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Role of Practical Life in the First Plane vs. Second Plane

Now that Nora is 6-years-old I've seen some interesting shifts in her behavior. These things didn't come all at once but slowly over time, but they are there. One big one is her relationship to practical life. I think this one is sticking out so much because she is in such a stark contrast to Gus and his relationship to practical activities. 
Gus, at 3, loves practical life work. He wants to help with dishes, he wants to move laundry, mop the floors, wipe down shelves and tables - he's all in. Working along side me, working with his hands, working with water! It's all very exciting. The same was true for Nora at his age. It was all exciting. But, now, it's not as exciting for her. She isn't interested in doing practical tasks for the sake of doing practical tasks. She wants something new - responsibility. 

Suddenly, Nora wants to do it alone. She wants to take over from start to finish. She's asking what chores she can do. In the second plane there is a great…
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Chapter Books We Love

As my children get older I more often find myself reading longer chapter books instead of picture books. Nora and Henry, in particular, want to listen to longer stories and stick with books for a longer period of time. And, I have to say, I don't mind cuddling up to my big kids and reading for awhile! The tricky part is finding a book that I feel like I can read and that they like as well. Not every chapter book is created equally! 


Another tricky part is finding chapter books that don't include fantasy. We stick with realistic books until around age 6 when we introduce fantasy. So, while my kids have liked chapter books from about age 4.5 on, we stay clear of those including fantasy for awhile. 
Here are a few of the chapter books we enjoy in our Montessori home, and a few that are on our "to-read" list. 
This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. Reality Based Tanglewood Animal Park - Book 1, Book 2, Book 3 - this is a major family favorite  The Children of N…

A Shared Montessori Bedroom

It's been awhile since I've shared our shared Montessori bedroom space. Before Teddy was born, Nora and Gus started sharing the room that Henry and Nora used to share together. At that time we converted my office into another bedroom for Henry. We've been in this arrangement for a year now and it works really well for our needs. Here's a look at the bedroom space.  Bed and Self CareWe use a bunk bed to save space in this room. Nora moved into this room when she turned 2 and into the top bunk at just over 4. I love that the bunk is very short and that the bottom bunk is a floor bed. Both have been perfect for our younger kids. Next to the bunk bed is a small self-care area. This includes the laundry basket, a mirror, and small shelf with hair care products. 
This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.
 Sources:  Bed: Pottery Barn Kids Bedding: Target  Laundry Basket Wall Shelf + Mirror: IKEA 
Shelves and MaterialsWe choose to keep a few materials in their bedroom to w…

Shelf Help Ep. 19 - Building Sibling Relationships

Let's talk about siblings! From welcoming a new baby to managing conflict, having multiple children can be a challenge. This week, Amy and Nicole talk about their experiences with sibling relationships. We share our experiences with welcoming new babies, dealing with biting and conflict, and nurturing relationships between siblings in a Montessori home. 
This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  Show Notes:Losing Your Cool as a Montessori Parent EpisodeFrom the ABCs to Swearing EpisodeNo Bad Kids: Toddler Discipline Without ShameNicole's New Course: Montessori Baby Joy: The EssentialsAdjusting to a New Baby - Tips for Toddlers, Preschool, and ElementaryTHE MONTESSORI PEACE ROSE — HOW TO TEACH CONFLICT RESOLUTIONThe Peace Rose Book
Thanks for joining me for today's podcast! If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, share and leave a review in your favorite podcast app.
If you are interested in finding Shelf Help in a podcast app, it is available on Apple | Spo…

DIY Big "Bead" Mover

Theodore is in a phase right now where he is much more into moving than he is anything else. It makes sense since he has learned so many new skills lately - from crawling, to standing, cruising, and sitting - this little baby is suddenly able to get anywhere he wants. 

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There's not a ton of using his materials happening, but one thing he does love is his small bead mover. He can sit for long periods of time spinning and moving the beads back and forth. It's not a huge surprise to me since it was also a big hit with Gus when he was an older baby and toddler. 

