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Showing posts from April, 2017

Montessori Puzzle Ball - Montessori Baby Week 21

Augustus is officially 5-months-old and it's completely blowing my mind. He is still such an easy going, happy, curious little {well, actually he's huge} guy. He is definitely on his own path of development and watching him unfold has been such a wonderful gift. Over the past week, I have watched Gus make the most incredible discovery -- his feet! And, this reminded me -- it's time to get out the Montessori puzzle ball

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While he has explored objects with his feet before, usually on his play gym, he has never been as capable or interested in grabbing and exploring them. This past week, it ALL he wants to do. Which is super cute, and a little frustrating -- like when you lay him down to sleep and his feet immediately pop up to be played with! As this exploration increases, I was looking for ways to challenge him and keep him engaged, and the puzzle ball is just the perfect way to do that.

A Montessori puzzle ball is a gr…

What We're Reading -- April

We're continuing the year of Montessori friendly reading with this month's collection of books. There are so many great books out there that I find myself getting way way too many each month. Thank goodness for the library! 

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Here's what we've been reading this month:

Column 1:Hi Cat! | Disappearing Acts | Louie | Plant a Pocket of Prairie
Column 2:Eye To Eye | Building our House | Tree
Column 3:Young Gardener | Nora's Ark | Koalas

My favorite was Plant a Pocket of Prairie -- a Minnesota specific book! Nora's favorite was Tree. Henry's favorite was Building our House {such a good one and one we have read many times before}. 

What have you been reading this month? Do you have a favorite Montessori friendly book? 

How We Tummy Time -- Montessori Baby Week 20

Tummy time can be one of these challenging areas in the infant Montessori community where everyone sort of has their own way of handling it. While I have talked about natural gross motor development, I haven't really addressed how we tummy time.
So, the sort of standard American pediatric advice is that babies, starting at birth should play on their tummies as much as possible to combat all the time they spend sleeping on their backs. But, the reality is that many babies hate being on their tummy simply because they do sleep on their back. This can make tummy time a challenge for parents.

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For the Montessori community, in particular, tummy time is one of those things where people may agree with the standard advice or they may believe children should only be placed on their bellies when they can roll to their belly on their own. There's really just not a super clear consensus here.
We personally fall somewhere in the middle.…

4 Tips to Encourage Independent Dressing

There are so many ways for toddlers to exert their independence at home. Whether it is through preparing their own meal, or choosing what toy they want to use, Montessori toddlers have the ability to make choices and carry them out on their own. Dressing is no exception to this! Independent dressing is not only an important life skill, but can be a source of pride and creativity for a child. But, without the right help, it can also be a frustrating task. Here are 4 tips to encourage independent dressing at home.

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Montessori tips for encouraging independent dressing Here are four tips for encouraging independent dressing at home. While there are likely others, these are my must-dos. SEE NORA IN ACTION HERE. Make Choices Accessible  First, like in all Montessori environments, things must be accessible. Toddlers aren't going to be able to learn how to make choices and carry out their decision, if you are always the one driving the…

5 Montessori Kitchen Spaces to Love

One of the things I love about Montessori spaces is that there is not a one-fits-all approach to designing spaces. Each Montessori space is it's own unique entity designed to fit the needs of the children using the space. A Montessori space can be created any where, on any budget. And, it makes every one interesting to explore! And, I can't get enough! So, I have to share! Here are 5 Montessori kitchen spaces to love!  Each one has it's own unique flavor and set up. Each of these are from Instagram where I could spend hours looking at Montessori spaces!
5 Montessori Kitchens to LoveMelissa's kitchen space is just lovely! I love that it's built on a shelving unit but still completely accessible. I also love the water source solution, how empowering for her boys!Rachanchan Pedagoxia Montessori's kitchen is just dreamy in all this natural light! Again, a wonderful water source and lots of working space!Amy at Midwest Montessori's kitchen cabinet is what self-…

Movement Area with a Roller -- Montessori Baby Week 19

I have mentioned this a few times now but Gus is really starting to move around now! He rolls to his belly, he wiggles his way around on his back, and has been spotted rotating his body an entire 360 degrees. I have always found these first attempts at movement to be completely adorable. He's not quite where I put him anymore, but not really going far. I think it's fair to say that his squishy newborn days are over. 

As a result, we've made some changes to our movement area with a roller. In order to make sure we have a space that meets his needs, updating this space will be a must. However, we don't want to change anything too drastically to upset his newly forming sense of order and familiarity. 
Changes to the Movement Area with Rolling
So far, the changes to the movement area have been slight. The biggest change has been removing the mat that Augustus used as a newborn. He probably still could have used this for a bit, but I don't want it to prohibit his movem…

Introducing Practical Life to Montessori Babies and Toddlers

Doing practical activities is such an important part of Montessori -- both at home and in a classroom. An emphasis is placed on practical life because learning these types of skills is not only attractive to kids but it's an important step on the road to independence. 

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However, it can feel a little overwhelming to start to give babies {yes, babies!} and toddlers this type of independence. So, here are four steps to consider when introducing practical life to Montessori babies and toddlers.
Make it Practical First, you have to make it practical! I mean really practical. I'm not talking sensory bins here. And, I'm not talking about the small work trays that isolate one type of motion. Practical is folding real laundry, it's getting themselves a drink, it's helping to cook a meal, it's cleaning a real mess, and it's caring for a real plant. There's are so many amazing ways that both babies and toddlers …

Montessori Friendly Baby Toys at 4 Months

For the first few months, babies really don't need many extras. They may enjoy a Montessori mobile or some black and white images, but most of the time they are just soaking up the world around them and concentrated on adjusting to the big new world around them. Then, all of a sudden, they discover their hands and a new type of sensory exploration begins! With this discovery, you can introduce some new materials for the baby to explore. Here are our favorite Montessori friendly baby toys at 4 months!

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For Augustus, offering a small variety of simple toys has been really great! Some of these are the same as the ones we used for Nora at this age, and some are new and have changed as we have learned and grown into Montessori. This really is just about everything Gus has ever played with, maybe with the exception of some fabric and his Montessori mobiles. While he is 4-months now, I expect many of these will be his favorites for th…

Natural Gross Motor Development -- Montessori Baby Week 18

When you think about Montessori, there are so many different things you can think about -- the beautiful academic work, independent children, child-sized furniture, or natural materials. No matter what comes to mind, the freedom of movement probably drives some of the reasoning behind your Montessori idea. Allowing a child the freedom of movement is a Montessori essential that cannot be avoided in any Montessori, or Montessori inspired environment. The freedom of movement is so important that it starts at birth with natural gross motor development.

Now that Gus has started moving, and officially rolling, I thought it would be a good time to talk about natural gross motor development. When I first heard the term natural gross motor development it sounded sort of odd. Isn't all gross motor development, natural? What on earth does it mean? But, the more I talked to Montessorians and read, the more it has made sense. But, believe me, I still have a lot to learn. 
In really basic term…