Foto Friday – Peas

18 Month old A. is back in the garden & the kitchen!

Pick the peas from the garden

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Shell the peas and enjoy!

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Don’t forget to enter to WIN a Montessori apron, just like the one A. is wearing, and then enter to WIN a Montessori placemat.

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Happy 1st Anniversary! Apron and Placemat Giveaway!

Congratulations on Winning the Home Consultation!  Thank you so much to all who entered to win a Home Consultation with Christie from Aid to Life Education during our first week of our 1st Anniversary Celebration!  Thank you for helping to spread the word about our Montessori Moms Blog and Aid to Life Education!  A huge congratulations to Kathy D!  We hope you gain further knowledge and support during your Home Consultation!

Week Two – Two Giveaways!  Now to announce the giveaway for Week 2 of our 1st Anniversary Celebration! Just a reminder that we are on week 2 of 4 weeks of giveaways to celebrate our 1st Anniversary.  This week we have two wonderful, and separate, giveaways.  If you follow this blog you have seen these items featured before, especially in Crawling Towards Practical Life.  This week we are giving away:

Both these products and the shop owners are amazing!  We graciously thank Karla from Handmade Montessori and Kylie from How We Montessori Shop for offering up these wonderful products!

Handmade Montessori Apronsiusb_760x100.13123774_op1x

What makes an apron Montessori?  Independence!  There are two different aprons to choose from: the cotton apron and the waterproof apron, costing between $16-$22 (US dollars).  With the cotton apron, the child can easily slip the elastic neckband over their head and do it up using the velcro tab on the side.  With the waterproof apron, the child pulls the apron over their head and slips their arms through the arm holes.  Even a young toddler can independently put on and take off these aprons.  These aprons come in two sizes: toddler (fits ages 1-3) and primary (fits ages 3-6).  Why Handmade Montessori?  Karla is AMI certified Casa and recently A to I (Congratulations Karla!) so she has wonderful attention to detail and quality.  I have been using her waterproof aprons in my classroom for years and have used the cotton apron at home with my daughter.  She has excellent customer service and even better products!  I can’t recommend her aprons enough!  I use the waterproof aprons for water activities in my classroom, e.g. water transferring, watering plants, washing tables, etc.  I think they would also be great for art activities.  I use the cotton apron at home for kitchen activities e.g. food preparation and baking.  Rubi’s daughter F. uses the cotton apron when painting or chalking on her easel.  Not only are aprons good for protecting clothing, they also give the child a sense of purpose when doing an activity and a point of completion when the apron is removed at the end of the task.

How We Montessori PlacematlogoThis placemat is amazing!  First off, it truly is as beautiful as the photos look.  The outlines are just fantastic for helping young children learn to set the table.  The outlines are even better as they are raised ever so slightly.  Using it multiple times a day?  Not a problem, it just wipes clean!  I’ve even put it to the test as my daughter, while learning to use a spoon, covered it in tomato soup.  Yikes!  That time it didn’t quite wipe clean but it did come completely clean!  I can’t say enough wonderful things about this placemat.  The placemat costs $19.95 (Australian dollars) and there is free international shipping.  Kylie, the owner of How We Montessori Shop, offers excellent customer service.  Every single product in her store has been used, or is currently being used by her sons.  She also writes the very inspiring blog How We Montessori, and it is an excellent reference.

1 year anniversary - apron

Montessori Apron Giveaway is for one apron of your choice from Handmade Montessori.  You can choose between cotton or waterproof, toddler or primary size (ages 1-3 or 3-6), and you can also choose from a wide selection of patterns.  The giveaway is open internationally.  To enter leave a comment on this blog post telling us: Why did you choose Montessori? and Which apron would you choose?  Then click the link to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway and click the green button on the Rafflecopter form telling us “I commented!”  There are also lots of additional ways to enter to get your name in multiple times.  If you haven’t used Rafflecopter before it’s very easy to do so by just following the instructions.  You can also watch this quick video to help you learn. (Sorry it has to be a form using the link.  It still works!)

1 year anniversary - placematMontessori Placemat Giveaway is for one easy clean placemat from How We Montessori Shop.  The giveaway is open internationally.  To enter leave a comment on this blog post telling us: What is your most wanted item from How We Montessori Shop?  Then click the link to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway and click the green button on the Rafflecopter form telling us “I commented!”  There are also lots of additional ways to enter to get your name in multiple times, such as “liking” Montessori Moms or How We Montessori Shop on facebook (if you already do “like” us, count it as a freebie!).

