For over a year now, I've been reading up on Montessori theory, techniques, and activities for my going-on-two-year-old son. Many Montessori ideas involve observing your child ("follow the child" is a Montessori mantra) and offering your child freedom to make choices within defined limits.
A third aspect of Montessori method, though, deals with the "prepared environment," the carefully arranged, perfectly orderly, and -- I think -- simply lovely Montessori classroom, full of beautiful child-sized wooden furniture, with activities meticulously arranged on accessible shelves. Ideas from the classroom carry over into home life, as well, and Montessori educators suggest simple adaptations to make the home more child-friendly: Low hooks for the child's coats, art displayed at his eye level, orderly shelves instead of a toy box, and so forth. As my son becomes more capable and more independent, I'm trying to incorporate some of these ideas into our home, which naturally affects some of my style and decor choices.
I wasn't familiar with Montessori theory when I was planning my son's nursery, though, and I wonder whether I would have made different furniture and decorating choices if I'd read up ahead of time. I find pictures of Montessori-inspired nurseries very soothing and welcoming (my favorite was designed by Meg at Sew Liberated; you can check out her son Finn's gorgeous room here). There's one aspect of the rooms, though, that I'll admit I might be too scared to try if we're ever planning another nursery: The floor bed.
Finn's nursery, at Sew Liberated.
The floor bed is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: a bed right on the floor. It can be a twin mattress or a futon, and it's used in place of a crib.
Montessori floor bed at Sunrise Rants
The idea behind the floor bed is the notion of freedom within limits. The low mattress allows the child the freedom to move in and out of bed as he chooses, but he does so within a room that must be well child-proofed, and usually would have a baby gate across the doorway to keep him away from stairs or any non-child-proofed rooms.
I love, love, love that these rooms are truly designed with the child's needs and development in mind, instead of the parents' decorating preferences. (Note: my son's room is all about my decorating preferences.) I've read lots of pros and cons about the floor bed. (Pro: falling asleep on the bed yourself when the baby is tiny and needs soothing. Con: inability to keep the baby in bed once he's mobile--which is the point, but still.)
So I can't decide -- would I be brave enough to give it a go? Would you ever in a million years consider using a floor bed in your child's nursery?