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Friday, January 28, 2022

Making Space for Big Work in the Second Plane

Right now, Henry and Nora are both second plane children. Their ideas flourish, their minds are always going, and their tongues hold nothing back! It's such an amazing shift to see from the little busy first plane of development children they once were. One of the most interesting and challenging parts of parenting a second plane child has been accepting and making space for their need for big work. Everything is a project. Everything is a big idea. ...
Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Preparing for Baby - A Montessori Environment

As it gets closer and closer to my delivery of Penelope we have been preparing in a variety of ways. We prepare ourselves for this huge transition, and we prepare our other children, but we also have been spending some time preparing our environment. Even for our fifth baby, it's easy to assume we don't need to do much to prepare for our newborn's arrival. And, in some ways that's true. Newborns need very little and very simple surroundings to adjust to life in this big new world. But, making some preparations can make the transition easier for you and for them. ...
Monday, January 24, 2022

Shelf Help S2 Ep. 10 - Montessori Water Work and Play

In Montessori environments there are so many amazing practical life opportunities when children have access to water. In this week's episode, Nicole and Amy discuss how to make water accessible to young children for both work and play. We include tips on how to prepare yourself and your environment to make water work fun and reasonable in a Montessori home.  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  Show Notes... Charlotte’s Montessori kitchenette: a tutorial DIY {IKEA Hack} Wash Basin Creating a Montessori Water Station in Your Home Easy Sensory Exploration for Babies Pitchers for Every Age and Stage Montessori Aprons to Love Tiny Spray Bottle Buddha Board Faucet Extender Splash Pad  Our Outdoor Summer Water Toys Shelf Help Ep. 57 - Stools Are the Unsung Hero of Montessori Homes   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 Sh...
Friday, January 21, 2022

Montessori Play Shelves at 5-Years-Old

I was looking back on some of my other posts when my older children were around 5-years-old and realized that I didn't do a great job sharing what they were interested in or playing with around that time. I would like to make an effort to change that as my little guys continue to get older. I think it can sometimes be helpful to see some of the things that older kids enjoy in Montessori homes. But, I think I have shied away from sharing because as children get to be 5+ years old, the materials they have are so highly individualized.  So, bottom line, while I'm sharing these, just know that they may or may not work for your specific child. These have been chosen based on Gus's interests, skills and my observations of him. Always use these types of lists as inspiration but not as a prescribed need for a Montessori home. Also note that Gus goes to a Montessori school so his shelves at home do not often include traditional Montessori materials.  This post contains affiliate lin...
Wednesday, January 19, 2022

When Will My Child Do *That* Montessori Work?

There's a lot of really amazing aspects of Montessori education and parenting. So many possibilities for introducing the world to our children. At home, it might be some really cool material you bought, or it might be a practical life opportunity that you want to share with your child. Your decision to introduce it might even be based in something you've personally observed in your child, or based on your experience with the material. You may generally feel it's a good time or choice.  And, it still might not interest your child at all. Like not even a little bit. See the thing is every child will come into their own with work in their own time.  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. We are learning and relearning this with Theodore. Teddy is neurodiverse and very much on his own timetable when it comes to a lot of Montessori work around the house. In particular, he is very much on his own path when it comes to practical life. While his siblings might have h...
Monday, January 17, 2022

Shelf Help S2 Ep. 9 - Montessori Essentials for Feeding and Weaning

Starting solids can be a stressful time for some parents. There is a lot of advice surrounding food available and it can be difficult to determine what will work best for each family. In this week's episode, Nicole and Amy talk about some of their feeding and weaning essentials for babies and toddlers. We touch on our approaches toward solid food and how we try and create a lifelong healthy relationship toward food.  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  Show Notes... Must Haves for Montessori Babies and Toddlers Elvie Breast Shells Soothies Gel Pads Solid Starts Montessori Friendly Highchairs  Tripp Trapp Keekaroo   IKEA Small Open Cups Small Pitcher Pitchers for Every Age and Stage Montessori Baby Bibs Using a Fork -- Montessori Young Toddler The Montessori Weaning Spoon   Wavy Chopper   Montessori Aprons to Love   Thanks for joining me for today's podcast! If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, share and leave a review in your favorite podca...
Friday, January 14, 2022

