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Montessori Baby-Ed: Learning About Music and The Arts, The Montessori Way!

WHEN MY FRIEND, AMANDA, SENT ME THIS PHOTO OF HER NEWBORN WITH HER PRESCHOOLER PLAYING THE MBIRA (AFRICAN THUMB PIANO) I HAD THE PROOF THAT ALL AGES LOVE MUSIC. JUST LOOK AT THOSE LITTLE SMILES!

The family members in these photos are working with the materials in my "Nido Basket #1" from my series, Montessori Baby-Ed: The First Month. Their baby was born in early May, so in this photo he is about 1 month old and his brother is 3 yrs old. 

I was so excited to see how Amanda put the principles of Montessori to work right away. She requested a kid-friendly Mbira, so that her preschooler could be involved in Baby's "education" and you can see how engaging this simple musical experience can be for both ages! 

Here we see one of the most important hallmarks of the Montessori method of education: 

MIXED AGE GROUPS
How about this for family music making! Even the dog is in on it...I can just imagine that he will be howling any minute. What a lucky little baby to be surrounded by folks of different ages bringing music to him!

Also, Amanda has been using some of the more subtle ways to expose her little one to music learning...another hallmark of Montessori: indirect aim of the activity.  Here is her little babe with his music note bib. 

INDIRECT AIM OF THIS ACTIVITY IS
 TO SEE MUSIC NOTATION IN THE ENVIRONMENT

Big brother is also absorbing the visuals of music notation through an everyday experience, like feeding his little brother!

THE "ABSORBENT MIND" OF THE CHILD 
AND THE SUBTLETIES OF A MUSIC NOTE BIB

We already know what an important role sensory learning plays in the cognitive development of the young child. Montessori wrote extensively about the child's need for  stimulation of the senses and I think that big brother is not only giving Baby some sounds to hear, but also his little brother can actually feel the vibrations of the sound.

SENSORY STIMULATION FOR BABY

"Chapt. 9 The First Days of Life: If what we have to do is to help man's mental life, then the first lesson we must learn is that the tiny child's absorbent mind finds all its nutriment in its surroundings... Especially at the beginning of life must we, therefore, make the environment as interesting and attractive as we can." The Absorbent Mind,  by Maria Montessori p. 97
Dr. Montessori often pointed out the importance of beauty in the environment for children of any age, but especially the newborn. This Montessori Tetrahedron Mobile is a lovely way to stimulate Baby's aesthetic sense along with the visual stimulation so important to the development of the child.

STIMULATING THE VISUAL AS WELL AS 
THE AESTHETIC SENSE

Amanda told me that her little one seemed to prefer the Montessori Tetrahedron Mobile over the Munari Mobile. She said that he spent up to 30 minutes focusing on this mobile, and she was careful not to interrupt his concentration.Of course, one of the main tenants of the Montessori method is allowing the child to explore an activity for as long as s/he chooses. So, we Montessorians try our best not to interrupt the baby (or child!) while s/he is engaged so intently.

UNINTERRUPTED ACTIVITY HELPS DEVELOP 
A LONGER ATTENTION SPAN IN THE CHILD

Amanda's children are hearing two languages at home and so, this little one is also getting exposure to the subtleties of each language.  Being wrapped in a rich language environment filled with the beautiful sounds of several languages not only brings wonderful sensorial and cultural experiences to the child, but also gives the child an edge in language development. 

The Preschool child is still figuring out that there are often 2 or more words for the same concept, such as "hat" and "cap" or, "cat" and "feline"...however, bi-lingual children recognize this concept early on because they have experienced virtually every word in their world as having two ways to say it!

SENSORY LEARNING AND LANGUAGE ARTS
It is amazing the cognitive benefits children derive from a multi-lingual family life! I saw this recently when I was visiting my 9 month old grandchild who has a Nanny that speaks to him often in Spanish. When my daughter was feeding him, she asked her little one if he wanted more, then she asked him in Spanish, "Más?" 

My grandchild immediately stopped eating and had a look of deep thought on his face. Then, he turned and looked in the direction of his Spanish Nanny across the room. It was so obvious that this nine month old baby already recognized the difference between the sounds of the English language vs the Spanish language. And, he not only noticed the difference, but he also associated the Spanish (spoken to him by his Mom) with his Spanish Nanny and looked for her in his environment!

Likewise, I remember when my other grandchildren were preschoolers and spoke both Japanese and English in their home. At the age of 3, these little ones understood to speak Japanese to Matsue, their Japanese "Baba" and also, they knew to speak English to Carolyn (that's me!) their American "Grandma."

Nowadays, they translate for both of us grandmothers when we have family gatherings!

I hope you have gotten some valuable information from this article and have enjoyed the darling photographs as much as I have!

I invite you to check out my Montessori Baby-Ed series by clicking HERE. 
Month number 1 from Baby Yoga Cards at I Believe in Montessori

Thanks again for visiting my Blog and please take a look around, I think you'll find lots of other helpful articles.

And, this post is part of the Montessori Monday Link up at the Living Montessori Now site, where you'll find gazillions of resources from Montessori educators all over the world. Click HERE to visit the LINK UP.

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