Articles from June 2017

June 30, 2017

Reading to Your Baby from Birth -- Montessori Baby Week 30

Reading to Your Baby from Birth -- Montessori Baby Week 30
Reading had clearly been on my brain this week! And, that includes reading with Augustus. I haven't written about this yet, but we start reading to our babies at birth! Even from his earliest days, we have been sitting together and reading books.  Even small babies love to listen to the sound of another's voice well before they have the ability to sit and comprehend an entire book. Baby's learn to speak from hearing and watching you talk. As, Lynne Lawrence explains in the book Montessori Read and Write , "Through focus on her language environment your child acquires the ability to reproduce the sounds of her mother tongue with all its nuances, dialects and intonations."   This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  Favorite Baby Books include Creature Colors | Mama and Baby | Black & White | Pinhole Press Family Book | Smile | I Hear Reading to your baby doesn't have to be complicated or daunting. But, it can feel a lit
June 29, 2017

7 Inspiring Montessori Reading Spaces

7 Inspiring Montessori Reading Spaces
Reading is such an important part of our lives here. Not a day goes by when I don't find my kids wrapped up in a book. And, we try to read for at least an hour a day together. I think part of the reason that we all love reading so much is that we have made it such an important part of our home. Whether they are from the library or our personal collection, are books everywhere. But, there is no one way that a Montessori environment has to incorporate books. In fact, there are so many great, creative solutions to fit any size space. So, I thought I would share some of the reading spaces that I've been inspired by lately! Here are 7  inspiring Montessori reading spaces  from Instagram !  A post shared by The Montessori Notebook (@themontessorinotebook) on Apr 10, 2017 at 5:19am PDT I love how perfectly simple this space is! It's cozy but also has a great variety of choices. A post shared by Melissa Kemendo (@vibrantwanderings) on Jun 28, 2017 a
June 28, 2017

Montessori Friendly Baby Toys at 6 Months

Montessori Friendly Baby Toys at 6 Months
As Augustus gets older his need to explore the environment continues to grow. He needs movement, rich language, and a few things to explore. Here is a look at his favorite Montessori friendly baby toys at 6 months . In addition to these, he still loves many {if not most} of the toys he enjoyed at 4 months .  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  Because he doesn't sit up yet (and is a bit slower for all physical milestones) we haven't done as many treasure basket type Montessori work for him. It's really hard for him to explore while trying to keep his body stable. We've tried a couple times but it's led to too much frustration. This is totally fine with me, there's no rush!  Large oball  -- This is such a great size and makes a really interesting noise. The smaller ones frustrate Gus since they move so quickly, but this one doesn't. It's also a little heavier which is great for building some muscle strength.  Sophie th
June 26, 2017

3 Ways to Help Your Children Become Best Friends

3 Ways to Help Your Children Become Best Friends
Henry is 3 years and 3 months older than Nora, to the day. And, they are each other's best friends. When school started last fall they both spent significant amounts of time mourning the change in their relationship. And, now with summer vacation starting they are both spending significant amounts of time celebrating their new found togetherness. 
June 21, 2017

Woven Baskets

Woven Baskets
I'm on the hunt for some new woven baskets . I need something for a couple open ended materials that I would like to put on the shelves this summer for Henry now that he is home from school. I've been looking locally but haven't found anything that calls to me. "Especially at the beginning of life must we, therefore, make the environment as interesting and attractive as we can." Maria Montessori  I want something beautiful that calls to him {and likely Nora} but doesn't scream "this is a giant bin of toys! dump me out!" Well, this search led me down the rabbit hole of all things beautiful baskets online. So, just for fun, I thought I would share!   basket 1  |   basket 2  |  basket 3  |  basket 4  |  basket 5  |  basket 6  |  basket 7  |  basket 8  |  basket 9  |  basket 10  |  basket 11  |  basket 12 These are just examples of the kind of thing I'm looking for -- something sturdy, a decent size, and preferably fair-trade. Afforda
June 20, 2017

The Montessori Weaning Spoon -- Montessori Baby Week 29

The Montessori Weaning Spoon -- Montessori Baby Week 29
Montessori weaning is a fun and interesting adventure, and it is starting with Augustus! Introducing food to my babies has been one of my favorites parts about parenting so far. It's literally getting the opportunity to introduce the world to them. And, it's delightful! We personally use sort of a hybrid between Montessori weaning and baby led weaning. Aspects of both methods speak to me so we go with what works for us. This article is great at laying out the differences between the two. One part of Montessori weaning that we stick to is using real dining dishes and utensils with our kids from the beginning. This includes using a weaning spoon. This is basically a small spoon that a baby can really use as they baby is learning to eat. This is not a spoon for an adult to feed food to a baby, but a tool for the child. A first step toward independence.  "Now we have in front of use the most importation guest we can have at our table, the human being we con
June 19, 2017

