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Showing posts from 2020

Montessori Young Toddler - First Shoes

By following Teddy's own path to natural gross motor development, he really has exploded into movement over the last six weeks. At 11 months, he was still mostly crawling, but by his first birthday he was solidly a walker. Now, at 13-months, he is getting fast! Some would say even close to running. He's climbing. He's seeking maximum effort as he walks while carrying things. He is even (much to my personal horror) exploring with walking down stairs. 

With all this movement, I need to be aware of how we are supporting it through the choices we make for his footwear. I find it personally, very important to keep young children barefoot as much as possible. That means no socks, and no shoes. Both can limit sensory input. Shoes, in particular, can effect balance and foot development.  In reality, however, there are times when both can be beneficial and help to keep little tiny feet safe. 
Now that we are moving into the winter, it is one of those times. We've had very early s…

Shared Montessori Playroom for 3-year-old

A few weeks ago when I was rearranging our playroom to make it more inclusive for Teddy, I started by moving our shelves around the room. I really just needed to vacuum and mop under them after a dusty summer. I had intended to move them back to a similar location but while I was cleaning, something happened - Gus found a little nook. And, he took over. 

When I finished my task of cleaning and setting out the rug, I went to move our shelves back and Gus was adamant that I could not. That would destroy his "tent." And his tent was for his work. I took a step back and evaluated what I wanted from the room. I knew that Teddy needed something to replace his movement area and that Gus needed a work space. 

Would this work? Did it give them both what they needed out of the room? Would Gus be successful in seeing and using his work? Would Teddy have the movement and access to his materials? Turns, out it did! So, I decided to try it, see how it worked in the long term. 
After a few we…

Mixing Sandpaper Letters and Language Objects

I've explained before the beauty and awesomeness of the Montessori sandpaper letters! They are such a wonderful way to introduce both letter shape and sounds to our children. I think they are the perfect combination of movement, tactile feedback and visual cues to really help children solidify their knowledge of sounds. 

But, while there is simplicity in their design, I also find that sometimes kids need a little motivation to return to them over and over again - especially without me. This repetition is so important because that's what helps them learn those shapes and sounds and be ready to move forward to the moveable alphabet and other awesome Montessori language work. 
See other posts in this series: Pincer Grip - Preparing for Language Work Montessori Language Fundamentals to Remember What are Montessori Sound Games and Language Objects? How We Approach Montessori Sound Games + Some Tips Learning to Like Texture - 5 Ideas to Help with Sandpaper Letters Montessori Sandpaper Lette…

Lately in Montessori Elementary Homeschool

After six weeks of our new school routine, I finally feel like maybe we are hitting a stride with this homeschool, distance learning thing. I still don't feel like I know what I'm doing here, but we are seeing growth and I think that is really fun. I have never really felt a calling to homeschool, but I can definitely see some huge perks. I'm grateful for this extra time with my kids and a crash course in the details of Montessori elementary curriculum. 
I thought I would just share some random things that my kids have been up to lately while homeschooling. As a reminder, Nora is 6 and in her first year of lower elementary. Her school is completely distance learning right now so her work is influenced by her school. Henry is 9 and in his first year of upper elementary. He is neurodiverse and follows his own path to learning. He is homeschooling but also has some contact with his normal school. 
1. So much great lesson work! This is our DIY solar system back in action!  2. Mov…

What's In, What's Out at 13 Months

At 13 months there is so much change in Teddy! He is very much leaving his baby days behind and moving into toddlerhood. With that I've noticed lately that the toys he is reaching for on the shelves have changed as well. I love observing him, taking note, and making changes accordingly! While he is super into gross motor movement (especially throwing), Teddy is also ready for some more challenge. I see him working his wrist and finger movements, I see him ready for some more logic challenges, and more language opportunities!

Here's a look at the toys that are in and those that are out! 
This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. What's OutThese are the toys that I have noticed that Ted seems to have lost interest in. Some of these may make a reappearance later on but some are ready to be retired altogether. 

Object Permanence Box - Ted finally seems done with this toy! It's been on his shelves since he was around 8 months old, so it has seen a lot of use! This p…

Goodbye Montessori Movement Area

I feel like Teddy was just born yesterday and I was just sharing our playroom space with his movement area. The movement area is a prepared space for Montessori babies. But, in reality, Teddy is a busy 13-month-old now. He doesn't need or want a small prepared space, or cozy corner. His needs have changed and with it so has his play space. 
To responding to his changing needs, I switched up our entire playroom recently. Instead of a small defined area meant to help keep him safe, my changes prioritized his need for more movement, materials, and practical life work.