Both giveaways will close on Monday, September 1 at 11:59PST.  Winners must respond within 48 hours of being contacted.  Good luck!

Disclosure statement: All opinions expressed are my own.  I have not received any compensation for expressing these opinions.  I do have a business relationship with these shop owners so I could facilitate this giveaway.

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Happy 1st Anniversary! Home Consultation Giveaway

We’re so excited to have reached the 1 year anniversary of our blog!  We’ve really enjoyed sharing about our lives with our children as we attempt to implement our Montessori training in our own homes.  We’re amazed at how much our readership continues to grow!  We hope you have enjoyed the past year of posts.

One of our top posts is by Christie about setting up the bedroom for her twin boys.  So to kick off the 1st Anniversary Celebration we thought we’d start with a giveaway for a Skype Home Consultation!!!  Christie offers home consultations through her company, Aid to Life Education.  We know you’ve enjoyed reading about how Christie has set up her home, the toys and books her sons use, and how she and her husband prepared to become parents.  Wouldn’t it be great to have a 1:1 with Christie!

1 year anniversary - skype consult

Home Consultation

Throughout any stage of your child’s life, Aid to Life Education is available for home consultations.  Your success as a family is dependent on providing your child with the right environment at each changing developmental level.  We will help to make your environment flexible and practical, looking at the specific needs of your child.  We will give you tips and strategies for utilizing space and offer suggestions regarding the materials needed to better support your child’s age and ability.

Just as important as the set-up of the physical environment, the adults need to have an understanding of child development and we will provide you with invaluable info on what to expect from the child at each stage.  We will offer you support in parenting and how to help your child master the fundamentals.  All the advice given is based on the ideals and philosophy of Maria Montessori, the purpose being to aid each child in the process of becoming a confident and independent member of society.

The giveaway is for a 1 Hour Skype Home Consultation from Aid to Life Education.  It can be redeemed on any Sunday during the month of September (timing to be mutually agreed upon by recipient and Christie).  This giveaway is open internationally.

To enter, leave a comment on this blog post telling us: What part of bringing Montessori into your home do you find the most challenging?  Then click through to [a Rafflecopter giveaway] and click the green button on the Rafflecopter form telling us “I commented!”  There are also lots of additional ways to enter to get your name in multiple times.  If you haven’t used Rafflecopter before it’s very easy to do so by just following the instructions.  You can also watch this quick video to help you learn. (Sorry it has to be a click through form.  With a free wordpress hosted site I couldn’t seem to embed it on the post.)
 
The giveaway will close on Sunday, August 24 at 11:59PST.  Winner must respond within 48 hours of being contacted.  Good luck!
The giveaway is now closed.  Congratulations to Kathy on winning the Skype Home Consultation!

 

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1 Year of Blogging!

 

 

Montessori Moms - beginning

Can you believe that we’ve been blogging here at Montessori Moms for almost 1 Year!  We are so thankful for all your support.  We love sharing how we’re implementing our Montessori training at home with our children.   We love hearing stories of how we’ve inspired you and helped you.  We love hearing your stories of what you’ve learned and are now implementing in your own homes.

 

We wanted to do something to celebrate our 1 Year Anniversary and to thank you, our readers, for your support.  How about a giveaway?  How about 6 giveaways?  Yes – 6 different and amazing Montessori giveaways!   Starting on Monday, August 18 we will have a month long anniversary celebration of giveaways.  Woo Hoo!!!  Each Monday for one month a different giveaway will be announced.  Some weeks will have multiple giveaways.  You will have one week to enter each giveaway.  So make sure to mark your calendars for Monday, August 18 for the start of our 1 Year Anniversary Giveaway Celebration!

Montessori Moms 1 Year Anniversary Giveaway Celebration

 

Have you noticed we recently organized our blog?  We hope it makes it easier for you to find information and previous posts.  Let us know your thoughts!

 

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Crawling towards Practical Life

By Carriecrawling towards practical life
A. is now 17 Months and is still mostly crawling and cruising around.  She can definitely be considered a late walker.  It was drilled into us during our Montessori training that when a child begins walking s/he will have “hands free to transform the environment”, meaning the child would be ready to take on practical life activities.  While A. may not be walking, she is certainly progressing psychologically and cognitively.  She’s not the same as an 11 month old who is not yet walking.  It was around 12 months that she started exhibiting a stronger will (tantrums!).  She has a stronger need to do things independently and become an active part of her home environment.  She is ready to take on practical life activities and has been doing so for the past few months.

