Category Archives: Uncategorized

Highlights of 2014

Happy New Year!!!

We wanted to share our highlights of the 2014 year with you.

Our most popular post from 2014 Oh, You Haven’t Got Your Crib Yet  1 year old, sleeping on her floor bed with over 3,000 views.  Wow!  Thank you!

Our diaper and toilet learning series with our most popular being Honestly, How do you do a Standing Diaper Change? standing diaper change

Learning how we are Setting Limits the Montessori Way Montessori Discipline

The experience of Why Baby Led Weaning Works for Us 2014-02-23 17.19.02

We celebrated our 1st Anniversary of Blogging with YOU our wonderful readers, and the help of our favourite vendors and their fabulous products through a month long series of giveaways in our 1 Year of Blogging Celebration 1 Year Anniversary - Thank you

We updated the look of our Montessori Moms blog to make navigation easier with tabs for topics, ages, and authors.

We introduced a new series Foto Friday to help keep you updated about our adventures in Montessori parenting when we didn’t have time to write.  You especially loved Foto Friday: Squeezing Orange Juice DSC04110

And you loved watching videos on our facebook page.  Were you one of over 23,000 people that watched 20 month A. crack the eggstoddler makes breakfast

We also welcomed 3402 new facebook fans and 144 new followers on wordpress!  Thank you for joining us in our journey as we use our Montessori knowledge as mothers in our homes with our children.  We continue to hope that you will  be inspired to live out some of these ideas in your own lives with your own children.

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1 Year of Blogging Celebration Ends

1 Year Anniversary - Thank youThank you to our wonderful readers that participated in our 1 Year Anniversary of Blogging Celebration!  What a ride these past 5 weeks have been!  We’ve really enjoyed learning why you chose Montessori, hearing about your challenges, and re-visiting our favourite posts with you.  We wish we could have offered a giveaway to all of you as you each give us so much joy and encouragement with your feedback, comments, and questions.  Keep it coming!!!  We’d love to see more engagement on the blog in our second year of blogging as we love hearing from you!

Thank you so much for sharing our blog with others!  We love sharing our knowledge and experience (that’s why we started this blog!) and we want to help more people come to understand and implement Montessori in their own homes and relationships with children.  Our blog subscriber list, readership, and facebook likes all increased during this giveaway celebration.  We warmly welcome all our new readers!  Here are some of the posts that you said were your favourites:

The Toilet Learning SeriesSpecifically The Standing Diaper Change Montessori Moms - Toilet Learning at 1 Year  standing diaper change

Bedroom Tour and Setting up the Home: The Bedroom DSC_00312013-09-22 12.57.57

Prepare the Environment for Your Toddler’s Independence e slicing avocados

So go check them out if you’re new to the blog!

We also want to say congratulations again to all our winners!

Beginning Montessori

Congratulations to Crystal G.. on winning the 5 Pack of Toys from Beginning Montessori!

The Joyful Child

Congratulations to Diara D. on winning the signed copy of The Joyful Child by Susan M. Stephenson (Michael Olaf)!

Montessori Services logo

Congratulations to Danielle F. on winning the $50 Gift Certificate to Montessori Services/ For Small Hands!

Handmade Montessori Aprons

Congratulations to K on winning the Montessori Apron from Handmade Montessori!   

How We Montessori Placemat

Congratulations to Jamie on winning the Montessori Placemat from How We Montessori Shop!

Aid to Life Education

Congratulations to Kathy D. on winning the Home Consultation from Aid to Life Education!

Please go support these wonderful sponsors for our 1 Year Anniversary Celebration!!!  We greatly appreciate their support for our blog and their commitment to the Montessori community.

We have some exciting posts planned to share with you in the coming weeks, so we hope you’ll stay with us for another year!

From the Montessori Moms: Carrie, Christie, Rubi, Tomoko, and Yvonne

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Happy 1st Anniversary! The Joyful Child Giveaway!

