Do you have questions that you would like to ask a Montessori teacher? I always have lots of questions. I often ask them at parent teacher interviews or at parent education nights. Today I've asked Meghan Hicks a question I've had on my mind for a few weeks (by the way Otis doesn't turn three until April). Not only is Meghan Montessori trained she has extensive experience in Montessori schools and importantly she is also a parent of two boys! Here is a question that I've asked Meghan and her response follows.
I have a three year old child who has just started at a Montessori school. I'm feeling a little lost as to which activities to prepare or have available to him at home. What can I do at home to best support his learning at school?
Your three year old is just moving out the period of the Unconscious Absorbent Mind and into a period of consciousness. He is still able to absorb everything in his environment effortlessly but no longer is this learning indiscriminate. He is able to screen out unwanted distractions and make discernments that correspond with his inner guide.
At his Montessori school he will be introduced to the Practical Life materials and the Sensorial materials to start with. There may also be some basic mathematical concepts introduced at this age, depending on his readiness for these. His teacher will be striving to help him to become independent of her and will be using the Practical life works to ensure that he can become self-sufficient whilst at school. You can support her in this work by choosing clothing that he is able to take on and off by himself. Shoes and pants, in particular, are important. You child will need to be able to go to the toilet independently and needs pants that are easy to pull down and up quickly. He will need shoes that he can take off and put on alone so that he can move freely between the indoor and outdoor environments without having to wait for an adult to help him with his shoes.
Set up your self care area at home so that he is able to choose appropriate clothing and shoes for school, the night before, and can get himself dressed in the morning. A routine like this will alleviate any stress moments before school and ensure a calm start to the day. Your child is still very much in the Sensitive Period for Order and this preparation will support his need for external order.
Practical life work remains the focus for the young child between 3 and 6. Ensure that your home environment reflects the importance of this work. Providing tools like brooms, mops, and dust pans that actually work is a way of recognising that this work is valuable and worthwhile. The processes of recognising that something needs cleaning, retrieving all the materials needed to complete the clean up, persisting until the mess has been cleaned, and then returning the materials to their proper place is all part of what Montessori teachers call the Cycle of Activity. When children begin to follow the cycle of activity from the beginning through to its completion, that is a sign that they are nearing a state of Normalisation, a term used by Dr Montessori to describe a child who is working in his natural state, versus a child who has to fight against the adults in his environment in order to fulfil his needs. You can support your three year olds developing ability to complete a full cycle of activity by ensuring that all materials needed to complete a job are on hand, that they are all real functional tools, that they are ready to be used, and that you are ready to observe his work with them. Your observations of his activity are your most valuable source of information. If you notice that he is struggling to complete a particular cycle then you will be able to assess how best to adapt your home environment to better support his independence.
So go around each room in your house and inspect it critically with the goal of making everything as accessible as possible to him.
If your child attends a Montessori school it is not advisable to have Montessori materials that mirror what he has access to in his classroom in your home environment. Purchasing a pink tower for your home, for example, will take away the excitement of using it in the social environment of his classroom and you will most likely find that he is not interested in using it in either setting. Open ended blocks for building and other construction tools are more likely to received with enthusiasm and once again, if you observe his choices, you may find that he does not gravitate towards this work when he comes home from school. This will help you to determine what sorts of toys to put out.
Always recommended are books and lots of access to you for reading and talking. Use his time at school to fulfil your adult agenda so that when he returns home you are free to follow his interests and offer him the gift of your time and energy. Some parents like to put out one structured activity for their children to explore at home. This would be based upon your observations of his interests at the time and if he has a sibling would possibly include something they can explore together.
There might be some favourite activity from his time before formal schooling that you can keep available for him to use. It is characteristic of children in a transition period to want to return to familiar activities that have long been mastered as if to reassure themselves of their capabilities and competency.
It may be worth having a few observations in his classroom so that you can observe the choices he is making in that environment to better inform the decisions you make regarding his home learning environment and what to include. You might like to plan excursions to local attractions that complement his interests at school.
