Life is a cycle of attachments and separations from the very beginning. The egg and sperm attach to one another. The fertilized egg embeds and attaches to the human’s first prepared environment - the womb.
This environment, through the parent’s efforts, provides a dynamic place for the embryo to grow. Soon, however, this environment becomes too constricting. The newborn emerges and re-attaches to the parent by recognizing the familiar. The sounds of the heartbeat, skin-to-skin contact, and respiration provide points of reference for the child. The voice of the parent is magnetic to the child, and the child in union with the parent enters a new symbiotic period of life. This period lasts approximately eight weeks. The child can develop trust in the world using the parent as a point of orientation, which lays the foundation for a lifetime of connection and communication.
The Parent-Infant Community at Austin Montessori School is an environment designed for infants and parents emerging from this symbiotic period. In this prepared environment, parents learn how to observe and support the next stage in their infant’s natural development while meeting their needs for healthy attachment.
This community meets the needs of infants aged 8 weeks - 15 months, and their parents. It is designed to meet the child's emerging need for mastery over his environment through movement and sensory exploration. Through the acquisition of movement skills, the child’s quest for independence grows while still needing the parent’s loving observation and availability for emotional refueling. The parent remains the child’s cornerstone upon which to self-construct.
The children and their parents are served by two Assistance to Infancy-trained Montessori educators. The environment is specially prepared to support community dynamics which aid both the parent and the child in their evolving relationship and developmental growth. Parents forge relationships with other parents who are also experiencing life with their babies. Through regular contact with the community, and predictable patterns, the families become part of a dynamic system which honors individual cultures and needs.