Today I have invited Inger-Lisa from Montessori Shop over to talk a little about herself, parenting and her new online store. Inger-Lisa is new to Montessori and only took over Montessori Shop earlier this year, so I hope you will make her feel welcome!
Can you tell us a little about yourself, how you came to own Montessori Shop and perhaps what attracted you to Montessori in the first place?
I live semi-rurally in New Zealand with my partner Gareth and we have two young children; our son Arlo is two years old and our daughter Florence has just turned one.
I didn't know very much about Montessori at all before Arlo started attending a local Montessori preschool when he was one. We sort of fell in to Montessori due to a lack of other preschool options in our area and I am so glad we did!
I came across Montessori Shop last year when I was looking to buy birthday and Christmas presents and found I kept going back to the online store because I loved the beautiful wooden toys as well as wonderful variety of Montessori equipment, which my son and other kids we were buying for seemed to be loving! When I found out that the store had been for sale, but was unfortunately going to shut down because no one had offered to take it over, I couldn't get it out of my head. I ended up buying the shop in January this year and am absolutely loving it!
How has your life changed since becoming a parent? How has Montessori impacted your parenting?
I always knew I wanted to be an at-home mum, but before children the job sounded a lot easier than I have realised it actually is! Having two children so close together (there are 15 months between Arlo and Florence), has also brought with it a lot of challenges, but on a good day it is a lot of fun. Before children I did a lot of traveling, now we are pretty lucky if we get out of town for a weekend, but we are fortunate to have a lot of land, the beach and the bush on our door step.
The things about kids that have really intrigued me, is how quickly they develop and learn, how much they comprehend from a remarkably young age and what sponges they are! What we show them and teach them in their preschool years is so incredibly important! I never really appreciated that before having my own children. That is why I have fallen so deeply in love with Montessori, because even though my children are so young and only attend their preschool two days a week, I have been completely blown away by their passion for learning, which is fed so beautifully by their Montessori teachers. Montessori has given me a great sense of intention when it comes to the resources and learning opportunities we give our children. My partner and I are both total advocates for wooden toys over plastic, quality over quantity and a beautiful home environment - all things which fall naturally in line with Montessori as well. One of my favourite quotes is "The greatest gifts you can give your children are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence." That was said by Denis Waitely.
What are your go-to parenting resources, do you have any particular Montessori resources that you would like to share?
There are three main area's in my life I am always looking for inspiration and advice when it comes to parenting. These are Food, Play/Learning Ideas and How On Earth Do I Deal With This!
For good family food ideas I often look at the One Handed Cooks website and I am currently really enjoying food magazines because they have great seasonal recipes and stunning images! Right now I am loving magazines by Donna Hay, Annabelle Langbein and a New Zealand magazine, Dish.
For play and learning ideas I love Pinterest and How We Montessori :) I also take a lot of inspiration from my children's preschool! I follow some really inspiring mums on Instagram such as My Nature Place and Montessori, Montessori Restore and Eltern vom mars.
For my How on Earth questions, if my mum doesn't have the answer, we are really lucky in NZ to have PlunketLine. This is a phone number you can call any time of day or night to talk to a Plunket nurse - they offer great gentle, realistic and sound advice.
Please share with us, what are your favourite resources from your store (and why)?
As we head in to winter I am loving all of cosy craft resources such as our weaving frames and cute knitting helpers. But the pieces I definitely find creeping in to our house the most are the practical life resources. Arlo loves to be helpful and I love the sense of importance he seems to get from having his own 'tools of the trade.' Finally I have to mention our cutting sets. I have seen these in preschools before but we just brought the Breakfast set in to our home and it has immediately become Arlo's favourite toy. He has already spent hours serving up meals for the family (and teddy) at the same time as perfecting his cutting skills. Such a great toy!
Thank you Inger-Lisa. Montessori Shop stocks a wide range of Montessori materials for schools and the home including for infants, I have included some of my favourite materials below!