Bear in mind that the transition from a relatively unstructured and unhurried schedule of a home environment to the externally driven structure and schedule of a group school environment is significant. Your child may prefer to just hang out doing very little outwardly, but actually decompressing internally once he gets home from school. You will need to judge his needs by observing him when he is acting according to his natural inner guide in a non-coercive environment. It is your job to provide this non-coercive environment and to respect the choices that he makes within it.
In short the period before six is when you provide the child with the raw materials needed to build his experience of the world. Every experience he has during this period of development makes it easier for him to construct connections and deepen his understanding of how the world works. This does not happen so much in a formal learning scenario as in a general unstructured living of family life.
If you place your emphasis on creating a family home in which your child can express himself freely, choose fruitful activity where everything available is an equal and acceptable choice, where he can act independently and can care for himself successfully, where conflict is minimised, and where he is able to direct his own activity and contribute the well being of the family community, then that will be time well spent.
Here are some ideas for activities that you can make available for your child after school:
Preparing an afternoon snack
Visiting the library to borrow some books for the week
Playing a treasure hunt game and following clues that you have left around the house
Snuggling on the couch reading a book
Watching a movie together as a family
Playing in a park
Creating a playlist of ten favourite songs and then singing along together
Planning a dinner menu and setting a proper table for a sit-down meal
Planting a vegetable bed
Finding interesting specimens for a nature collection and identifying them
Collecting and pressing flowers
Visiting a building site and watching the machinery at work
Painting a fence or a wall, or exploring on a large piece of paper to create some family art
A few weeks ago Irene sent me a picture or two of her son Joshua working. In the background I could see his work shelves and of course I asked to see more. I was delighted by this clean, simple but inviting Montessori environment. I hope you enjoy the tour! Words by Irene.
My son Joshua is 20 months old at the moment and we live in Melbourne. We have been following Montessori since he was around 6 months old. I became interested in Montessori as my husband is a Montessori child himself and he attended a small local Montessori kindergarten. Once I had a little time on my hands I started looking into it and the independence, free thinking and sense of order that Montessori encourages really resonated with me. I have always admired my husband's creativity, spatial awareness and problem solving abilities, qualities I think he developed through his early Montessori experiences. It pleases me that Joshua is showing the same qualities and loves working to build things as well as mastering puzzles, posting items and shapes. Montessori has taught me to follow the child’s lead and provide the tools support his learning in an environment that is orderly with beautiful materials. At 20 months it has become clear to us that the environment we have provided for him has been invaluable in assisting with his development. His concentration level has improved so much and he appreciates beautiful things around him.
My reading started with recommendations of "How to Raise An Amazing Child the Montessori Way" by Tim Seldin, "Teach Me to Do It Myself" by Maja Pitamic and "Montessori from the Start" by Paula Polk Lillard. These were my first books to get a good idea for activities and processes to encourage and implement at home. I am currently reading "The Joyful Child" and “Child of the World” for further ideas and information. I loved the above resources as they speak to the reader in an easy way which makes implementing Montessori at home very simple and not as daunting.
I get a lot of inspiration from blogs and online resources - of course How We Montessori, The Full Montessori, Montessori Child, Feeding the Soil and recently Sixtine et Victoire for ideas on work spaces, activities and general thoughts on positive parenting. Pinterest is also a wonderful resource for finding and pinning ideas I have so that I can refer to them at any time. I have also found Aid to Life, At Home With Montessori and Michael Olaf are also fantastic for information on specific issues such as toilet learning and encouraging movement and dexterity. We also attend a Montessori Toddler group so there are sources of inspiration there for activities but also for presentation of activities, for example Joshua seems to be more drawn to painting and cleaning there simply because of the different presentation so I observe and change things at home to facilitate and promote these interests. Joshua’s work area has evolved considerably since he was born and continues to do so as his needs and interests change.