This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. MovementAs he started to walk, I knew that he would need more room to move. I arranged the space to maximize open areas. He needs room to run, to roam, to push, to spin, to throw, and to climb. While the movement area allowed for a lot of baby movement, Teddy is ready to take those skills to the next level and put them to use throughout the entire house! 
Making sure his…

Young Toddlers and Mealtime Manners

Young toddlers (1-year-olds) are busy little humans. They are wandering, exploring, hauling, pushing, pulling little mobile people. At 13-months, I sometimes, I wonder if Teddy has sat down at all, all day long. Most of the time, I'm pretty sure the answer to that is "no." This can make mealtimes at his weaning table fairly interesting. But, today, I wanted to talk about something other than movement - I wanted to talk about manners. As babies turn into toddlers, and start becoming bigger and more capable, there is the question of manners. 
What happens when your young toddlers shoves their banana into their cup? What happens when they stand up at the table? What happens if they wander away? What happens if they dump their water? What happens if they throw their food? Or play with their food? 

This post contains affiliate link at no cost to you.
While there can be a big leap in our toddler's abilities as they start to grow, it is important to remember that they are stil…

Shelf Help Ep. 30 - Your Questions Answered

Nicole and Amy are celebrating 30 episodes of Shelf Help this week with a question and answer session. We are answering a bunch of questions about budgets, getting spouses on board with Montessori, sound games, and so much more. 
Shelf Help will return from Fall Break on October 26.  Show Notes:Nicole's Instagram | Amy's InstagramHow To Raise an Amazing Child the Montessori WayMaria Montessori Speaks to ParentsTag Toys Ball TrackerRadio Flyer Walker WagonWhat are Montessori Sound Games and Language Objects?How We Approach Montessori Sound Games + Some TipsSound games - a.k.a. Montessori “I Spy”Entertaining a Toddler with Morning SicknesPrime Day DealsThe Most Important Aspects of a Montessori Home
Thanks for joining me for today's podcast! If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, share and leave a review in your favorite podcast app.
If you are interested in finding Shelf Help in a podcast app, it is available on Apple | Spotify | Stitcher | Google.



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6 Ways to Keep Kids' Hands Busy on a Virtual Call

In a Montessori school, kids are constantly moving. Maria Montessori called her method an "education of movement" because learning happens with and through movement. In this Covid world of virtual schooling, that movement becomes a lot harder to come by. Especially if you are attending a Montessori school virtually, like Nora. While her school tries to balance the amount of time they are on a virtual call and the amount of time they are away from screens, she is spending SO much more time than I would like on a screen. Typically as a screen free family, she wouldn't have any daily screen time. Now, we're looking at a couple hours a day. 

With this virtual model, her need to move hasn't just disappeared. Nor has the need to learn through movement. So, I've been trying to offer her some concrete ways to keep her body engaged in the digital learning. I've found that if her hands stay busy she is much more likely to pay attention and learn from the virtual cla…

Pushing, Pulling, Carrying - Young Toddler Options

Young toddlers are so fascinating when it comes to movement. As soon as they start to do something, they have to do it bigger, harder, and faster. Maria Montessori observed this phenomenon and talked about the importance of allowing toddlers to reach maximum effort. It's not that your toddler just loves to move, they need to exert themselves fully, testing out new skills and pushing the physical limits. 
Now that Teddy has mastered the skill of walking, it's time for this same maximum effort work to begin. As a fairly new walker, Teddy has one thing on his mind - pushing, pulling, and carrying all the things. 

It's super interesting to observe because I feel like half the time he likes to carry something around to help him balance, and the other half I think he likes it cause it makes it harder to balance. I just love this age. But, anything Teddy can carry, push, or pull, he is into it! In fact, he spends most of his day doing just that! 
Thankfully, these needs are really e…

Free Virtual Montessori Material Resources

I've been reading over one of my favorite Montessori books, Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, in preparation for my upcoming book club. In the book, time and time again Maria Montessori stresses the importance of movement and learning. As Montessori parents, we understand this. We know that children need to move, manipulate, explore, and (eventually) collaborate within a prepared environment in order to learn. That's why Montessori schools are filled with so many wonderful materials. 
But, enter Covid. Montessori schools across the world have been shut down, changes have had to be made to the freedom of movement. And suddenly, thousands of Montessori students are learning virtually. While this definitely presents a challenge for the Montessori teaching community, I have been utterly amazed at the creativity, ingenuity, and generosity within the Montessori community during this time.    There have been so many free resources and virtual materials created and shared to help get…

