Articles from 2017

December 29, 2017

Goodbye 2017 - Top Montessori Posts from the Year

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.  1.  A MONTESSORI APPROACH TO PURGING YOUR TOYS 2.  THE PROBLEM WITH TOO MANY TOYS 3.  WHAT IS MONTESSORI? 4.  MONTESSORI HOME -- 5 THINGS YOU CAN DO TODAY 5.  FAVORITE MONTESSORI FRIENDLY TOYS -- 24 TO 30 MONTHS 6.  THE LINK BETWEEN WATER AND INDEPENDENCE 7.  INTRODUCING PRACTICAL LIFE TO MONTESSORI BABIES AND TODDLERS 8.  REALITIES OF A MONTESSORI FLOOR BED -- MONTESSORI BABY WEEK 32 9.  OUR CHILDREN'S MONTESSORI KITCHEN As exciting as 2017 has been, 2
December 27, 2017

Young Toddler Object Permanence -- Montessori Young Toddler Week 4

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.  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. 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
December 26, 2017

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 pos
December 21, 2017

Sweeping -- Montessori Young Toddler Week 3

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.  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  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
December 18, 2017

Montessori Planes of Development -- Second Plane 6-12

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. 
December 15, 2017

Velcro Block DIY -- Montessori Young Toddler Week 2

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.  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  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
December 12, 2017

On Our Montessori Bookshelves this Christmas

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!  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  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
December 11, 2017

Montessori Planes of Development -- First Plane 3-6

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. 
December 08, 2017

Choice and Respect -- Montessori Young Toddler Week 1

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.  F
December 06, 2017

Montessori Friendly Toys at 10 Months

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.  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  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 Puzzl
December 05, 2017

Montessori Planes of Development -- First Plane 0-3

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. 
December 04, 2017

Practical Life - Buttoning

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. This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  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 need
December 01, 2017

Play at 12 Months -- Montessori Baby Week 52

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.  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. 
November 30, 2017

Waldorf Paper Stars

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   This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. 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.  Tuto
November 29, 2017

Our Advent Box - Advent Ideas for Montessori Families

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. This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. 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 h
November 27, 2017

Outdoor Exploration - Montessori Baby Week 51

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 bundl
November 21, 2017

5 Things You Can Do Today -- Montessori Baby

5 Things You Can Do Today -- Montessori Baby
Montessori is a way of life that starts at birth! But it can be a bit overwhelming to think about making a ton of changes to your home when you are trying to take care of a baby. The good news is that Montessori with babies doesn't have to be that hard. Making a few changes to respect your baby and give opportunities for independence and concentration is all you need.  There are some steps that you can take TODAY to incorporate Montessori with your baby. Here are 5 things YOU can do TODAY!  Take your baby {no matter your baby's age} outside, sit down with him/her and watch your baby explore. Don't direct exploration, but label your baby's discoveries.  Choose your baby's favorite 5 toys, place on the floor, low shelf or along the edge of a blanket. Let your baby explore freely.  Hang a low piece of art in a play or sleeping space - make it high contrast for tiny babies, make it realistic for older ones.  Dedicated a spot on the floor {in t
November 20, 2017

A Little - Pikler Inspired - Climber with Lily & River

A Little - Pikler Inspired - Climber with Lily & River
Somehow one year has flashed by in the blink of an eye; somehow my tiny baby has morphed into this fantastic little tiny toddler. In just a couple of days Augustus will officially turn 1-year-old. Since his birthday falls so close to Thanksgiving, we have celebrated a little bit early. And, we're celebrating with a Lily & River Little Climber !  If you have followed Gus' story, then you know he has had some physical limitations from the time he was born including torticollis and low muscle tone. Everyday this awesome little baby overcomes those challenges on his perfect little path. And, because he is so amazing, Gus has made giant leaps and his doing wonderfully. He is on the verge of walking, but will be fitted with ankle braces in the very near future, to help support him through this process. But, as always, we will follow his lead, give him space and time, and prepare the environment for his success!   And, now, that environment includes one of these awe
November 18, 2017

An Unexpected Treasure Basket -- Montessori Baby Week 50

An Unexpected Treasure Basket -- Montessori Baby Week 50
I have talked about using treasure baskets many times with Montessori babies. A small basket with a variety of interesting things is a great way to allow your baby to explore a variety of objects, textures, sounds, and other sensory experiences. We have done lots of treasure baskets with Gus. Most I just pick a few object I think he would like to explore and stick the basket on his shelf. But, this week’s surprised me! And reminded me that Montessori doesn’t have to be nearly as complicated as it can look/feel. This week, I bought a small set of perler bead templates from IKEA for the older kids. At some point, Gus got a hold of them and was hooked. They are just simple shapes with with a bit of texture. So I threw them in a basket, and put on a low shelf for Gus. And, he loves it!  So, remember there is power in simplicity! There is amazement in the everyday. There is wonder everywhere. Baby toys don't need to be complicated, expensive, exotic or big. Be crea