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Showing posts from February, 2020

Signs that You're Entering the Second Plane

Let's talk about Nora for a minute. There are signs starting to creep in. They don't happen everyday or even every week. They don't all happen at once. But they are there. Signs that things are changing - signs of the second plane of development. See Nora is now just four short months away from turning 6! How is it that my first Montessori from birth baby is already so big?! I don't know. But we are entering new and uncharted waters with her.

Dr. Montessori found that child development could be roughly split into six year chunks. During those years certain qualities could be seen in the children. These qualities dictate how a child learns and what they are most interested in learning. These chucks are called the "planes of development." You can read more about the second plane of development here. 
As Nora approaches 6-years-old, there are signs that the second plane is upon us. Somedays we see lots of signs, others none. This is definitely a shift and not a…

Floor Bed in Winter - Montessori Baby Week 23

In our Montessori home, we use a floor bed with our babies from a pretty young age. Immediately after birth, our babies sleep during the night in a smaller bassinet in our master bedroom, then take naps in their floor bed after a couple weeks. But, for both Gus and Teddy around 3 months we noticed that our close presence was starting to disrupt their sleep patterns. At this point we moved them both to their floor bed for night sleep as well. 
*As always I am just sharing our sleep experience using Montessori. I am not offering medical or safety advice. Please do not feel any judgement if you choose to use a crib, cosleep, or room share. The only advice I want to give is for you to follow your child and your intuition when it comes to sleep. *
So while floor bed sleeping isn't new to us, we did have sort of a different challenge this time around with Teddy - winter. Because of where his birthday lands, Gus didn't move into his floor bed until the end of winter when days were ge…

Freedoms of a Montessori Classroom to Try at Home

Happy Montessori Education Week 2020! In the United States, people across the country are celebrating Montessori Education Week. Here in Minnesota that includes a proclamation by the governor and celebrations across Montessori school communities. My kid's schools are celebrating and so are we at home. This celebration has me considering the ways that we have incorporated Montessori principles into our home. 
In particular, the freedoms of a Montessori classroom that have become cornerstones for our way of life. While there are many freedoms in a Montessori classroom, I've chose three that are central to bringing Montessori home. 

Freedom of Movement  I've talked a lot about the freedom of movement and the importance of valuing movement at home before. Maria Montessori was very clear that movement is central to the Montessori method. She said, "This is both education of movement...and through movement." Movement happens through the work in the classroom - small m…

Favorite Toys at 5 Months - Montessori Baby Week 22

At 5 months, Teddy is really starting to explore the world around him. Over the last couple weeks, he has gone from rolling occasionally to rolling around in search of things to explore. It's been really fun watching him and seeing which things he finds interesting and engaging. I thought I would share a few of his favorites at 5 months. He has other options available to him which we rotate in, but these are the few that he gravitates towards the most.

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At this point, Teddy's favorite things are smaller grasping rattles that he can bring to his mouth. I have introduced a couple things (like interlocking disks) that can be used to encourage more movement, but so far they aren't his favorites. He's just in love with chewing and moving toys from one hand to the next. His favorites right now include: 
Top Grasping Beads: These have a lovely texture, shape and size Como Tomo Teether: this is his favorite favorite right now…

Art Area - Adding an Easel

Can I let you into a little secret? We've had an art easel for awhile but I had been a bit too afraid to add it to our home so it was a strictly outside material! 😬😳For a long time, we used only for painting outside and then during the winter, it was packed in our shed. The kids can paint inside but only on small sheets of paper at the table. I just wasn't sure we were ready to add the potential mess that was larger scale painting to our home. 

But, when we rearranged our playroom, I added the easel to our indoor space. And, I completely underestimated my children and their ability to safely paint without making a giant mess. It honestly hasn't been a big issue, and has led to some fun art exploration in our home. But, the kids love painting outside so much that I know I will move it back once the nice weather returns. 
But, a couple tips that have made painting with an easel a bit easier have been: keep the paint and water near the easel so it doesn't need to be mov…

Montessori Bedroom in the Second Plane

It's been a hot minute since I've shared any of my bigger kid spaces. Part of that is because Henry typically chooses not to participate in my social media/ blogging activities and part of it is because they just don't look that different from a traditional kid bedroom. 

