The Montessori method is known far and wide for promoting independence, natural development, and self-directed learning in children. It is a very well-thought-out system that children of all ages enjoy. Everything from the activities to the toys is strategically employed, and the question we’re pondering today is whether or not push walkers are Montessori aligned?
Certain types of push walkers are Montessori Aligned. A push walker is a toy that a baby can pull itself up to and push around a room. These walkers fit into the Montessori category pretty well because they promote natural development and help babies to walk on their own when they are ready.
If you’re still slightly unclear on the Montessori rules regarding push walkers, don’t worry because you have come to the right place. Below you will find some info on what kind of baby walkers are generally appropriate in a Montessori setting. Hopefully, this will help answer any Montessori/walker-related questions you have left!
Push Walkers: Montessori Approved?
As mentioned, some baby walkers are appropriate in a Montessori setting but not all of them are. People commonly confuse two different types of walkers with one another. These two different walkers are the push walkers and sit and roll walkers. So, what’s the major difference?
A sit and roll walker is a little stroller-like device. A baby can be placed inside here the way they would be placed into a bouncer. Then they can use their feet as propulsion to push their way around the floor. Just to be clear, this is the kind of walker that is NOT typically approved for Montessori settings.
So why shouldn’t you use a sit and roll walker? The biggest reason these are so looked down upon in Montessori is that it “inhibits” natural development. A baby has to be placed into the walker and cannot access it on its own. This is believed to infringe on a baby’s freedom which could bring unwanted consequences later.
It also inhibits the baby developmentally. These walkers often induce walking in a baby before that baby is naturally ready to do so. This goes implicitly against what Montessori teaches. So, this said, sit and roll walkers should be avoided if possible. They are not the best thing your baby could be using.
Push walkers, on the other hand, are little walkers that a baby can pull itself up to and start walking on its own when it is ready. These are a great way for a baby to begin walking on their own when they feel confident and ready. It doesn’t inhibit movement or the baby’s freedom and it will not cause awkward movement of any kind.
Another reason these are so great is that they are the opposite of sit and roll walkers in that they promote natural development. A baby will be able to build up its confidence and start walking when it is ready. The walker will help teach them how to walk properly and it will be a great means of exercise as well.
Push Walkers to Buy
Hopefully, at this point, you understand a little better what kind of walker would best suit you and your baby if you’re hoping to employ Montessori principles at home and in the classroom. Now, it might be helpful if we discuss a few walkers that you can start looking for to give to your baby. Here are a few you might take a look at:
Of course, not every Montessori walker is created equal, but as long as you find one that abides by the Montessori guidelines (no electronics, no flashing lights, etc.), you can’t go wrong. A good, sturdy walker will likely help your baby learn how to walk quickly and with confidence. Most of the time, it is a very worthwhile investment!
When to Introduce a Push Walker
Finally, we must address when you ought to introduce a push walker into your baby’s life. This might seem like an obvious question/answer, but you should plan this carefully, especially since Montessori puts such a large emphasis on natural development. Here’s what you need to know about this.
It is not uncommon to introduce a push walker to your baby anytime between the ages of 6 months and 3 years old. This is the period when children start learning how to walk and start practicing new motor skills. This is when you should start having a push walker around your house so your baby can start learning how it works.
What matters most at the end of the day is having a push walker available to your baby at a younger age so they can start exploring as early as possible. When you notice your child starting to take an interest in pulling themselves up and practicing extra mobility, this is a prime time to introduce one.
Are Walkers Good for Babies?
This topic has experienced a serious amount of debate over the years. It has come to the point where a person’s opinion is usually the determining factor on the subject. There are a lot of health officials who say that because walkers present safety hazards they should be completely avoided. However, this is also more regarding sit and roll walkers.
Sit and roll walkers don’t protect babies very well. They could roll into sharp objects, corners, swimming pools, and many other things. However, using a push walker means that anything dangerous a baby could come into contact with will be first hit by the walker.
Push walkers present a slight hazard, but if we’re being honest, a lot of baby toys could be hazardous in their own way. Push walkers can help increase a baby’s confidence and make learning to walk an easier and more stable experience. And if they don’t end up liking the walker anyway, neither you nor they will be any worse off. Just give the walker away to a friend whose little ones might enjoy it more than yours.