Shelf Help Ep. 29 - Preparing Your Baby Registry: Montessori-Style

Amy is feeling really pregnant lately, so this episode, we check in about how she is preparing for baby. From the perfect age gaps between children to baby must haves, Nicole and Amy discuss the things you need and don't need for baby. This discussion includes our Montessori thoughts on baby bath tubs, socks, sleep sacks, and more traditional "must haves." 
This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  Show Notes...Wash ClothsWool VestsProtecting and Establishing Points of ReferenceSleep Sack (with feet)Google Nest CamSound Machine (Amy's) (Nicole's)Haakaa Breast Pump and Milk CollectorsNursing PadsCar Seat CoversMirror BallsLarge O-BallsBlack and White Book (example 1) (example 2)Teething Toys that Work for UsRubber Star TeetherCalmies Rubber BallShelf Help Ep. 17 - Montessori Baby Joy!Montessori Baby Joy: The Essentials Thanks for joining me for today's podcast! If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, share and leave a review in your favorite p…

The Knock-Knock Game

There are so many amazing Montessori materials for children to learn from. I only touch the very surface of the traditional didactic learning materials here on The Kavanaugh Report. But, of those materials, some are just more engaging than others. While I think the sandpaper letters and numbers are super important step in the Montessori curriculum, they aren't the most engaging. It's not been my experience that by themselves, kids are just going to choose and repeat sandpaper materials over and over without something more. 

This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. 
So, we get creative. We have fun, play games and make them more engaging. Hide and seek with the sandpaper letters was a favorite for Nora. And, with Gus, a simple knock-knock game has been speaking to him lately. I was introduced to this game a few years ago by Nora's children's house guide. She played it a lot in the classroom and encouraged us to try it at home. When Gus got to the age that we …

Introducing Loose Parts Play in our Montessori Home

Loose parts play! An alternative title to this post could have been "What does my Montessori 6-year-old do all day?" In our Montessori home, the answer to that has been pretend play and loose parts. For Nora's 6th birthday, I dove into the much more Waldorf world of Grapat toys (For clarity's sake, this isn't sponsored by them and I purchased all of the toys we own.) and their colorful loose parts. I bought most of what we have used, so we have about a quarter set of the Grapat Mandala set plus some extra figures. It's been a huge hit! Especially when combined with our collection of Grimms toys. 

So, what are loose parts? Basically, they are small bits of...anything used for play. The Grapat are really colorful, well made toys, but there is nothing special about them when it comes to loose parts. Everything we've seen by adding them to our home could have been gained with a tray of rocks, buttons, scraps of fabric, milk tops, and cheap wooden rings. So I d…

Montessori Elementary Homeschool and Distance Learning Classroom Tour

I've hinted at this a few times in recent weeks, but school looks very different for us this year. Typically, my children attend in person Montessori schools. Henry and Nora were both supposed to be in public Montessori schools and Gus was attending a small private Children's House. Henry would have been starting upper elementary (4th grade) and Nora was entering lower elementary (1st grade.) But, with Covid, the public schools are distance learning only. 

For Henry's unique learning needs, online learning doesn't work. So, we made the decision to leave his school and homeschool using Montessori for the year. Nora is remaining enrolled, participating in distance learning but highly supplementing with concrete Montessori materials. Given this unique situation, I've created a homeschooling classroom in our basement playroom. Here's a look at how I've set it up and some of the materials we are using to get started with our elementary Montessori learning this ye…

Shelf Help Ep. 28 - Being a YES Parent

Sometimes it's important as a parent to let go of a little control and say yes to your kids. In this week's episode, Nicole and Amy talk about the power of saying yes as Montessori parents. We explore the benefits, challenges, and opportunities that come along with really and deeply following your child. 
This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  Show Notes...Signs that You're Entering the Second PlaneSubscribe to Nicole's newsletterHandling BIG Emotions (limit setting)Imbucare Box Thanks for joining me for today's podcast! If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, share and leave a review in your favorite podcast app.
If you are interested in finding Shelf Help in a podcast app, it is available on Apple | Spotify | Stitcher | Google.


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