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Showing posts from September, 2021

Montessori Toddler: Introducing a Balance Bike

The freedom of movement has always been such a huge and important part of why I love Montessori parenting so much. Montessori was ahead of her time in understanding and respecting how important movement is to a child’s development.
But just because we know and understand that movement is important doesn’t mean we should force a particular type of movement at any particular time. No, the challenge of being a Montessori parent is sitting back and finding the balance between when to offer an opportunity and when to hang back and observe.
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I had to strike this balance recently when I noticed signed that Teddy was ready for a balance bike. He’s been flying around the neighborhood on his tiny trike (an older version of this small bike.) He has gotten proficient at steering it and was even lifting his feet to glide along (completely on his own without direction.) So to me that signaled that it was a perfect time to introduce a balance bike.

Shelf Help Ep. 58 - Transitional Positions

In this week's episode, Nicole and Amy are chatting about transitional positions - all the little movements that babies make between birth and starting to crawl and move. These movements are sometimes not given the time and attention they deserve. We give tips on how to support transitional positions throughout babyhood.  Show Notes...Unfolding of Infants’ Natural Gross Motor Development 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. 


Our Favorite Religious Books for Kids

In our Montessori home, books are an everyday part of our lives. There isn't a day that goes by that we aren't spending at least some time reading. Like I've mentioned before, one of the ways we help to teach our children our Catholic faith is by reading children's books. We have a large variety of books that we reach to to discuss our religious faith and traditions. 
I thought I would share our favorites. These are just generally about Catholicism, Saints, or Jesus in general. I didn't include any on specific holidays or celebrations. 
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The World Jesus Knew: A Curious Kid's Guide to Life in the First Century*The Story of JesusLoyola Kids Book of Saints*Catholic Saints for ChildrenDear Pope Francis: The Pope Answers Letters from Children Around the WorldThis Is the ChurchFather Ben Gets Ready for MassThe Weight of a Mass: A Tale of Faith*When God Made YouA Is for Altar, B Is for BibleA Walk Through Our ChurchA …

Montessori and Older Kid Discipline - Thoughts and Tips

As parents, I think we all expect the toddler and maybe even the preschool years to be full of challenging moments. We expect big feelings, impulsive behavior, and the need to set gentle but firm limits. But, I think it’s also quite common for us to expect that by elementary school a lot of these problems are behind us. These are “big” kids. These are kids that can listen, that can understand rules, and remember expectations. And sometimes we end up being really disappointed when that’s not quite reality.

This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. Montessori on Second Plane KidsLet’s look at what Maria Montessori said about children in the second plane. I've taken a few quotes from a couple of books that focus on ages 6 to 12. First, here are a few of Maria's thoughts from To Educate the Human Potential:
“Whatever is presented to him must be beautiful and clear, striking his imagination. Once this love has been kindled, all problems confronting the educationist will di…

Shelf Help Ep. 57 - Stools Are the Unsung Hero of Montessori Homes

Every Montessori home should strive to give children as much independence as possible. In this week's episode, Nicole and Amy talk about one of the most useful ways to give children independence at home - with a stool! We talk about some of our favorites and how we use them.
Show Notes...Amy's new stoolsFlisat StoolRAD StoolBolmen Stool - washable stool  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. 

Montessori Inspired Prayer Space for Children

One of the ways that we help our children learn to connect with our faith is our family's Montessori inspired prayer area. This is a small area in our home where the children have complete control over the area is created and put together. 
The idea for our prayer area came from Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, a Montessori religious education program. In CGS, a prayer table is used as a place to gather and pray while children are in the atrium (the prepared religious environment.) The prayer table is where we gather to pray, to sing, to celebrate, and so much more. The children are responsible for setting up this area, and for preparing it for each religious season. I wanted my children to have the same control and autonomy at home. I wanted to give them a visual reminder of prayer, and also a place where they could physically control the space to glorify the Lord. 

This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. 
Our prayer area is very simple! It is just located on a shelf i…

Natural Playscape and Playground Inspiration

This summer there’s a road that’s under construction near our house. Since workers and worker trucks are by far Teddy’s favorite thing in the world, we have spent a lot of time walking up to watch the construction. But on the walk we pass a local elementary school. The school has a small rain garden made from natural materials and native plants.

I’m not sure this small garden is supposed to be a play area, but it’s quickly become one of Teddy’s favorite spots to visit. To climb on the rocks, to kick the gravel, or walk over stumps has become an almost daily habit. It has been thinking about adding a more natural playscape to our own yard for all my children to enjoy.
Love this outdoor easel Lots of fun ideas in this post I really like how the plants are separated in this garden
There are so many amazing benefits to active play and I think those just multiply when natural elements are incorporated. Nature offers the perfect balance between risky play and enriching sensory experience. As Ang…

Religion and Our Montessori Home

I have often been asked how to approach religion in our Montessori home. For those of you that don't know, we are practicing Roman Catholics. Our faith in a big part of our every day existence and our Montessori lives. Maria Montessori was also Catholic and has hugely informed our approach toward religious education. And honestly, it's not easily explained because our religious education is happening every second of the day as we live our lives. It is giving our children the opportunity to fully participate, to the best of their abilities, in the meaningful practice of our faith. 
As always, Maria explains the approach much more eloquently than I could. In her book, The Child in the Church she says, "People are constantly asking me about this question of religious instruction - whether it should be long or short, determined by the teacher, or left the choice of the children, and so on. They nearly always speak of it as if it were a special school 'subject.' My answ…