If you’re new to Montessori you may be asking what I mean by “practical life.”  Practical life is everyday life:

  • Taking care of ourselves and our children
  • Taking care of things in our home environment (including yards, animals)
  • Treating each other, and our materials, with care and respect

As a parent I want to create a home that is rich with opportunities for A. to contribute and gain a deep sense of belonging.  I want to offer opportunities for her to develop the self-confidence of independently taking care of her personal needs.  This isn’t so easy when she is still using her hands for locomotion.  In our training we were asked the question “If the child is still crawling, can they participate in practical life?”  I feebly answered this question at the time.   I’ve had to completely re-think this now that I have child who has yet to reach the milestone of walking.

So many practical life situations require the balance and coordination utilized in walking, and the ability to carry items with two hands while walking.  I look forward to introducing those to A. in the future and in the meantime I wanted to share with you some ways in which A. is beginning to do practical life as she crawls and cruises.  I don’t think any of these ideas is revolutionary, nor does A. do all of them in one day.  I have just been conscious of slowing down and inviting her to participate in everyday life.  Having a few child-sized materials has definitely helped.  While these are the activities that are a part of our day, depending on where you live, your culture, and your personal circumstances, the practical life activities that you and your child will do will vary.

morningTo start her day she is able to crawl independently out of her floor bed.  After nursing we go to her dresser and she opens her small cupboard.  She is able to choose an outfit for the day.  The night before I place two outfits for her to choose from.  Then we go to the bathroom to get ready for the day.  It is a collaboration during undressing (I assist in taking out her arms and she pulls her pajama shirt over her head) and during dressing (she gets one leg in the pants and I assist with the second leg.  She pulls it up to her knees while sitting on the stool and I assist by pulling them up all the way once she is standing).  It is also a collaboration as she has a turn to brush her teeth, wash her face, and brush her hair, and then I have a turn.

preparing breakfast2We go to the kitchen and she assists in preparing breakfast.  She cracks the raw eggs for fried or scrambled eggs.  She peels the shell off the hard-boiled egg and uses the egg slicer to cut the egg.  She puts the fruit into the colander, I wash and cut, and then she puts the fruit onto the plate.  She pours water into her dry oatmeal before I cook it.

breakfastDuring meals she has been learning to use a spoon and fork.  She completely self-feeds herself, often choosing to use her hands before using utensils.  She likes to be given the opportunity to wipe her face at the end of the meal, and this is a collaboration as I need to wipe her face and hands before she is clean enough to play.  She then goes to unlock the dogs from their dog crates (they get locked up for meal times).  I love how she develops fine-motor control and unlocks various types of locks in a real, practical manner.  She also treats the dogs with respect by petting them gently, hugging them, and respecting that they have limits of how much they will tolerate being crawled over.

inside houseworkAfter breakfast she often likes to help unload the dishwasher.  She hands me the utensils and I put them away.  This is a great opportunity for language as I name each utensil she pulls out and she tries to say it after me.  For her own utensils, I give them to her to put away in her cupboard.  She is learning how to match up the forks to the forks and the spoons to the spoons.  A. loves to help do the laundry.  She puts the dirty clothes in the washer, puts the wet clothes in the dryer, and puts the dry clothes into the laundry basket.  This is a wonderful sensorial experience of dry, damp, and warm.  She is tall enough now to reach the buttons, so with guidance, she pushes the power and start buttons.

baking3We also like to bake together.  A. loves to put on her apron.  She pours, peels the bananas (for banana muffins), stirs, is learning to open containers, mixes things together by hand, and puts liners in the muffin tins.

PL lunctimeLunch time is eaten at her small table and chair.  It’s hard to set the table when she is still crawling so currently I’m starting by having her bring over the placemats (while I try to ignore the dog hair that gets picked up as they are dragged across the floor).  She then goes to sit down at her table independently when I ask her to do so.  She peels the banana peels off her banana slices, peels her mandarin oranges, picks the edamame beans out of the shell and puts the organic waste into her small bucket.  She is learning to sign ‘please’ when she would like more of something (she signs ‘more’ quite well).  Again, she self-feeds herself and I found it was easier for her to learn self-feeding with utensils at her small table.  She is able to pour water into her glass, albeit not from the spout yet.  She continues to make little spills and often still attempts to drink out of the pitcher afterwards.  She likes to wipe her table at the end of the meal to clean-up.  She will bring over the dustpan and brush for me to use to clean the floor.  She likes to dump her little bucket of organic waste into the compost bin.

