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The Pikler Arch - at Nine Months. How and Why.

Pikler arch at How we Montessori

At nine months Otto is pulling up on his Pikler Arch. He sometimes steps up to the first rail and today I noticed he put one foot up to the second rail. It takes time, he is experimenting, he is testing and challenging himself! The Pikler Arch provides a fantastic opportunity to meet his developmental needs in a safe and supervised way.

Pikler arch at How we Montessori

How we use the arch:

  • Always supervise. I wouldn't put this in the child's bedroom. We have it in his movement/play area, next to our living area which is always supervised. 
  • Have it on or near a soft or padded surface. I wouldn't put the arch directly on hard tiles. Ours is on a wool rug which works fine. I considered putting a lambswool or thin mattress nearby but so far it's not needed. 
  • Allow the child to explore it independently. They will use it when they are ready. There is no need to incentivize or show them how to do it and I would never put a child on it. Just make it available!

Why we like the arch:

  • It's small. It's perfect for the child who is at the very beginning of their climbing, they can use it to pull to standing and there is no risk of them getting stuck or climbing too high that they can't get down. The dimensions and the distance between the rails has been designed for infants from crawling.
  • Fantastic for their muscle development and coordination. Otto is a great climber and he needs to climb. He climbs our stairs, couches, equipment at the playground and the arch is another avenue for him to explore. 
  • Assists the child to meet developmental needs. Climbing, exploring, testing limits and capabilities are real developmental needs. When the child's developmental needs are met they are generally more settled, calm and happy.
  • Assist the child to develop spatial awareness.  
  • Because of the design, it empowers babies. T,he steps are small, they can use the rails to pull up with their hands, it enables the infant and allows them to safely use their growing bodies in new and exciting ways. 
  • It brings joy. The Pikler Arch brings joy to the child when they realize what they are capable of when they fulfill their aim. I can see Otto beam with pride when he climbs up on it.
  • Assists children to develop to their full potential. 

Pikler arch at How we Montessori

I like the idea of having the Pikler Arch in the environment before the child is ready to use it, so they can use it from the start to pull up on and grow up using it, testing themselves and their physical capabilities. I love this article at Midwest Montessori about Simon using the Pikler Triangle at seven months!

Pikler arch at How we Montessori

Our Pikler Arch is c/o Wiwiurka. This exact arch was on my wishlist way before my pregnancy with Otto. It is absolutely gorgeous and I highly recommend it. When Otto started crawling we used it as a tunnel as it's wonderful for imaginative play, just put a few large play silks over the top. It is 90 cm long, 46cm high and 54 cm wide and the sides are made of unfinished European Birch. It does not take up a lot of space and it looks fantastic in the child's play area. The suggested age range for this arch is from crawling to 30 months - it would be perfect for a first birthday or as a gift. 

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