Do you remember Marie-Claire? She's a mom to twins, a go-getter and now a business owner! She was also a Montessori child!
I know I'm biased but I believe parenthood can bring out the very best in people. I love it when someone can overcome the busyness of parenthood and design a product not only for their own children but for all of our children. Even more admirable when the product is innovative, smart, biodegradable and non-toxic!
Marie-Claire's first project was a beautiful set of Children's Alphabet Wallet Cards designed by Australian artist Marc Martin. You can see how Owen and Silas use their alphabet cards in the photographs below. Marie-Claire also provides some play ideas for the cards on her site So Awesome.
Well, she is at it again! More cards...Colour & Shape, Numbers, GO! and My Wallet!
• Colour & Shape – beautiful combinations of colours and shapes in French, Spanish and English (illustrated by modern ink and watercolour artist Nomoco of London).
• Numbers – fascinating depictions of common household items in French, Spanish and English (illustrated by husband and wife team Eugene & Louise of Belgium).
• GO! – cool paper-cut images of people moving in exciting ways (supported by Montessori-infused grammar identification "The boy skis down the hill.")(illustrated by Jared Andrew Schorr of California).
• My Wallet – a set for pretend play! Cards, play-money printed on Tyvek, a durable wallet and a companion digital toy iOS app (illustrated and developed by Marie-Claire and her husband Victor).
If you love the Alphabet Cards you might be interested in these cards too. The process for backing this project is just the same - click over to Kickstarter for further information. If you're not familiar with Kickstarter please take the time to have a look through Marie-Claire's pages and updates. It's important to remember that to get these additional cards to production the goal funding must be met. And there is only 11 days to go! You can pledge as little as $10 for a set of the Colour & Shape, Numbers or Go! Decks.
If you backed Marie-Claire on her first project (the Alphabet Wallet Cards) and back this campaign you get a free wallet! Further details here.
If you would like to purchase a set of Alphabet Wallet Cards, Marie-Claire is offering 25% off to all How we Montessori readers using the coupon code HOWWEMONTESSORI25.
So what's the giveaway? Marie-Claire has been kind enough to offer one reader a set of Alphabet Wallet Cards. To enter all you need to do is leave a comment in the comment section of this blog post. Please only one entry/comment per person. The give-away is open internationally and will close on Monday 25 March 2013 at 10PM Australian EDT.
"This is a very thoughtful and well-planned book that provides a clear path to help your child achieve independence in the kitchen with confidence. I've seen in my own son the desire to be helpful and the pride he has when he's allowed to do these tasks for himself. I found Cotner and D'Alton's suggestions useful and easy-to-implement and they've inspired me to take the time to allow my son to help more in the kitchen." - Blogcritics
"There's a new parenting/cookbook (my favorite combo!) on the block, and this is a must-have." - Sew Liberated
"It’s fully photographed, wonderfully designed but most of all very doable and approachable." - Modern Parents Messy Kids
"I love that the intro provides some background on the Montessori philosophy, how this translates to including kids in the kitchen, and what tools are useful for cooking alongside a youngster...We love to have our neice and nephew over to cook and I'm definitely going to cook with them using a recipe from this book next time. I'm also keeping this book in mind as a present for all my friends who are parents of little ones, I hope you will too." - Rising Shining
"This book went like hotcakes at our infant toddler program this term. Everyone wanted a copy! And all commented on the fantastic skill-building how to section at the beginning of the book. Great addition to any Montessori family's bookshelf." - Meg from The Child's Space
Would you like a copy? I have two books to give away. To enter simply leave a comment in the comments section of this post. Comments close 10pm AEST (Australian Eastern Standard Time) Thursday 11th October 2012. The giveaway is open internationally but please only one entry per person.
Thank you to everyone who entered comments have now closed.
I would like to introduce our latest sponsor Beginning Montessori. Beginning Montessori produces high quality Montessori materials for infants and toddlers.
What do we think of Beginning Montessori? You only need to read through the archives...
Otis was only nine weeks old when he started to use the Bell Rattle. At three months he was using the Ball Cylinder, Bell Cylinder and the Primary Colours Mobile. At four months he started using the Interlocking Discs. He was still using the Bell Cylinder at five months when Learning to Crawl. At eight months he was introduced to the Progressive Ring Stacker which you can see him using at 11 months and is still on our shelves at 17 months!
I cannot wait until Otis is old enough to use their puzzles. A puzzle would make a perfect birthday or Christmas gift. I can't help but think how beautiful they would look on some low shelves in a child's room.
