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Friday, August 28, 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. This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  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 cart...
Thursday, August 27, 2015

Montessori Toddlers and Maximum Effort

Toddlers are always on the move. Climbing, running, hauling, pushing, and throwing. They seem to have an unending need to move. And, they honestly do! Toddlers need to move their bodies to learn and that's why  gross motor play  is so important. But, there is another important Montessori concept to understand when thinking about toddlers and movement - the need to reach maximum effort. ...
Tuesday, August 25, 2015

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 .  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  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 c...
Tuesday, August 18, 2015

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. This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  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. /> 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;...
Monday, August 17, 2015

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 ju...
Friday, August 14, 2015

Montessori Work from 12 to 14 Months

It's been awhile since I've shared the Montessori "work" that I have on Nora's shelves. These works are rotated through our shelves a few at a time. They stay with some of the Montessori-friendly toys that we have for her on the shelves. Here is a look at some of her Montessori work from 12 to 14 months ....
Monday, August 10, 2015

DIY Mini-Habitat for Preschoolers

We are right in the middle of studying habitats and biomes! This is the perfect way to explore more about the Earth and is a perfect compliment to Henry's love of geography.  One way that we have been exploring all the different habitats has been by making our own. I set up this simple tray for Henry. The tray included a bunch of natural materials including grasses, pine-cones, bark, rice {to represent snow/ice}, flowers and more. Most of it was gathered right from our neighborhood. Then, I included baby food jars to contain the habitat.  After looking at a variety of different habitats for inspiration, Henry was able to get to work. He carefully selected the materials he wanted, and we were able to spend the entire time talking about his creation. I asked him about his choices, about what kind of animals lived in his habitat, and the weather. Then, we named his habitat {he choose "Lucy" - haha!}  See Henry in action on Instagram ! On...