The Montessori Lifestyle

One of our most popular parent education topics is “Montessori in the home”. I think it’s wonderful that there’s a desire for consistency between home and school. Parents are very curious as to what their child is doing in the classroom, but more importantly, parents want to know what they can be doing in their home environment to continue to help their child thrive. Consistency is key!

Montessori is a wonderful concept that can easily be incorporated into any home setting. Focus on your child’s independence above all else. Do they have everything they need to succeed independently? For example, can they choose their own clothing in the morning, is there a stool in the bathroom so they can brush their teeth or wash their hands on their own, do you have an area of the kitchen set aside for them to grab eating utensils or a drink of water whenever they feel thirsty or hungry, do they have works and activities that stimulate their senses while strengthening their concentration and inner motivation? There are several factors to consider while implementing Montessori in the home. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

Develop a Routineimage (19)

Children have a great need for order and routine. The child’s sense of order is similar to a child’s thirst for water, or hunger for food. A child cannot succeed until there is order in their life. E.M. Standing said that “everything in [the child’s] environment should be kept in its accustomed place; and that the actions of the day should be carried out in their accustomed routine.” (Maria Montessori: Her Life and Work) It’s really no different than us adults needing routine in our life.

When a child knows their routine, and can predict what’s going to happen next, they’re able to be more independent. Place a few baskets in their closet, filled with clothes for the day so they can easily put them on, on their own. Offer choices as to what they would like to eat for breakfast, encourage them to help prepare the food. Place objects around the house to help them easily access the things they need (for instance, a stool in the bathroom to help them reach the sink).image (21)

Transitions are part of the child’s routine. Explain everything that you’re going to do, before you actually do them. This will help your child know the expectations, and not be surprised at the sudden change of activities.

Responsibility

Children want to have responsibility; to feel needed in their home environment. How much responsibility does your child have throughout their daily routine?dsc_0260

Encourage your child to make their bed every day, put dirty clothes in the hamper, fold/put away clean clothes, feed pets, put away toys or works after each use, help set the table for meals and clean up dishes afterwards, sweep/mop/vacuum floors, and so forth. These responsibilities don’t just come at a certain age, they can be provided as soon as your child shows an interest, or “readiness” to help around the house. Model for your child how to carry out each task, and share in their enjoyment once complete.

“Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed.” (Dr. Maria Montessori)dsc_0306

Grace and Courtesy in the Home

Grace and courtesy is a major component of our Montessori environment. Grace and courtesy lessons give the child the vocabulary, actions, and steps required for him to build his awareness and responsiveness to those around him. When we sneeze, we cover our mouths. When we have a runny nose, we use a tissue and throw it away afterwards. We say “excuse me” when walking around others who might be in our way. We say “thank you” when a friend helps. We know not to interrupt a guide during a lesson, but to wait patiently instead. The same practice can be done so at home. If you wish for your child to say “please” and “thank you”, you must do the same.

You can provide activities to help your child learn grace and courtesy. For instance, practice setting the table. Ask your child to help bring a few dishes, napkins, silverware, etc. to the table, remember to say please and thank you after each exchange. Practice different scenarios where your child would need to use grace and courtesy to achieve the end result.

Care of Environment/Care of Self

Our children are constantly tidying up after one another. When we spill water, we clean it up. We wash our own dishes after meal times. We clean the tables and chairs whenever needed. We care for plants through watering the soil and polishing the leaves. Often times, you might see a whole classroom full of toddlers cleaning or doing “practical life” works. This is very normal. Through care of environment, the child learns self control, scope and sequence, control of error, discipline, focus, and so much more.dsc_0226

You can encourage your child to do the same at home. Allow them to tidy up after themselves. Remind them to put away works when they’re through. Clean the table after mealtime. If you have a garden, allow your child to help water and harvest. Encourage them to help bathe themselves during bath time, brush their hair, teeth, and so forth.

There are so many other things that you as a parent can do to help your child succeed, while implementing Montessori in the home. Practicing Montessori in your home is a beautiful gift that you can give to your child. By doing so, you’re allowing your child the opportunity to grow and flourish successfully in an environment prepared specifically for them.

146 Times Around the Sun: Happy Birthday, Dr. Maria Montessori!

146 times around the sun; Happiest of Birthdays, Dr. Maria Montessori!

Today is a day we celebrate the life and legacy of the most important, influential developer of the Montessori pedagogy.maria-montessori

Our Primary community celebrated by participating in a traditional Celebration of Life for Dr. Montessori.DSC_0710A few friends were chosen to walk the earth around the sun, signifying the years of her life. Naturally, we didn’t make it around the sun 146 times, however we did talk about significant milestones in her life after each lap.

