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Showing posts from 2021

Montessori Toddler: When everything is "NO"

"Hey Teddy, do you want a cookie too?" "NO!" "Teddy, should we go outside?" "NO!" "We need to clean up this work." "NO!" No, no, no, no, no. It's probably Ted's most used word now at just over 2-years-old. All day, everyday. If this was my first experience with a toddler, I know my frustration would be starting to mount. Why is he suddenly so contrary? Why wont he listen? What does he want?! I know he wants that cookie, why is he saying no? I know he wants to go play outside. But everything thing is no. 

Thankfully, this isn't my first dip into the lovely age and this isn't my first time with 2-year-olds. So, this time I can laugh and watch Teddy with wonder as he learns to confidently exert his independence in the world. This kind of behavior is exactly what I want to see in my older children. I want them to clearly state what they need, to set boundaries, and express their feelings. So I need to foster it in …

Shelf Help Season 2 Ep. 1 - Welcome Back!

Shelf Help season 2 is here! Nicole and Amy are back with new episodes of Shelf Help to share more about their journey as Montessori parents. In this week's episode, we're reintroducing ourselves and catching up from the summer off.  Show Notes...Amy's InstagramNicole's Instagram  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 Play at Almost 5-years-old

It's amazing to me that my soon-to-be middle child, Gus, is already going to be 5-years-old in just a few short weeks. How is the second plane of development almost upon us again? Time goes so quickly, so so quickly. But, right now, I'm just soaking up all the first plane of development bliss that I can before he officially becomes a little-big kid. 

As an older 4-year-old, I find Gus's interests pretty fascinating. He loves all things fine motor. His desire and need to refine his fine motor skills has hit peak after peak lately. Nearly all his play (or work) revolves around some sort of fine motor task. Lately he's been far less interested in things like model animals, trucks and cars, and far more interested in anything that requires small movements of his hand. He's into smaller and smaller puzzle pieces, sewing, art, and even writing tasks. Here are a few glimpses at Montessori play at almost 5-years-old:  Montessori Friendly Toys
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Montessori with Teens - Guest Post with Sarah Moudry

Today I'm happy to welcome Sarah Moudry to The Kavanaugh Report. I had the pleasure of meeting Sarah and her children a couple of years ago and was inspired by seeing Montessori in action with adolescences. Sarah is an AMI- trained Montessori teacher and parent. She runs the wonderful Studio June, Montessori play spaces and consults with families and schools around the world. Don't miss her books, Toliet Awareness and First Foods to Family Meals. Enjoy this look at Montessori parenting with teens! ___________
I often get asked, “What does Montessori look like for teens?” For young children, because of the explosion of social media posts labeled Montessori, the general belief is that Montessori is perfectly placed wooden toys on natural low shelves, and tiny sinks and dishes. That can definitely be part of it. However, the way I see it is Montessori is how we live together as a family and in a community. And sometimes that means we have beautiful spaces, and sometimes that means…

Finger Knitting in our Montessori Home

There's a craze that has hit my house for the third time over the last couple of years. A craze that captives my children and leaves them busily working for hours at a time in deep concentration! That craze is finger knitting! Finger knitting is the process of weaving together yarn to make long rope like strands using a number of fingers. I'm not going to pretend like I'm some finger knitting expert by any means, because that definitely falls to my children. 

This time it's Gus' turn to be completely obsessed with finger knitting. He will sit and finger knit any ball of yarn that he can get his hands on. And it will literally go on for hours. One morning he sat and finger knit for 3 hours straight. I couldn't believe it. He then tied all his strands together to make a long rope which he used to create an obstacle course in my living room. 
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Gus and Nora both learned to finger knit around age 4 and quickly picked…

Shelf Help Ep. 59 - Puzzles

Puzzles are such fun Montessori friendly toys. While not every child will enjoy using a puzzle, there is a large variety of puzzles available that children might be interested in. In this week's mini-episode, Nicole and Amy share why they move puzzles so much for children. And, they talk about some of their favorite types of puzzles, and the order in which they introduce each to their children.  
This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  Show Notes...Mirror PuzzleSingle Shape PuzzlesMultiple CirclesMultiple ShapesBannor Toys Shape Puzzle2 piece jigsawFloor Puzzles4 piece cube puzzlePattern PlayGeorge Luck Layer Puzzle 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. 

Kavanaugh Baby Number 5!

I don't think it's a massive secret that I love babies. I mean, I really love them. I love toddlers too, but babies. Oh, babies. So, it probably comes as no big surprise to announce that I am once again pregnant. Baby Kavanaugh number 5 is solidly on the way. 
The bummer about me really loving babies and continuing to have a bunch of them is that my body doesn't love pregnancy as much as my brain loves babies. So, it's been a rough few months as I ease into bringing another life to this earth. You may have noticed that meant I took a break from posting this past summer and things will likely be a bit slower around here for awhile. I'm definitely feeling better now, and probably as normal as I'm going to feel, but the first 17-18 weeks of this pregnancy were really tough. The first 15 weeks, I struggled with extreme morning sickness. Then, it took a couple more weeks for me to see any energy return. 

Now, I'm almost 21 weeks and feeling pretty good, probably a…

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. 

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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…

Outdoor Montessori Activity and Work Shelf

We don’t get a very long summer season here in Minnesota. So when it’s nice we take full advantage of being outside while we can. This includes making sure we have some Montessori work outside to feed our children’s need for work at any time.
My kids are always welcome to bring their materials out to our deck to work from inside. During the summer we treat the deck as a whole new room in our house. But, it is nice to have a few things dedicated for outdoor use. 

Our outdoor Montessori activities shelf includes (from top to bottom):
1. Flower arranging materials. This is just a variety of cases, a pair of scissors, and a funnel. I organize on a cheap wooden tray I found at a thrift store.
2. Small watering can. This is perfect for watering our plants and filling up our bird baths.
3. A tray of art materials. Right now I have some dollar store cups (to use with paint) and a small container of color pencils. We’ve struggled to find a way to keep the paint dry and safe outside, so we do keep t…