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Showing posts from August, 2015

On Our Montessori Bookshelves

Reading has been an important part of our daily routine with both Henry and Nora since they were born. Lately, both of them will sit and read (or be read to) for long stretches of time. 

Instead of one reading nook, we have several reading areas throughout our home. In our living room, we have a large basket with books from both age groups. They each also have their own small shelf in our play area. Nora's room has a basket of books and Henry's an entire bookshelf.

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Once our new playroom is finished, they will have a larger reading area, with a child-friendly bookshelf

The books we pick for each child for these areas, obviously, vary quite a bit since they are in such different places developmentally. 
Nora
At 14-months-old, we are looking for simple realistic books. We want something based in realty with clear consise language. We avoid fairy tales, talking animals and cartoons when pictures are available. 

Some current fa…

Montessori Toddlers and Maximum Effort

Closely related to the need for gross motor play in toddlers is the need to reach maximum effort. While I knew nothing about Montessori when Henry was a toddler, I recognized this need in him, but just thought he was funny. He was always trying to carry and lift things that were way too big for him, or were too heavy. Now, I realize that Montessori toddlers and maximum effort just go together!


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I recognize these same qualities in Nora. Except, this time, I know that she's trying to reach maximum effort. Montessori recognized that as toddlers grew, they looked for ways to develop their strength. They look for ways to challenge themselves in constructive ways.


Knowing this, I have looked for opportunities for Nora to exercise this internal drive to reach this maximum effort. Often, this means not reacting when Nora reaches for something that might not seem like its appropriate for her. Not only does this help to increase her conc…

DIY Rainbow Rock Clock for Preschoolers

As I mentioned in my post on Montessori inspired time telling, Henry is interested in learning how to tell time. I wanted to make a fun more-permanent extension for our classroom for him, so I created this DIY rainbow rock clock for preschoolers

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I had seen a rock clock on Pinterest, and wanted to recreate something similar. In Montessori we try to take the abstract and make it as concrete as possible. We also strive for natural beauty. I thought this did a pretty good job fitting with those goals, even if it's not a traditional work.

To make the clock, I simply gathered 24 rocks. The larger rocks were from my sensory filler collection, and the smaller were from my garden. I painted each with acrylic paint. 

The larger rocks were for the hours, since that's the larger unit of time. I used rainbow order and color matching to make the clock self correcting. Henry knows rainbow order well, so he could spot if something was o…

Gross Motor for Young Toddlers

When you sit and watch a young toddler, you really can see just how busy they are. They are driven to move. Often, I've noticed that Nora is completely unable to sit even for something she loves. For parents, this can be extremely frustrating especially if you expect them to be still.

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Young toddlers {12 to 18 months} are right in the middle of the sensitive period for gross motor. They have an internal drive to move that they physically cannot control. They actually can't be still. Therefore, it's important to provide some outlet for them to move, to run, to climb, to jump, and to throw. Developing these gross motor skills is essential to their ability to focus on other skills later.
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There are so many Montessori friendly things that can help toddlers meet this need to move. From a simple ball, to small bikes, this gross motor need can be met inside and outdoors. We don't have all of these things; and I don'…

Our Montessori Home {and tips to create your own}

A glimpse into our {completely not perfect} Montessori home. These spaces are in constant states of evolution. As we follow the child, the environment must change to meet their individual needs. So, today our lives look like this. But, your Montessori home could look very different.


Kitchen


Choose authentic materials, and keep them accessible -- especially those things most frequently used by your children. Drinking glasses are a great place to start.



Our Essentials -- Juicer; Stainless Pitcher; Small Glasses; Dishware; Learning Tower 


Dining


Here its all about comfort -- being able to sit in a chair and table that is made for their size. Pulling out the table, setting the table, and enjoying a meal. Then, a place to clean it all up. 

Our Essentials -- Weaning Table; Weaning Chairs 

Care of Self


These areas are all about making independence possible. They don't need to ask for a toothbrush, or to comb their hair -- they just can. Putting shoes on or away is simple. These are the ever…