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Showing posts from November, 2018

Our Montessori Friendly Christmas List 2018

With the holidays right around the corner, I always get lots of questions about what is on my kid's actual Christmas lists. While you can find lots of Montessori friendly toy ideas here, this list is specifically curated to the things that I think will appeal most to my kids. But, there are tons of ideas here if you are looking for your kids!

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Now, remember, these are just the lists that I've made. My kids will NOT get all of this for Christmas. Depending on sales and availability, I will pick a few things for each of them, plus a couple of joint gifts. The lists have also been passed on to Grandparents/etc who request ideas for the kids.  Henry Henry will be 8 in March! His ideas reflect his current interests. They are still hands on, and interactive, but for the first time ever technology has been included on our list. I've highlighted the ones I'm leaning towards buying. 

A Look at Bedtime - Babies and Toddlers

One of the questions I get the most is, "what does bedtime look like at your house?" And the short answer is that this changes based on the age of the child you're talking about. Every child, just like with anything, is different and has his/her own sleep patterns and rhythms. We as adults try to respect that and still make the routine work for us.
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Maria Montessori's own influences certainly play a role in how we approach bedtime. Some quotes that we keep in mind around bedtime {from The Secret of Childhood} include: 
"He has need of and certainly should get, a normal amount of sleep, but it is necessary to distinguish between what is suitable and what is artificially induced. A stronger person through  suggestion can impose his own will upon one who is weaker. An adult who forces a child to sleep more than he needs is unconsciously forcing his own will upon the child through the power of suggestion." M…

A Current Montessori Shelfie

I've recently been playing around with the materials in our playroom. I've cut way back on the number of things available for both Nora and Gus. I really like the feel of the room with this arrangement. But, we're all still adjusting to it, and I make no promises that I won't change it again. Ha! 
So, here's a look at what's on our play shelf right now. 

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On Top: variety of plants | DIY Continent Globe
Top Shelf: Ring Slider (from MontiKids use Code NICOLE for $30 off) | Basket of Children | Size Sorter (the design is really nice, but the quality is terrible, so I won't link, I'm looking for an alternative brand of a puzzle like this) | 2-piece jigsaw puzzles (only 2 matches)
Middle Shelf: Grimms Rainbow & Grimms Mini Wave | Garbage/Recycling Truck | HABA pallet of pegs
Lower Shelf: Seasons Layer Puzzle (given the price of this, I'm assuming this is no longer made, here's an alternative) |…

Supporting Letter Learning at Home

Nora is right in the middle of learning letter sounds at school, but that learning doesn't stop and start at the doors of her classroom. In fact, she's in the middle of an explosion of sorts where her whole day is letters and sounds. That's the thing about waiting until that perfect lightbulb-ish time. Then, it just clicks for them. If you've been around awhile you know that I'm a huge proponent for waiting to introduce letters until after toddler-hood. And, this is why. Once they are ready, they are ready! 

While Nora's guide in her Montessori Children's House determined exactly when to introduce Nora to sandpaper letters and letter sounds, we have done things here at home to support that learning. I also want to make it clear that Nora's guide recommended practicing with sandpaper letters at home (she just tells parents to DIY them, but we already had a set from our homeschoooling days so we are using those). So what are we doing? '

This post incl…

If This, then Try...Montessori Materials and Toys Version

The Montessori classroom has so many amazing materials for young children. But, its hard to recreate a children's house in your own home. And, it's not necessary. A lot of time Montessori guides don't encourage or want a child to use traditional materials at home anyway. It can make children less interested in the work they have available at school. 
But, that doesn't mean you can't support your child's learning at home. There are many mainstream toys that help children meet similar needs that they could practice/work with at home! Here are a few examples for children in a children's house (3-6 Montessori classroom). 
This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  Sandpaper Letters | Letter Book If your kid likes sandpaper letters then try Around the World from A to Z. Both help with letter recognition and provide a tactile outlet.  Number Rods |  Stepped Counting Blocks If your kid likes number rods, then try these stepped counting blocks. Both are w…

Celebrating Martinmas - Thoughts on Adult Led Art Projects and Montessori

I rarely set up specific art projects for my kids instead favoring open ended art supplies and their own creativity. But, there are times when I know that a small prompt will lead to fun exploration - as long as we all keep our expectations in check! 

