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Pulling Your Child Out of Montessori School

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During this recession, I get more and more emails from moms who are faced with the heart-wrenching decision to pull their children out of Montessori school and place them in a local public school for financial reasons... emails like this one:
"I have two children almost 7 and 8. They have been in a private Montessori school since the age of 3. I have just taken them out and they actually start public school on Monday. I’m terrified. This was not by choice that I made this decision, but rather by necessity. Private school is really expensive.
"My thought is to work with them in the evenings and at some point maybe just pull them out of public school and home school them. My main concern is whether I can do this or not.
"We love Montessori, and taking them out of school was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make. I literally cry when I think about it. I loved what they were learning in class, but I have no concept of how they learned it.
"I want to imp…

Should Your Child Continue On In Montessori

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I receive email from time-to-time from parents who question whether or not they should keep their child in Montessori school, especially if the child is five, because the question becomes whether the child should stay in Montessori for their Kindergarten year, or enroll in a public school or non-Montessori private school, enter a Waldorf school, or stay home and be homeschooled. It is a big decision! The following is an email from such a mom:

My almost five-year-old is finishing his second year at a montessori school, and though we love it, I am not sure their approach is what is best for him. He has been building the same words for the past six months [Movable Alphabet] and generally is not motivated to do new harder things because he isn't good at it. He gets the greatest satisfaction out of easier work. The teachers try to get him working on more serious stuff, but it he generally seems bored at school and tells me he doesn't want to go because it's boring. I know that …

Montessori and Potty Training Boys

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My son E. is 26 months and has been wearing underwear for about a week during the day (cloth diaper at night). For the first day or two, he'd make it to the potty about half the time.... But after those first few days any suggestion of the potty upset him very much. So, I stopped mentioning the potty, thinking he is still learning about his body.... The past few days he has not attempted to go to the potty at all, just has accidents all day. Should I be doing something else? If so, what? Should I try to get him to help clean up? If so, how? Have I missed his window of opportunity?
Oh! The joys of potty training! Boys? Oh boy! Boys (when they potty train or potty learn) act just as you described! They are fickle! What to do?

Here's what NOT to do (I find that much more helpful sometimes)... Keep reading at  my sister blog!

Top photo credit: desertrice / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND


Which Montessori Lessons to Give a Tot?

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If a child at the age of 16 months comes to me, which Montessori lesson do I start with first? Shall I start with the sensorial, the language, the maths or practical life lesson first? How many types of lessons can be done in a day and how many hours for each lesson?
You need to observe the child in your Montessori home or daycare environment, to see what they choose to play (work with), then you will know what materials to add to the environment.
Maybe the child loves trucks, so have lots of trucks and give the language, count them, learn the colors of the truck, the noises it makes. Keep reading here at my sister blog!

~Lisa Nolan

Can You Give a Toddler a Montessori Lesson?

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Can You Give a Toddler a Montessori Lesson?
Want to know the truth? Most toddlers don't really like Montessori three-period lessons: they are still learning how to control their bodies (and bodily functions!). They rebel against help and interference from adults, like diaper changes, getting dressed, sitting at the dinner table, and taking a nap...

And they insist on doing everything themselves! The trouble is they (still) need a lot of help! So you are always trying to help while letting them do it themselves!

So how does giving a three-period lesson work in a Montessori environment for this age group? Keep reading at my sister blog here! ~Lisa Nolan

First photo credit: shanntastic / Foter / CC BY

Can You Begin to Teach Geography Without Buying all the Montessori Materials

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Can you begin to teach 3 to 6 Geography without buying all the Montessori materials? Here's what the book Montessori on a Limited Budget has to say: "Geography activities should begin close to home so the child has a concept of the structure of his immediate environment before he tries to comprehend an abstract representation of a more remote area (e.g., maps and globes). The concept of a map can be learned through making a map of the child's yard, or neighborhood or town, or having treasure hunts utilizing maps. For Ithaca, N.Y. children [in the U.S.], terms like lake, gorge, woods, waterfall, creek, hill, inlet, etc., will be more valuable at first than ocean, bay, peninsula, etc., (which might come first for a Floridian)." From Montessori on a Limited Budget on page 181.
When I taught in Sausalito, on clear days I used to take the 5-year-olds and a walk up the hill by our school. When we reached the top we'd look down to see the bay and an island (Angel Islan…

The Montessori Elementary Child

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Am I doing the best Montessori job for my infant?