Students were asked “What do you like most about Montessori?” One child said they thought she had good ideas about children. Another reflected on how she worked in a hospital. We learned lots of interesting facts today!DSC_0715Following tradition, we baked muffins for the occasion, and shared them as a class.

Happy Birthday Dr. Montessori!DSC_0721

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Biography

A physician, scientist, educator, innovator, child rights advocate…

Dr. Maria Montessori spent a lifetime developing an educational method focusing on the way that children learn. This method is still widely known and practiced today.

Dr. Montessori was born on August 31, 1870 in Chiaravalle, Italy. She later graduated from the University of Rome in 1896, becoming the first female doctor in Italy. She chose to focus on pediatrics and psychiatry as her specialties.

Maria Montessori became the director for the Orthophrenic School for developmentally disabled children in 1900. It was there that she began her research on early childhood development.

The first Montessori home was developed in 1907, called Casa dei Bambini (Children’s House). This is where Montessori first practiced her pedagogy, preparing each classroom environment to promote creative learning and exploration. Her methods soon became internationally recognized.

Around 1940, the Montessori movement began to fade, and Maria was forced out of Italy. She fled to India, where she developed a program called Education for Peace, which earned her two Nobel Peace Prize nominations.

In the years following, Maria Montessori continued to advance her approaches to education. She lectured all over the world, documenting her theories in books and articles. She developed a program to prepare teachers in the Montessori method; through her efforts, her pedagogy was adopted worldwide.

We Need Schools… Not Factories

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sugata-mitra/2013-ted-prize_b_2767598.html?utm_hp_ref=education-reform

“We need a curriculum of big questions, examinations where children can talk, share and use the Internet, and new, peer assessment systems. We need children from a range of economic and geographic backgrounds and an army of visionary educators. We need a pedagogy free from fear and focused on the magic of children’s innate quest for information and understanding.” (Sugata Mitra, 2013 TED Prize winner)

 

DIY Montessori: Stringing

imageWhat you’ll need:

  • felt or foam shapes
  • pipe cleaners (or string)

One of my son’s favorite things to do is string beads, or shapes onto string. We chose pipe cleaners today. This sensorial DIY Montessori work is great for fine motor refinement, concentration, small muscle control, and hand-eye coordination. I couldn’t cut shapes fast enough to keep up with my little one!

Here are a few other DIY stringing activities to try at home:

Large Bead Stringing – Carrots are Orange

Montessori-Oriented Pipe-Cleaner-and-Bead Valentine’s Day Activity – Living Montessori Now

Montessori Lacing Beads for Toddlers – Fine Motor Development Practical Life – Natural Wood Toy – Etsy

Toddler Bead Boxes – It’s Our Long Story

Happy DIY-ing!

10 DIY Holiday Gifts to make with the Kids

As parents, we’re always trying to find clever ways to make a gift out of our child’s hand/feet prints. It’s almost an obsession. We have to document their precious little fingers and toes for every year they’re alive. They make for irresistible gifts for loved ones. And thanks to Pinterest, there are so many varieties of gifts you can make with hand and feet prints, how could anyone resist?!

Handmade gifts will always hold a sentimental value for whoever receives them. We’ve compiled a list of some of the best presents to make with the kids, to help make this holiday gift-giving extra special.

(links have been added to each description/photo)

  1. Handprint Ornaments

    How to make Handprint Ornaments

  2. Footprint Ornament

    footprint2

  3. Yarn Wrapped HeartWrapping hearts with yarn as a Valeninte's day craft

  4. Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix

    Homemade Instant Hot Chocolate Mix | Fireflies and Mud Pies

  5. Clay Bowls
    DIY Clay Bowls

  6. Personalized Notebooks

  7. Ten things I love about You BookletMini Book

  8. Painted Golf Balls – for the golfer in your family (cute idea!!)Decorated Golf Balls

  9. Send a Hug!

    Send a Hug

  10. Fingerprint String of LightsThumbprint Christmas Lights

Happy crafting, and Happy Holidays!

Decorating the Tree

HBMH Charity of the Quarter: “Helping for the Holidays”

Angel Tree_2015

It is truly the season for giving! Our “Helping for the Holidays” Charity was a success, as always. We’ve gathered such an awesome collection of gifts for our Salvation Army Angels. These gits will be given to the Salvation Army and prepared/distributed as gifts to children in need.

Thank you for helping these precious children have a wonderful Christmas this year!

“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.” – Maya Angelou

Photo of the Day: Baby Steps

feetI enjoy going on walks barefoot through the hallway so that I can feel the cold floor beneath my feet. A chair helps hold the weight of my body as I learn to balance myself. I’m confident I will soon be walking on my own!

(Photo courtesy of one of our sweet infant community members)