Do you have a Montessori baby or toddler to buy for? I have some great news! Beginning Montessori are offering one reader a gift voucher to the value of $50 CAD.
This giveaway is for one $50 CAD gift voucher from Beginning Montessori. To enter simply leave a comment in the comments section of this post telling me your favourite item/s from Beginning Montessori.
Comments close 10pm AEST (Australian Eastern Standard Time) Thursday 4 October 2012. The giveaway is open internationally but please only one entry per person.
Thank you to everyone who entered comments have now closed. The Beginning Montessori gift voucher is heading the way of Kirstin!
Did I tell you I had a suprise? Not only is the Montessori Shop giving away a kids kitchen pack they are also giving away a copy of Montessori Madness by Trevor Eissler! This is a great giveaway. To be in the running leave a comment giving me your best tip for cooking with children.
My best tip? Do it often, everyday if possible!
This great giveaway includes; Montessori Madness book, 500ml pitcher, 250ml pitcher, child sized dustpan set in blue (this set is made in Germany and is great quality) and a child sized apron (handmade), rolling pin, tongs, spatula and a grater. Wow!
The giveaway is thanks to the Montessori Shop, you can see all of their practical life materials here.
To enter simply leave a comment in the comment section of this post telling me your best tip for cooking with children. Comments close Monday 30th July 2012 at 10pm AEST. The giveaway is open internationally but please only one entry per person.
Comments have now closed.
Child sized items including utensils are beneficial as they can help your child master a skill much earlier. Utensils designed for children are easier for them to use and to coordinate. However do not let the lack of child sized items stop you from including your child in the kitchen. Your child will learn and adapt to what they have available.
To help you get started or to add to your collection this giveaway includes one of each of the following child sized items; rolling pin, whisk, tongs, ladle, apple slicer, grater, wooden spoon, cutting board, first spreader, masher, slotted spatula and an apron (with ties).
This is a giveaway for one set of the listed child sized kitchen items only. To enter simply leave a comment in the comment section of this post telling me your favourite food to cook with children. Comments close Monday 23rd July 2012 at 10pm AEST. The giveaway is open internationally but please only one entry per person.
Thank you to everyone who entered. Comments have now closed.
I recently wrote a review of the book Learning Together by Kathi Hughes and now it's time for a giveaway. I actually have two books to giveaway but more on that later.
The question I am asked most frequently is "I'm new to Montessori, I feel overwhelmed, where do I start?". Usually I respond with some discussion about following the child and independence and always end with some website and book suggestions. I always suggest Learning Together. It's about living the Montessori way and takes a whole-of-child approach. I think even non-Montessori parents would enjoy it because of it's intentional parenting and wholesome living approach.
The book has been published by The Montessori St. Nicholas Charity. Currently the book is only available from the UK based bookstore but they ship internationally. I also wanted to mentioned the Montessori St. Nicholas blog and in particular recent posts about Montessori: A Free-Range Approach? and Making Links Between the Indoors and Out. Spending time outdoors and free ranging are big priorities in our home right now.
I have two books to giveaway and will be drawing two people each to receive one book. To enter simply leave a comment in the comment section of this post. Comments close Friday 15th June 2012 at 10pm AEST. The giveaway is open internationally but please only one entry per person.
I don't receive commission or payment from sales of this book. We have contributed towards the book (you'll see some photos of Caspar and Otis) and I have been given copies the book for the purposes of promotion.
PS. The above photographs are some happy shots of mine and are not from the book :)
Comments have now closed. Thank you to everyone who entered. Lela and Julia have been drawn as the lucky recipients. I will be emailing you both very soon.
Thank you to everyone who entered the Montessori Shop Giveaway. Vicki would like to offer everyone who entered the giveaway a 15% discount off purchases made from the Montessori Shop before the end of June 2012. All you need to do is email Vicki at email@example.com to obtain the discount code. Happy shopping and thanks again Vicki!
I have mentioned the Montessori Shop here before. Vicki based in New Zealand spreads her Montessori goodness around the world. I have mentioned her lovely range of sandpaper letters and other language materials. Of course I am naturally drawn towards the infant/toddler materials. Vicki is offering a wonderful giveaway but first she tells us a little about herself, her family and her Montessori Shop.
My name is Vicki Rowe and I am the owner of the Montessori Shop. My husband, Braden and I have 3 beautiful and awesome Montessori children, Julia (11), Jack (10) and Logan (9).