AREAS OF INTEREST
1. MAIN WORK AREA: This is located downstairs and we have set aside an area in our living room as Joshua enjoys working nearby while I am cooking or cleaning. Often he will come and get up on his step-stool and either take his afternoon snack and watch me cook or will want to help cut things up and sample. He works with his own tools - he has a chopping board, wavy chopper, whisk and a few other things. Baking time is particularly fun, I try to bake with Joshua at least once a week.
As the living room adjoins the kitchen and is tiled, we decided to put down a large low pile mat to define the work area. Practically speaking it is also a lot nicer to work on a mat rather than sit on the cold floor. We put in cube shelving as it was nice and low for accessibility when he was younger but we added another taller shelf as his interests changed. He has a small table and chairs and a small art area where he draws on the blackboard or paints when he feels inspired to.
We keep a small woven basket on the shelf. On our daily walks Joshua collects a few small treasures such as little sticks, rocks and flowers which he deposits into the basket when he returns. This is available for him to explore at a later time at his own leisure. His particular collecting interest at the moment is stones, he was excited to find some white quartz stones the other day. Other materials in the shelves are rotated periodically based on my observation of his interests.
A set of unit blocks that are permanently on display and easily accessible. Joshua has showed very strong interest in building blocks so these are displayed invitingly (inspired by How We Montessori). Joshua’s Christmas present is more unit blocks and this will complete the set he has with some more complex pieces so that he can commence undertaking some further exploration.
2. VEGGIE PATCH: We recently updated our garden to include a veggie patch. Joshua is responsible for watering the patch every day and keeps pointing to his favourite, the tomato plant. I think he is anticipating eating some lovely home grown tomatoes in the not too distant future, I hope our patch can oblige him. This is teaching him a love of plants and on our walks everyday he is more interested in flowers, trees, leaves and other bushes.
3. TOILET LEARNING AREA: We have two stations, one upstairs and one downstairs. These are easily accessible and have been set up to facilitate the toilet learning process. We make clean trainers and underwear available in baskets and a bucket for washing. The basin is easily reachable for washing hands as we have a sturdy step and the upstairs basin serves as water play, care of self and for washing hands.
4. SNACK AREA: This has been setup on a small table that was made by Joshua’s great grandfather and will eventually become Joshua’s bedside table when he is ready for a big bed. I try to make this area interesting by rotating the picture on the wall of beautiful art works. I am particularly interested in impressionist artists so I have been putting a few of my favourites there for Joshua to appreciate. I am looking at getting some life prints of butterflies and bugs to display as he has expressed a strong interest in these lately.
5. DRESSING AREA: Joshua has a cube chair that serves is multipurpose – he sits to help dress himself in the morning but he can also stand on the chair and look out the window or push it over to the light switch and turn the light on and off. Joshua also has a laundry basket in his room that he puts his used clothes into before bath time each night.
ITEMS OF INTEREST
Some of the first “Montessori” activities we commenced with were life activities which I feel are so important for development. These are able to be done easily at home and we purchased all items for these locally. For specific activities I followed Joshua’s interests, which are mainly shapes, puzzles and colours. Some of the items we have on the shelves at 20 months are:
Irene also mentions that Joshua has a second work area upstairs where they have utilised an existing bookshelf and devoted the bottom shelves to Joshua's materials. This is an area where he can work when he wakes in the morning or while Irene is doing household chores upstairs.
A sincere thank you to Irene for the gorgeous pictures and detailed explanations. Thank you for sharing your spaces with us Irene.
You can also find Joshua's gorgeous little tea set at Windmill Toys.
Would you like another room tour? This is Amelie's room and it's beautiful! The photographs really say it all but here is a short description by Amelie's Mum.
Welcome to Amelie’s first bedroom. We were greatly inspired by Sew Liberated, One Claire Day and of course How we Montessori. There is a lot of handmade love in this room, I made her curtains and quilt and her Dad made her window seat and bed surround. Not to mention it was a family effort involving the Granddads to paint the room and install the mirror and shelves. I am amazed given this space was created for a little personality we couldn’t even imagine that we are now observing so many of the corners of the room suit her purpose perfectly.
