Articles from February 2022

February 28, 2022

Shelf Help S2 Ep14 - A Montessori Child Q&A

Shelf Help S2 Ep14 - A Montessori Child Q&A
Amy and Nicole have eight children between them. In this week's episode, four of their children - Henry, Charlotte, Nora, and Gus - join the podcast to answer questions about being Montessori kids. They talk about screen time,  how they feel about traditional schools, favorite things to do at home and school, and much more! 
February 26, 2022

Floor Time and Montessori Newborns

Floor Time and Montessori Newborns
It's incredible that newborns are just amazing little people right from birth. It's hard to believe but from the moment they are born, they have the power to develop themselves into the adult humans they were meant to become. This work happens from birth, but doesn't always look the way we assume it does. Remember, the most important work of the newborn is to be adjust to their environment and integrate into their family . And, that's exactly what Penelope has been spending the majority of her days doing. 
February 24, 2022

Screen Time in the Second Plane of Development

Screen Time in the Second Plane of Development
It's amazing to me, but we suddenly have a house with babies, but also a bunch of bigger kids! Henry and Nora are both solidly in the second plane of development. Gus is well on his way and will be 6 by the end of the year! Ahh! As our children get older we have introduced something new in the Kavanaugh family - screen time. 
February 23, 2022

Maximum Effort Ideas in the Winter for Toddlers

Maximum Effort Ideas in the Winter for Toddlers
The need to reach maximum effort is such an important concept to understand when it comes to toddlers in Montessori environments. Toddlers need to move their bodies, exert as much effort as possible and do heavy, big work in order to regulate themselves. This Montessori concept is supported by our current understanding of brain science and the proprioceptive sensory system. The proprioceptive system helps children know where their bodies are in relation to the world. This system is developed by using big muscles and heavy work. 
February 21, 2022

Shelf Help S2 E13 - Some Wisdom from Dr. Montessori

Shelf Help S2 E13 - Some Wisdom from Dr. Montessori
Maria Montessori shared so much wisdom with the world through her books, articles, and lectures. Even in 2022, there are so many parenting lessons we can get from her words. In this week's episode, Nicole and Amy share some quotes from Dr. Montessori's books and how they might apply to our parenting. We completely get nerdy about Montessori's words as a way to examine our own behavior as the prepared adult. 
February 18, 2022

DIY High Contrast Montessori Inspired Mobile

DIY High Contrast Montessori Inspired Mobile
It’s no secret that new babies love high contrast images. When they are born, a baby’s eye sight is pretty poorly developed. They can see only muted colors and only a few inches from their face. High contrast items are the easiest to see and therefore the most attractive. Montessori takes advantage of this fact and the first mobile in the visual mobile series - the Munari mobile - is high contrast and visually appealing for a newborn.
February 17, 2022

New Board Games for Older Kids We're Loving

New Board Games for Older Kids We're Loving
We are a huge game family. We love them and not often does a day go by where we aren’t playing a board game of some sort with at least one of the kids. Even Morgan and I love games and honestly playing a game is our go-to date night activity. While many games are just for fun, they also can help reinforce many of the concepts that the kids learn at school. Therefore, I really see them as a perfect compliment to a Montessori home. 
February 16, 2022

Montessori Baby: 3 Activities for Newborns

Montessori Baby: 3 Activities for Newborns
When we think about Montessori for babies, I think it's easy to think about all the unique ways that Montessori babies can interact with the world. They may have a movement area, special mobiles, or specific types of toys. We, as the prepared adult, might offer them opportunities and choices that traditional parenting styles wouldn't. But, I think it's important to remember that parenting using Montessori from birth is so much deeper than this. And, it doesn't have to be complicated.  Now, that my 5th baby Penelope is home with us, I'm reminded about how simple our first few weeks with a newborn can and should be. We don't need to worry about creating complex "activities" or stressing about if we are doing enough. Simple activities that focus on connection, healing, and adjusting to this whole new world.  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you .  Three Activities for the First Week With a Newborn I hope you can see these aren’t “activitie
February 14, 2022

Shelf Help S2 E12 - Montessori Parenting with Amy and James

Shelf Help S2 E12 - Montessori Parenting with Amy and James
In this episode Amy invites her husband, and parenting partner, James to the show. They talk about their Montessori parenting journey including why they decided to use Montessori as the foundation of their parenting. They share some of the tutorials they created along the way, why they choose Montessori schools, and how Montessori, RIE, and gentle parenting has shifted their lives and the lives of their children's.  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  Show Notes... Nicole's Instagram Amy's Instagram  Kitchenette Tutorial Ball Tracker Tutorial Pikler Triangle RAD Children's Furniture Solid Starts Unfolding of Infants' Natural Gross Motor Development by Emmi Pikler    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 .  ---
February 11, 2022

Montessori at Home - Yarn Shapes Activity

Montessori at Home - Yarn Shapes Activity
If you know Gus, then you know he loves yarn and handcrafts. He got a giant roll of yarn for Christmas and I don’t think he could be happier. Recently, he was home distance learning and I was looking for some work that would compliment his learning from his Montessori school. We don’t have everything here for him to work on and I don’t think it’s super necessary for us to reproduce classroom work in the home. But, extension work can be a fun way to reinforce concepts introduced at school. This yarn shape activity was a great way to do that.  So I took Gus’ love of yarn and decided to combine with some of the shape learning he’s been doing at school to make a fun, easy art project. It was a great way to reinforce some shape learning, challenge some of his measuring skills, and a nice fine motor activity.  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.   To do this activity we gathered a few simple things:  Yarn  Scissors  Glue  Shapes - we used shapes from the traditional Montess
February 09, 2022

Penelope Ruth

Penelope Ruth
I’m thrilled to announce that our newest Montessori baby is here! Penelope Ruth Kavanaugh was born January 30th at 5:45 a.m. She was a tiny 6lbs 3oz, 18 inches long. We have been settled in at home for a few days and couldn’t be more in love. I figured I would take this opportunity to share her birth story before all the details escape my mind. Her labor was both long and fast, and her delivery led to my most intense post birth experience and intervention.  Like most of my pregnancies I started experiencing contractions early on in the third trimester. They would come frequently, get close together and stop. The false labor was annoying but I’m very used to it and mostly just live life while it happens. Well, on Friday, January 28 I was experiencing all the same fake contractions I had had for weeks. They continued into the dinner hour and throughout bedtime for the kids. I was annoyed, cranky and tired. As I got ready to go to bed (of course) the contractions suddenly intensified.  At
February 07, 2022

Shelf Help S2 Ep. 11 - Acknowledging the Challenges of Parenting

Shelf Help S2 Ep. 11 - Acknowledging the Challenges of Parenting
Parenting is difficult, especially in today's world. While Montessori provides us a lot of useful tools, it doesn't eliminate all parenting challenges. In this week's episode, Nicole and Amy acknowledge some of the very real parenting challenges that they face even while using Montessori. They share their own struggles in an effort to help normalize and support all parents who might face similar situations.  This post contains affiliate links at no costs to you.   Show Notes... There's No Such Thing As Bad Weather Montessori Prepared Adults Wait Taking a Pause Montessori and Older Kid Discipline - Thoughts and Tips Responding as a Montessori Parent - Tips for Success Shelf Help Ep. 25 - Balancing Montessori Parenting and Work    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  |