Articles from 2018

December 27, 2018

Top 10 Posts for 2018

Top 10 Posts for 2018
As 2018 winds down, I wanted to take some time to thank all of you who have stopped by The Kavanaugh Report this year. I feel so incredibly lucky to have this wonderful community of people that share in the joy of Montessori with me here and on social media. I feel like every time any of us chooses Montessori for our children we are moving the world toward a better future. In the words of Maria Montessori, "it is hoped that when the sentiment of love for all subjects can be aroused in children, people in general will become more human." I always love to end the year with a look at the top posts. So, without further ado, here were the top 10 posts on The Kavanaugh Report for 2018... 10.  PLAY KITCHENS AND MONTESSORI HOMES 9.  THE NEED TO THROW -- MONTESSORI YOUNG TODDLER WEEK 8 8.  WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO "FOLLOW THE CHILD?" 7.  5 THINGS I DO EVERYDAY AS A MONTESSORI PARENT 6. DIY {IKEA HACK} WASH BASIN 5.  MONTESSORI TODDLER WARDROBE - IKEA BESTA HACK
December 20, 2018

Montessori Friendly Play - A Visual Timeline 3 to 6 Months

Montessori Friendly Play - A Visual Timeline 3 to 6 Months
Today, I’m continuing my Montessori friendly play visual timeline project with months 3 to 6.  SEE PART 1: BIRTH TO 3 MONTHS HERE In this timeline, you can see there is a slight shift away from visual development to the development of the hand. It’s during their period that most babies will start to grasp, mouth, move, and explore more in their environment. 
December 17, 2018

A Look at Bedtime - Preschoolers and Elementary

A Look at Bedtime - Preschoolers and Elementary
A few weeks ago, I wrote about how we approach bedtime with babies and toddlers . Basically our approach can be summed up with the words "flexible routine." We follow the child and give space to allow our kids to follow their natural rhythm. And, we follow much the same routine as our children get older. We want to give them the space to follow their own sleep needs while respecting the fact that young children crave order and routine.  Again, I want to say, I'm not a sleep expert. I am simply sharing what works for our family. This doesn't mean my kids are amazing sleepers. This means that I feel good about the amount of respect we are showing them and the amount of rest they are getting each day.  Preschool (3ish to 6ish) Much like when they were toddlers, I feel like my kids have always settled into a sleep routine throughout their preschool years. This routine is supported by our own simple evening schedule. Post dinner includes baths , then pjs, then a fa
December 13, 2018

Montessori Friendly Play -- A Visual Timeline 0-3 Months

Montessori Friendly Play -- A Visual Timeline 0-3 Months
There are so many amazing Montessori baby toys and play ideas out there. With so many choices, and a brand new baby, it can be difficult to decide when to introduce what. So, I thought I would create a visual timeline for Montessori friendly play for the first year of life! This is the first post in a series of posts, broken up in 3 month sections. Below the timeline are some resources to learn more about each of these materials. 
December 12, 2018

Scooter and Ride On Toys for Toddlers

Scooter and Ride On Toys for Toddlers
Believe it or not, Augustus just turned 2-years-old a couple weeks ago! I don't know how time is flying so fast, but somehow it is. With his birthday, Gus seems to have a new sudden interest in gross motor skills. Gus has always been on the slower end of things when it comes to developing these skills - especially if you compare him to Nora/Henry who were both walking well before their first birthdays. Part of it is Gus's personality and own developmental path, part of it is his low muscle tone. All that is to say, that Gus is just now starting to become interested in ride on toys. It all seems to click all of a sudden and he takes pleasure riding around the house on his little scooter bike. Nora was doing the same thing by 12/13 months. And, Henry, I think even earlier. So, it's been a great reminder about how all children are on their own path to skills. Whether fast or slow, it doesn't matter. This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  1  |  2
December 10, 2018

Celebrating Advent with Children - How we Use an Advent Spiral

Celebrating Advent with Children - How we Use an Advent Spiral
With Advent here, our family is focusing our attention as much as possible on preparing for Christmas. For us, this means preparing for Christmas in the religious sense. Maria Montessori recognized the great connection that children had to God and their great capacity for a religious life. Even from a very young age (our formal religious instruction begins at 3), children have an immense capacity to know and understand God. 
December 07, 2018

Self-Care and the Prepared Adult

Self-Care and the Prepared Adult
In this place in my life, as a mom of 3 kids, I find that often self-care is at the bottom of my list of priorities. I find that I often place myself last on my own list of priorities. And, you know what I can always tell when that happens. I start feeling like I'm dragging, I get snippy with my kids and I have a harder time seeing the bigger picture in a lot of issues. Basically, without self-care, I find myself unprepared for the realities of parenting three small children.  Obviously, being unprepared is a problem. It's not fair to myself or to my children. Maria Montessori too talked about the importance of a prepared adult. She recognized that adults had a vital and important role in the life of a child. But not just any adult - a prepared adult. Maria stressed the importance of shaping ourselves for this work. For turning our focus not to the child but to ourselves and to the environment. As Montessori said, "the adult himself is part of the child's enviro
December 05, 2018

Practical Stocking Stuffer Ideas - Baby to Elementary

Practical Stocking Stuffer Ideas - Baby to Elementary
'Tis the season for thinking about gifts for your children. But, it can be completely overwhelming to think about getting a whole bunch of new toys for your home. Gift giving season can also be a great time to add to the practical materials your child has access to. These often make great stocking stuffers because of their child-friendly size! So, don't be afraid to skip toys in your child's stocking in favor of something a bit more practical. 
December 03, 2018

Easy Toddler Tray - Washi Tape Pull

Easy Toddler Tray - Washi Tape Pull
Curious little toddlers seem to always be pulling something apart, don't they? Not only are they in the sensitive period for small objects - which makes them extra aware of all those little details around us - they are also seeking to develop their fine motor skills. That's not to mention the sensitive period for order which creates in the child a desire to have everything just in its place. So, it's no wonder that little toddlers find tiny pieces of fuzzy on the carpet and sit and pick it apart. Or the stickers off of clothes in a shop. Or any little thing that is out of place. 
November 20, 2018

Our Montessori Friendly Christmas List 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!
November 19, 2018

A Look at Bedtime - Babies and Toddlers

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. This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  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 sugges
November 16, 2018

A Current Montessori Shelfie

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.  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.   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 lo
November 15, 2018

Supporting Letter Learning at Home

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
November 12, 2018

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

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
November 09, 2018

Celebrating Martinmas - Thoughts on Adult Led Art Projects and Montessori

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
November 07, 2018

Maximum Effort - Quotes to Consider

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.  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  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 b
November 06, 2018

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

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:  pr
November 05, 2018

Montessori Friendly Gifts for Multiple Kids

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. This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  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 cho
November 02, 2018

4 Montessori Quotes to Consider this Weekend

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 pow
November 01, 2018

Transferring as Early Math Work

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.  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  One-to-one correspondence is the concept that each object represents one thing. Ev