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Showing posts from 2017

Goodbye 2017 - Top Montessori Posts from the Year

I can't believe that another year has come to an end! 2017 has been a busy but fantastic year for our family It's been just a year of tremendous growth all around. I always like to take a few minutes at the end of the year to take stock in the year that is finishing. This year has not been without its challenges, but we have been so lucky to have been both healthy and happy! 

I thought I would share my "best nine" from the past year! Here are the top posts based on reader popularity from 2017. 

As exciting as 2017 has been, 2018 is off to just as an exc…

Young Toddler Object Permanence -- Montessori Young Toddler Week 4

Babies and young toddlers are discovering the entire world around them, one piece at a time. Little concepts that we take for granted are tested over and over and over again. One such concept is object permanence. Object permanence is the knowledge that an item doesn't just disappear just because we can't see it. This is actually something that babies start to figure out quite young. 

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I have talked before about Gus and his love affair with his object permanence box. And, this love has not faded quickly for him. He used his object permanence box daily until 12 months. When I saw that he wasn't using his box, I finally removed it and rotated some new options. But, I didn't think he was quite done with exploring object permanence exactly. So, I choose to replace the box with some newer challenges that still have a focus on permanence. Here is a look at what we added: Sliding Box  This was one of Gus' birthday prese…

New Montessori Inspiration from Instagram

Montessori inspiration is all around us! Here are some images and videos that have been inspiring me lately -- from my favorite place, of course, Instagram! It's just a great place to get an every day look at Montessori in action around the globe. 
Here are some new Montessori favorites lately. 

A post shared by Alison (@thenestmontessori) on Dec 5, 2017 at 11:09am PST
This simple candle making tray is beautiful! Plus what a wonderful way for kids to get involved in creating something for their environment.

A post shared by diy corporate mom (@diycorporatemom) on Dec 2, 2017 at 8:43pm PST
This video is so inspirational! I wish my kids could have this sort of indoor/outdoor freedom from such a young age.

A post shared by Gentle Breeze Montessori 🌱 (@gentle_breeze_montessori) on Nov 19, 2017 at 2:25pm PST
How fun is this pom-pom work? I need to think of a way to DIY that because I think that Augustus would just love it!

A post shared by Sissi & Zolboot (@akara88) on Nov 13, 2017 a…

Sweeping -- Montessori Young Toddler Week 3

Practical life is at the cornerstone of Montessori life for young children. They thrive on these practical experiences in such an amazing way. Young toddlers, in particular, strive to be active contributing members of their family - their community. And, it's surprising just how young this desire really starts to show. 

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This past week Augustus has started to try to sweep purposefully. We do a fair amount of sweeping around here, with three kids and a bunch of dogs, so this is not a new or unfamiliar task for him. But, even I was kind of surprised by his attempts. This is the first practical life work he has done to prepare the environment -- he has done many self-care tasks since birth. 
But, this is different, this is community. This is us as a family. This is him working for himself and for others. Now, admittedly, he is no good at sweeping! But, he will get there over time. And right here, right now, this is the first build…

Montessori Planes of Development -- Second Plane 6-12

Maria Montessori found that children moved through a succession of developmental planes as they get older. Each plane has a variety of characteristics that are typical for children at that stage. Understanding these planes of development is key to understanding Montessori. These characteristics help to explain why Montessorians use certain materials at certain times. They help to explain why children behave certain ways at certain times. And, they influence how a child responds to parenting and school situations. 

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As, I have been explaining, my children happen to all be in really unique planes of development at the moment. For the next few years, they will all be on their own very unique paths until they are eventually all in the second plane together. Somehow, time has slipped away from me and Henry is nearly 7. And, we find him firmly in the second plane of development.  Second Plane of Development The second plane marks a huge …

Velcro Block DIY -- Montessori Young Toddler Week 2

{My dear friend Amy convinced me that it was time to call this Montessori Toddler series instead of baby. #alltheemotions so the name change is official now}
Older babies and young toddlers are constantly exploring their environment. They are trying to figure out every tiny detail and how it all fits together to make the big, wonderful world we live in. Often, we as adults feel they need big fancy materials to meet their needs. But, in reality, they really don't. They need lots of time and few simple that everyone just loves it. 

