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Showing posts with the label my confessions and personal stories

Climbing Stairs

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Waving at Trees

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I Owe It All To a Pumpkin Patch

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When I was twenty-three I worked at a local preschool. One day I left early to drive up the highway (to do what I can't remember), and I stopped at a pumpkin patch along the way. I ran into one of the teachers who used to work at the preschool: she was on a field trip with her new classroom to pick pumpkins for carving.
She told me all about this new school she was working at, how orderly the activities were, how independent the children acted, how there were so many great subjects for them to choose from, like math and geography and music and art, and lots of language, and she raved at how smart the kids were, and how they loved to learn.
Wow, it must be a school for gifted children! I stated. No, she replied, it's a Montessori school. I never heard of such a school. She told me all about the special training class she was taking in San Francisco, two nights a week, as we strolled amongst orange pumpkins and yellow green vines and leaves, with the voices of happy kids in the …

Hugs, High Fives, and the Grace of Children

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My special needs son JJ started attending public school Kindergarten a few years ago. I admit I was worried. Would the other children accept JJ in spite of his Down syndrome? Avoid him? Sneer at him? Make fun of him? Or worse, bully him?

We hear stories practically every week about children who are bullied. And so the discussion begins, how do you react to bullies in school? But what we need to also talk about is how to teach children to be accepting of others who are different, who have special needs, or who just stand out in the crowd.

According to Montessori child development, at around age five, children begin the developmental transition to the Abstract Reasoning stage. More broadly, five-year-old begins the "Why, mommy, why?" phase. Why is the sky blue? What makes the wind?  In Montessori elementary education the focus also changes as children at age six span out from the me, myself, my family, my school to the Universe, the planets, and the stars. It is a complete u-…

Dress Up Fun If You Can Afford the Mirror!

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For two years I searched for an affordable (OK, cheap) acrylic child-safe mirror for my son. I lived near two children's second-hand stores, a Salvation Army, a Goodwill, and two other second-hand stores (who needs Ebay!)... but I never found one. So I searched online, first with Ebay (OK, I need Ebay), then I did a Google search. It took a few hours, but
I found a baby-proof stand-alone mirror out there in Cyberspace (OK, some one's warehouse). IT COST A SMALL FORTUNE!
Since when did dressing up in front of a mirror become so expensive? 
After the gold-plated mirror arrived (OK, wood framed mirror) I set up a basket with three items in it for my son to use for playing in front of the mirror. He loved it, as I knew he would.
It made me think of those VISA commercials you see on TV: scarf, $10. Sunglasses, $18. Hat, $15. Mirror plus shipping, $100. Watching your three-year old play dress up, priceless! 
(I made up those prices, except for the freakin' mirror!) Maybe I shou…

A Snuggle Sandwich: how we struggled to start our day

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Mornings were tough. I got five or six hours of sleep, woke up tired, cranky, and in a bad mood. I was hungry, too. Plus, my son was REALLY, REALLY poopy when he rose. But did he want his smelly, stinky diaper removed? No! He avoided getting changed at all cost. Eventually we got it done (not before he fussed and protested and fought me).
Next, it was time to get dressed. But he wanted to play the chasing game. I don't play the chasing game. So I ignored him... and he ignored me.
Eventually I left the room and walked downstairs. Then he played the crying game. That's when I asked him from the bottom of the stairs, "Are you ready to get your clothes on?"
"Ya, ya, ya," he sniffed.
By this time my stomach was growling so loud it could wake the neighbors.
And I needed caffeine!
Getting dressed became one more battle, like trying to put clothes on a swinging monkey in a tree... but we mustered through it.
That became the protocol. (I tried it every which way, …

Can Metal Bowls Touch Your Soul?

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I visited a Montessori school to observe their toddler classroom for my son, when he was a tot. I loved it: the environment was spacious, lots of light, many lovely activities, little wooden stools and low tables, a painting easel, green plants, and a hamster; what one would expect in a toddler Montessori class.
It was time to go outside and see the playground, and it was for toddlers only (they played separate from the preschoolers--another plus!). I looked around the corner and saw rows of metal bowls stuck to a red and yellow painted board. "What on earth is that?" I asked the teacher.
The toddler teacher explained: "The kids used to bang their little plastic hammers on the building, and I thought, if they want to bang, let's give them something to bang on!"
She contacted a local environmental sculpture artist friend, and he made them a bowl sculpture!
But wait... If this a Montessori environment, shouldn't they be in order of largest to smallest or som…

"Where, Oh Where, Has My Little Toddler Gone, Oh..."

Where's my little toddler who says, "Mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy!" Or who insisits on doing everything himself! My toddler who used to take long naps, and eat like a horse (a small horse, OK, a pony, a small pony). He's turning into a three year old preschooler! (THANK GOODNESS!) Yes, I can really see the difference in my growing tot, longer and leaner, and do I dare say, he listens to me now (sort of). Shorter naps, which means he falls asleep earlier at night! He's still a monkey, running and climbing and throwing and jumping all around, but how can I say it, he's becoming more wiley. He waits until I go into the bathroom, for example, to climb over the gate into the kitchen! And he now shows a strong and growing interest in numbers and counting, a sure sign the toddler year(s) are going, going, gone. Did I say THANK GOODNESS! Yes, I did! Bye, bye tantrums and fights over changing diapers and clothes (well, almost!)

Welcome, I'm Lisa Nolan!

Should you Montessori Homeschool?

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