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Showing posts from July, 2015

Montessori Play at 13 Months

In addition to the bottom shelf in our play area, Nora also has some toys in our living space. Originally, I planned to keep this a "kid-free" zone in our house, but life has made other plans. I actually really enjoy that she can be part of our everyday routine as she plays. Since she was a tiny baby, she has been able to be right in the heart of the home with us, and I've come to realize just how important that is. 

Grimm's Extra Large Rainbow -- A favorite with Nora and Henry 
Grimm's Pocket Dwarfs -- a little more Waldorf than Montessori, but totally beloved! 

I think this space also shows that you don't need to always have "fancy" Montessori shelving to make Montessori work at home. We just use our fireplace mantle. It sits just a couple inches from the ground and has been perfect for her. Its easily accessible and perfect for trays and baskets. And, free! All we had to do was add a lock to the doors -- which we would have done otherwise. I shoul…

Montessori Inspired Time Theme

Somewhere around his 4th birthday, Henry became intensely interested in time. Suddenly, it was "what time is it?" how long until 1:00?" "what day is it?" "when does daddy come home?" -- things like that. At first, we started with informal, practical learning -- we looked at the clock before important bench marks in our day and noted how it looked. Then, I started putting names to the times we were seeing on the clock. Finally, for his birthday we got Henry this  learning clock -- and its amazing! It has helped him get a pretty good grip on how to tell time and how long time actually lasts. 

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In addition this this more "practical" learning, we have also done a variety of time themed trays. This first tray explored the concepts of hour and minute using the Montessori gold bead 10 bars. The goal was the match the correct label with the correct number, arrow and bead amount. This was quite p…

...And Get Out of the Way

"The best we can do for our children is to prepare a beautiful environment, provide the best materials, and get out of the way."- Susan's Mayclkn Stephenson, The Joyful Child.
The Joyful Child: Montessori, Global Wisdom for Birth to Three has so much amazing wisdom to share about babies and toddlers. As I was reading, I came across this great reminder to step back and let children be. 
They don't need our constant direction, entertainment or input. And, they are capable of so much more then we think. But, this is so much harder then it sounds, at least for me! 
It's hard to watch them struggle sometimes, to fall down, to make mistakes. But, it's so important. 
So, when I feel like intervening, I'll be here quietly repeating, "and get out of the way, and get out of the way."

Henry's Play Shelves -- Montessori at 4-years-old

It's been awhile since I've shared any recent pictures of Henry's Montessori bedroom. So, I though I would once again link up with How We Montessori to share what's on our shelves. At just over 4-years-old, Henry's room looks a lot like it did when I first introduced it. {See all the details of his Montessori bedroom.}

The floating shelves have worked great over the past few years. He has grown into them nicely. And, I would do the same thing again in a heartbeat. His book case, too, is perfect for him. It contains a nice mix of fiction and non-fiction books and some early readers.

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Bookcase 
The small wooden bowl on the left contains a couple old cellphones for pretend play. 
Bob Books -- the wicker basket has a collection of Bob books. Henry isn't quite reading yet, but these are simple enough that he can make out most of words on his own.  
Tinker Toys -- in the orange wooden crate are some tinker toys for b…

Mornings at the Weaning Table

Nora is an early riser. She doesn't need a few moments to wake up, she's ready to go from the start. Even these early mornings give us an opportunity for independence. Gathering a bowl, bringing it to the table, sitting down. The weaning table has quickly become the center of our home.  



The silly, messy, serious, thoughtful little girl starts her day here each morning. And, I wish they were always as peaceful as they look! But, with each passing day, Nora perfects new skills. 

These moments don't last long -- Nora has no time for sitting. And no meal, is eaten without gentle reminders to remain at the table {and not on top of it}. After a quick wipe-up, our Montessori day has begun. 

Montessori Music: DIY Xylophone with Printable

One of the most beautiful things about Montessori, in my opinion, is that it allows children to discover the world and its mysteries and its joy at their own pace. This applies to every area of life, not just to academics. 

When it comes to music, I try to offer the same chances for concrete exploration as I do with any other area of our home. Henry has access to a radio for when he wants to listen to music. He also has a variety of real instruments to explore. 
This is an area where I naturally struggle, but Henry naturally excels. He has a sense of innate rhythm that I very much lack. So, thank goodness, I get to follow him and his interests! Henry loves to play our piano, but I wanted to get him interested in other types of instruments too. So, I found this book Music Everywhere. It perfectly combined Henry's interest in geography and music by showing children from around playing traditional instruments.

From here, I created a DIY Xylophone work for him so he could play his ow…

Mixed Age Montessori Play Shelves

I've been meaning to share our mixed aged play shelves for awhile now and Kylie at How We Montessori has finally kicked me in the butt and got me to do it. Check out her beautiful shelves! This shelf is our main play shelf in our home right now. These are toys that I consider Montessori friendly and appropriate for Nora (1-year-old) and Henry (4-years-old).

So, here is what is on our shelf right now! 

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Top Shelf - These are intended for Henry, yet not dangerous for Nora
Lightsabers -- These are intended for Henry. These are not Montessori friendly but I'll save the role of fantasy in our house for another post. 
Sensory Bin -- Sand and Magnets -- I try to offer Henry sensory experiences. Here is a simple bin combining science and sensory. 

Guidecraft Magneatos -- These are a lot of fun and allow Hen to build. Nora will use these too, but just to put the pieces together. 
Pattern Blocks -- Ideally, I hoped to include a mirror wit…