Because we all want to know, I asked Amelie's Mum where she sourced some of the items including the gorgeous prints. And the low shelves, well they are just perfect!
The low shelves with the seat is the window seat that Amelie's dad made, he did the wooden bit and I made the cushion. I really hope it grows with her. Our plan is to adjust it to a dressing space for her when she gets bigger it should be just the right height for sitting on and putting on pants and shoes. Oh and he also made the wooden bed surround super simple but it works.
The framed picture on the end of the seat is a rotating waldorf picture, I have a few of the other designs to put into the frame.
The framed print above the mirror is a limited edition print from one of my favourite Eric Carle books Draw Me a Star. Often when Amelie is unhappy I will rock her holding her so she look at this print over my shoulder and she appears to calm down as she examines it.
The photos in the white frames are Amelie's Great Nan, Nanna Robyn and me when we are little. I wanted her to see that all these grown up women in her lives were once little girls just like her. A sort of mini family tree connecting her to her past.
Thank you so much to Amelie's family for sharing this space with us. This environment is classic Montessori when it comes to beauty and simplicity. I love the handmade touches and it's so special to know the handwork that when into creating this space.
The floor bed and movement area are well placed with the low shelves separating the two. This is an environment that promotes movement. It's easy to visualise a child waking, crawling (or slithering!) to the low shelves to play and moving onto movement area after catching their reflection in the wall mirror. A child can use the low shelves to pull themselves up (the shelves/seat look nice and steady) and the low window provides a great incentive for the child to do so. Beautiful!
Finally I have updated our what we are reading page. As usual I've only highlighted the best of what we are reading.
I want to apologise to the many readers and even sponsors who have emailed me over the last few months. Personally and as a family we have been through a difficult time. My husband returned from a seven month deployment and we are adjusting to a different kind of normal. My screen time has been limited and I have been posting at a reduced rate (I'm sure you have noticed) in order to address the many requests and emails in my in-box. You, the readers of this blog are a priority and it saddens me that many of you have written to me and have not received a response. I'm getting there and will continue to post at a reduced frequency until all emails are responded to.
I also wanted to share two posts by fellow Australians. You can read about Montessori in Anna's home here and Steph's home here. Both posts have beautiful photographs. Also a shout out to one of my favourite Aussie Montessori blogs Racheous. I hope you enjoy!
I would like to introduce you to Kit. She is six months old and lives with her Mum Belle and Dad Tim in Sydney. Quite remarkably Kit and her family live in a small flat with zero storage which explains why her Dad's bike is mounted in her room. Belle was first exposed to Montessori through her Stepmother's involvement at her brother's Montessori school. Although Kit's room can only be described as tiny it's not lacking in any way. I know you'll love and appreciate the details as much as I do!
Above you can see Tim's bike securely mounted to the wall (a necessity for the tight spaced flat) next to her change table and Gobbi (from Etsy). The elephant decal above the wall mirror is from The Wall Sticker Company.
Kit has several mobiles which is really needed at this age. Mobiles are generally rotated to keep the child's interest. You can see that Kit has visual and tactile mobiles. 3M hooks are used on the wall to keep the mobiles that are not being used out of the way and prevent Kit from being overstimulated.
Above left Kit is playing with her wooden rattle and to the right is with her Primary Colours Mobile (from Beginning Montessori). You can see how much Kit loves her mobiles!
Above Kit is playing with the giant pom pom that Belle made from wool. The pom pom has bells threaded at the top and hangs on elastic. Kit started batting at it and now grabs it with her hands and feet and shakes it. You can also see above how Kit is interacting with her wall mirror.
Above left Kit is reaching for her crawling basket which can be seen in further detail below. Above right Kit is under a bird mobile from Puka Puka. The mobile stand can be moved from room to room and was made by Belle. So clever! It is made from a heavy hard wood which has been sanded smooth and oiled. The mobiles are held by a piece of aluminium attached to the wood block. The mobile stand is 1.5 meters high and is so easy to transport that it sometimes goes with Kit when visiting her Grandparents.
