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Showing posts from July, 2019

Montessori and Baby Wearing - Some Quotes to Consider

The last couple of days I've been dealing with prodromal labor and a bunch of false contractions. Yesterday, it came to a head and I had to go get checked out at the doctor. Thankfully, like my last couple of pregnancies, the baby is snug -- my body is just confused and over-eager. Which makes sense - I do want to snuggle him ASAP, but 32 weeks doesn't seem like the best time to have a baby. It has got me thinking about bringing home a newborn and all the gloriousness of those cuddles, and that smell! I can't wait. 
Anyway, that's led me to want to share some about one of my favorite new baby past times - baby wearing. There are some in the Montessori community that discourage baby wearing claiming that it restricts movement too much and stifles independence. I personally, see it very differently. And, I believe Maria Montessori did too! I wanted to share a few quotes that I keep pondering as we get closer and closer to this baby stage again. 
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Don't Take Away Discovery

I was working with Henry the other day on some math materials during his homeschooling time. We were working together on the multiplication beads. I had presented the work to him and he was working to fill in some sheets with basic multiplication facts. This work was really speaking to him, and he was surprisingly into it. Suddenly, as he was working, he looks up at me and says, "MOM! One times the number is always the same number! I discovered that!!" He was positively beaming. I simply replied, "you sure did! 1 times the number is always the number."  "I discovered that!"  That phrase hit me like a ton of bricks because as simple as it sounds, it is speaks to the essence of Montessori not only as a method of education but as a parenting philosophy. While my story involves an 8-year-old well into the Second Plane of Development, this feeling fo discovering is sometime we should all be striving to give our children at any age. We want to bring our childr…

A Look at Quiet Time - FAQs

I get a lot of questions about Montessori parenting. But, one of the most common questions I get is about quiet time. There seem to be a lot of parents out there hoping to carve out a little quiet time during they day - for themselves and for their children. So, I wanted to answer some of the most popular questions I get about using quiet time in our Montessori home. Here are 10 questions I get all the time!

What is quiet time? What is NOT quiet time?  Quiet time is a period of time during the day for rest. In our home, this means a break from adult interaction and busy activity. Quiet time for my kids is a time for rest, for play, for decompression from the busy morning. Quiet time for me is a time for rest, working, finishing household chores/projects, or other work I'm engaged in. 
Quiet time is NOT a time to enforce silence. It is not about control, compliance, or simply getting children out of my way. In our house, it is NOT something for babies or children who are still nap…

How We Use Monti Kids in Our Home

Between the ages of birth and 3, Maria Montessori identified children as having an unconscious absorbent mind. It's a fancy way of saying that children in this age group absorb everything around them effortlessly. Everything they see, touch, taste, hear, and experience is absorbed into their souls, shaping the adult they will eventually become. These influences are most prominent from two sources - the adult, and the environment. 

{Gus plays with the fraction puzzle from Monti Kids Level 8} 
Woah, pressure! Even just typing that all out, I can feel my blood pressure starting to rise wondering if I have done everything I need to for my babies and toddlers. If you feel those feelings of dread, there is some good news - babies and toddlers are inherently wired to explore and gather what they need from their environment. Their development is going to march on with or without us. 

{Gus using the Baking Set from Monti Kids Level 7}
The other good news is that we have a lot of resources t…

The Movement Area verses the Sleep Space

We are counting down the weeks around here until baby Theodore arrives. I'm feeling like we are in that limbo stage where it simultaneously feels like we have a ton of time before the baby arrives and no time at all. But, at 31 weeks, I am starting to make some concrete changes and preparations for the baby's arrival. Mainly, we're starting the process of moving bedrooms around to create our nursery space, gathering clothes, and preparing the movement area.  