Can you believe we’re already on our last week of giveaways as we celebrate our 1st Annivesary?!  Last week’s giveaway is still up until 11:59PM PST tonight!  It’s your last day to enter for a $50 Gift Certificate to Montessori Services/For Small Hands if you haven’t done so already.  We’ve been enjoying sharing with you our favourite products and helping you bring more Montessori into your homes to celebrate.  This week, our final week of giveaways, we have two giveaways.  Today I’ll announce the first one.  We’re offering a signed copy of The Joyful Child by Susan Mayclin Stephenson!  Yes, I said signed!  Susan was so wonderful to donate a signed copy of her book at my request.  She has such a passion to further bring Montessori to the youngest children.

The Joyful Child

This is such a wonderful opportunity to learn more about Montessori from birth to three years of age.  You may have started reading about Montessori on a blog, perhaps this one, and you’re wondering what might be good book to learn more.  Having been published as a formal book only last year, I find it’s not often the suggested Montessori book.  After reading it earlier this year, I fell in love with it!  Susan writes in such a warm, gentle tone.  She weaves jam-packed advice into a simple scenario of how to set-up a space for your child.  The advice about how to handle situations has stuck in my mind with her poignant stories from her own experiences as mother, grandmother, teacher, guide, and friend.  She truly looks at the child from a holistic perspective, covering topics such as feeding, toys, language development, discipline, art and music, toilet learning, motor development, sensory development, connecting with nature, connecting with our child(ren), psychological development, and so much more!  I especially appreciate her approach to parenting and addressing our needs/challenges as parents while trying to do the best for our child(ren).

Parents all do best they can with the knowledge and skills they have at the moment.  … No matter how much parents know, or how much time they give, they are not alone in feeling that it is not enough.  The first year of the child’s life is not the easiest time to begin to learn what it takes to be a parent, … We must not be too hard on ourselves as we try to balance our busy lives.  Parents who observe carefully, who listen, and, as they do so, imagine themselves in the place of their child, will learn that a child is a unique, thoughtful, and creative individual, even before the age of one year.  This is truly one of the most joyful discoveries of parenting. ~Susan Mayclin Stephenson, The Joyful Child

Thank you Susan for writing such an informative and encouraging book!  If you haven’t heard of Susan Mayclin Stephenson before, she is AMI trained at all 3 levels (0-3, 3-6, and 6-12) and has extensively travelled.  She has helped bring Montessori education to many children and families around the world.  She is also an amazing oil-painter and you can check out her work as an artist and educator here.  She runs the company Michael Olaf which offers a wonderful selection of children’s toys, books, furniture, and child-sized tools.  The newsletters are very informative, as is the website itself!  A very helpful resource on her website is the selection of video clips of Child Development Birth to Three+.  Be sure to visit the website and watch some videos to be inspired!

Video Clips: Birth to Age One Michael Olaf Videos - Birth to Age 1

Video Clips: Age One to Two Michael Olaf Videos - Ages 1-2

Video Clips: Age Two to Three Michael Olaf Videos - Ages 2-3

Thank you Susan for offering up a signed copy of The Joyful Child as a Giveaway to help us celebrate the 1st Anniversary of our blog!  This giveaway is open internationally.  To enter leave a comment on our blog telling us: Which video clip is your favourite from the Michael Olaf website?  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!)

The giveaway will close on Tuesday, September 16 at 11:59PST.  Winner must respond within 48 hours of being contacted.  Good luck!  The giveaway is now closed.  Congratulations to Diara D. on winning the signed copy of The Joyful Child by Susan M. Stephenson!

Disclosure statement: All opinions expressed are my own.  I have not received any compensation for expressing these opinions.  Susan was very generous to offer up her book for this giveaway.  I don’t have a previous relationship with her although I did have the pleasure of meeting her at the 27th International Montessori Congress in Portland last summer where she signed my own copy of her book and I was privileged to hear her speak.

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Happy 1st Anniversary! For Small Hands/Montessori Services Giveaway!

Thank you for your continued support for our blog and your excitement as we celebrate our blog’s 1 Year Anniversary!   Congratulations to K on Winning the Montessori Apron from Handmade Montessori!  We greatly thank all who entered to win the Montessori Apron!   Thank you for supporting Handmade Montessori!  K., we hope you greatly enjoy your new apron!  I’m sure Karla from Handmade Montessori can accommodate your request for a red flowers waterproof apron!  If you weren’t the lucky winner, consider visiting Handmade Montessori and purchasing one of her fabulous aprons!