outdoor workIn the afternoon we might do some work outdoors.  A. loves to be out in the garden!  While she isn’t truly helping in the garden quite yet, she loves to transfer dirt with her own tools while I do the weeding.  She enjoys picking the leaves and I take deep breaths as I guide her towards the appropriate leaves to pick (lettuce, spinach, and beet leaves).  The vegetable boxes are the perfect cruising height for her.  She is having fun harvesting the carrots and beets as she pulls them out of the soil (I loosen them first).  She also likes to help clean her toys and chair by scrubbing with a brush or a sponge.  I’ll hose down the toys while she continues to enjoy playing with the bubbles or transferring water between two buckets.  I really like the sensorial experiences she is gaining by handling soil, vegetable leaves, and soapy water.

preparing dinner2Helping to prepare dinner is fun as she then collaborates with both Mommy and Daddy.  She transfers the vegetables to the steamer basket.  She puts the cut up vegetables into the salad.  She puts the organic waste into the compost bin.  She pours the dry rice or quinoa into the pot and pours the water into the pot before I cook it.  She adds the spices to foods.  When we make our own pizza’s she scoops the sauce and spreads it, then adds the meat and cheese, chooses to not add the vegetables, and has a pre-dinner snack (still working on self-control).  She puts the ice in Mommy’s glass.  She climbs into her Tripp Trapp high chair to eat dinner as a family (we’ve since removed the baby insert seat).  Preparing food together offers infinite opportunities for language enrichment.

bedtimeAfter dinner it is time to get ready for bed.  Throughout the day she has been given multiple opportunities to use the potty and multiple opportunities to pull up underwear and pants.  She hasn’t gotten into pulling down underwear and pants yet.  Before her bath she crawls over to her laundry basket with her dirty clothes in hand to place them in the basket.  During her bath it is collaboration again as she uses the cloth to wash herself and then I wash her.  I dry her off and she opens the diaper cream and her face cream containers so I can apply them.  She loves to dip her finger into the face cream and put some on her cheeks.  She collaborates in putting on her pajamas.  Then she’s off to sleep in her floor bed.

My own efficiency has been slowed down to include A. in many of these activities yet the activities become more joyful for me as I watch her developing greater motor control, independent skills, have rich sensorial experiences, a greater vocabulary, and self-esteem that she has contributed and done important work.  I find myself pausing and just smiling as she takes on many of these tasks.  She is also a happier, more content child, which makes the day more enjoyable for both of us.

Observation of the child shows that normally he has the desire to act independently; he wants to carry things, to dress and undress alone, to feed himself, and it is not by adult suggestion that he tries to do these things.  On the contrary, his urge is so strong that our efforts are usually spent in trying to restrain him; but when we do this, we are fighting nature, not the will of the child. ~Maria Montessori, Education for a New World

While we do practical life activities our entire lives, allowing the child to follow their natural instincts to do these activities has a much deeper impact on a child who is under 6 years of age.  At this age the child is going through a huge developmental stage of constructing their personality.  While you and I prepare a meal and do the laundry to complete a task, the young child does these activities to feed their soul. Children have a deep need for their movement to be connected to an intelligent and purposeful activity.  Children have a deep desire to belong to the environment that they are in by participating in the activity that surrounds them.

Children are therefore at an age when they are greatly interested in movements and seem to be anxious to learn how they should move about.  They are passing through that epoch of their lives when they must become masters of their own actions.  Physiologically we may say that their muscles and nerves are passing through a period when they are learning how to work harmoniously together.  Successful passage through this period is of utmost importance for an individual’s ultimate perfection.  A good beginning here is most important for a child’s future. ~Maria Montessori, The Discovery of the Child

Join the conversation!  How have you involved your crawling and cruising child in everyday, practical life?

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Filed under 12-18 Months, Carrie, Food/Feeding, Independence

Foto Friday – Washing a Plant

20 Month old F. washes a plant

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Filed under 18-24 Months, Foto Friday, Rubi

Foto Friday – Preparing Asparagus

15 Month old A. helps to prepare asparagus for dinner

DSC_0075 (2) Take the asparagus out of the bag

DSC_0082 (2) Mommy snaps the ends off and A. puts the ends in the compost bin

DSC_0083 (2) A. transfers the asparagus onto the plate

DSC_0088 (2) Mommy puts on the olive oil and A. adds the seasoning

 

 

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What’s on our Play Shelf at 13 Months?