So I was thinking -- how can I incorporate his love of moving beads and his need for movement? And, this DIY big bead mover idea popped into my head! It was 100 inspired by this post on Instagram but adapted for an older baby on the move. I made the pieces smaller and put them up higher to encourage all sorts of new movement and exploration. 
To make it, I cut up an old gift…

Babies and Limit Setting

Now that Teddy is seriously on the move, he is into everything! He's pulling things off the playroom shelves. He's pulling things out of cabinets, swiping things off of tables, knocking over water glasses, and so much more. As an adult, I could see this behavior as "making a mess" or as valuable exploration. But, either way, there are bound to be times when Teddy gets into something that he shouldn't necessarily use. The cups in our children's kitchen are a great example. He loves to go to the shelf and throw them to the floor. Well, they are glass and can break. So, it's time to set a limit. 

How do we do that with babies? Here's a look at all the ways I set limits with a baby in the order that I recommend trying them. 
This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. EnvironmentIn a Montessori home, the environment should be the BIGGEST and most important limit. Not just for babies but for all children. If there is something in your environment an…

Developing the Senses - Touch

Lately, I've been talking a lot about how we support Gus' language development here at home, in particular his path towards writing and reading. I can't write more about that without pausing here to write another article about developing the senses. That's because sensorial work is so so important. As a Montessori parent, I know that I cannot separate Gus' development into neat little categories. By working on developing his senses, we are supporting his path toward academic work. It's with and through those senses that young children learn. 
Other posts in this series: Developing the Senses - Visual | Developing the Senses - Taste | Developing the Senses - Hearing

When there's a tactile sensory experience connected to movement, the brain makes more connections and more easily retains that information. It's through the sense of touch that children will further learn about the things in their environment. It will help them discover different shapes, textur…

Montessori Babies and Stairs

Teddy is moving, moving. Over the last 6 to 8 weeks, I would say he spends more time just moving around than anything else. He has gone from mostly rolling to crawling, pulling to stand, and cruising on his feet during this time. It's been a huge explosion. And with that explosion has come a new found discovery - our stairs! 
We live in a 4-split level house. So we have 2 "upstairs" areas and 2 "downstairs" areas. They are separated by a large staircase (regular size). Then each of the other levels are separated by a small stair case (4 steps). So, stairs are a big part of our family's life and something that kids need to learn to use independently. I thought I would share a little about how we approach stairs in our Montessori home. 
GoalsFirst, I just want to make our goals clear here. 
Safety: I want my kids to be safe in our home. And I firmly believe that giving gross motor opportunities without adult intervention (just spotting) keeps my kids safe. They …

Practical Life - Making Popsicles

Summer weather has reached Minnesota and I couldn't be happier about it. We don't get a very long warm weather season, so I try to take advantage of every second that we get. With this warm weather comes requests by my children to have popsicles every afternoon for snack. And, while I personally love the sweet sugary ones from the store, they are way too big and way too filled with junk to eat that often. So enter a perfect practical life work for the summer - making your own popsicles! 

This is something that Gus can do pretty much independently which is super nice, and they are much healthier than many of the kinds we can buy at the store. The other great thing about them is that you can pretty much customize the flavors to anything your kids like. In our house, we often experiment and the popsicles are just whatever little bits of ripe leftover fruit we can find. 
These are a few of our kid friendly favorite recipes. The exact amount of each thing we use depends on what we ha…

Shelf Help Ep. 18 - Getting Organized!

Let’s talk storage solutions — behind many Montessori spaces is a well organized storage system! From books and toys to art supplies and clothing, Nicole and Amy are sharing their favorite storage and rotation solutions. Here are some tips on what has worked and what hasn’t in their Montessori homes.
Shelf Help will return July 13 after a quick break.
This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  Show Notes: Radio Flyer Walker WagonPregnancy and Baby Books for KidsIKEA KALLAX ShelvesIKEA BILLY ShelvesIKEA FLISAT Book StorageForward Facing BookshelfDish rack used for booksHow do you store and organize Montessori toys and materials?IKEA BESTA ShelvesToy Rotation in Our Montessori HomeAmy's Art CartSummer Capsule Wardrobe PlannerMontessori Toddler Wardrobe - IKEA Besta HackAmy's dresser drawersIKEA STUVASprout Kids Wardrobe Thanks for joining me for today's podcast! If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, share and leave a review in your favorite podcast app.
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