We found Montessori like a lot of parents do, by complete accident. We were about to have our 3rd child and were desperately searching for a preschool for our nearly 3 year old to join. After looking at all the options we finally walked into a Montessori preschool and it was love at first sight. I didn’t know what it was or how it worked but I really didn’t care, I could see it in the children’s eyes. They were happy, they were totally engaged in what they were doing and they were quiet (that was a big plus having just spent 2 years at Playcentre. I was sure my daughter could do with a little quiet).
Anyway, what started as a love affair has turned into a full blown marriage. I read loads of great articles and become very friendly with our children’s teachers absorbing everything I could about Montessori.
So one of our children has Dyspraxia and I thought it would be a good idea to have some equipment at home to help him out a little. Truth be told, I thought the Trinomial Cube was just the most awesome looking piece of equipment and I wanted one. Never mind I didn’t have a clue what it was for.
It was when our teacher said not to bother looking for the equipment; it was way too expensive to consider having it in a home. That is when I become even more determined to find a reasonably priced Trinomial Cube and anything else I could find.
I had been running my own business for two years prior importing and selling iPod and sporting equipment so I used my skills in shopping (my husband calls me The Dealer) and did a lot of hunting. I was determined to find great quality products at a price that everyone could afford.
Fast forward some months and many samples later from several suppliers and finally I found them. A supplier who could offer me good quality and good pricing. I still purchase off that supplier 5 years later.
I have customers all over New Zealand and Australia. Mostly I sell to schools (yes, the quality is that good) but I am really heartened by the number of parents that I am also selling too now.
While this was a bit of a side-line business to start with, I finally left my full-time job in May, 2011 to focus on my business 100%. OK, so maybe it was because I hated my awful government job but either way, I am now doing what I love.
I work out of my home having purchased a house two years ago with a massive separate office and storage space. My husband had pictures of a man cave, poor guy, maybe the next house? I have the huge benefit of being about to work around my children’s school hours, mostly. Although, now that things are really picking up you might find me burning the midnight oil long after they have all gone to bed.
I am madly passionate about Montessori, I read every blog I can and of course How We Montessori is my absolute favourite. No seriously, it really is my favourite.
I also served for a while as a Council Member on the Montessori Council of New Zealand. Wow, what and eye opener that was. These Montessori teachers are so dedicated, and even more passionate that I could ever hope to be.
I love that I am helping to grow Montessori in New Zealand and Australia. I have also supplied schools and parents in Fiji, Tonga, China and Uganda (yes, Uganda Africa). Just in the last couple of months I have had orders for 6 new classrooms worth of equipment around New Zealand. That’s roughly 150 more children who get to experience the joy of learning the Montessori way.
I love that I get to do something that rocks my world every day, I love that I get to connect with another person who might order 1 small item and then I get to connect with another person who might order 100 items. And best of all I love, love, love that I get to meet so many other wonderful parents and teachers from around the world who are just as Montessori mad as I am.
Thank you Vicki for this giveaway and thankyou for sharing your delightful story. I'm sure it's not just me that loves to hear the excitement and joy Montessori has brought to the lives of others. I love how Vicki said she could "see it in the children's eyes".
The givaway is for one $100 (NZD) gift voucher from the Montessori Shop (including shipping). Yes, that's right a $100 gift voucher.
To enter simply leave a comment telling me your favourite item/s from the Montessori Shop. Comments close Thursday 23rd February 2012 at 10pm AEDT. The giveaway is open internationally but please only one entry per person.
P.S. To enter please ensure you leave your comment in the comment section of this blog article/post. Thank-you!
Comments are now closed. Thank you to everyone who entered. Michelle is the lucky recipient of the $100 voucher!! Have fun shopping Michelle.
I first came across Shane and Carrie's Etsy site and really liked the look of their products. They ticked all the boxes. Their items are handmade, non-toxic and developmentally appropriate. Most importantly Carrie is Montessori trained. Not only does she know the products she also knows the theory behind them. I liked them so much I placed an order and Otis has used almost every one of their items since. I have already ordered this Progressive Ring Stacker and it will soon be wrapped and waiting for Otis on Christmas morning.
Why do I like and recommend Beginning Montessori? This says it all...