Congratulations to Jamie on Winning the Montessori Placemat from How We Montessori Shop!  Thank you so much to all who entered to win the Montessori Placemat!  Thank you for helping us promote our blog and How We Montessori Shop.  It really is a wonderful company filled with unique and quality items.  It seems a few of you were eyeing up the matching and language sets and the lock box.  If you weren’t the lucky winner, remember that the Easy Clean Montessori Placemat has FREE international shipping,   making it affordable no matter where you live!

Now to announce the Giveaway for Week Three of our 1 Year Anniversary of Blogging!  This week we have a

$50 Gift Certificate to For Small Hands/Montessori Services!

 For Small Hands  Montessori ServicesI am really excited to work with this company for the giveaway.  I’ve been ordering materials for my school from them for many years and now purchase materials for my daughter from the company.  They have a huge selection of child-sized tools, great toys, art supplies, children’s books, adult resources, and so much more!  If you’ve not heard of this company, I’m really excited to introduce you to it.  If you do know of this company, I’m sure you’re anxious to get your name in for the giveaway!  They have two branches: For Small Hands is geared towards parents and Montessori Services is geared towards teachers.  A $50 Gift Certificate would be so much fun to spend for this company!

1 year anniversary - Montessori Services

You’ve probably seen A. using materials from For Small Hands/Montessori Services in previous posts such as Crawling towards Practical Life.  Our most loved items are the small garden hand tools and the small metal pail, although we also greatly love books such as Hands Can and Global Babies, and I think the baby hairbrush is absolutely perfect for fine, baby hair.  We also use the polka-dot pitcher and tongs on a daily basis.  Recently, For Small Hands/Montessori Services sent me some musical instruments to review.  I was so excited to do so!  We only have a few musical instruments and it was on my wishlist to obtain more for A.  I’m quite particular about the toys that make it into our home as I really try to limit the toys.  That means the toys that are in our home are usually made of natural materials and are good quality.  The musical instruments from Montessori Services fit both these criteria and had the bonus of being from South America.  I love travelling and the cultural diversity of our world so what better way to introduce this to my toddler than through musical instruments!  We picked up A.’s maracas when we were in Dominican Republic so it is very fitting that we continue the international collection.

Bolivian Goat Hoof Shaker

Bolivian Goat Hoof Shaker from For Small Hands/Montessori Services

On my dream wish list was to have a goat hoof shaker.  I know this sounds strange but years ago we travelled to Ecuador and at one of our stops was a family showcasing the music of the area.  100_0062_cropThe older children were dressed beautifully and were playing their instruments with their parents.  Then, the little toddler came in, clearly wearing her play clothes, and joined in with such enthusiasm playing her goat hoof shaker or chaj-chas.  It was completely unprompted and so beautiful of the child and the family to embrace the moment and joy of playing music together.  I was very excited to see that Montessori Services sells a goat hoof shaker from Bolivia (item no. M332), as I didn’t have the foresight when I was travelling years ago to purchase one.  So with great joy I introduced the goat hoof shaker to A.  Bolivian Goat Hoof ShakerShe was definitely intrigued by the texture and the foreign look of the goat hooves.  The simplicity in shaking it to obtain sound immediately brought a smile to her face.  She even experimented with it a little by holding it by one hoof to shake it and holding it by the fabric to obtain a different sound.  I’m quite certain she will enjoy this shaker for years to come!  I look forward to using this shaker as a stimulus for talking about  Bolivia and learning about the country together.  I think it will also serve as a stimulus for talking about goats and using animal parts in a resourceful manner.  Another extension will be to listen to music from the Andes, where she will be introduced to more instruments such as the pan flute and charango.  This goat hoof shaker is a very welcome addition to our home and instrument collection!