I recently decided that this year our family would celebrate Martinmas (the celebration of St. Martin de Tours). As Catholics, it was a great mid-autumn celebration and an example of something I felt like fit our family values. And, while this celebration is more common in the Waldorf community, I went ahead and adapted it for our Montessori family. So, here's how we approach specific art projects. 
This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  Spark Interest The first thing I try to do is spark interest in the project. This can be either with a specific purpose in mind (like when we make Christmas gifts) or with a specific celebration, like Martinmas. There's lots of ways to do this but for this specific craft I chose t…

Maximum Effort - Quotes to Consider

Maximum effort has been on my mind a lot lately as Gus has been SUPER into all the heavy work. The need to reach maximum effort is a phenomenon that Maria Montessori observed in toddlers - typically between the ages of  18-months and 2.5 years old. Suddenly, after learning to walk toddlers have a a strong need to do heavy and hard work. They are building on their new found freed by building strength. 

Maria Montessori wrote a lot about this specific developmental phase. And, I wanted to share some of her wisdom and ideas for how children might reach maximum effort.  Quotes from Maria Montessori, Education for a New World "An important and visible factor at the age of one-and-a-half years is strength in both hands and feet, and, in consequence, the child's urge in doing anything is to use the maximum effort." "
"First the child prepares his instruments, hands and feet, then he gets strength by exercise, and next looks at what other people are doing, and sets to…

What Do My {Screen Free} Kids Do After School?

Nora and Henry both attend Montessori schools each week day. Most days, Nora is only in school for one work cycle  (3 hours in Montessori) so she spends most of her days still at home. Henry is in school for a traditional school day (no before or aftercare), so there are still several afternoon and evening hours here at home. What do we do to fill those hours? 

The simple answer is play! They have the freedom to play. The freedom to explore their interests. To develop and nurture their sibling relationship. To simply be. What that really looks like changes from day to day. But there are some common factors to our afternoon including:  Opportunities for Independence  As a Montessori family allowing opportunities for independence are key to our everyday existence. This extends beyond the classroom into our very own prepared environment here at home. Now, this independence can look different ways depending on the child and on the day. Some examples of this can include:  preparing their o…

Montessori Friendly Gifts for Multiple Kids

When you have more than one (or two) kids at home the amount of things you have available for your children can quickly become overwhelming. Choosing toys that can be used by multiple children can be handy control clutter and chaos. 
In Montessori, toys often ideally have a single purpose. We want materials that have a clear beginning, middle, and end. This can make it a bit more difficult to find a toy that would work, for example, for a 1-year-old and a 2.5-year-old. Or would work with two 1-year-olds. 
But, it’s not impossible! While it often requires a little bit of flexibility, some toys will work wonderfully for children of multiple ages or for multiple children. Here are some examples of toys that can be used with multiple children.
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Open Ended Toys Open ended toys are the exception to the singular purpose of Montessori toys. While you won’t often find these in Montessori classrooms, they are a great choice for Montessori ho…

4 Montessori Quotes to Consider this Weekend

This week I have been completely absorbed in reading a new (to me) Montessori text - Education for a New World. There's so much wisdom here. And, I just had to share. So here are a few quotes to consider over the weekend!  For Babies/Toddlers "At birth he frees himself from the prison, the mothers body, and achieves independence of the functions of the mother; he endowed with the urge to face and conquer the environment, but for this the environment must be attractive to him. What he feels may not inappropriately be called a love for his environment." Maria Montessori  How am I providing the opportunities my child is naturally called to? How am I hindering him with things I've added or taken from the environment?
For Preschoolers  "It must be remembered that in the small child of three years the inner teacher is still at work guiding him unerringly, and when we speak of the free child, we mean one following the guidance of that nature which is so powerful withi…

Transferring as Early Math Work

Toddlers love to transfer! They just love it! And the best way to engage them in transferring work is to make it REAL and PRACTICAL. So, moving laundry from the washer to the dryer, scooping/spooning/tonging food from a serving bowl to an individual plate, pouring water from a pitcher to their drinking cup, etc. But, sometimes that need to transfer is so strong that they will love a tray work meant specifically for transferring. 
Gus is at that stage right now! But instead of having something where he is endlessly transferring without purpose, I decided to change it up a little bit and sneak in a bit of math. As I've said before, toddlerhood isn't for teaching academic concepts to your child. But, it is about laying a foundation for this work to come later on. One way to do that is with some one-to-one correspondence work. 

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One-to-one correspondence is the concept that each object represents one thing. Eventually, these th…