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I've read several books so far about Montessori and I am slowly implementing it into my routine with my son (he is 13-months-old now)...I get a little nervous as I wonder if I'm missing those windows of opportunity...however I don't see him ever really getting absorbed and concentrating on any one item...And I'm having a hard time rotating items mostly because I don't know what to rotate with as he doesn't seem to like any thing...I also get worried that I should forgo safety and allow him to explore--instead I feel like I'm backtracking and saying no to things; but I try to remember that I'm a mom first and a teacher second.
Exploring is the key for your 13-month-old son, especially gross motor and oral (mouthing). So try to keep making the home safe for him to explore, as well as let him mouth safe objects that you can throw in the dishwasher!
If there are stairs in your home, he can begin to crawl up and down them...As for your kitchen,…

Montessori and Toddlers Sitting Through Meal Time

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This might bit a bit irrelevant but will like to know what is the Montessori way of teaching toddler to sit throughout meal time. He will play with his food after he is about half full and will either ask me to feed him the rest or he will just go running around.
Two things: when he begins walking around, and or plays with his food, mealtime is over! Period. Your toddler will cry, scream, throw a tantrum, say he isn't finished, but he is, he just doesn't realize it. It is actually a learned skill, their bodies know they are finished, but not their brains, so to speak.
To avoid this situation, give your toddler less food or smaller portions (we were always asking parents at our school to send less food!). Preschoolers eat like birds! They become more interested in being social!
But the Montessori aspect of mealtime is showing the toddler how to put his food away and clean up--and he is in the sensitive period for this!
Now this will take a lot of time! Be patient! And again, yo…

The Arctic: Montessori Activities

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In a Montessori environment, the study of a continent (for ages 3 to 6) entails introducing activities in Geography, Zoology, Botany, and Culture, to name a few. Today we are going to look at the continents of Arctica and Antarctica. When we think of these continents at both ends of the world, we think of ice and snow. So the very first day or week of activities to introduce to your home school or classroom environment are Sensorial activities and should include ice (and snow if you live near snow at winter time).
The following are Arctic animals, and ice cube and snowflake activities from around the Internet:
Polar Sensory TubSnowflake Matching CardsSnowflake Cut and Paste booklets"Iceberg" ActivityArctic Animals BooksMelt an Ice Cube GameDon't live near the snow? Try this "Make your own Fake sensory snow that feels real" activity.

The second day or week the set of activities to introduce would be Practical Life, like feeding and caring for a pet. But we don'…

Montessori and Composting With Kids

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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.


So now we have both brown and green waste together. That's important for a healthy compost!

 Next we added a few cups of soil. It is not necessary to add soil. I use it to h…

7 Fun Fall Montessori Leaf Activities

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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.
In Montessori Practical Life Care of the Environment, raking leaves is a favorite Fall activity, suitable for three-year-olds and up. The child can use a child-size rake (we bought this one at Montessori Services), and if you have child-size gloves, they can be difficult to put on. We don't use gloves at the moment.

After raking a big pile of leaves (these are leaves from our huge plum tree) you can place them in a basket with handles for carrying, or a paint bucket. What's even more ideal is a child-size wheelbarrow, great for large motor-movement. (We hope to a…

Are You a Montessori Junkie?

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Do you spend more than one hour a day surfing the Internet for you next Montessori fix? Have you bought several Montessori-related book this month on Amazon? Perhaps you wander around the dozens and dozens of Montessori blogs reading posts, downloading activities, or making comments.

Maybe you've even downloaded a Montessori 3 to 6 album, or two, or three. (Tip: you only need one!)
And don't tell me you haven't downloaded a Montessori app to your iPad or iPhone! OK, maybe that's going too far... even I haven't done that (mainly because I have an old-fashioned cell-phone that isn't capable of taking a picture much less checking my email or what-ever-it-is smart phones do these days). Keep reading here!

You know you have a Montessori child when . . .

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You know you have a Montessori child when...I posted this question on my Montessori Facebook page, and I received a lot of responses! Here are a few of my favorites:
"My son was taking a REALLY long time in the children's library bathroom so I peeked in the door and he was wiping the sink and mirror dry with paper towels!" OK, that one was mine!

"When your two-year-old says excuse me when she needs to interrupt your conversation!"
"My daughter, 18 months, went to get a bib before a meal. When all the bibs fell on the floor she began to sing 'Clean up, clean up . . . ' while picking them up and putting them back."

"Caught my son using his spoon, meant for his cereal, moving milk from his cup to his bowl."

"A few months ago I realized I had a Montessori child in the making when after looking at a book she got up and put in back in the box where it had come from, without prompting!"


And from our Facebook group members:
"When…

Best Montessori Books I Own

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Welcome to my Best Montessori Books I Own Series: I highlight four Montessori books including Teach Me to do it Myself, Montessori activities for you and your child  by Maja Pitamic; How to Raise an Amazing Child The Montessori Way by Tim Seldin; The Essential Montessori Updated Edition: an Introduction to the Woman, the Writings, the Method, and the Movement  by Elizabeth Hainstock; and Awakening Your Toddler's Love of Learning by Jan Katzen-Luchenta. Some of these books are available at your local library, as an ebook on Kindle, and or used and new on Amazon.com where you can add them to your wish list or purchase them on the spot. 

Teach Me to do it Myself, Montessori activities for you and your child  by Maja Pitamic
The Introduction includes: a Preface; "Who was Montessori"; "How to use this book"; and "Frequently asked questions" (seven in all).
There are five chapters with activities you can do at home or in a classroom setting: "Life skil…

DIY Bedtime Box With Day and Night Matching and Sorting: A Guest Post by Carolyn Wilhelm of Wise Owl Factory

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I recently purchased Motherhood May Cause Drowsiness: Mom Stories from the Trenches, 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 paren…