The following is the text from this section of the 2009-2010 edition of The Joyful Child, Montessori from Birth to Three. To see other sections of this publication return to: http://www.michaelolaf.com/JCcontents.html
A Superior Birth to Three Environment
When parents are getting ready for the first child, they will be overwhelmed by ads on what they "need" for that child. It seems that these ads are aimed at selling things far more than providing what is really good for the child. Many items are not only overstimulating for the young child (too many objects, uncomfortably bright colors) but they hamper the natural development of important abilities such as language (pacifiers) and movement (cribs, swings, and high chairs) and even sometimes can be dangerous (walkers and off-gasses from plastic). The simple, natural, and gentle environment, that encourages feelings of safety, and encourages the child to communicate with others and to move—that is the superior environment for the child from birth to three.
The best time to prepare the environment is before birth. The parents should crawl around the child's room to see what the child can reach or will be attracted to. Listen to the sounds: can you hear the wind in the trees, or are the sounds of nature overwhelmed by the sound of a TV or radio? The child, unable to filter out the unnecessary or the disturbing as the adult can, will hear and be affected by every sound and sight.
It is important for the child's sense of order, his security, to keep the environment the same for the first year. Planning and preparing the environment ahead of time makes this possible.