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Showing posts from December, 2021

Shelf Help S2 Ep. 7 - A Year End Q&A

We've come to the end of 2021 and our last episode of Shelf Help until the new year. In this week's episode, Nicole and Amy are answering listener's questions in this Q&A style episode. We cover a variety of topics from babyhood through elementary.  Show Notes...Children and Pets4 Reasons I Love the TopponcinoPreparing Your Baby Registry: Montessori-StyleToy Rotation in Our Montessori HomeBalancing Montessori Parenting and WorkWorking from Home with Kids - A Montessori ScheduleAn Intro to Grace and Courtesy 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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The Kavanaugh Report in Review 2021

What a year it's been! I can't believe we are already here at the end of December 2021. If you had asked me what 2021 was going to look like a year ago, I'm not sure I could have come up with this answer! We spent the whole first half of the year Montessori homeschooling, then a new baby, new schools, and all the adjustments that pandemic life has required. 

It certainly was a year of keeping-all-the-things together and not so much a year of creating new things in this space or any other! But, there was definitely a lot of growth, a lot of learning, and a lot of Montessori joy. Here's a little review of The Kavanaugh Report in 2021:  I wrote 104 new posts this year! We celebrated more than a year and a second season of Shelf Help Podcast! I published my second children's book - Shapes! We had visitors from 225 individual countries/territories/locations Popular PostsIn no particular order, some of the most popular posts written this year were:  Montessori Toddler: Favo…

Montessori Parenting - When Sibling Relationships are Tough

Some sibling relationships come easy and some come with a lot more challenges. As a Montessori parent, I think my role is to learn to be comfortable with these different relationships, accept they are on their own timeline while keeping everyone safe. Putting pressure on the kids to get along, to be friends, or otherwise want to be together will only lead to more conflict, and feelings of disrespect. We can't know exactly why the relationship feels difficult for them, but we can help support them in their feelings, keep everyone safe, and give it time without our adult desires interfering. 
In our house, Henry and Nora have gotten along immediately from the time Nora was born. They compliment each other in the most beautiful ways. Even 7-years-later, their positive relationship mostly comes pretty easy for them. As small children they never fought, hurt each other, or otherwise had any really difficult moments. Nora and Gus were more typical siblings, enjoying each other's comp…

Our Christmas Stockings 2021

It's hard for me to believe that the holidays are already here. We are well into the swing of our Advent traditions around here. We're trying to live in the moment, enjoy some family time, and get ready for Christmas all at once. With weird school schedules this year has felt different in that I haven't had nearly as much time to myself to wrap and finalize our Christmas gifts but I think I'm just about there. I figured I would share a look at our stockings (which will also help me make sure I have what I need!) Here's a look what will be in my Montessori children's Christmas stockings this year: Theodore (27-months-old)Rock Crayons Yellow Glasses Play Silk Playmobil 123 Worker Augustus (5-years-old)Knot Tying Kit Play Silk Dino Pen (local find no link) Lego Fire Truck Nora (7-years-old)American Girl Blind Bag (2x) Sparkle Pen (local find) Play Silk Henry (10-years-old)Play Silk Gem Pen (local find) Star Wars Socks  Marvel Doodles Book
I'll also add a few sweet treats to e…

Toddlers and Tiny Objects

One of Teddy's favorite things in the whole world right now is dice. Not any particular dice, just dice in general. Any game we want to play that has them, he is right there, wanting to try to roll the dice and carry them around. And, while dice are his favorite, they aren't the only little items that he loves to find. Lego, marbles, small pieces of lint, tiny scraps of paper, and any little material are all popular. And, having three older siblings, there is plenty of little thing opportunities around. Welcome to the sensitive period for small objects! 
So, what is the deal with toddlers and little objects? How do we allow for exploration but still keep them safe? And, is it a problem to let toddlers play with small objects? 
Sensitive Period for Small ObjectsAt around 18-months, toddlers enter the sensitive period for small objects which will last until around 3/4-years-old. During this time, they develop an intense love of tiny things. This sensitive period is actually a real…

3 Ways to Get Started with Montessori without Spending Any Money

Montessori has a reputation for being expensive and difficult to implement. I'm not going to say that those assumptions are not always true. Traditional Montessori materials, specifically, can be really expensive and difficult to learn to use. And, when you're coming from a traditional parenting or education background moving toward Montessori can feel particularly overwhelming. 
But, you don't need to do everything at once to get started with Montessori. You don't need traditional materials, you don't need to change every thing you own over night, you don't need to make big expensive changes. You can go slowly. You can make the changes that fit best into your family's cultural norms and what works for your particular child. Here are a few free ideas to get started with Montessori at home. 
ObserveObservation is at the heart of the Montessori method. Without observation we don't know which toys or materials to put into our homes. Without observation, we d…

Shelf Help S2 Ep. 6 - Development of the Hand

In her books, Dr. Montessori talks so much about the importance of hand development for children. Their hands are literally their instruments as they explore the world around them. In this week's episode, Nicole and Amy talk about the development of the hand and some ways that we help a child develop their hand from birth on in preparation for writing and for life. 
This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. Show Notes...DIY Color Matching Pegs for ToddlersBell RattleTactile MobilesDiscovery BasketsFirst PuzzlesCrayon RocksToddler Art IdeasThreading 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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Christmas Themed Art Trays

It's the Christmas season for us! For us that means that we engage in a lot of special traditions that help us celebrate and feel the warmth and love of this time of year. Typically, I don't do a lot of themed trays for my children but, on occasion, I do make some exceptions for holidays. It honestly depends on how much energy and creativity I feel like I have! It is in no way required and is honestly just a fun extra. 
I thought I would share our Christmas themed art trays this year. They are mostly simple, easy ideas to bring just a little holiday cheer into our day-to-day work options. 
This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. 
From top to bottom, left to right:  Pom-pom Tree: (sorry no source for this actual work) Here the kids can decorate the little tree over and over again with the pom-poms. Its a great little creative work while still providing some excellent fine motor work. It's been particularly popular with Teddy. Pin-Punched Trees: This is a simple pi…