Montessori and Composting With Kids

When I was a Montessori teacher for 20 years I learned how to compost with the children at our Montessori school. Now that I am a work-at-home mom, and my son is older, I started composting with him this summer: I combined what I learned as a Montessori teacher with what I had around the house.

 First I grabbed an old styrofoam ice chest that was taking up room in our garage. I poked holes in all the sides, including the bottom, with a large screw driver. Then I layered a little soil and manure on the bottom and watered it just a tad.

Next, I got a basket with handles for my son to gather "brown waste" from our yard: leaves and dried grasses and small sticks.

We then retrieved our kitchen-counter compost and poured some "green waste" on the compost. FYI: No dairy or meat go in the compost.


Fall Montessori Botany Activity Ideas & Nature Outings

Photo by Lisa Nolan
Whether it's summer or fall, start doing hands-on, concrete Montessori botany and practical life activities!

Saving seeds
Nature outings
Parts of a real plant
Parts of a flower
Parts of a real leaf
Parts of a real root
Plant experiments

Lily flowers are great for parts of a flower

Here is one of my Montessori botany activities from my training manual: The Study of Nature. Outings.


7 Fun Fall Montessori Leaf Activities

Photo by Lisa Nolan
Who doesn't love fall! The seasons are changing from warm summer days to cool Autumn nights, pumpkins are getting fatter on the vine, and leaves are falling in colors of brown, red, orange, and yellow. There are endless seasonal and holiday projects, recipes, and activities... What's a parent to do? Join us in the Autumn Blog Hop at the bottom of this post. So here are my 7 fun Montessori-inspired activities.

DIY Bedtime Box With Day and Night Matching and Sorting

DIY Bedtime Box With Day and Night Matching and Sorting

A Guest Post by Carolyn Wilhelm of Wise Owl Factory

I recently purchased Motherhood May Cause Drowsiness: Mom Stories from theTrenches, Lisa Nolan's mom lit parent humor anthology with forty contributing mom bloggers. Motherhood May Cause Drowsiness is very funny and poignant while describing the experiences of the sleep deprived mothers who contributed the chapters. Any young parents needing some comedic relief about their situations would feel less alone and more understood by reading this book. I've already sent it to a young mom who I know will enjoy the writing. The writers are all very talented and many have written other books and/or blogs. They are introduced at the end of the book with links for future reading and enjoyment.

I smiled for days remembering some of the lines in the book such as, "I hear a doggy barking!" spoken by a child trying to delay bedtime. The teacher mom I could so relate with, as both jobs can be exhausting. There are poems and stories, and it is the perfect bed stand book to help parents fall asleep with a smile. Because it is written by many contributors, reading short sections at a time is fine. I won't say why, but you might like to read Lisa's chapter first. I'm sure you will want to share the funny stories with your friends and relatives.

So one thing sleep deprived mothers really need is for their children to actually sleep. This means some clever parenting needs to be employed to create situations where this happens. Routines are helpful, and it seems they need constant updating to the next level. Routine 1.0 has to be updated to 2.0 and so on as the children grow. This keeps parents on their toes, when they can stand up and aren't falling asleep.

I suggest before mentioning bedtime, first begin turning off some lights and dimming lights to give a nonverbal awareness it is nighttime. Then, a routine is required.

DIY Bedtime Box With Day and Night Matching and Sorting

Do You Need to Be Crafty to do Montessori?

Do You Need to Be Crafty to do Montessori? {Confessions of a Montessori Mom}

I am a mom with well intentions, but I struggle with organization, planning and as a pregnant woman, fatigue! I am also admittedly not that crafty. I will often opt to purchase an item if it will save me from the overwhelming feeling of crafting something. However, I really don't want my deficiencies to interfere with the type of quality environment I raise my children in.  After reading many different Montessori books, I know this is the approach that I want to adopt for raising both my children.

I asked other Montessori moms and educators what they thought! Here is what they had to say:
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Is there a general order that teachers use for giving Montessori lessons?

Is there a general order that teachers use for giving Montessori lessons? {Confessions of a Montessori Mom}

Is there a general order that teachers use for giving lessons? Montessori method follows the child and observes what is next for that child. Therefore, I have read in many places that there is no set curriculum to follow. But there are albums that Montessori teachers create. There may be no set time to teach something, but what I am thinking and wondering is, is there a general order or pattern which a teacher might use. I have noticed in the math materials that the pink tower comes before the brown stair and the red rods. I am thinking that I could have the "next" lessons or activities prepared, and tucked away, and taken out when the child is ready for it. But how do I know what lessons and activities to tuck away?--Laura S.

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Photo credit: abbamouse / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

What constitutes misuse of materials by an infant?

What constitutes misuse of materials by an infant? {Confessions of a Montessori Mom}

I've been doing a few Montessori activities with my son C. since he was born. He's now nine and a half months old. Here's a question I've been wondering about for a while.

When I present an activity, C. has very little interest in copying me and doing the intended activity. I know that sometimes it's appropriate for the child to use the materials in his own way, but other times it indicates that he is not ready for the activity and I should just put it away. But how do I tell the difference?

When I presented the "putting spoons in a bowl" activity, C. picked up the spoons and put them in his mouth, and tapped them together, both of which I thought were probably ok. But then he took a spoon in each hand and started crawling away (he loves to crawl while holding things). I decided that was not a good idea, because he wasn't using the materials in any investigative way, so I took the spoons away from him and he was really mad.

Do you have any tips on this for the infant stage?

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Photo credit: Scott SM / Foter / CC BY-NC

Are Montessori Young Kids on Average More Shy?

Are Montessori Young Kids on Average More Shy?

Hi, I am a mom from Macau. I am often faced with the comment from non-Montessori outsiders, or even families who send their kids to Montessori preschools, claiming "Montessori young kids on average are more shy, or need more time to warm up in social gatherings, than kids who go to playgroups". Is this the real scenario? My 2 yr 8 mo girl happens to be an introvert, and people are commenting like "is the Montessori environment really helping her to survive in an extrovert world". I firmly believe in Montessori philosophy, but have to admit I am anxious in this area, especially as she is approaching the time for school interviews for getting selected and admissions into kindergarten, and she really needs a long time to feel comfortable before she speaks or greets (we don't have Montessori kindergartens or elementary schools here in my place). Can you give me more insights to this? Thank you so much!

Child Screams and Runs Around the Classroom When Asked to Put Montessori Activities Away

Child Screams and Runs Around the Classroom When Asked to Put Montessori Activities Away

I have a child in the class who just turned three. Very smart. His parents are bilingual. Repeats words, phrases or sentences you say in third person. He can sit down and do work but when he is done he would start screaming or running around the room wall to wall. Then would have a hard time going back to work. He has a fascination on fans and makes fan out of most if the materials. Recently he has been pulling hair in random no apparent reason and no show of emotions toward the child. Are these sign of something about the child or just simply a child lacking communication skills which will come soon. Thanks.

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Photo credit: Nisha A / Foter / CC BY 

FAQs on the Montessori Knobbed Cylinder Blocks for Twos and Threes

FAQs on the Montessori Knobbed Cylinder Blocks for Twos and Threes

I've been looking for some information on when to introduce the pink tower, brown stairs and knobbed cylinders. I have found info on their purposes, but not much on when and how to intro them. I have seen mini versions of these materials (with only half the steps, tower pieces or cylinders) in the toddler section of montessori shops online but they don't have any age suggestions. Can you please suggest a good source for info and activities?