, you might be thinking that doesn't seem developmentally appropriate, right? I know when I first, you know, started learning about this concept, I was like, What do you mean babies clean or including them in cleaning? That doesn't make any sense, you know? And of course, I'm absolutely not saying that baby will now be in charge of cleaning or, you know, have multi-step chores or stuff like that. But that said, there are tons of things that we can do that lay an amazing foundation of inclusion and pride in their space, especially as cleaning goes. But before we jump into what those tips are or what those ideas are. I want to first read our first weekly quote for the week. So this week I have two little quotes for you. And these are some of my favorite favorite quotes by the wonderful Dr. Montessori. In the first quote, Dr. Montessori said the child should live in an environment of beauty. And what I've come to understand of this idea from my training, my education, my experience is that she observed that the children thrive when they're simple beauties within the environment. And what do I mean by this? So this means things like an occasional flower of ace, a piece of art at child level on the wall that you know the children can admire. And you may have guessed it a clean, organized environment.


Bianca: [00:02:30] So what's amazing about laying the foundations of cleaning is that it can start from a much younger age than we may initially think. Which leads me to my next quote for the week again, also by the wonderful Dr. Montessori. So, she said. Help me help myself. And this is probably my all time favorite quote of hers and one that I've truly felt working with babies and toddlers because they really do start, as you know, such a little dependent and adorable little beings and grow into these just empowered, you know, fully capable tiny little humans that are, you know, joyous members of their environment. And so, you know, having worked with hundreds of babies in Montessori environments, I have seen that excitement and empowerment and just pure innate joy that comes from allowing a child to try something they're driven to do. And when they succeed at it and they have that aha moment, it is just so heartwarming to see. So the amazing thing about Montessori in infancy is so much of the approach has to do with including baby throughout their day. So as we're meeting their needs, so this means we're offering opportunities for them to try and bring the spoon to their mouth, for example, or choose a diaper or push their leg through the pant leg or clean up after themselves. And this perfectly segues into our topic for today, which is laying foundations for teaching babies to clean. I first want to point out that while many of us may find cleaning, you know more of a chore, perhaps you know other negative sentiments around it.


Bianca: [00:04:19] Although I know personally in specific moments, I know some people who do find it quite cathartic, but babies don't yet have you know that perspective of what cleaning is. So that perspective of it of a, you know, I don't like this. That's more of a learned view, right? So as they enter the world, the number one way that they're going to learn to take pride in their space is. I am sure you guessed it modeling. You hear me say this a lot, but modeling is everything when it comes to how our babies are learning about their environment and learning about who they are to their space. And so modeling is everything. Therefore, when it comes to laying this foundation of pride in their environment, so taking pride in their space, the biggest thing we can do is show them how so when we clean up after ourselves or baby, remember that, you know, slowing down, maybe taking a breath or two. If it's a hectic moment, which I know happened throughout the day and even talking to them about what you're doing. All of those things are so amazing as they're learning about who they are to their environment, what you're doing, how you're contributing to it. All of that and that info leads me to my next point, which is to get them involved as much as possible as developmentally appropriate. So for example, if you're practicing drinking from an open cup and baby wants to do it by themselves, but baby spills, for example, that's OK and fully normal as they learn. It's a messy process, but it is so worth it.


Bianca: [00:05:55] But, you know, say you have a rag or a washcloth ready so you can model how to wipe up the spill and then let them try again and then say they reach for that rag. Let them try, you know, let them try to wipe it up by themselves. It might look like a little squish of the rag or washcloth initially. Or maybe they just kind of move it around side to side. But you know, that's that's laying that foundation of wiping it up and you can talk to them, Oh, you wiped it up, you know, so your sportscasting as you're doing it. And so they're getting the language to the action and this type of thing can really be applied to any moment throughout your day. So where you're together and something needs to be wiped or cleaned or something like that, if they're trying to get involved and it's not too complicated than offering them, you know, a developmentally appropriate opportunity is just so wonderful. Which leads me to my next point, which is the developmentally appropriate piece is essential, too, because while my previous example works wonders for sitting and cruising and crawling babies, so the wiping up the spill, that kind of thing, if you have a walking baby, you can have baby do things like throw things in the trash when you're throwing things away that you know, or pieces of food that dropped on the floor or something along those lines, or carry a material back to their shelf place books back in their bookshelf and so on.


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Bianca: [00:08:29] In what's so amazing. There's this point in development where it's right around when they start to walk. It's typically depending on the child, but typically between that 12 to 15 month range where they're new toddlers in the eyes of Montessori. So the walking child. But they are just so interested and want to do everything that we are doing that the adult is doing. And so it's just this really amazing moment to include them and to incorporate them in their daily activities and their newly physically developmentally capable. And so and these moments where we're slowing down and we're including them, they're also helping things, you know, like they're their motor, their concentration, they're helping things like language as we're talking to them about what they're doing. So these are really hitting, you know, lots of areas of development and we're doing something as simple as slowing down and including our babies and something we would otherwise be doing. And in those moments where we are including them, it's so wonderful to see how joyful our babies are when they're included and empowered within the. Process and treated like, you know, members of their community, and of course, they're tiny and adorable and, you know, your inner self is just really jumping with joy when they do something successfully and you know, you get to witness it, it's sincerely so wonderful. But including them in these processes is just so wonderful for for their development and and a really easy way to start incorporating Montessori throughout your day. So speaking of the community piece, speaking of, you know, treating them like members of their community.