Child-Size Chilean Rainstick

Child-Size Chilean Rainstick from For Small Hands/Montessori Services

The second instrument I received was a child-sized rainstick from Chile (item no. M448).  It is made from a Capado cactus and the pebbles cascade over cactus spines.  At first touch I thought it was quite rough.  When I gave it to A. though she didn’t seem bothered in the least by the roughness.  She turned it over creating a “downpour” effect immediately.  Child-Size Chilean RainstickShe then explored it and any worry that I might have had that the roughness would turn her off from enjoying it was dispelled.  I also had another worry that she would be scared by the noise.  A. is quite sensitive to sounds and on a previous occasion was quite scared by the thunder of a large rainstick.  The child-sized rainstick made just the right amount of noise so that she was intrigued by it and continued to use it.  I’m so glad For Small Hands/Montessori Services pays great detail to attention to ensure each item is truly child-sized.  In the future, A. and I can explore the country of Chile and the geography of the area, especially the flora to learn about cacti.  Perhaps we can get a cacti for her to take of in the future.  I wonder if she’ll be bothered by spikes of a live cactus!

Peruvian Tinya Drum

Peruvian Tinya Drum from For Small Hands/Montessori Services

A.’s favourite instrument was the Tinya Drum from Peru (item no. M350).  On a recent trip to the Squamish Líl’wat Cultural Centre A. had a lot of fun playing the drums of our local First Nations in the children’s area.  When I gave her the mallet for the Tinya Drum, she immediately began banging on the drum and I could tell this was her favourite.  Peruvian Tinya DrumPrior to receiving this drum A. only had a djembe drum which she plays using her hand so the addition of a mallet to play a drum was quite enticing to her.  The drum has a little handle, perfect for her small hands, and this allows her to carry the drum around with her.  She hasn’t tried playing it while holding it yet, which makes me happy that there are different elements to playing the drum that she will be able to discover in the future.  She can enjoy it now in a simple manner and later explore the many ways to have fun with it and create various sounds.  The drum makes the perfect accompaniment to the goat hoof shaker as it is also an Andean instrument and uses a different part of the goat, the skin.  I love how drums are very international, as every culture seems to have their own drum, no matter where I go.  I’m sure we’ll use this drum as a stimulus for learning about Peru and inciting interest to travel to South America.

While I’ve shared with you my excitement of receiving these musical instruments from For Small Hands/Montessori Services, the company has so many more wonderful items!  My personal favourites are the child-sized tools.  I’d love for you to check out this company and I’m looking forward to one of our wonderful readers winning the $50 Gift Certificate!  This giveaway is open to residents of Canada and the US.  To enter leave a comment on our blog sharing What item is on your wishlist from For Small Hands (for parents) or Montessori Services (for teachers).  Then click on the link 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 form using the link.  It still works!)

The giveaway will close on Wednesday, September 10 at 11:59PST.  Winner must respond within 48 hours of being contacted.  Good luck!  The giveaway is now closed.  Congratulations to Danielle F. on winning the $50 Gift Certificate to For Small Hands/Montessori Services!

Disclosure: The musical instruments shown in this post were sent to me free of charge from For Small Hands/Montessori Services.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions expressed are my own and were not influenced by any form of compensation.  This blog is written with authenticity and honesty.  I am pleased to work with For Small Hands/Montessori Services for this giveaway as it is company I highly recommend for quality products, great selection, and good customer service. 

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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!   The giveaway is now closed.  Congratulations to K on winning the Montessori Apron!  Congratulations to Jamie on winning the Montessori Placemat!

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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Top Ten of 2013

Happy New Year!  Can you believe we’ve been doing this for less than 5 months?  Here are the top ten posts from 2013 for you to enjoy as you begin a New Year.  We hope the new year holds many wonderful times with your family and that you have the support to fulfil your goals.  Thank you for sharing in our journey!  Thank you for your support for this blog.  And keep sharing our blog with others who may find it useful!

Books for Babies

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Setting up Our Home

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What’s So Special About the Montessori Mobiles? Part 1 – The Munari

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Topponcino

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Setting Up The Home: The Bedroom

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The Celebration of Weaning (Introducing Solid Foods)

Feeding herself mashed fish

Developing Concentration and Independent Play

Octahedron mobile

Prepare the Environment for Your Toddler’s Independence

e slicing avocados

Setting Limits

Crawling – Part Two: The Prepared Environment

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Congratulations to our Winner!