At 13 months we have had a big shift in interest and R and P are loving the new activities I have put out for them.

R and P 13 months 1

Here is our play area – no more movement mat and mirror (since about 10 months):

R and P 2

Stacking Rings/Cubes:
I first introduced these activities many months ago with the series of ring stackers I have from Beginning Montessori Materials. They worked for months on just taking the rings off, then finally figured out how to put them back on. Around a year, their hand-eye coordination seemed to improve dramatically and all of a sudden they were able to work with more challenging wooden rings and cubes and take them off AND put them on.

R and P 3

Puzzles:
I have the shape puzzles out and they are just starting to get interested in them (as well as other simple ones that are small in size and have larger knobs).

R and P 4

Push Balls:
There is a fantastic one by Sapienza that I have in my classroom and it is honestly one of the children’s favourite activities for years. I tried to find one similar locally and settled on the Melissa and Doug 4 ball tower and took away the hammer. I wanted the boys to learn to exert effort with the strength of their own hand and showed them how to push the balls through.

R and P 5

Slotted Box with Chips:
I had an old box from Michaels Craft Store that I made into a make-shift slotted box by pulling off one of the wooden slabs and they love it. I also got the wooden chips from Michaels, and have 3 circular ones and 3 square ones. Similar to the other activities, I do always show the boys how to do the activity first and then invite them to have a turn. This is a great one for repetition and object permanence.

R and P 6

Mail Box:
I have the Nienhuis one in my classroom and again, wanted to find one locally for my boys at home. I settled on the Hape three shape sorter as I wanted it to be not too overwhelming with too many shapes, as well as I wanted them to be successful getting them out by themselves. I wished the lid had a hinge but they figured out how to take it off, take out a shape (seem to only take one out at a time), put back the lid and then attempt to put the shape in. If I am sitting with them I remove the lid, take out all the shapes, and then put the lid back on for them.

R and P 7

Opening and Closing Containers:
Another favourite! I collect bottles always when I am on vacation from hotels, etc., then wash them out and use them in my classroom and now at home. I put together a collection of about 10 different ones (also use the travel containers you can buy at any local drugstore) in a basket and show how to ‘turn’ the lids on and off. They definitely love this one (haven’t quite figured out how to turn their wrists yet) but once the lid is off, like putting it on and off.

R and P 8

Basket of Animals:
Since R and P seem to be craving language and want to know the names of EVERYTHING, this basket seems like a necessary activity. The difference in this is that when we introduce language objects, an adult always should be present to offer the child the right names. So it is very much an adult directed activity (naming each animal, letting them hold it, and then asking for certain ones “Where is the duck?”). This also has been a great activity as they love to take things out and put things in baskets/cupboards/drawers/etc. so we always put the animals back in the basket when done.

R and P 9

Basket of Balls:
This basket is a saviour! Not only are they loving to throw and chase after these balls, but it gives them an outlet as they love to throw. Their mind is now telling them, I can control my body. I know how to grasp, pick up, etc and now I want to exert my effort. In the beginning they don’t know the boundaries of what is ok to throw and what isn’t, so this is where we need to be the positive role model. Many times a day I say things such as, “The bottle is not for throwing. We throw the balls.” And then I pass them a ball to throw. I am not joking that the last time I said that, P went HIMSELF to the basket, picked up his own ball, threw it, then smiled at me! They understand SO much without being able to speak and we must remember this.

Books:
We cannot forget the books! The boys LOVE their basket of books (which I rotate every few weeks) and choose to look at these often. They take one from the basket, put it in front of them and know how to flip through the pages. The majority of the time they will pick up a book at pass it to me with an “aadddaa?” Meaning, read this to me please?

R and P 10

We have another collection of more ‘story-type’ books in their bedroom that we read before naptime and bedtime (both R and P get to pick one that he would like me to read).

R and P 11

What’s on your play shelf that your child really enjoys right now?

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Foto Friday – Art Project for Two

 

Yvonne’s daughter’s were busy last weekend doing a special art project together.

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4 year old E. uses her knowledge from school to make the shapes of the continents using colour dye.  Can you recognize South America and Asia?

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Yvonne gives a presentation to 2 year old H. on how to use a spray bottle to spread the colour dye.

A lovely tye-dye shirt for Father’s day!

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Foto Friday – A New Family Member

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Ema would like to introduce her sister Maya.  Congratulations Tomoko!

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Filed under 0-3 Months, 2 years +, Foto Friday, Tomoko