So, in my hunt for a child care solution I feel comfortable with for Tiana, I have found Montessori. I had heard about Montessori school programs before for preschool and elementary school, which I like the major principles of, but I feel like they lack some of the rigor necessary for children to really succeed in a traditional Western educational system, which is the system of power, and so is necessary. I had never considered Montessori for infants though, but I am starting to think it may be a good solution. I have an appointment to tour the infant classroom on Friday.
It seems like it will not be the sterile cold environment that I disliked at centers I have checked out prior (such as Tutor Time). They follow all of the official Montessori stuff and the teachers are all highly trained. The ratio in the infant classroom is 1 to 4, which is a little higher than the Montessori recommended 1 to 3, but it is a little cheaper as well. It is actually significantly cheaper than what I have found prior to this, although a little more expensive than a home day care, but that's okay. I would rather have a center. I just feel like it is safer.
Here is what the school says about themselves:
"The teachers at Simi Valley Montessori School are qualified Montessori teachers who are highly motivated to train the young mind. The infant care (ages 6 weeks – 24 months) is handled by well trained teachers who have a deep sense of responsibility in caring for little ones. The children are made to feel at home by their gentle gestures and they have a unique way of mothering them in the absence of the parents."
In researching Montessori education, I found that infant progams are actually pretty rare, but here is some of what the Montessori people say about their infant programs:
The Infant Classroom Environment:
A Montessori infant classroom has an area for the youngest babies, with quilts on the floor, mirrors at floor level, mobiles to observe, bat and grasp; balls and rolling toys to “chase” by creeping; and rattles and objects to hold, shake, bang, and mouth. In an all-day infant or toddler program, there are low beds available for naps. During the child’s first year, provide an environment that encourages movement without using containment devices such as playpens or “walkers.” Montessori Infant-Toddler classrooms provide low beds or mats so that the children can get in and out of bed independently when they are tired.
Movement is critical to brain development — it is as necessary as nutrition! Most classes for children under age eighteen months will include a stair with low steps and a railing for use by children who are beginning to crawl and walk. The class will have bars and furniture placed around the room on which young children can pull themselves up. There will normally be walking wagons, which little ones can push before they can take steps on their own. As they begin to walk, there are push and pull toys to take along. The infant classroom typically contains one or two low shelves with fine-motor activities such as puzzles, bead-stringing, rings on posts, a pegboard with large pegs, and various containers to open and close, fill and empty.
If it turns out to be what it says it is, I think I will have found a fit. The director said that they are currently full, but they should have openings with students who will have moved up by February, when I need her to start. Let's really hope this works out, because it could be everything I felt I couldn't live without at a price tag I really can live with.
So... do any of you have experience with Montessori programs? Particularly for infants? Any local moms know anything about the one out here?