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But after Henry agreed that I could share, I decided it was valuable to show that Montessori for older kids doesn't have to be complicated. In fact, Montessori in the second plane (ages 6 to 12) is so much about what can't be shown in pictures, and far less about how "cute" spaces are. That's true in the first plane (birth to 6) too but the spaces are more distinctive. 
Anyway, Henry's room! Henry moved to his own room this past summer before Theodore was born. His room is extremely small and used to be my old office. In the process of moving to this new room, Henry got to make some key decisions about how the room would look …

Flip Fingers or Glitter Drum - Montessori Baby Week 21

When I was pregnant with Teddy I came across this fun looking material on Instagram called a flip fingers. Another Montessori family was using it with their infant and I was intrigued. I hadn't personally seen it in a Montessori environment before, but it seemed like a very interesting and engaging material. I didn't think much about it until Christmas came around and my mom asked from some ideas for Teddy. I put the flip fingers on his list and he received it as a gift. 
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I pulled it out for the first time recently and let Teddy explore. At the same time, I pulled out our glitter drum and just thought I would take some time to compare them. The materials are similar in aim but there are some differences.  Glitter DrumOur Experience: The glitter drum is a material that we had with Gus. It was well loved with him and so far has been Teddy's preferred material (over the flip fingers). For my babies, it has started to beco…

Public Montessori is a Thing!

Yesterday, Henry's school invited parents to come spend the day at school with their kids. I got to spend a few hours at the school working with Henry and talking with other parents. It's a rare opportunity for me to get inside his classroom and I love every opportunity I can get. While I was there Henry was able to plan his morning by freely choosing work from his work plan. I got to see the exciting buzz of his lower elementary classroom. I watched children answer the classroom phone, choose work, problem solve issues, chat and laugh, clean, and learn all within a busy little community. It is such an amazing sight to see children learning in this way, to see Montessori in action in a PUBLIC school. 

Sometimes Montessori education is often associated with expensive and exclusive private schools. But, public Montessori schools are a thing! We are fortunate and privileged to live in an area that has several public Montessori options. According to the National Center for Montes…

Hand to Hand Transfers - Montessori Baby Week 20

As human beings our hands are the most amazing tools we have. Yet, at birth, we don't even know that they exist. Slowly over time our brain and body start to become more and more interconnected and we realize not only that we have hands (amazing!) but that they can do some really fantastic things. However, as far as baby milestones go, I think the discovery and use of the hands is particularly underrated in the parenting world. Maria Montessori was very aware of the importance of the hand, and of babies she said, "The first movements of his small hand toward external objects should thus be eagerly awaited."

No matter how many kids I have seeing these new movements of the hand are always so exciting for me! Recently, I've observed some exciting milestones in Theodore's hand movement. Recently, I was watching him with a toy and slowly and purposefully, he moved it from one hand to the other! It's really such an amazing discovery. He is discovering that his han…

Montessori at Home - Siblings and Concentration

Concentration has been on my mind a lot lately. Not only because it's a super important Montessori concept, but because there seems to be nothing better than a baby concentrating to attract small children. Seriously, if you want all of your children to come find you at any given moment, just let the baby settle into some work. It's like a moth to the flame. Whenever Theodore starts to deeply work, children come out of the woodwork to try and interact with him. 
I appreciate how much they love their brother, I really really do. And, believe me, I fight the urge to to kiss, cuddle, love on, and talk to all of my children all day long. But, in the end, I know that moments of concentration are so so important and I show some self control. But, it's harder to explain that to an excited 3-year-old, or even my older 5 and 8-year-olds. 

Here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to concentration and siblings. Protect the Concentrating Child This is my number one goal - p…