PARENT-INFANT HOW AND WHY Susan Tracy McDaniel
Following the Support Group model, parents meet once per week with their child and once more weekly for parent discussion, 90 minutes each session. Parents may join prenatally and receive support preparing for their baby. Once the baby is born, the family may attend as soon as they feel ready. Parent-Infant may serve prenatal to 18 months, or even age 2 or 3, but I prefer that toddlers have an opportunity for independence in a prepared environment.
Parent discussions include topics like observation, home environment, sleep, diapers and toileting, Montessori philosophy, discipline, and attachment/independence.
BENEFITS OF PARENT-INFANT
Parents may join prenatally and feel more relaxed and prepared for a healthy birth, breastfeeding, and bonding.
Parents can prepare the home in a simpler, more natural way and avoid unnecessary purchases.
Families have a Montessori mentor and support group in place from the start, especially important should there be unexpected challenges.
Parents learn to observe, and children have an observant parent from the beginning on.
Parents understand their child better.
Observations may be useful now and later in understanding the child’s needs.
As parents observe, trust replaces worry.
The child has a safe, interesting environment outside the home to explore each week – a home away from home.
Parents set aside time each week to focus on their child without life’s distractions.
The child gets to see other children and adults weekly, who become like extended family.
Child and parents have a positive first experience with school.
Separation is eased when the time comes.
Parents receive support and education.
Parents have the opportunity to learn about parenting issues before facing those issues themselves. They can have strategies in place, and perhaps avoid some problems.
The program provides a place to meet other parents – decreasing isolation.
Nutrition can improve as parents learn about breastfeeding, nutrition, and food preparation.
Less post-partum depression when mothers have a supportive community.
Parents save money by breastfeeding, cloth-diapering, borrowing materials and hand-me-down clothing.
Parents are less frustrated when they observe and understand the child’s behavior – less abuse.
Parents observe the Montessori facilitator and learn positive skills – less abuse.
The school gets families before they go elsewhere.
The school is filled with parents who understand Montessori and are supportive and trusting.
Parents bond and form a community, they come together to support the school.
Families stay at the school longer, usually as long as possible.
Better-functioning parents are an example to others and can educate informally.
Children whose needs are well-met early in life function better throughout life.
© We can reach diverse families in just a few hours per week through Parent-Infant.