Category Archives: Yvonne

Foto Friday: Gardening

Yvonne’s daughters aged 2 and 4 were busy in the garden this summer: weeding and exploring!

toddler gardening toddler gardeningtoddler gardening

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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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Implementing Multi-age and Individual Learning in your Home Part II

By Yvonne

Warm greeting to everyone, how are everyone doing this week? How was the weekend? Have you shared your experience with observation on our post or with a family member or a friend? How were the “Observe the needs of your child individually” sessions go? I am excited to find out what you have watched, listened, noticed and made notes of. I hope it was as rewarding for you as it was for me. Were you able to apply and translate the needs of your child into Individual Attention? Now that you have had a chance to Observe your child and to give them some Individual Attention; it is time for us to discuss how children of different ages work together in harmony.

Many parents have asked me the following question when they are exploring the idea of putting their children in a Montessori Environment. They asked, “why do you have children of different ages in the same classroom, isn’t it hard for the children and doesn’t that lead to a chaotic classroom, isn’t it much easier as a teacher to have a class of children of the same age?”  From my many years spent in a Montessori classroom I have confirmed that the answer to all those questions is “no”.

I have observed that children have a natural need to nurture others and lead others. They need each other. A child of two and half to three years old look up to a child who is five years old for comfort and familiarity when he or she goes to the Montessori classroom for the very first time. The child who is five and soon to be six years old shows the ability to care for his or her young friend, because he or she has been through that first day experience. It is such a beautiful image seeing them holding hands with each other as the young child slowly stops crying and begins to smile; as the older child feel confident in his or herself and proud of what he or she has accomplish to the caring of others.

Parents, isn’t it wonderful that you have that opportunity to observe this nurturing tendency within your own family when you have more then one child? Yes, it is not always a picture perfect moment when there is sibling conflict, but we are all learning to paint that picture perfect moment more often everyday with our children. Why do we as parents need to give our children the Individual Attention? It is because it is only after we know our child’s individual needs that we are able to group them together in harmony.

Group activities for children to participate as a family

  • After they have their individual attention, we maybe able to find out each child’s unique gift and abilities. For example, E. and H. love to do a lot of cooking and baking in the kitchen. Depending on the menu we have come up with together, E. is contributing her ability at home by pealing the carrots, cutting the mushrooms, and marinate meats with gloves on. On the other hand H. wants to learn and contribute to the family as well. She loves water so she is able to contribute by washing vegetables and fruits. Some other activities that they can do together are to both help to do some preparation with the vegetables. It could be a very simple dish with different layers of difficulties to meet the individual child’s need.
  • Suggestions for Activities to do with your individual child (please keep in mind of their daily routines and age abilities)
  1. Have a nature walk together and talk about what each other has observed?
  2. Have a cooking session. Have fun making lunch or dinner such as personalized pizza, tortilla, sushi bento, Vietnamese wrap.
  3. Have a car wash.
  4. Help to clean the house such as wiping the table, chairs, windows and mirrors. They can also wipe/mop the floor if the child is able to do so.
  5. Doing laundry together. Have the older child hold the garment bag and the younger child put the dirty clothes into the garment bag. Depending on the ability of the child, they can zip up the garment bag and help put it into the washing machine.
  6. Help to clean their room by folding their own clothes or by putting the hanger on the clothes.
  7. Make a surprise project for someone such as Birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Christmas.
  8. Make a grocery list with your children and have a fun trip at the market.
  9. Have a book reading session and give each child the chance to express what they have learnt from the book they read together.
  10. Plan a trip together. Ask your child to see what they need. Depending on the ability of your child, the older child can come up and write a list of things they need for the trip and they younger child can help put the items in the suitcase.

Enjoy your time learning from you children

  • The key word of everything I have shared is to enjoy, enjoy and enjoy it. The joy of learning will only be experienced in our lives and the lives of our children when it is fun and enjoyable. The positive mechanism can come out more easily through having fun with what we are experiencing and learning. Moreover, our precious little one needs us to send positive thoughts and messages of encouragement as they continue to explore life on their own. Life is not always fair, but we can change that with a great attitude towards life. Always be positive with whatever the journey ahead of you takes you.

A special note for the mothers who are reading our post, I want to encourage you and remind myself; you are a wonderful individual who is able to do all things. Just don’t forget to take a moment to breath and smile as your child looks up to you as role model for life.

Now I have shared what OIGE stands for enjoy life, enjoy your discovery of your children. Happy sharing everyone!

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Implementing Multi-age and Individual Learning in your Home – Part I

By Yvonne

Warm greeting to everyone and Happy Thanksgiving! It is a tradition in our family to count our blessings during Thanksgiving. I am especially thankful that I have two precious daughters that God has given me to take care of.

