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Shelf Help Episode 5 - Toddler Classes, Sports, and Summer Activities

In today's world there are so many options for child-centered classes. From music classes, to art and sports, parents are inundated with choices for their children. In today's episode, Nicole and Amy discuss their experiences with classes for babies, toddlers, and older children as Montessori parents. We'll share some tips on what to look for when choosing classes and sports. We talk about how to decide if an activity is Montessori friendly and fits with your child and family. 
*This episode was recorded prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. Please practice social distancing and take this advice for a safer time.  Show NotesMusic TogetherSensitive Period for MovementAwesome Science Experiments for KidsHorme


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 | Spotify | Stitcher | Google.
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A Super Easy Math DIY for Preschoolers

Montessori has so many great traditional math works. In fact the entire mathematical curriculum is pure genius. I personally have such a complicated relationship with math that I often regret the fact that I wasn't able to learn the Montessori way. I wonder if that relationship would be different if I had the benefit of using Montessori materials in my own childhood. But, it's too late for me, so I focus on my children. 

But, that doesn't mean that we need every single math material in our homes. This is especially true if you send your child to a Montessori school. This is not only expensive but it just isn't necessary. Gus will eventually go to a Montessori children's house and have a formal introduction to the Montessori math curriculum. But, for now I'm introducing a few things here at home as he shows interest. 


This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. 
Recently, I made this super easy DIY. It is far from perfect but it's a really fun way …

Games We Love - 5+

We are a board game family. I love playing games, Morgan loves playing games, the kids love games. They are just such a great way to engage with them and each other. Finding games that are both engaging, fun, and developmentally appropriate can be a challenge. I am always on the hunt for new games that would be a good fit for my kids - especially as they get older. Today, I thought I would share a few of my favorites on my list for ages 5 and up. 
This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. 
At this age I like to have a mix of cooperative games (where you work together to solve a common problem) and competitive games (where there is a clear winner and loser.) I find that by the second plane of development (ages 6 to 12) that a lot of children really enjoy the competitive element of games and are really ready to explore the social rules around winning and losing. 
Carcassonne - this is probably the most advanced game we play with Henry in theme since it does involve "war&…

Shelf Help Episode 4 - Social Distancing and Montessori

As the Covid-19 pandemic reaches further into the United States, we encourage everyone to practice social distancing at this time. In this episode, Amy and Nicole give an update on their Montessori homes and a look at how they are dealing with the closures related to the spread of Covid-19. We also discuss Montessori ideas and activities for children from birth to age 9 to try when they are spending significant time at home.

This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  Show Notes
RhythmsOnline Museum/Zoo/Cultural OpportunitiesMaximum EffortIn and Out Work for Babies/ToddlersOpen and Close WorkBalance BikesIn the Town All Year Round In the Town All Year Round at NightSound GamesNumeral Cards and Counters InfoMontessori.comStencilsPencilsClayPlaydoughSandpaper Letters (printMovable Alphabet (print)Montessori PrintshopDash into LearningCosmic Kids YogaYahtzeeKids Maze BooksMad LibsFelt Timeline for Older KidsHand washing LessonToddler Hand washingAnimal Walking 


Thanks for joi…

Easter Basket Ideas 2020

With the social distancing, quarantine, and closures happening right now our life is pretty disrupted. At this point we are no longer able to attend religious services and our plans for Easter are very much up in the air. With all these changes, I do want to keep our celebration of Easter at home with the children as familiar to them as possible. So, I've been gathering some things for their Easter baskets and thought I would share. 

This year I tried to go with mostly indoor activities since we are stuck inside or in our yard for the foreseeable future. I will likely add some outdoor chalk and bubbles plus a couple small treats to each basket - depending on if and what I can find in our local stores. Here's a look at each child's basket. 
This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. Henry - 9-years-oldBinoculars - Our old binoculars were lost last summer in a hiking trip and Henry has been talking about getting new ones since. Yellow, because it's his forever…

Sensitive Period for Order, Isolation, and Covid-19

There's a general feeling of different in my house right now. Because of other time off, Henry hasn't had school in over a week. Nora's been out of school for the last couple days. We haven't really left the house other than to walk in our neighborhood. It's really different for us. Yesterday we had to go to Henry's school and get materials to prepare for long term closure and distance learning. The situation is still unfolding and we don't really know how long Nora or Henry will be off of school. I'm sure many of you are facing similar situations.
All of this has been the long way of saying our normal order of things is super disrupted. And we all know how important order is for young children. During this time of uncertainty we cannot forget about the sensitive period for order. So many of us are trying to create a new rhythm and routine for our lives. Maybe you are suddenly working from home, or maybe your kids are out of school, or maybe older sibl…