Above you can see the floor of the room is covered by rubber tiles from Clarks rubber. The flat is rented and Belle wasn't entirely comfortable with Kit crawling over the existing carpet. What an easy solution. On the right are big bookshelves. The first two bookshelves are used for storage and the front is covered by MDF which is held securely in place with industrial velcro. A blackboard wall sticker has been applied to the MDF for aesthetics and also for Kit to use when she is older. The end bookshelf is left open for Kit's baskets.
The fish mobile show above was handmade using bath toy fish and fishing line. The breastfeeding chair is from Ikea. The floor bed mattress is also from Ikea. There are two pieces of artwork attached to the wall at a perfect height for Kit.
The baskets above and below are from Ikea. I love these as they provide for a wonderful tactile experience. Kit loves the coarse texture and they crumple down if she rolls on them.
The basket above left is her teething basket. This basket contains wooden beads, a face washer, Sophie the Giraffe and a gifted little wooden football. On the right is her crawling basket. It contains the Manhattan beads from Hello Baby Direct and the Ball Cylinder from Beginning Montessori. Both of these baskets are kept at the end of Kit's bed.
Above top left is a collection of books and a musical instrument basket. The books are rotated every fortnight. The Owl and the Pussycat is Kit's current favourite. In the basket there is a rattle from Infancy, another wooden rattle from Eco Toys and interlocking rings from Beginning Montessori.
Above top right is a basket including an egg and a cup and a stacking toy from Eco Toys. These are a little advanced for Kit so they are stored on the higher shelf. This is a great example of thinking ahead by Belle. These toys are the next stage for Kit and I'm sure will be used within a few months. It's great to be prepared and have some toys ready. On the bottom left there is a basket for soft toys. On the bottom right a basket of pom poms and a basket of soft finger puppets. The finger puppets are from Ikea.
Here you can see the baskets in the bookshelf and some low art work. Overall Belle stresses that you don't need to spend a lot or have a lot of space to create a wonderful environment for your infant.
There is a little bit of Montessori in the latest edition of Little ONE Baby magazine due to hit the shelves later this week in Australia.
It was a privilege to have Katie photograph our home and a privilege to be featured in Australia's premier baby magazine. Wow! Isn't it fantastic for a Montessori home to get such exposure and in Australia!! So proud.
In this edition you will also find fellow Canberran Claire and her daughter Saskia's very beautiful bedroom.
If you have children at a Montessori school have you ever wondered how they would adapt to a traditional school environment?
Like many Montessori schools our school is primary only, it runs until the child is twelve and ready for high school. This means that at some stage my children will transition to another school.
Today I had the pleasure of interviewing Leah. Leah is a fun filled twelve year old and is a recent graduate from Canberra Montessori School. She has just finished her first term at Canberra Girls Grammar. I wanted to ask her a few questions about her Montessori schooling and her transition to a traditional high school.
How was your first term at Canberra Girls Grammar?
The start of the term was hard as I didn’t have any friends. But then in the second week I found lots of friends and it was fun and it wasn’t that hard really.
Do you have any favourite subjects? Sport and Maths.
What is it about Sport that you like? Sport is just fun doing stuff and you don’t have to do any work.
What is it about Maths that you like? I have a really good teacher and he’s really funny.
What are the biggest differences you have noticed between Canberra Montessori and Girls Grammar?
At Grammar there are a lot more people and there is more opportunity to do things. You have more facilities and it’s a bigger group so it’s really different.
What is it that you have struggled with leaving Montessori and transitioning to high school?
Not knowing anybody for the first week and then changing classes and getting homework.
In which areas do you think you have excelled? Is there an area that you think you do better because of your Montessori schooling?
In science I can answer a lot of questions that other kids can’t because at Montessori we do a lot of demonstrations with the teachers.
Have any of your teachers commented about your learning style or how it is different from the other students?