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For our family, that simple material has been our Velcro block! I made this simple toy way back when Henry was a toddler and it has been a favorite for each of my kids since then. It is so so simple. On and off, off and on -- over and over again. It take a little bit of effort. It makes a satisfying noise. It has interesting textures. There is really just so much to explore, in such a simple way. 

To m…

On Our Montessori Bookshelves this Christmas

With Christmas around the corner, one of my favorite things to do with my kids is sit down and read a big pile of Christmas books. If we happen to have a fire in our fireplace and some hot chocolate, even better! Last year, I got a bit tired of reading the same holiday books for more than a month at a time, so this year, I added a few to our collection. With those and a trip to our local library, we have a nice selection to read from this year! 

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In case anyone is looking for some Montessori friendly options for Christmas, I thought I would share the Montessori friendly Christmas books that are on our shelves this year! 
Row 1: Lucy & Tom at Christmas | Night Tree |  Henry and Mudge and a Very Merry Christmas | Christmas in Noisy Village | How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
Row 2: Alfie's Christmas | The Twelve Days of Christmas |  Polar Express
Row 3: The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree: An Appalachian Story | The Christma…

Montessori Planes of Development -- First Plane 3-6

Nora, Henry, and Augustus are not all that far apart in age - a little over 5.5 years separates the three of them. But, in this moment in time, they are all so distinctly different, especially from a development standpoint. 

Maria Montessori found that children pass through four distinct planes of development over their childhoods. These planes last approximately six years each. As I said in my first post, Nora and Gus are both in the first plane (ages birth to 6.) Henry, however, is in the second plane (ages 6 to 12.) Nora and Gus will eventually join Henry in the second plane before he enters the third plane at around age 12, so this really is a unique time for our family.  First Plane of Development Now, like I mentioned before, the first plane is broken down into two sub-planes: ages birth to 3, and ages 3 to 6. Gus is in the first sub-plane. And, Nora, she is in the second sub-plane. Now to add to the uniqueness of this time, Gus will actually join Nora in the second sub-plane b…

Choice and Respect -- Montessori Young Toddler Week 1

I asked after my last post if anyone wanted me to continue my weekly baby series for another year, and the answer was a resounding "yes!" So, here we are! Another year, at some point I'll have to call this a toddler series, but for now I will stick with baby. I make no promises or guarantees about finishing it, but I will do my best! 
Montessori at it's core is about respect for the child. This includes respecting the child's own unique developmental path, respecting a child's choices, respecting a child's feelings, respecting that a child has different opinions, and so much more. But, there are times when as the adult you know that something has to occur, and in those moments a child may not want to stick with your plan. And then this can feel tricky. You want to show respect, but something still needs to get done. A child needs to take medicine, for example. Or a child can't run into a street. Or you need to take the child somewhere. 

For us, for Au…

Montessori Friendly Toys at 10 Months

What do babies need from a Montessori perspective? The clear answer - a prepared environment that gives them love, and allows them to explore their interests. Usually that environment includes a few quality materials for a baby to explore. The exact materials should be those that interest the child and meet the needs of the child using the environment.  
I'm sharing Augustus' favorites around 10 months here. Some he started using earlier, some he is still using at 12 months! So, the time range is approximate. 

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If you look closely there is a clear theme here among Gus' favorites for this time period -- pegging toys! He loves to put things in and take things out. And so we used materials to help fill this need. Here are Gus' favorites around 10 months: 
1. Handmade fabric blocks
2. Small bead mover
3. Montessori egg and cup and peg and cup
4. Imbucare box
5. Pop Up Toy
6. Circle Single Shape Puzzle
7. DIY in/out  buc…

Montessori Planes of Development -- First Plane 0-3

It occurred to me the other day that Henry, Nora, and Gus are really in unique places in their development at this moment -- each with their own needs, natural desires and interests. While each child is unique, there are some tenancies that children of certain ages possess. Maria Montessori called these general chunks of time "planes of development." Each of these planes has different characteristics. And, in this brief moment, it is so perfectly clear at my house just how unique each of these planes of development really is. 

