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Showing posts from 2020

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. 
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 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.
If yo…

How We Approach Montessori Sound Games + Some Tips

It can feel like such big work to try and support your child's journey toward reading and writing. There can be a lot of pressure to make sure your toddler "knows their letters" or isn't falling behind somehow. Thankfully, there are some things we can do to support the learning journey at home*. One of those things is playing sound games! 
See other posts in this series: Pincer Grip - Preparing for Language Work Montessori Language Fundamentals to Remember What are Montessori Sound Games and Language Objects?
We started sound games with Gus about a year ago at age 2.5! It feels like forever ago, but I want to include that detail because I think sometimes parents can feel like they are failing if their kids aren't interested or don't "get it" right away. There is sometimes a tendency to only share online when something is happening quickly, so the longer, slower cases go unnoticed. 
When we first started playing sound games, we started with just one object…

What We're Reading Lately - Together and Independently

Now that school is officially out for the summer, we have more time on our hands than ever before. With most of our regular summer activities cancelled, we are pretty much home all the time. This leaves lots of time for reading, which just happens to be one of our favorite things to do! I thought I would share some of what we're reading both together and independently! This list is far from exhaustive but here are some of our current favorites (you'll notice a lot of summer themed) by age. 
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The books listed under together are those that I read with or to the kids. Those listed as independent are those that they are reading on their own (throughout the day.)  Teddy (9-months-old)Teddy is really getting to the point where he will sit for a few minutes and look at a book. He's much more into moving around though so we keep it short and sweet. 
Together: Peek-A-Boo! | I Can
Independently: An older version of this IKEA fabric boo…

Montessori Baby Bibs

Teddy is well into the Montessori weaning process - that is starting solid food. He eats meals either at his weaning table or at our family table three times a day. The process has looked really similarly to our other kids. But, one thing that we have done differently this time is that we have been using a Montessori baby bib. 

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Yes, Montessori baby bibs are a thing! And, they are awesome. Unlike traditional bibs (which we have used with our older kids) Montessori bibs are larger, designed to be used independently, and actually handle the mess of solids. Unlike traditional bibs that have velcro, snaps or ties in the back, Montessori bibs are designed to be pulled on and off over a baby's head. There are a couple of styles of Montessori bibs, but the most important part is that they are easy to get on and off, large, and very durable.

At this point, Teddy doesn't care too much about helping with the bib, but I know that really …

Shelf Help Ep. 17 - Montessori Baby Joy!

Amy has a huge surprise! In today's episode, Nicole and Amy talk about pregnancy and preparing for a baby in a Montessori home. From movement areas, to baby essentials and the importance of floor time, we discuss getting started with Montessori from birth. 
This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  Show Notes...Entertaining a Toddler with Morning SicknessMontessori-inspired newborn essentialsSnuz-PodMontessori and Baby Wearing - Some Quotes to ConsiderMINDE Mirror 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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Honoring Juneteenth

Today marks the holiday Juneteenth - a day honoring the emancipation of enslaved people in Galveston, Texas (2 years after the Emancipation Proclamation.) Sadly, this holiday is new to me - even at as someone with a BA in history. This is unacceptable and I will not repeat this educational whitewashing with my own children. 
Since I am still learning about the holiday, I figured that many of you must be as well. So, I wanted to share how I plan on honoring the day with my family this year:  Participating in the Juneteenth Storytime on The Conscious Kid with Henry, Nora, and Gus. Making art work inspired by Nicole's work on The Polished Playhouse and decorating our front picture window with the project we create. Using sidewalk chalk to wish our neighbors a happy Juneteenth - hopefully inspiring anyone who doesn't know about the day to google it Downloading the Juneteenth Joy activity pack from Afrocentric.MontessoriI will personally be tuning into this broadcast to learn more ab…

Our Outdoor Montessori Spaces

Maria Montessori never intended for children to stay inside working all day. In fact, she said children should be allowed to move freely between the indoor and outdoor prepared environments as they pleased. Here at our home we try to make that a reality for as much of the year as we are able. Our children's playroom is actually a sunroom that has a door that opens to a small deck and then our backyard. 
We've taken that deck and turned it into a space where the kids can work and play. Further into our backyard we have a swing set for them to play, a large vegetable garden, herb gardens, lots of bird feeders and baths, and several smaller flower gardens. Every space is open for the children just like the inside of our house. Here's a look at our outdoor prepared spaces:  Deck
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Shelf: We have a small all-weather outdoor shelf on our deck this year that organizes the kids' materials for outdoor work. This is a mix of practi…