Not really but one teacher, since I work differently she thought that everyone went to the junior school and they didn’t. When I didn’t understand things she wondered why.
How do you think your transition from Montessori to high school could have been improved?
I think it would be better to have more tours of the school so you weren’t as lost walking around the school.
I think it would have been better if we could have had a few more introductions to the school so we could have met more people at the school.
Do you have any advice to students that are in a similar position, currently attending Montessori and transitioning to a traditional high school next year?
It’s good to be really organised. It would be best to get a map of your school so you knew where to go and mark the spots where you need to go at the start and during the day.
What do you miss from your old school? What are your greatest memories from Canberra Montessori?
Well, what I miss about it is not having the freedom to do the work that you choose to do.
My greatest memories are going on all the goings out that we could go on and organising them ourselves.
What were some of your favourite places to visit?
The zoo, six of us went and we split into two groups. My group went to the aquarium and looked at all the fish.
Do you notice any differences between you and the other students that you can attribute to your Montessori schooling? Do you think you approach your work differently?
Probably, in maths I do the fractions differently by drawing a pie and breaking it up into bits. Everyone else does it in another way.
How have you found homework?
I think homework is useless, when they give it to us we don’t really learn anything from doing it because when we hand it back in they don’t really mark it and tell us what we’ve done wrong with it, so we don’t know how to fix it if we’ve done it wrong.
What does Montessori mean to you? When someone says Montessori what do you think of? What images come to mind?
I think of the classroom and the teachers and all the different materials.
If someone asked you what is Montessori – what would you say, how would you describe what Montessori is?
It’s somewhere where we get to do the work that we choose to do. We don’t get recess or homework and we don’t have to wear a uniform.
Is there anything else you would like to mention?
At Montessori I made lots of really, really good friends. Some of them I have been with for ten years. We also never had a canteen at Montessori - that would have been fun.
You mentioned having to be more organised, have you had to organise your work differently?
You have to be really organised. I have all these different folders for every subject, which is what most people have. But some people they don’t have folders and they just throw all their work into their lockers and it’s a lot harder for them to get ready for class as they can’t find their books and they can be late. So it’s better to have everything a lot more organised.
You mentioned in science you have been able to answer some questions that the other student’s haven’t because you did some hand on experiments with the teachers, are there any in particular that stand out in your mind?
God with No Hands. They read us a story about the solids, liquids and gases and about how the particles cling together in solids and how they just buzz around in gases and sort of flow in liquids, so I could answer questions about particles.
Can you tell us about your recent Calisthenics competition?
I came first in Graceful, which is sort of like ballet but without the point shoes. If I get in the top four at the next competition I can go to the nationals.
Congratulations Leah, thank you for the interview and best wishes for Calisthenics and Term 2!
If you think Leah looks familiar I interviewed her Dad here. I loved Leah's story about God with No Hands! If you are new to Montessori - look it up, it's one of Montessori's Five Great Lessons for the elementary years.
On top shelf above are toddler materials which Emma rotates weekly. I think I can even name all the materials; shape sorter (Tupperware), shape puzzle, pegging activity, horizonal stacker (threading on a horizontal dowel) and a geometric sorting board. I think I can see some tree blocks peeking out of the first storage tub.
The older boys have materials (sandpaper letters, number beads, etc) on shelves in the study nook which you can see at the back of the photograph below. The study nook also contains other materials like the cylinder blocks and the three dimensional solids. The boys also have bookshelves for their own toys and materials in their bedroom.
Emma mentions that they love books and keep them all over the house including in the bookshelf pictured in the living area below, in the playroom and in a basket on the verandah next to the rocking chair.