When they were born, our family and friend’s said they looked like their father. As they continue to grow, people are saying E. looks like a mini me and H. looks like my husband. In fact the grandparents sometimes have difficult time telling them a part by their voice, as they sounded almost identical. But did I give birth to a set of identical twins? The answer is no and even identical twins are individually made with their own set of distinctions and uniqueness. Every child is being shaped since the beginning of being conceived. E. is nearly four years old and H. is a year and half now. They are similar, but yet very different individuals. The question is how can we help them to be uniquely their own individuals and yet teach them to love each other as siblings from the same family? I made an acronym called OIGE. In the first half of my sharing, I will like to invite you to do try “O” and “I” for about two weeks. After two weeks I will have another post to share what “G” and “E” stand for.

Observe the needs of your child individually

  • As a Montessori teacher, it is part of our training to learn how to observe.  Do you do people watching when you are at a café? When I do these exercises I imaging myself as a private detective trying to find clues through my observation skills. Could you give it a try and maybe you will find out a new skill within you. What does it mean to observe? Here are some of activities I engage in when I do my observation.
    • Watch
      • It is very hard to slow down and quite ourselves down to watch as our culture does not allow us to do that. But when we do it can be very rewarding. For today how about setting aside five minutes of your time, quite down, sit down on the side beside your child and see how your child leads you in that five minutes. Make sure in these precious five minutes that you do not have your cell phone, computer or anything that can take your attention away. Then as you get use to the idea of observation, you may slowly increase the time as your own family time allows you.
    • Listen
      • As you watch your precious one interact with you or with other siblings take the time to just listen. It is a special skill to just listen and try to understand your child.
    • Notice
      • As you watch and listen, your child will lead you to another stage of excitement which will make you notice something that you may not have noticed before. But or after watching and listening it confirms what you have in your mind.
    • Make Note
      • Now after you watch, listen and notice; you can write in a notebook or put it on your cell phone or computer what you have observed each time. When you write it down, it helps you to process what is on your mind. It could be as simple as giving thanks to have the time to observe your child or details about your concerns about your child.

Individual Attention

  • How can we have an interlocking relationship with our children? Think back, when you were dating your significant others or spending time with your best friend, how much time did you spend together? Maybe you were like me wanting to be with each other as much your time allows you. It is because of spending quality time together, you are able to know one another, understand one another. Spending quality time with each child it is just as important as your marry relationship. You want to build that special parents and child relationship since they are place in your family. You want to also build a trust between the child and you. Your child treasures those special times/moments you have with them.
  • Suggestions for Activities to do with your individual child (please keep in mind of their daily routines and age abilities)
  1. Lunch date with just mother or father.
  2. Going to parent and child class together such as creative movement class, a pottery or a clay painting class for children.
  3. Going to concert together.
  4. Have a nature walk.
  5. Going to library.
  6. Spend time to do homework together if need it depends on the child’s age.
  7. Watch a sport’s game together.
  8. Do volunteer work around your community.
  9. Special activity planned for individual child with individual attention when other children are not around. Such as making a craft project, learning about the planets.
  10. Have a special project that is over a period of time together such as planting the flowers in the garden and see it grow or have a recycle challenge.

I am excited to hear what you have discover in the next two weeks after you have a chance to try to do some observation and learn the special gift that each child has in your family. Are you excited? I am, I am learning everyday to find out what skills my children have within them so I can help to foster that inner gift and help them to achieve what they have never discover. Happy sharing everyone!

 

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The Wholesome Language

By Yvonne

Warm greeting to everyone, how’s everyone’s week so far? I hope you are all enjoying your adventure with your little one.  I had the privilege of taking the Assistants to Infancy course when I was pregnant with our first daughter E. for the first summer of our training. I was witnessing what I learnt in action when we did our prenatal timeline chart. I was eighteen weeks pregnant; I felt for the first time a little bubble with E. when she made her first interaction with me during my pregnancy.  During our training, we learnt that the first six weeks of their life after they are born is very important to make a strong bond with your child. I used the first six weeks to have intimate time with her to guide her, care for her and talking to her about the new world around her.

With my ethnic background as Asian, I have set in mind when I have my own children, I will be passing on the Mandarin language to my children while my husband, A. speak Cantonese to our children. Furthermore, during our training, we learnt to have intensive conversations with them. I have made a simple tune for each of my daughters. I started singing the song to them since my pregnancy. Furthermore, I found out after they were born that this is one of the tools I can use to calm them down. It helped assure them that they are safe and I am here for them and with them.

ReadingWhen E. was about two months old. I decided to annunciate the Alphabets with their phonetic sounds. I saw E.’s face light up as she study intensively as I pronounce each sound. I can also saw E. was trying her hardest to communicate with me by moving her mouth and making cooing sound. We continued to communicate this way for the next couple months. On our Second Wedding Anniversary date when she was eight month old, she called “mama” looking at me intensively and with meaning.  Some parents use sign language as a tool to communicate with their child. I also tried that with E. However, I suggest you follow your child’s developmental stage. For E., I introduced two signs to her, but she was making up her own way of communicating with me with her own consistent made up sign of her own. Furthermore, every time she was making those signs, she was telling me exactly what she want me to know by words. Therefore, I did not continue more sign language with her as she was showing me the urge to communicate with me starting with two words, then four words then it continue to evolve.  She continues to learn how to speak in Mandarin, Cantonese and now English as she is enrolled in an English speaking Montessori preschool. It was amazing to see her continue to gain vocabularies each day. Moreover, she knows to switch to speak to me in Mandarin and Cantonese with A.

