Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Montessori Mornings Update: The Role of Baby Wrangler

The lady on the right teaches us French during our Circle Time and then serves as Baby Wrangler.
There was a lot of interest in Montessori Mornings when I first wrote about our free parent-toddler classes back in April.  It's been almost a year since we began (when most of the younger siblings were newborns), so I thought I'd mention another crucial piece:  we've found ourselves a Baby Wrangler!

You see, the newborns are growing into toddlers, and though two have been "Velcro Babies" (babies in slings or front carriers), they are getting a little old for that.  Besides, they want to see and feel and taste the world, too!  But with small pieces, glass vessels, and pitchers with water around, we can't just let them roam free in the Montessori space.

Enter the Baby Wrangler.  Madame Mervyn is not your average child minder--she can wrangle in French, Spanish, English--whatever language you ask, it seems!  With a doctorate in Spanish from Cambridge University, this new grandma enjoys spending her free time with us, whether she's teaching us a second language or playing with the babies.  She says it fills her with a love for life, so I guess this is a win-win situation!

Our Flow:

At Circle Time on the ellipse Madame teaches us French for 10-20 minutes.  Usually babies are happy to either sit with us or stay in a sling or a front carrier.  After that Madame may take a baby into a connecting room (aka "Babyland").  It is safe for babies and toddlers, has plenty of empty floor space, is stocked with board books and baby toys, and is within earshot of the Montessori space.

When this little boy was about 8 months old he first took part in French lessons, but his older brother (seen on the right) was sometimes a handful!  Having help with one sibling makes it a bit easier for the moms to come and stay.
As mentioned in the original blog post on our playgroup, we have strict requirements that the children are immunized.  The same goes for Madame, who has recently received her Tdap booster.  It's crucial that anyone around babies have this.

Here Madame is leading us in a French song, with the little boy on the left more and more a part of the group time.
 It has been a blessing in many ways to have Madame join our group.  Sometimes it can be hard for a mom to get out the door with little ones, have the patience and stamina to work with them, and still have energy for the rest of her day.  It's such a boost to have an extra pair of hands!  Also, there is a special blessing having a more mature member of our group--especially for those of us who don't have grandparents in town.

Sometimes the babies are part of the group, and sometimes they are in Babyland (just another room connected to the Montessori areas, but free of choking hazards).
This arrangement feels right.  The moms can bring their children, knowing there will be help here if they need it.  They can work with their older children one-on-one or involve the younger sibling, either way.  The nurslings are just a yelp away from mom, and there are none of the complications of dropping a child off at a sitter, daycare or preschool.  We are blessed!

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