Bianca: [00:10:16] I, of course, have to talk about the Montessori toys and materials. So my next point is when you introduce a new toy or material, make the cleaning a part of the lesson or the introduction. So if you have a Montessori shop, for example, you'll basically want to rotate new materials in every so often, and it's helpful if they have a purposeful space on the shelf to begin with. So if the material has a purposeful space that way, they know where it goes. So when you show your baby how to do the material, when you introduce it, when they're driven to it, or give them the lesson at the end of the lesson, you can include placing the material back on the shelf. Of course, as developmentally appropriate. So. And I say as developmentally appropriate because infancy itself, and this is one of the reasons I love infancy. But infancy itself has such a huge range of development, right? They go from non-mobile to working on their tummy and strengthening all those muscles to pushing back, and then eventually they're slithering a little bit forward and then eventually they're sitting and they're pushing back to that sit. And then eventually they're pulling up to a stand and they're moving everywhere. They're crawling. And then, you know, they're starting to cruise and then they're starting to walk. And throughout this whole process, they have different developmental capabilities, right? And so we don't want to offer something that's like, here, go throw this in the trash when they're, you know, newly crawling baby, that wouldn't be appropriate.


Bianca: [00:11:44] But for a walking baby, that would. So that's just what I mean by consider the developmental appropriateness of what we're asking them to do and the way to, you know, really hone in on where your baby's at is through Montessori observation. So use your observation tools, you know, slow down, reflect on where your baby is because there is one, there usually a lot more capable than we think, but to we don't want to offer something that's that's out of their range. So anyway, back to the Montessori materials, so say we're offering the lesson or showing our baby how to do this new material. And then at the end of the lesson, we include placing the material back on the shelf. So because we're doing this, we're laying a foundation for cleaning up as the material or toy is introduced. So we're showing them that this is a part of working with this toy or material. And of course, if your child loves to explore the materials and didn't, you know, include the putting it back step quite yet because it does take them some time to, you know, start incorporating that you can include them in the cleaning up process as you guide them. So basically, when you go to place the materials back on the shelf every so often throughout the day, you can include them in it again as developmentally appropriate, but definitely talking to them about what you're doing. Slowing down so they can observe you and include them as much as possible is amazing boiling that foundation.


Bianca: [00:13:13] And I would definitely recommend to take into consideration what they're capable of and then allow them to take charge of that cleanup moment because it's really, really empowering for them to. They love getting involved in the things that we would otherwise be doing. So that leads me into my final point, which is just more of a tip. And that is to slow down as much as possible during your day. I know life with baby or babies is so fast paced, and if you have multiple children to care for, it's, you know, all the faster. But whenever you can try slowing down because you may find moments to include baby that are going to be amazing for them that you may not have otherwise recognized. So, you know, if we're starting to if we fold laundry really, really fast to try to get it done and out of the way so we can work with them on their Montessori materials, for example, slowing down in that moment and actually including baby in that process is a Montessori lesson. It is something that you know I was taught to do. I included babies in, you know, in the Neato, my walking babies. So, you know, they would haunt me, place everything back in the basket after I folded it and, you know, with my older, older babies. So I would have them, you know, roll up the wash clothes and place it in my washcloth basket and stuff like that. So when we slow down, we can find moments that they actually can be a part of and it's really love.


Bianca: [00:14:45] So I would definitely recommend just seeing if there are moments that you can include baby as much as possible because, you know, I was just will say in infancy, it's so much about just starting to include them in their day to day processes as they grow. And that's about it. So I want to give a giant warm shoutout to our Montessori babies, Patreon members. I'm having so, so much fun getting to know all of you, and I'm so grateful to be an extra support for your Montessori journeys. So. For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, our Patreon page is linked below. And I would definitely suggest checking it out. I'd also like to send a huge thank you to our amazing sponsor, easy peasy. They have tons of infant feeding products specially formulated by a pediatric feeding specialist to support baby on their way to feeding independence. I have their website easy peasy linked below, and you can use the code Montessori Babies 10 at checkout for 10 percent off your order. And then lastly, to all the parents and educators and caregivers in our community, you're all so amazing. I know you do a million wonderful tiny things every day and just know that you're seeing and so appreciated by me and everyone in this community. And that's about it. Thanks for listening to Episode Twenty seven of our Montessori Babies podcast, and I'll catch you in the next episode by.


Bianca: [00:16:13] Hey, it's Bianca, your baby tour guide here. Hopping back in to say thank you again for listening to this episode of Montessori babies, if you found this episode helpful and would like more information. Hop on over to Baby Tour Guide and download my free Montessori guide to join our community and receive the latest on optimizing development through a Montessori lens. You can also find me on Instagram and Facebook at Baby Tour Guide. Also, if you found this episode helpful to your Montessori practice, I would absolutely love it if you would leave a review to help other parents and educators find our show. Thanks again for listening, and I will catch you in the next episode bye!