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Maria Montessori felt that children could learn better if classrooms were designed to fit their nature. Children love to play and move about, and Maria Montessori created a teaching method that allowed learning through play.
Children would not be chair-bound but allowed to move about the classroom engaging in different activities. This type of learning is called experiential learning.
Experiential learning cements in a child’s mind, helping the child to remember the topics learned. Before formal schooling, you can encourage the same experiential learning in your home through many Montessori methods.
One of the foundational products used at the infancy age is the Montessori Mirror.
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What is a Montessori Mirror?
Check out this amazing Montessori mirror video by Montessori for Babies!
Children love to see themselves in the mirror.
The Montessori wall mirror is a great way to encourage movement and interactive play.
It teaches infants about cause and effects as they watch their movements in the mirror and allow a child to explore their body through visual touch and reaction in the mirror.
The mirror is typically a permanent fixture in Montessori classes and nurseries. Children love that mirrors are shiny, and the presence of one will keep them entertained for a long time.
If you are looking for a Montessori mirror for your baby room, here are essential factors to consider.
What Size Mirror Should I Get?
The average Montessori mirror is about 4 feet long x 1.5 feet high.
Consider the size of the room and the playmat. The mirror you choose should be the same size as one side of the playmat.
If the child moves forward, they should be able to see themselves do so. Consider buying a mirror that they can grow with. If the mirror is too small, the child will outgrow it too quickly.
Buying a mirror every few months can become expensive.
How Much Does a Montessori Mirror Cost?
The average Montessori mirror costs about $125.
With this being said, there are a variety of mirrors on the market to choose from.
We recommend searching for a second-hand mirror whenever possible. Second-hand options are often cheaper and they are better for our environment.
New mirrors can range in price. The simplest mirrors, ones that you would find at big box stores will be low priced and accessible to most families.
More expensive ones, specifically designed for Montessori use, may come with a pull up bar to help your child stand up.
Although Montessori specific setups may cost more, they may ensure that you do not need to make additions or replacements as your child grows and develops.
Here is a photo of a traditional Montessori mirror with a pull up bar.
What Are Montessori Mirrors Made Of?
You can also choose between glass mirrors and acrylic mirrors. Acrylic mirrors have distortions that glass mirrors do not.
This is important as your newborn is just now learning about reality and their image. A distorted image of what the child looks like will not assist him or her to develop a sound identity.
Glass is the most recommended, or a high-quality acrylic which reflects reality back to the child.
Image by How We Montessori
Major Benefits of a Floor Mirror
Having a Montessori floor mirror in your baby's room has many benefits that many people don’t realize.
"The mirror that we attach to the baby's wall next to the child-bed further enhances her sight by showing a different or "mirror" image of the room. The baby also sees her own image reflected and begins to connect her movements with the reflected movements of the child in the mirror. Thus she discovers that there are more faces to examine than just her mother's at feeding time. Eventually, she sees other reflected in the mirror as they enter the room to play or talk with her. Encouraging the newborn to spend waking time on her stomach so that she can practice lifting her head makes these first visual experiences with wall mirror possible." -Polk Lillard and Lillard Jessen, Montessori from the Start
1. Enhances Concentration
A Montessori mirror promotes concentration. You will notice that your child can concentrate for a long time on themselves.
At the infancy age, concentration is typically short and sporadic. You will be surprised how fascinated your baby is by their face and body movements.
2. Brings Joy
If you’ve ever watched a child in front of a mirror, you know they are thoroughly excited by the movements of their reflection.
Having a mirror in your baby room will mean a happier baby.
3. Encourages Independent Play
Independent play is important for a developing brain. It allows for greater creativity, confidence, and independence.
A mirror will promote independent play for your child since you do not have to be there for the mirror to provide entertainment.
4. Promotes Coordinated Movement
When playing in front of the mirror, children will repeat the actions they observe. If the child lifts his leg and sees his reflection, he will try to do it again.
If you want to learn more, Hapa Family made this great video on Montessori actives for 3-6 months. About half way through is a section on the Montessori mirror!
The Montessori Mirror in Action
Babies notice their environment from the moment they are born.
The world is brand new to them and can be overwhelming. Newborns typically feel safe and comfortable when they are surrounded by familiar sounds, smells, and textures.
Maria Montessori supported the idea that babies are delicate and should be handled gently. To ensure that they are comfortable while using a wall mirror, consider pairing the mirror with a product like the topponcino.
A topponcino offers consistency throughout the first months of your baby's life.
The texture is familiar, and nothing changes even when they are lying down. This ensures that your baby feels safe even when you are not the one holding him or her.
It offers the newborn a comfortable, familiar object no matter where they are, such as on the ground in front of a Montessori mirror.
Similar to black and white contrast cards, a Montessori mirror is also great to use during the ever essential tummy time.
Tummy time helps develop strong shoulder and neck muscles for your baby. It promotes the development of gross motor skills so that your baby can lift his head when lying on his stomach, move his head from side to side, and hold it steady while sitting.
It prevents flat head syndrome and helps in building strength for milestones like rolling over, crawling, and walking.
The mirror keeps your infant engaged in the mirror, increasing the success of the tummy time session. The topponcino is familiar and comfortable, helping to enhance tummy time and not overwhelm the newborn.
To effectively carry out tummy time, start with short durations, and increase them each day.
Begin tummy time in short sessions for the most success: 1-5 minutes for babies under 1 month; up to 20 minutes for a 2-month-old; up to 30 minutes for a 3-month-old; up to 40 minutes for a 4-month-old; and up to an hour for babies between 5 and 6 months.
The Montessori Mirror and Your Toddler
The benefits of a mirror for you child do not stop at the toddler ages. Although your little one now knows how a mirror works and that the reflection is their own, they can still learn a lot. Specifically, the practically of a mirror in everyday life.
Once your toddler is comfortably standing and walking on their own, the mirror begins fostering independence. Moving your mirror from the horizontal to the vertical position allows them to see their whole body, or at least their upper half.
The mirror is now a support for their everyday activities such as putting on clothes or brushing their hair and teeth. Your child will be able to see themselves and make physical adjustments as needed, removing the necessity of you having to help them with every little detail.
You can also help your child with verbal cues and their mirror. For example, they can do an inventory check of the clothes they are wearing at the time - "Shirt? Check! Pants? Check!"
A Montessori playroom encourages both physical and mental growth. A wall mirror, combined with a topponcino, will create a comfortable and safe learning environment for your newborn from the start!
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