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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Imperfect Montessori Morning

This morning has been one of those times when you start to lose it a little bit as a parent. I'm running on nearly no sleep, with children who have colds and who are excited for the upcoming holiday. As I look around, I see so much imperfection. There are so many things that just seem wrong today. Messy. Disorganized. Cluttered. All my Montessori parenting urges are on high alert.  There's abandoned work mats. Stupid plastic lightsabers that keep making their way into our home.  Materials pulled from the shelves. Poor little dolls face down on the carpet.  A random chair. Dumped bins.  And amid these seemingly endless imperfections, there is silence. In the moment, I panic -- like any parent with young children. Silence is never a good thing. Silence likely means all the toys are in the toilet or the baby is eating buttons or something.  I investigate. And instead of craziness, I find two Montessori siblings cuddling together in bed...
Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Timeline of our Family -- Intro to Montessori History

I don't know if I've ever shared this before, but I've had a few great loves in my academic life. But the greatest one, was and will always be history. I love history. If you ever want to have a long talk about Tudor-Stuart England or how Andrew Jackson influenced the modern presidency, you call me!  To introduce history, my first love, to my first child is a pretty amazing feeling. Henry isn't quite ready for the history of Henry VIII, so I started a bit closer to home -- with our family. Traditionally, Montessori takes a unique and interesting approach to teaching history. In many cases, a timeline is used to present a particular subject. The children take an integral part of creating the timeline. This can spark debate, discussion and critical thinking skills while providing the basic facts of a particular historical event. This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. I wanted to re-create in a way a timeline for Henry. He has been very in...
Monday, November 16, 2015

The Ultimate Montessori Toy List -- Birth to Five -- UPDATED 2021

When you are interested in Montessori, it can be difficult to know exactly what types of products you should get for your home. Or which types of "Montessori" materials are really worth the price. There are no rules about types of products can use the name Montessori which can add to the confusion. Not to mention, every toy manufacturer slaps the word "educational" on the package for good measure! 2021 UPDATE: Please be patient with links this year, with supply chain issues things are selling out faster and restocking slower. I anticipate some of the specialty toys will not restock once they are gone. Puzzles, in particular, have been difficult to find in stock. So, with this post, I'm going to try to help with this confusion! Here's a list of Montessori-friendly toys and materials for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. ...
Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Introduction to Spooning for Montessori Toddlers

One of the most beloved practical life experiences for young toddlers is transferring with a spoon. There is just something about this simple motion that is so satisfying to these little people. For adults, using a spoon is so common of a task we may not even realize how complicated it can be. A specific set of motions must be used to accomplish our task, and there is very little room for error. So, an introduction to spooning for Montessori toddlers can be very helpful.  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  Nora's true introduction to spooning, was at 6-months when she first started to eat solids. Following a a Montessori-method of weaning, she was given a spoon and fork with every meal. But, this is still a skill that she is refining. So, I still wanted to create a work for her to use away from meal times. However, I should make it clear, that this type of practical introduction should be the main way that toddler are doing practical skills. These ...
Monday, November 9, 2015

Montessori 101 -- 15,000 Members Giveaway!

As many of you know, over the last several years, I've fallen in love with Montessori parenting. I have spent countless hours reading and talking Montessori online. During that time, I've found an amazing niche of parents, educators, bloggers and others interested in following the child and using Montessori in their lives.  A big part of the community that I've found has included Montessori 101. Its a wonderful Facebook based community where everyone from the Montessori community can get together and chat. Everyone! And I mean everyone from complete newbies to experts in the field are together in one place, spreading the amazing love, peace and wonder that is Maria Montessori and her teachings.  I have the privilege of being a co-admin of this wonderful group, and we recently hit the milestone of 15,000 members! And, in celebration of this community, let's have a giveaway! But, not just any giveaway, a big, HUGE, amazing, Montessori giveaway. With 17 winne...
Friday, November 6, 2015

Christmas Sensory Matching for Toddlers

I love the holidays! And, I love sharing that joy with my children. Today, I'm joining an amazing group of 15+ bloggers from the Montessori Bloggers Network to share some holiday magic! Make sure to stop by MBN for all the  Montessori for the Holidays posts.  One of the best parts, to me, about the holidays -- particularly Christmas -- is how it engages the senses. There are specific sights and sounds that instantly bring back memories from Christmas. I wanted to share these sensory experiences with Nora {16-months} in a Montessori inspired way that was safe for her and developmentally appropriate.  Toddlers are right in the middle of the sensitive period for order and their language skills are exploding. This combination often makes matching work both popular and satisfying. One important matching skill for toddlers is matching an object to a picture.  Since, these Christmas objects are on the small side, I put them in the ever-popular sensory bottle! This way, th...
Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Why we Choose Natural Materials over Plastic

I was at a baby shower recently with my mom when another woman showed up with her grandkids and a small plastic children's computer game. We began talking and she asked if we had a similar toy. Before I could answer, my mom replied " No! She's a weirdo that won't let her kids have plastic! " Now, I don't mean to throw my mother under the bus for an off hand comment, but I think this is a common misconception for people looking at the Montessori community. So, let me explain why we choose natural materials over plastic and when we don't. This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. First, I want to say, my children have plenty of plastic toys and materials. There are times, even, when I prefer plastic. One example, is animal figurines . I strive to give my children realistic representations and plastic is simply the best way to do this. Magnatiles and Legos also make my plastic list! But, in many situations, I do strive to provide nat...
Monday, November 2, 2015

Montessori Friendly Sleep Books for Toddlers

Oh, daylight savings time. Twice a year, you ruin my life. All the sleep dissolves into a puddle of crankiness and tears. For a parent that already doesn't get much sleep, it's an unwelcomed change. Sigh. This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  To cope, let's talk about books that talk about sleep. Not that I'm sure these books will actually help my children sleep better, but they're worth a try. Right? Here are some cute, toddler appropriate and Montessori friendly toddler sleep books. Where Do I Sleep? A Pacific Northwest Lullaby ; Hush, Little Horsie ; Baby Faces: Sleep ; Time for Bed ; Say Goodnight ; Baby Touch and Feel: Bedtime I like these books because they are based on reality with simple words and appealing images. Nora loves Hush, Little Horsie and Baby Faces: Sleep . They are simple, yet beautiful. The calming rhymes aren't half-bad either! Hopefully, we will all adjust to the new time soon! Until, then I'll be dr...