Nido (Montessori)

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"Nido" translates to "nest" in Italian and is used in the Montessori context to refer to an environment designed specifically for infants. Not all Montessori schools that offer an infant program use this term[1].

In the Nido, the infant has the opportunity to freely move and explore the environment, which is carefully designed to be safe, nurturing, and stimulating. There are areas for movement, eating, sleeping, and care of self, with materials at the child's level and available for exploration[2].

Montessori Quotes on Nido

"The first essential for the child's development is concentration. The child who concentrates is immensely happy."

— Maria Montessori, "The Absorbent Mind"

Research and Critiques on Nido


The Nido environment, designed according to Montessori principles, supports the child's natural development, offering them the chance to explore and engage with their environment at their own pace[2]. The environment encourages autonomy, motor development, and cognitive development from a very early age[2].


Critics may argue that infants are too young to benefit from a Montessori environment or to develop independence[3]. Some may also critique the absence of traditional play items like cribs and high chairs that are usually found in infant environments[4].

Comparison to Other Methods

Most infant care settings will have areas for eating, sleeping, and diapering, but might not provide the same level of autonomy for the child to move and explore. Montessori Nido environments are unique in their emphasis on freedom of movement and independence from an early age[2].

Glossary of Montessori Terms

The Glossary of Montessori Terms is a collection of specific terms and vocabulary that are related to the Montessori method of education, primarily focusing on the theory and practice for children aged 3 to 6. The jargon used by Montessori educators offers a unique insight into child development as discussed by Maria Montessori. The 'Montepedia Glossary of Montessori Terms' originated from a glossary that was compiled by the late Annette Haines from the Montessori Training Centre of St. Louis, at the request of Molly O'Shaughnessy from the Montessori Centre of Minnesota. The reason behind the creation of this glossary was to supplement O'Shaughnessy's lecture at the Joint Annual Refresher Course that took place in Tampa, Florida, in February 2001.[5] The glossary has since been expanded and updated with additional 'Montessori Terms'.

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  1. Lillard, A. (2005). Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius. Oxford University Press.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Montessori, M. (1972). Education for Human Development: Understanding Montessori. Schocken Books.
  3. Thayer-Bacon, B. (2012). Maria Montessori, John Dewey, and William H. Kilpatrick. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 44(6), 590-602.
  4. Lopata, C., Wallace, N. V., & Finn, K. V. (2005). Comparison of academic achievement between Montessori and traditional education programs. Journal of Research in Childhood Education, 20(1), 5-13.
  5. Haines, A. (2001). Glossary of Montessori Terms. Montessori Training Centre of St. Louis.