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Montessori Inspired Prayer Space for Children

One of the ways that we help our children learn to connect with our faith is our family's Montessori inspired prayer area. This is a small area in our home where the children have complete control over the area is created and put together.  The idea for our prayer area came from Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, a Montessori religious education program. In CGS, a prayer table is used as a place to gather and pray while children are in the atrium (the prepared religious environment.) The prayer table is where we gather to pray, to sing, to celebrate, and so much more. The children are responsible for setting up this area, and for preparing it for each religious season. I wanted my children to have the same control and autonomy at home. I wanted to give them a visual reminder of prayer, and also a place where they could physically control the space to glorify the Lord.  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  Our prayer area is very simple! It is just located on a shelf
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Natural Playscape and Playground Inspiration

This summer there’s a road that’s under construction near our house. Since workers and worker trucks are by far Teddy’s favorite thing in the world, we have spent a lot of time walking up to watch the construction. But on the walk we pass a local elementary school. The school has a small rain garden made from natural materials and native plants.

I’m not sure this small garden is supposed to be a play area, but it’s quickly become one of Teddy’s favorite spots to visit. To climb on the rocks, to kick the gravel, or walk over stumps has become an almost daily habit. It has been thinking about adding a more natural playscape to our own yard for all my children to enjoy.
Love this outdoor easel Lots of fun ideas in this post I really like how the plants are separated in this garden
There are so many amazing benefits to active play and I think those just multiply when natural elements are incorporated. Nature offers the perfect balance between risky play and enriching sensory experience. As Ang…

Religion and Our Montessori Home

I have often been asked how to approach religion in our Montessori home. For those of you that don't know, we are practicing Roman Catholics. Our faith in a big part of our every day existence and our Montessori lives. Maria Montessori was also Catholic and has hugely informed our approach toward religious education. And honestly, it's not easily explained because our religious education is happening every second of the day as we live our lives. It is giving our children the opportunity to fully participate, to the best of their abilities, in the meaningful practice of our faith. 
As always, Maria explains the approach much more eloquently than I could. In her book, The Child in the Church she says, "People are constantly asking me about this question of religious instruction - whether it should be long or short, determined by the teacher, or left the choice of the children, and so on. They nearly always speak of it as if it were a special school 'subject.' My answ…

Outdoor Montessori Activity and Work Shelf

We don’t get a very long summer season here in Minnesota. So when it’s nice we take full advantage of being outside while we can. This includes making sure we have some Montessori work outside to feed our children’s need for work at any time.
My kids are always welcome to bring their materials out to our deck to work from inside. During the summer we treat the deck as a whole new room in our house. But, it is nice to have a few things dedicated for outdoor use. 

Our outdoor Montessori activities shelf includes (from top to bottom):
1. Flower arranging materials. This is just a variety of cases, a pair of scissors, and a funnel. I organize on a cheap wooden tray I found at a thrift store.
2. Small watering can. This is perfect for watering our plants and filling up our bird baths.
3. A tray of art materials. Right now I have some dollar store cups (to use with paint) and a small container of color pencils. We’ve struggled to find a way to keep the paint dry and safe outside, so we do keep t…

Montessori at 7-Years-Old

Somehow my tiny baby Nora is turning 7-years-old today. The years go so quickly, don't they? She is now solidly a second plane child moving through the world with increasing amounts of independence. Nora just finished her first year of lower elementary in a public Montessori school. She handled the year with so much grace and flexibility and I cannot wait to see her blossom in the coming year. I thought I would share a few of her favorite things to give a glimpse of Montessori life at 7. 

Just a friendly reminder that these are unique to Nora. By the time a child is into the second plane of development, they generally have their own unique interests, skills, hobbies, and challenges. While I can share our journey with Montessori, I can in no way speak for every child's experiences. 
This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  Montessori Materials Nora's absolute favorite everything is math. She would spend all day working out math problems if she could and quickly w…

Montessori Toddler: Favorite Toys and Activities 18 to 20 months

I've been putting off this post for a little while because I felt a little disappointed that I didn't have more to share. See, Teddy just isn't that into materials, especially those on the shelf. He tends to return to a couple of favorites over and over again and ignore all other attempts at shelf work. But, really that's my own adult feelings getting in the way of Teddy's own interests, and developmental path. 
It's also me subconsciously valuing fine motor skills and stillness as more important than gross motor play and movement. I working hard not to do that, and want to normalize that all toddlers are different. All children have different interests and that concentration doesn't have to mean sitting still for long stretches of time. 
This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.
With all that said, here are some of Teddy's favorites over the last couple of months. Favorite Montessori Toys 18 to 20 MonthsI'm listing the toys that have been o…

Shelf Help Ep. 56 - Our Favorite Chapter Books for Kids

This week's episode is our first in our new mini summer series where we are diving into smaller topics. Today's episode is all about reading with older children, specifically reading chapter books. Nicole and Amy share some of their favorite chapter book recommendations and more about why they still choose to read aloud even to their older children. 
This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  Show Notes...The Ramona CollectionThe Chronicles of NarniaThe Tale of Tiptoes of LightlyBig-Stamp Two-Toes the Barefoot Giant: Spring Tales of Tiptoes LightlyThe Way of the GnomeThe Milly-Molly-Mandy StorybookThe Children of Noisy VillageAnna HibiscusThe Magic TreehouseNate the GreatBetsy-TacyWellie WishersTanglewood Animal ParkLittle People, Big DreamsCampActThe PenderwicksWho Is/Who Was/What Is SeriesCobble Street CousinsPippi LongstockingEmilCharlotte's WebThe LittlesThe Secret Door Thanks for joining me for today's podcast! If you enjoyed this episode, please subscrib…