The word "Nido" is derived from the Italian word nest and signifies warmth, peace, and safety. The physical environment is simple and ordered and provides natural light.
The world and those caring for our infants need to be held and nurtured so that they can develop a sense of trust. While providing a loving and safe environment, guides follow the infants by observing their natural schedules and allowing them to eat when they are hungry, nap when they are tired, and explore when they are ready.
The adults in this environment consistently describe what is happening in real and precise terms about every aspect of their daily lives. As an infant absorbs language, adults speak softly, frequently, and properly, read books, listen to rhymes and lullabies, and make eye contact. In addition, this helps the child acquire their native language and develop patterns in their brains that will be helpful in reading and learning in the future.
Movement is integral to the Montessori environment. Given that infants learn to roll, sit, scoot, crawl and walk during this stage of development, the room has a multitude of pathways for progress. Strengthening muscles and refining gross motor skills are of particular importance in infant environments. Items such as mirrors positioned low to the ground for self-exploration, wall-mounted low bars and soft furnishing for pulling up onto their feet are found in the classroom setting. Additionally, stairs with low steps and handrails are provided for practising climbing up and down. This equipment gives the youngest Montessori students an opportunity to hone their movement skills which prepares them for future cognitive development. Freely moving and exploring allows children to follow their own interests independently.
Dr. Montessori demonstrated that when infants hold things with their hands, the information transmitted to their brains sets in motion a whole series of coordinated events. This learning process is deeply satisfying for the infant. Each object in the prepared environment is a potential learning tool. Objects correlate with the infant’s sensitive periods and these objects enable the infant’s concentration and hand-eye coordination, supporting repeated and sustained exploration.