Montessori Toddler: Work Shelves at 28-Months

Teddy has never been a toddler that has been super into the toys and materials on his Montessori work shelves. He tends to spend his time reading, following around the big kids, gross motor work, and doing some practical tasks. I've accepted that he's not going to suddenly show a ton of interest in his shelves, but lately he has been choosing some work more and more frequently. It's still often his ultimate favorite trucks and cars, but not always.  Even so, I still want to prepare the environment to give him opportunities to develop his language skills, his fine motor and other cognitive skills. As always, he is free to make these choices or not. It's been awhile since I've shared some of his materials, so I thought I would give a look at some of the things that he has out currently on his work shelves.  This post contains affiliate links at no cost you.  Montessori Toddler Work Shelves You'll see these shelves are a mixture of open ended toys and work with mor...
Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Preparing for Baby - Siblings

Welcoming a new baby isn't just something we need to prepare for as the adults. It's a whole family affair, from a tiny toddler to a much older kid, they will all feel the effects of this shift in family dynamics. Preparing a sibling for the birth of a baby can be just as important as any other physical or mental preparations. So, I wanted to share a few ways that we prepare our children for the arrival of a new baby. This is by no means an exhaustive list but a few of the different ways that we have worked, especially with Teddy, to prepare for a new baby. ...
Monday, January 10, 2022

Shelf Help S2 Ep. 8 - Must Haves for Montessori Babies and Toddlers

Welcome back to Shelf Help in 2022! In this week's episode Nicole and Amy discuss some of our favorite baby and toddler products and ideas in three different categories. We include our favorite practical things, play materials, and outdoor gear.  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. Show Notes... The Magic of the Topponcino Montessori and Baby Wearing - Some Quotes to Consider Nose Frida Ubbi Diaper Pail Gerber Training Undies   An Introduction to Montessori Potty Learning Small Spray Bottle Development of the Hand Stools Are the Unsung Hero of Montessori Homes Montessori Floor Beds and Young Toddlers Montessori Mobiles - Lots of Posts Play Silks and Why We Love Them The Need To Throw Favorite Art Supplies from 1 to 3 Easy Sensory Exploration for Babies Tiny Toddler Rain Boots - Some Options Oaki Rainsuits   Montessori Toddler: Introducing a Balance Bike   Thanks for joining me for today's podcast! If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, share and ...
Friday, January 7, 2022

Supporting Montessori Grammar Work at Home

One way that the pandemic has really been interesting for our family is just the shear amount of time that we have been home learning with our kids. We were given the unique opportunity to homeschool last year and now spend quite a bit of time at home this year. In that time, we have been able to more directly support a lot of the Montessori learning that would normally happen at school or after school....
Thursday, January 6, 2022

Preparing for Baby - Preparation of the Adult

With just a few weeks between me and the anticipated arrival of our fifth baby (and fourth using Montessori from birth) I'm once again flooded with all the emotions that come with welcoming a new baby. It doesn't matter how many times you've had a baby, each time is filled with so many of the same myriad of emotions. There's excitement, exhaustion, wonder, and anxiety. A lot of these feelings have been amplified this time as I find myself about to give birth in the middle of another wave of uncertainty in the ongoing pandemic. Even so, as I've written about before, I'm powered by the sensitive period for motherhood and know that we will all adjust as the time comes.  Maria Montessori called for the spiritual preparation of the adult. She taught us that adults in Montessori environment's have to work not to understand the materials but to understand themselves and their role in the lives of children. In her book The Absorbent Mind she said, " The real p...
Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Visual Scanning Activities

Learning to read is some of the biggest work that is happening for a couple of my kids right now. Reading has not been something that has come easy for everyone - remember Montessori is not a race to create young readers - so it's been interesting watching their paths unfold. One that that has really struck me about the reading process is how much physical development influences the reading process. Reading is not all sound games, and phonetic awareness but involves a host of other skills as well.  That's one reason I've fallen deeper and deeper in love with Montessori as an educational method (and obviously as a basis for our parenting) because these other "softer skills" are naturally incorporated into the classroom - often through the sensorial materials . One particular area that has been a huge interest in our home lately has been visual scanning activities. For Gus, in particular, a lot of the work he chooses to do has been work that incorporates eye streng...