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Montessori breaks the planes of development into four unique periods of development, where some general characteristics can be identified in children. In my house, my kids are in the first two! So I thought I would do a little series on the three distinct periods that my kids are currently in! The first up is 0-3!  First Plane of Development   The first plane of development last from birth until ag…

Practical Life - Buttoning

There's a new obsession brewing at our home. A stop what you're doing, no matter where you are, kind of obsession. It's leading to new challenges, and new victories! It's buttoning! Suddenly Nora cannot get enough. She wants to choose any and every outfit with a button -- big buttons, small buttons, sparkly buttons, wooden buttons -- she wants them all! 

At nearly 3.5-years-old, this makes total sense. She has moved from the unconscious absorbent mind worker of the 0-3 period into the conscious absorbent mind stage of 3 to 6. She has the determination, concentration, and stamina to refine her skills and strengthen her hand. She is less interested in the practical aspects of putting on a coat/sweater/shirt like a toddler, but she's loves the detail work.

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At home, I'm doing a couple things to fill this need for her. One is TIME. It's the easiest and hardest thing for me to give. All she needs is time to f…

Play at 12 Months -- Montessori Baby Week 52

Well, we made it to week 52! One whole year with a Montessori baby post a week! I really really can't believe that I finished, to be honest! The big question now is -- should I continue a weekly series for the next year?  
This past Sunday Augustus officially turned 1-year-old! It's incredible just how fast life goes with three children. The whole year feels like a blur, and I'm actually quite grateful to this series having recorded a little bit about Gus each week. 

At 12 months, I can start to see little changes in Gus that point to his impending toddler-hood. There are suddenly signs of frustration when he can't do something - either because he can't figure it out or because a limit has been set. There is a budding curiosity finger pointing and the words "dis?" {this?} and "dat?" {that?} There is a new joy in making decisions, and having them understood and respected. 

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His play is startin…

Waldorf Paper Stars

A couple of months ago, you may remember that my dear friend Amy came to visit. While she was here, she brought a Waldorf paper star inspired kit for us to do together after the kids went to bed! Yay for crafting with friends! We tried it together and it was a lot of fun! Fast forward to now, and I've decided that I would love to make more of them as decorations for Christmas! 
If you aren't familiar with Waldorf paper stars, they are colorful folded stars made from kite paper. The thick, yet translucent paper makes the most beautiful designs when folded and glued together. And, don't even get me started on how lovely it looks in the sunlight! 

Top: 1 | 2 | 3 Bottom: 1 | 2 | 3
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So far, I have made five {only four pictured} and they are really soothing! I'm not very good at making them perfect, but I am really enjoying the process! I have used this paper for making all of my stars. 
Tutorials Here are some easy to fol…

Our Advent Box - Advent Ideas for Montessori Families

My favorite time of the year is nearly here! I love Christmas time and everything about it! Simply everything about this time is magical. And, if it's magical to me, I know it's even more so to my children! Since Advent is such a small window of time, I like to be intentional about how we are celebrating the season together.
In the past, we have always done some sort of Advent calendar to count down the days until Christmas. They have typically been something store bought and have worked well. But, we had so much fun with our fall bucket list, that I wanted to do something similar for Advent! So, I decided we would do an Advent box.

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Basically, I bought a pretty Christmas box {just a cheap gift wrapping one} and each day the children can open it to find a Christmas themed activity that we will do that day, or a small trinket gift. I thought I would share my list in case anyone is still looking for ideas on how to celebrate t…

Outdoor Exploration - Montessori Baby Week 51

Maria Montessori often wrote about the importance of time in nature with children and having a connection to the natural world. There is so much to be learned by watching and experiencing all the world around us. There is beauty in nature, harmony, strength, resilience, and order. These things are naturally attractive to a child. This is a really great collection of Montessori quotes on the importance of nature from How We Montessori, if you want to read more of Maria's words directly! 
I often write about all the things that Augustus is up to inside, which can make it seem like we aren't spending time outside. This is more of an "I don't bring my camera outside as much" issue than a "we're not outside" issue. In fact, we try to go outside everyday! 

And, this isn't a new or recent development, Gus' outdoor time started when he was just a few weeks old -- despite the fact that he was born at the beginning of winter. We would bundle him up an…