Over the last couple of years the Montessori at home online community has grown in ways I could never have imagined. Deb is now an integral part of that community. Her blog Sixtine et Victoire is simply beautiful and really resonates with my style of Montessori living. Deb is here today to share a little about her self and her Montessori journey.
Hello! I am Deb, the blogger behind Sixtine et Victoire, young Parisian French mother to Sixtine Charlotte 28 months and Victoire, 11 months, the inspiration for my Montessori-influenced and green living-inspired blog.
We are a family of four. I am from Paris, France and my husband is from Prince Edward Island, Canada. We are a bilingual family located in Canada. I am a stay-at-home mother (but I am hoping to return to the workforce some time this year) and my husband works away.
I first came across Montessori when Sixtine was about four months old and I remember being oddly nervous and excited all together. Montessori felt right but it was also very overwhelming. First of all, I did not know of anybody living the Montessori way so I had no one to look up to. I was a young first-time mother wanting the best for her child and I did not know where to start. There are so much information, resources, and blogs out there nowadays that it made it almost too hard, until I stumbled upon your blog which has been a wonderful source of inspiration for me and my family. I bought a few books and read them all avidly and started incorporating the philosophy into our home.
Montessori resonated so well with me. It meant simplicity, independence, trust, beauty, respect, and Nature.
I like to say that we live Montessori more than anything else. Yes, I plan activities for the day because my daughters don’t go to nursery/daycare and I feel responsible for their education but most importantly, I work really hard on providing an environment that is beneficial and adapted to their needs and rights as individuals. Because my girls are close in age and I am by myself most of the time, it can prove challenging to organize activities as they aren't on the same sleeping schedule. Usually, Sixtine will do some morning work when her sister goes to bed around 10am until 12. It seems to work for now. Victoire doesn't nap right after lunch which allows me to spend some one on one time with her until she goes for a nap again. The afternoon are reserved for baking, going out, messy play etc.
I want them to be able to go about their day safely, as independent little people. Victoire, as an example, is free to crawl around the living room, her bedroom, the corridor and her big sister’s room. It was made safe for her to do so and I believe it is very important.
This is Victoire's room. It is pretty simple, and uncluttered.
List of material from left to right:
Wooden frames from the Dollar Store / prints from Google :) / low shelf from Ikea / single shape puzzle from Montessoria / ball cylinder from Beginning Montessori / crocheted egg and cup from mjolkig on Etsy /baskets from local second-hand store / sensory balls from various locations including Blume and Jensen on Etsy , O Ball and anonymous? / object permanence box with tray and red ball bought used from Montessoria / wooden ring stacker is a gift from a lovely Montessori Mom and friend. The wooden knitted teething ring from mjolkig on Etsy. Rug is from Ikea
Victoire doesn't sleep on a floor bed and I am comfortable with that choice. I had already bought a crib for Sixtine before getting into the Montessori philosophy of education and decided not to go against it - I simply waited until she would be able to climb out to put her on a floor bed. She did really well. I am still nursing Victoire during the night so we are still co-sleeping somehow. But we are planning to move this year and the girls will be sharing a bedroom. I have decided that Victoire will go on a floor bed then. I would love to hear some advice of other Montessori-influenced parents who have their children in the same room!
As for Sixtine, she is very much involved in all our everyday household routine. She helps with laundry (emptying hamper and putting the dirty clothes in a basket, loading, unloading the washing machine), dishes, she cleans the windows with me, and put her toys away...There is nothing that she can’t do. The best thing about that is that she wants to do those things, she feels she is a contributing member of the family and she will help over playing with toys on any given days. Our favorite thing to do together is baking!
Some practical life activities/ engaging in everyday household routine:
I just wanted to share some advice with the new-to-Montessori parents. Montessori is first and foremost, a way of thinking and a lifestyle. Don’t compare yourself to others, and try to do your best with what you have. I remember all too well our beginnings and feeling discouraged at times! I like to give full disclosure on my posts because I don’t want to give the impression that everything is perfect and always works well. Sixtine put her toothbrush in the toilet a few days after setting up her care of self area! I wasn’t happy about that but it is all about trials and errors. It can be challenging but it is well worth it in my opinion!
Care of self area: (Note: there is no hair brush/comb because I do her hair. She is welcome to help when I style her hair but Sixtine has very wild curls that even I can't manage :)
Other than your blog, I enjoy reading Le Journal de Liv et Emy, Little Red Farm, Itty Bitty Love, Our Montessori Life, Eltern Von Mars and many more! I also highly recommend Janet Lansbury for gentle and respectful parenting advice. She is golden.
Thank you so much for having us over Kylie.
Looking forward to connecting with all of you,
Thank you Deb for sharing not only your story and advice but also some lovely pictures of your home. It almost feels like we have been chatting in real time. Between you and Eve it's time for me to take some French lessons.
"It is almost possible to say that there is a mathematical relationship between the beauty of his surroundings and the activity of the child; he will make discoveries rather more voluntarily in a gracious setting." - Maria Montessori.