Il Nido, the infant Montessori classroom, serves as the child’s first home away from home. It is an extension of the home; a warm, loving atmosphere where the child can continue his work of self construction without obstacles. In Il Nido, the child can fulfill his need for order, love, security, independence, and exploration. Il Nido provides a safe environment for children to absorb their surroundings, not only visually but through all their senses. Natural elements in all their forms can be found in the infant’s surroundings. The infant will see, hear, touch, feel, and smell all kinds of materials such as wood, clay, straw, rubber, fabrics of different textures, metals, and much more.
It is important for children at this age to have the freedom to move and explore the environment. Infants are not confined to cribs or playpens, but rather, the environment is set up in such a way that the child has the freedom to move and form his own experiences in a very safe and clean ambiance. The prepared environment is characterized by order, simplicity, and beauty – which meet the needs of the child.
The prepared environment consists of a sleeping area, a movement area, an eating area, and an area for physical care. All the areas are designed with the utmost attention to details for an infant’s development, care, and safety.