8 Montessori Baby Spaces to Swoon Over

8 Montessori Baby Spaces to Swoon Over
I could spend all day looking at Montessori baby spaces! They are truly lovely. And, turns out that looking at them is the prefect way to pass the time when I'm up nursing in the middle of the night.  Here are 8 Montessori Baby Spaces to Swoon Over that I cannot stop looking at! Plus some really great Montessori Instagram accounts to follow! A post shared by Eltern vom Mars (@elternvommars) on Apr 6, 2017 at 11:38am PDT The light, the details, the floors! I love everything about this room! I also love that it incorporates some adult elements, because we all know how much newborns need their loving adult! A post shared by @creciendofelices (@creciendofelicesblog) on Jun 7, 2017 at 7:44am PDT I love the pull-up bar and the bright space! And the stars on the carpet! It just looks like a really fun place for an older baby. A post shared by J Whyte App (@jacquelby) on Jun 7, 2017 at 3:12pm PDT Isn't this the greatest floor bed
June 17, 2017

Interlocking Disks -- Montessori Baby Week 28

Interlocking Disks -- Montessori Baby Week 28
During the first year of a baby's life the gross motor leaps that a baby takes are seriously impressive. Babies are in the sensitive period for movement and literally go from not being able to support their own weight to coordinating all sorts of amazing movement. These are complicated skills that they pick up quickly and relatively easily! 
June 15, 2017

4 More Montessori Art Trays at 2

4 More Montessori Art Trays at 2
Toddlers need and seek order in their environment. If you want some work to call to a child -- make it beautiful and make it orderly. If they have to go gather all the "parts" of a toy or work, they are likely to get distracted, overwhelmed, or just plain frustrated and give up. This is one of the vital reasons for organizing materials onto trays/baskets in a Montessori space.  Art work is no different for toddlers, they need the order that comes with a tray. So organizing art into trays is often the best way to engage young children in artistic exploration. Then, as children get older, they can handle access to more open ended materials. I have shared some of Nora's art trays before , but here are 4 more art trays at 2 !  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  At nearly 3-years-old, Nora is starting to get more comfortable with open ended art supplies, but still isn't quite there. She likes pulling out a tray and using the work. This isn&#
June 13, 2017

Sensorial Learning at Home at 3-years-old

Sensorial Learning at Home at 3-years-old
Children have a deep need to develop their senses as they explore the world around them. It is through this development that they prepare themselves for the deeper learning that comes with many academic subjects. Unfortunately, many mainstream educational methods ignore the need for sensorial development and they skip right to traditional academic subjects like language and math. But, by doing so, children are often under-prepared to tackle these other topics.  You may notice this need for sensorial exploration start to creep in between 2.5-years-old and 3, although children are developing their senses from birth. I know that I have with Nora. It started with examining heavy objects. But, moved to questions like "what's that noise?" with far away or quiet sounds. Lately, it's been a lot of, "I smell something! What I smell?"  In these instances, it would be great to recreate a Montessori classroom at home for Nora to explore all the different
June 09, 2017

Montessori Mobiles With Older Babies

Montessori Mobiles With Older Babies
Friends, know that I have a slight obsession with Montessori mobiles! They are just the perfect way to engage a young baby and illicit concentration from the beginning of a child's life. And, they are just beautiful -- for babies and adults! The downside is that they don't last very long. 
June 08, 2017

Creating a Montessori Water Station in Your Home

Creating a Montessori Water Station in Your Home
The link between access to water and independent children is palpable. There is no way to deny it. By giving children access to water, we give them the ability -- should they want to exercise it -- to perform so many daily tasks. From simply drinking when they are thirsty to mopping the floor, water is key! Giving access, however, can feel overwhelming. But, by creating a Montessori water station in your home you can take some control over the situation.  Now, there are many ways to create a "water station." It does not have to be a real small working sink or some other elaborate set up. Choose a water source that is appropriate for your children. This could mean a beverage dispenser {as I discuss below}, a really small pitcher, the kitchen sink, or whatever solution you have for your space. What works for me, may not work for your space or kids. Follow YOUR children.  Creating a Water Station With all that being said, practically, here are some things we have
June 07, 2017

Realities of Water Use in a Montessori Home

Realities of Water Use in a Montessori Home
In order to create an environment that promotes independence for my children, we ensure that they have access to water in as many ways as possible throughout our home. But, before I share how I have set up our space, I want to talk a little bit about expectations. The realities of water use in a Montessori home may be different that what you expect. Let's consider our expectations and the realities of this type of independence.  There will be Spills I want to be clear that I'm not saying that if you set up water access like this that your kids will suddenly stop exploring with water. Or that this will never create a mess. Because they won't and it will. Water exploration is normal, but that's doesn't mean that water independence isn't worth it. Small children, toddlers especially, are still in the process of mastering their motor skills, they will make mistakes. And, hey, it's really fun to watch water fall to the floor or splash in a bowl. So,
June 06, 2017

The Link Between Water and Independence

The Link Between Water and Independence
Water is all around us. As adults, we use water every single day. We drink it, cook with it, bathe with it, clean with it. Water literally makes life possible. The link between water and independence is palpable, yet, for many children, water is taboo. It's given to them in small doses, in covered cups, or explored every few days during a bath. When we give children water the are expected to use it carefully without mess, without exploration. We literally restrict access to arguably the most important life sustaining material available. And, in the process we restrict children's ability to be independent. My Number 1 Tip to Encourage Independence Fostering independence is one of the most important and central tenets of Montessori. In the words of Maria Montessori, "the child’s conquests of independence are the basic steps in what is called his ‘natural development’.” In other words, children seek independence as a part of their natural development. They are dri