The family has a small kiln inherited from Emma's mother - which Emma used as a child. While it's not currently connected Emma takes the dried clay pieces to Pottery Supplies, a small and beautiful little shop near her home which is also where they purchase clay. Emma tells us:
The boys usually paint them with normal acrylic paint and we then spray them with a clear enamel to preserve them, although I am interested in trying some glazing. Sometimes they use shoe brushes and toothbrushes to rub shoe polish into them, which is a lovely finish. We also have an old pottery wheel that they love, for clay but also for doing drawings with crayons, etc, on. My mum did a pottery course and then taught us some basic skills growing up, so I guess I pass those on, but I don’t think you can go wrong with kids and clay and it is a lovely medium to work with, so different from playdough or FIMO and quite different again from the air-dried clay.
I would like to introduce you to Emma and her family. With three boys this looks like one busy household!
Can you tell us a little about yourself, your family and where you live?
I am a stay-at-home mother to three beautiful sons, aged 7.5, 4.5 and 17 months. My professional background is as a lawyer specialising in industrial relations and discrimination and since the birth of my oldest son, I have worked from home once my children are asleep at night (I am currently completing my PhD in discrimination law).
We live in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, in a high-set wooden house that we have renovated. It is quite a small home, but with a lovely big veranda and a yard big enough for our dog, chickens and children, as well as a large vegetable garden, worm farm, compost bins, fruit trees, sandpit and swings.
When and how did you first become interested in the work of Montessori?
My mother studied the Montessori approach when my older sister was a toddler, and so my three sisters and I were raised in a home that loosely adhered to some of the Montessori principles and had some Montessori equipment (the cylinder blocks that my youngest son is using were made by my father when I was young).
After the birth of my first child, I became very interested in reading anything and everything about parenting, particularly literature with a Montessori or attachment-parenting focus. I started taking my son to a playgroup at a Montessori children’s house when he was 18 months old and gained inspiration from the teachers there that I have applied in our home environment.
I love the beauty and simplicity of well-made Montessori materials and how they appeal to the child’s innate desire to master skills, as well as to their aesthetic and sense of order. I love how each piece of material is designed to teach one thing. I like that I am able to help my children by providing an appropriate environment and materials when they are expressing an interest and readiness in learning something new.
Are there any books, websites, blogs that you could recommend?
Your blog Kylie! From what I can gather, we are very like-minded in both our approach to children and to Montessori in the home. Consequently, I find your blog a terrific source of inspiration and practical ideas.
A list of Montessori books that I can recommend must of course start with Maria Montessori’s The Absorbent Mind and The Discovery of the Child. Other Montessori books I have particularly liked include: How to raise an amazing child: the Montessori way to bring up caring, confident children by Tim Seldin; Teach me to do it myself, by Maja Pitamic; Teaching Montessori in the Home: The Pre-school Years, by Elizabeth Hainstock; and John Bowman’s ebook, Montessori at Home: The Complete Guide to Doing Montessori Early Learning Activities at Home – it is full of terrific ideas and is very applicable to those using a Montessori approach in the home.
Other non-Montessori books that have guided me on my parenting journey include Robin Grille’s Parenting for a Peaceful World and Heart to Heart Parenting; Hold on to Your Kids, by Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Mate; the series of books by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlich (such as How to Talk so Kids Will Listen & Listen so Kids Will Talk and Siblings Without Rivalry); The Attachment Parenting Book by William and Martha Sears and Attachment Parenting by Katie Granju.
Where do you find inspiration?
I am inspired by my beautiful children and by their strong love of learning, interest in such a variety of things and creativity. In a world that can be very child-unfriendly and very driven by a focus on things that do not necessarily resonate with me, I love the simplicity and strength of the Montessori approach, with its focus on enabling children to develop into competent, caring and able people and to pursue their interests.
I am also inspired by my husband who is very like-minded about parenting and extremely supportive of my mothering and of our children. My mother is also a source of inspiration – despite being widowed with four very young children she raised us in a very loving, interesting and creative environment where we were enabled to ‘do it ourselves’.
Thank you for sharing your story with us Emma. Can you believe that Emma's father made those wonderful cylinder blocks and that Emma is raising her family while completing her PhD? Tomorrow I will publish some more photographs and show you around Emma's home in a little more detail.