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The Nido Environment

6 weeks through walking

The “Nido” (nee-doe) from the Italian word for “nest”, is how Dr. Maria Montessori described the infant environment. At MINE, ME, & US Montessori School, the classrooms are home-like with lovely, natural wooden and cloth materials, child-sized wooden furniture, clean surfaces, soft soothing music, and magnificent plants in order for children to feel safe, cared for, loved and challenged in their ideal home away from home, their Nido.

The Nido Environment is a nurturing environment for infants and their families. MINE, ME, & US Montessori School supports new parents and families as they move through the first year of parenthood. We want to help make life with your new baby as stress-less as possible. To this end, the Nido Environment provides an all-inclusive program.

While your new baby is at school, MINE, ME, & US Montessori School provides cloth diapers, organic wipes, diaper creams, sunscreen, insect repellent, organic/vegetarian menus, organic linens, all-natural classroom materials, Montessori Method and Curriculum and care for infants, strolls on the Huckleberry Trail, picnics outside, conferences and meetings with teachers as needed.

Most importantly, however, we provide a feeling of safety and community for your child and you as parents. You can go to work with full confidence that your child is being educated, cared for, snuggled, and loved during the day. You are always invited and welcomed into the Nido anytime during the day.

 

Imagine the Nido…

Enter a serene room with low radiant light emanating from the lamps around the room. Low shelves strategically placed in the room allowing copious room for practicing rolling, scooting, crawling and walking.

Covered mostly with soft white carpet, there are patches of smooth hardwood flooring, a couple of smaller bristly sisal rugs. Moving around the room, the little one feels the various textures on her body, relishing in the softness, delighting in the smoothness, quizzical and amused by the bristles, letting her entire body experience this sensorial wonderland. All the while the aesthetic encounters provide her with rich information to help her brain develop.

Low shelves hold an array of interesting objects made from a variety of natural materials cradled in its own straw basket or wooden bowl. Each object is carefully chosen for tiny practicing hands and fingers to perfect purposeful hand-eye coordination

A simply carved long wooden bar attached to the wall purposely for the babe who is learning to stand and walk on her own. She concentrates on holding the bar, moving her legs side to side to venture to the end of the bar. Her leg muscles and sense of balance, growing with every movement.

A mirror hung to meet the gaze of young infant reveling in tummy-time, feeling his muscles strengthen with each movement of his body. Mesmerized by his own facial expressions and carefully studying them, he unwittingly creates synapses producing brain formation.

In a sheltered corner a mother is breastfeeding her daughter. Her kind voice coos to her tiny child wrapped in a soft organic blanket as she rocks her daughter and sings tenderly to her. Trust in the world and emotional bonds being formed with each note, each scent, and each moment of meaningful eye contact.

Another woman, sitting comfortable on the floor beside the floor-level changing mat, explains softly each step of changing the baby’s cloth diaper. The baby, listening to this narrative, utters noises back to the familiar adult. Hearing the rhythm of language and conversations, the baby is learning to communicate with others in her world.

Several small mattresses cradled in simple natural wooden frames are nestled along a wall. Each covered with crisp white organic cotton sheets with its own cuddly organic blanket. A young child crawls over to his bed. With some effort, he crawls onto the mattress and comforts down. His thoughtful teacher gently approaches, quietly turns on soothing nature sounds, and kneels beside him to tenderly stroke his forehead. Moments later he is sleeping soundly, his brain taking this crucial sleep time to sort through the experiences of the morning, making connections—learning.

Enchanting paintings and photographs are hung on the pale walls at the eye level of a seated baby.

Splendid mobiles hang purposefully around the room. One mobile groups together different nature objects-it is a feast for the eyes, including a small bunch of dried lavender held together with a small piece of string, a pine cone, a collection of twisted twigs tied with a simple ribbon, a uniquely carved wooden object and strands of star-shaped fruits of a gumball tree. A particularly pleasing mobile enlists long, dark brown, twisted bean pods from a nearby Locust Tree. Hanging splendidly from a wooden hoop secured to the ceiling with shiny chocolate-colored ribbon, the pods dance with the movement of air.

Above the changing table five whimsical orange stars hang daintily to captivate the babes while getting a fresh cloth diaper.

Outside on a blanket, appreciating the shade of a strong oak tree, a little one practices, getting her body into the crawling position. Grinning widely and bundled warmly, she enjoys the brisk air outside even as autumn leaves surround her on the ground.

Nap Details

Infants at MMUMS are on a flexible sleep schedule based on their individual needs and are welcome to sleep as needed. Infants are to be placed on their backs to rest on the Montessori floor bed. Each infant shall be individually checked every 15-20 minutes. For an infant that cannot move without help, faculty must offer to change the places and position of the child at least every 30 minutes or more frequently depending on the child’s individual needs. We provide infants with a variety of positions during the day. Staff shall engage children on the floor daily and provide opportunity for “tummy time” each day for infants that are not able to roll over themselves.

 

MMUMS advocates for Montessori floor beds, but if parents opt out, children will be provided with an individual crib. Pillows and filled comforters shall not be used by children under two years of age. If the use of a crib is preferred, bumper pads are prohibited. At MMUMS we use mobiles and do not use crib gyms or toys strung directly over an infant.  

Meals in the Nido

Some important points about food and feeding in the Nido.

  • We take pride in creating a welcoming and nurturing environment for parents/caregivers and children, so parents/caregivers are always welcome to bottle and breastfeed their little ones in the Nido. 

  • A refrigerator is provided for all bottles/feeding supplies 

  • Please clearly label all bottles with your child’s full name and the date. If the bottles should be served in a particular order, please label clearly with a number as well. 

  • Parents must supply 24 hours of breast milk or formula to be kept at school at all times, per Virginia Department of Social Service licensing requirements.

The process of introducing solid foods can be equally amazing, exciting, and intimidating. At MMUMS we understand this and are here to help make this transition as smoothly and effectively as possible for both parents/caregivers and children. When infants are ready to start solid foods, they will be fed just as the older children are at child-sized tables and chairs with plates, cups, and cloth napkins. Assistance with eating will be provided as needed and all children, during meal and snack times, will be closely monitored. Infants will be fed the same food items that are on the menu for the older children, modified as needed for allergies and abilities. 

 

At MINE, ME & US Montessori School we also believe that exposure to solid food can start well before children are actually ready to eat. Younger infants who are not yet eating but beginning to show interest will take part in mealtimes in various ways: by sitting with a teacher at the table with children who are eating, holding, and using spoons and napkins, getting to touch and mouth (clean) foods in their raw form, and participating in the outdoor/gardening experience

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