When H. was born, I continued to use the same method with her in her language development, but I have keep in mind to not to have any preconceive idea of how H. should be with her language development as she is another individual human being with her own set of developmental agenda. I also make sure, E. and H. has the equal rights to speak for themselves instead of having E. speak for H.

As the second child in the family, H. learns to speak from all of us including her own older sister E. She started communicating with us and sang songs like her sister. H. has the urge to be heard and her rights to be understood. Therefore, her language skills took a roller coaster ride starting from eight months old. She also developed the skill of able to switching the language “’channel” in her own mind. For example, one sunny afternoon, we were at my sister in-law’s house having a great afternoon; one of the ladies who have not seen H. for over a year and she said to her “wow you have grown so much into a little beautiful girl”. H. was a year and four month old. She replied to her all on her own in English “thank you”. I was as surprised as everyone there as she was not formally introduce to the English language, but her absorbent mind like the sponge was helping to take in all the information around her world in everyway possible.

As I have mentioned before and strongly believe; follow the child, your own child and take in all the information you gather, but see what your child can do in his and her own time as they are all uniquely created individuals. Happy sharing everyone.

Enjoying the story

Admitted that the child is born with the sense of hearing, so that he hears the human voice, why among the millions of sounds surrounding him does he pick out those only for imitation?  It is because human language has made a special impression on the sub-conscious mind, evoking an intensity of feeling, an enthusiasm, able to set in vibration invisible fibres for the reproduction of those sounds, while others cause no such living thrill.  So exact is the child’s absorption of this language is that it forms part of his psychic personality and is called his mother-tongue.  ~Maria Montessori, “Education for a New World”

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Yvonne

Tell us a bit about yourself

Warm greeting to everyone, my name is Yvonne Ho. I was born in Taiwan and immigrant to Canada with my family. My parents sacrificed many things so we can come to Canada and it is their hope that my siblings and I are able to have better education and future. Furthermore, another reason for us to move to Canada so that I was able to study what I truly love, which is music(voice) instead of just studying for tests everyday without a purpose or the true meaning behind joyful learning. I have been working in the Casa/Primary classroom since 2005 with two maternity breaks to welcome our two daughters. I have a wonderful and supportive husband who is there for me and our family.

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How were you introduced to Montessori and what led you to pursue your training?

After I finished my music degree from the University, I did some private piano teaching, but I was still searching and wondering what else can I do with my life that has a meaningful purpose. Then I was introduced to Montessori Method accidentally. Then I took the Casa/Primary Training (3-6 years old). During the training, I realized many things I do are very similar to the ways Montessori Method teaches. It made me wonder what more will I be able to do if I was able to have the opportunity to encounter Montessori as a child. After my Casa/Primary Training, I was able to visit a school in Redding California that I always wonder and was amazed by what children’s capabilities and potentialities at an early age. Therefore, when the training center of BC offered the first Assistants to Infancy class, I apply and registered. Furthermore, this training has another level of meaning to me personally as I was four months pregnant with our first child during the training.

How did the Assistants to Infancy training impact your life?

By taking the A to I course, I was able to elevate my own understand the Montessori Philosophy to a deeper level. Moreover, it was an unique experience to go through my first pregnancy with my fellow A to I sisters. They have been great support to me. Although we may not all live in the same countries right now, I know they are there in my heart and sprit. Everyday after school, I can not wait to share what I have learned during the course with my husband. It also inspired him to come to school and sit in for some of the lectures for the courses. It really help us to make decision as a couple and as a team to raise our children. We were able to implement many elements that I leaned during the course in our home.

What has been helpful to you as you implement Montessori at home with your children?

After the first summer of training, I made the Cestina for my child. Some of our friends got curious and start asking why she is not sleeping in the crib. It gave me an opportunity to share what I have learn through my course. Moreover, after my child was born, some of our A to I sisters came to observed her and they were very kind to lend me some of the mobiles we made during the course, so my child was able to have a varieties of mobiles and materials to use during the different stages of her developments. And my husband also made some materials for the girls to use.

Last words?

“The new conception takes life at the centre of its own function, and alters all previous ideas about education. No longer may the school be a world apart, or the child carefully protected by isolation from social contacts. For life to receive the right protection, it’s laws must be sympathetically studied, and psychologists who have observed small children from their first year have announced the discovery that it is in this period that the construction, the building up, of man takes place.” ~ Education for the New World, Maria Montessori

Life is an on going learning process. I recently experienced unplanned life challenges for myself. It is at this period of time, we become humble just like learning how to walk our first step. As we all live in a world that pushes us to do faster and better, sometime it is necessary to come back to the roots, to slow down. This is a reminder to myself, follow the child, do not compare and let them lead to their world so you will be able to discover the world in a new color without any preconceptions. Happy Sharing everyone.

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