Montessori "Areas" to Focus On at Home

As many parents are settling into a new reality around the world, we are all trying to find our balance. There are those that are used to being at home with their children but who are now completely confined to their homes. There are those who are trying to work from home without childcare. And there are some for whom those changes are coming soon. 
While we are all at home many parents are feeling an intense need to "homeschool" or teach their children. Others are feeling like this should just be a time for relaxation and connection. I'm sort of taking a middle ground here. Yes, we will have learning with Montessori and Montessori inspired materials we will also have lots of slow time to just be together in a relaxed and fun way. For the first couple of weeks our lives will be more about finding our rhythm together here at home, then we will add more and more academic work into the equation (especially for my 9yo Henry.) 

If you are feeling like you're in the same …

Working from Home with Kids - A Montessori Schedule

One part of my life that I haven't talked a ton about here on The Kavanaugh Report is how I'm a work-from-home parent. Eight years ago I started to work at home while parenting full time. For the first several years, I worked as a legal writer while maintaining this space on the side. When Gus was born, I moved into working on sharing our Montessori life full time. It has blossomed into a full time career sharing content here, teaching courses, and now the podcast! Through it all, my kids have been home with me. 
This all seems more relevant to so many of us now that Covid-19 has closed schools and forced parents to stay at home and work while caring for children. I'm not going to lie - it's tough. It's hard to balance work and kids, especially when children are used to a completely different routine. But, it's not impossible! And, it can even be enjoyable. 

As I talk about in my podcast Shelf Help, we block our days into 3 hours groups. It helps me remain fle…

Shelf Help Episode 3 - Floor Beds and Art Museums

Going into traditionally adult spaces with children can be daunting if you aren’t prepared. In this episode, Nicole and Amy share ideas on how to use Montessori grace and courtesy lessons to make it easier for you and your children to navigate the world. Later we’ll discuss why you should consider a floor bed for your home. From nursing to big kids, Amy and Nicole dive into how the floor bed influences their Montessori parenting.
This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. 
Show Notes: Amy's SocksPoppy and the Overactive AmygdalaConnected Childhood InstagramSprout Kids Floor Bed


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 | Spotify | Stitcher | Google.

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Montessori Resources for Learning at Home

I know that the world is captivated by COVID-19 right now and I keep going back and forth about whether writing about it hurts or helps my own anxiety about the situation. So far my children are still in school for the time being, but I'm not sure how long that will last. For many of you around the world the reality is that you are now looking at multiple weeks home with their children out of school. 

If this is the position you suddenly find yourself in, I wanted to offer hugs and love. I know this cannot be easy for families, especially those where childcare is now needed. Many of us are left looking for ways to help our children learn at home and entertain themselves while we get some work done. I want to write more about that in the coming weeks, but today I want to share some resources where you can get some Montessori inspiration for play and learning at home. 
This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  Print Books I'm sorry that some of these are out of prin…

An Easy DIY for Babies to Explore Color

It's always exciting to prepare your baby's space for play! First and foremost, babies love to explore and learn through their senses. Finding something that combines those two things is my favorite. Recently, I made and created a little fun for Teddy in our playroom for him to explore color. I simply placed them out near his movement area and let him discover them on his own. 

The object here is not to learn the names of the colors or to see what colors are made from mixing them, it's simply to explore and see the world from a new perspective. This same idea would work for an older toddler/child too and then those language pieces would become more important.

This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.
To make these window rings, you'll need:  Small Embroidery HoopsCellophane sheetsElastic Gift Wrapping Tape  I took one of the sheets of cellophane and placed it over the solid inner ring of the embroidery hoop. Then placed the outside hoop on top of the celloph…

Weaning Tables to Love - Montessori Baby Week 25

One of my favorite things about using Montessori with babies is the freedom of movement and respect that small humans are shown. Babies are given opportunities to participate in everyday life in these lovely and organic ways, doing things so similarly to how we do them for ourselves as adults. One example of that is the weaning table. The weaning table is a small table that is built baby-sized for small babies and toddlers to eat at.


The weaning table can look a lot of different ways, but what's important is that a baby can safely access the table and choose to sit and eat or go do something else. Now that Teddy is rapidly approaching 6 months old (how did that happen?!) I'm starting to prepare our weaning space for the introduction of solid food. It's such a fun transition into older baby life! 
With that, I wanted to share some Montessori weaning table examples that have been inspiring me as I start to create Teddy's new space! 


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