{Picture is the beginning of Theodore's movement area in our home's playroom}
This process has me thinking a lot about the two main Montessori baby spaces we will have in our home - our sleeping space (nursery) and our movement area. I think some of the time the two spaces can become muddled in peoples' minds. And, it can be difficult to decide how these spaces should feel, if they should be distinct spaces, and what each should contain. So, here are some thoughts on Montessori infant sleeping spaces vers…

Practical Life Ideas for 1-Year-Olds

Young toddlers are so fully capable of daily participation in own homes. Someone recently asked me if I had any ideas for appropriate practical life for 1-year-olds, and it occurred to me that I've never really made big list of all the work Gus did around that time. So, I'm going to share some ideas that could work for 1-year-olds.

There are a few things to remember here. The younger the child the less a child will be able to complete a cycle of activity and do the task from start to finish. Your child's own interest, and how relevant these tasks are to your home will also play a role in how your child engages with any task. Keep these things in mind when thinking about practical life tasks for your young toddler:  Invite but don't require participation Model, model, model the taskPrepare your environment for successAdjust your own expectations  This work will not be done the way you or I do it, and that's ok! And it may be that they just start by doing part of thi…

Montessori Friendly Play at 2.5-Years-old

It's been awhile since I have shared the work that Gus has been using. As a reminder when I say work, I mean the same things as "toys, activities, materials." It's all his work. I see no distinction between work and play, and this reminds me that his play is as important as any work that I may have to do. Read my last shelf update at 25 months here. 

Gus is 2.5-years-old now (32 months). These items have been chosen based on his interests, abilities, and things I have observed in him. Much of it is fine motor work which he seems particularly drawn to as he strengthens his hands. I'll go into detail below! 
I also want to make it super clear that this is only a small part of what Gus spends his day doing. Most of his day is spent involved in practical pursuits, reading, or playing outdoors. The materials are only a small part of how we incorporate Montessori into our home. 
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So here's a look at what's o…

Summertime Homeschooling in the Second Plane

Earlier this spring, I asked my son Henry what he would like to do for the summer. He was finishing up his second year in lower elementary at a Montessori public school. Typically, we mostly keep it slow in the summer. But, in the past he has attended either a few summer camps or a private Montessori school a couple of days a week. Much to my surprise, Henry didn't want to do any of those activities but wanted to "homeschool."

That was just fine with me! I took the money I had budgeted for summer camp and rolled it into a few Montessori and non-Montessori materials that would fit his needs and interests. Some of these materials were things I made a judgment call about, and some where suggestions by his guide.
Just a note, Henry is neurodiverse. We do not share, at this time, specifics about his exact diagnosis or needs. The materials have been chosen with this in mind. Use this post for inspiration, but follow your own child. 

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Montessori Baby Books for Parents

If you are expecting a baby or recently welcomed one, you know that there are a million and one resources out there in the world telling you exactly what you have to do in order to raise the healthiest, happiest, smartest, most well adjusted human ever. It can be completely overwhelming to try and figure out whose advice speaks the most to you.

Clearly, we have taken a Montessori approach to our parenting in our home. So, if you think Montessori might be for you, I wanted to pass some great resources along about parenting a baby in a Montessori way. Here are a few that I have found helpful in my baby-parenting journey. 
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Understanding the Human Being: The Importance of the First Three Years -- This book is very very good at helping you understand Montessori fundamentals for the first years of life. It helps to explain much of the first year and in particular those newborn months. Dr. Montanaro worked closely with Dr. Montessori and …

A Cycle of Activity

Have you heard of a cycle of activity? This Montessori concept is one of those things that makes my mama heart both so proud and feel a little pang of sadness all at the same time. Gus has been completing the "cycle" (the Montessori one, not the baseball one for all of you fellow baseball fans) more and more these days, and I finally caught most of it on camera. 

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The cycle of activity refers to the completion of an entire activity from beginning, to the middle, to the end. First, it is choosing a work from the shelf. Then, taking the work out to use it. This might be taking the work to a work mat on the floor, a small table, or a chowki. The younger a child is the less likely, in my experience, the child is to take the work somewhere before exploration. They may work on the shelf, or just on the floor. This isn't something I correct, but through modeling it changes as they get older. 
Here Gus choose some coin box wo…