Thank you for all your support!  This blog is off to a great start with 38 WordPress followers and 255 Facebook likes!  With views from 50 countries!  We’ve only been up and running for two weeks!  Amazing!

Thank you for all your comments!  It was a bit overwhelming to receive so much interest and so many ideas of what you’d like to hear about.  Each of you have your own situation you’re coming from but there were some definite themes such as an age by age guide, how to set up your homes, how to make materials or find them (especially on a budget), real life with the low bed, and how to incorporate the Montessori philosophy into your daily lives.  We look forward to sharing our stories with you in the coming months (or years from all the comments!).  Some of you had specific questions.  Please ask these on our facebook page so we can get a conversation going about those topics.  They were really great!  Please be patient with us responding to those comments as we’re getting ready to go back to school/work.

There were over 100 entries for our giveaway from Beginning Montessori for a Five Pack of Toys.  The lucky winner is Kristy McCarthy!  Congratulations!  We hope your child or someone you pass this along to greatly enjoys the toys.

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Setting up our Home

By Christie 

When we found out we were having twin boys I thought to myself, “Now this is REALLY going to put my Montessori theory to the test!!”  It was finally time for me to put my many years of experience with other people’s babies into practice and I was ready for the challenge.

A huge factor in the Montessori philosophy is preparing the environment.  This is a fancy way of saying that you must spend a good deal of time getting your house ready for the child/ren in such a way that you take into account their needs at each developmental stage.  By creating a beautiful, calm, simple space for the baby with the right amount of stimulation it is hoped that he/she will form a secure and healthy attachment to his/her new family and world.

My husband and I have a fairly small house so we really needed to be mindful of how we were to set up the space for not one but two babies!  Setting up their room was so exciting (to be discussed in a future post) however one of the components which we term the area for movement (aka play zone) I chose to create outside of their room and make it a part of our common living space.  I wanted a visible area where I could put the boys down and they would be able to entertain themselves while I made a much needed cup of coffee!

So, I needed to prepare such an environment.  What did I need?  A movement mat, mirror, cabinet, shelf, and materials.  Please keep in mind that we were on a budget so the items that I bought are not the top of the line but still serve the purpose.  I wanted the space to be beautiful, calm, and simple and not have my house overtaken by baby items so had to be selective with what I chose to buy.

The movement mat that I purchased is a mattress topper from Ikea similar to this one and I covered it with a rubberized flannel pad and a neutral bed sheet (also purchased at Ikea).

The mirror I got was from Canadian Tire.  Ideally it would not be framed and you need to make sure it is secured to the wall.  I LOVE using these Velcro-type strips for all the things I hang for the boys as they can easily be removed when they grow and when the height of the pictures etc. need to be adjusted.

I had the hardest time finding the right cabinet with enough shelves and glass doors but not too large in size.  I finally found one at Winners/Home Sense however this is the one that I am still on the hunt for (although totally out of my price range).

Now, what to put in the cabinet?  Well, I was lucky!  Since I had been running Parent-Infant classes for a few years now, I was able to simply bring my materials home from school.  What do I mean by materials?  Basically they are toys.  I am sure you have noticed by now that we have a particular lingo in the Montessori world.  We choose to call them materials as they all have a specific developmental purpose however simply put, they are educational toys.  I purchased the majority of mine from: Beginning Montessori and Michael Olaf.  I occasionally find nice items at places around town, keeping in mind some key factors like the toys need to be small, preferably made from wood or another natural substance, and purposeful.

In the first few months you don’t need much except a few small grasping materials, a music box or other source of music, and a selection of mobiles.  We hung one of those plant hanger hooks in the ceiling above the movement mat (my husband was not too happy about this) and this is where the mobiles are hung.  The specific toys were placed on a small low shelf (actually a shoe rack from Canadian Tire).

The space was ready! Thank goodness because the boys chose to arrive almost a month early! 🙂

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Filed under 0-3 Months, 3-6 Months, Christie, Play Area/Toys, Uncategorized