Second generation wood toy maker + Montessori educator = Beginning Montessori
For us, it all began with the Bell Rattle which was his first toy at nine weeks. He still uses it today, same with the Interlocking Discs shown by Otis on video here. He is still using the Bell Cylinder and Ball Cylinder to reach (and hopefully soon) crawl towards. I personally think the Ball Cylinder is one of the best looking toys and I love having it on our shelves.
Seriously, how good do these toys look?
Also don't forget about the Primary Colours Mobile. All of Beginning Montessori products (as with most sold by Montessori trained sellers) come with an information card, giving you ideas on how and when to use the product with your child.
I have become so passionate about good toys and these come with the highest recommendation from me. For our family they have become heirlooms and once Otis has finished with them, they will be packed away carefully for my Grandchildren.
I asked Carrie to tell us a little about herself.
My Montessori story begins before I was born, as my parents became interested in the philosophy and education for my older brother and sister. My parents helped establish a Montessori preschool and elementary program and I was fortunate to attend Montessori schools until 12 years of age. This has been such a strong foundation for my life.
In university as I searched for my "cosmic task" I became drawn to working with young children. I had worked for many years with children and decided that I especially love how children from 3-5 discover and enjoy their world. After I completed my Bachelor's degree I did my Casa de Bambini training in 2005. In 2008 I purchased the preschool I was teaching at. Each day spent with the children brings so much joy as they discover their world and gain self-confidence in mastering a new task or come to a greater understanding. Watching children take delight in matching the colour tablets, pride in forming words with the moveable alphabet, or satisfaction in discovering a new way to clean a dish are all part of what makes my days so wonderful. I continue to be amazed that children self-direct themselves with these tasks and are able to complete them independently. I truly feel I have found my calling in life.
In the summer of 2009 I started the Assistants to Infancy training. The knowledge I gained became life changing for me in terms of how I view infants and their possibilities. Each time we speak to an infant, do something to or for an infant, and prepare an environment for an infant, we are making a direct impact on their personality development, cognitive development, and physical development. What an opportunity to touch someone so deeply when they are in such a beautiful and important time in their life. What a huge responsibility! I continued with the course in the summer of 2010 and due to the intensity of the course was spending very little time with my husband Shane. So Shane decided to keep himself busy and discovered a new hobby: woodwork. After a visit to my training centre he decided that he would be able to make many of the materials. I was very delighted as now I would be able to help others provide developmentally appropriate and beautiful materials for their children. Beginning Montessori Materials was soon launched!
We both enjoyed the many hours developing the design of the materials with quality, safety, adherence to Montessori standards, and children's enjoyment in mind. We wanted the materials to be affordable so that more people will be able to offer their children these wonderful toys. We are a small, home-based business so while we may expand our product line in the future, we are both conscious that we have other full time jobs. Shane is a Chartered Accountant, specializing in tax and I run the Montessori preschool while completing the final work for my training. We are also working towards expanding the school to include a program for children under age 3 and their caregivers. When not working, we enjoy spending time with our two dogs in our beautiful home of Greater Vancouver, spending time with our 6 (and soon to be 7) nieces and nephews, and traveling whenever we have the opportunity to do so.
The product for our giveaway is the Progressive Ring Stacker. We designed this material to be affordable for parents to provide in the home as it actually incorporates 4 different Montessori materials. When your child is 10-11 months you can offer one ring from the first stage, which is a set of round rings with a wide centre hole. Once your child gets the concept you can introduce the second ring and we recommend that you provide a small basket for the rings. This will help your child gain a sense of order and an understanding of placing toys away in a particular spot. The second stage is a set of rings that is narrower and flat that will help your child develop their hand to grasp in various ways, wrist rotation, and hand-eye coordination. You can place the base and the basket of rings onto a tray. If your child is walking then he/she can carry the tray to their workplace of a small table or the floor. The third stage is a set of metal gradation rings that will aid your child in absorbing size gradation without having to create it as the rings will always fall into a gradation. The fourth stage is set of coloured, wooden discs. This can also be ordered in oiled discs to be more natural. This is similar to a traditional ring stacker but with three discs, the younger child can accomplish the goal using the smaller material and lesser amount of discs. This is a wonderful material that will build your child’s independence and self-esteem as they master each stage. This material will last well into the toddler years. We hope your child greatly enjoys using the ring stacker in each of the four stages and that you enjoy your child at each stage of their development.
Thank you Shane and Carrie from Beginning Montessori for this giveaway. To enter simply leave a comment. I will draw the giveaway using random number generator and will contact the recipient shortly after by email. Comments close Thursday 15th December at 9pm AEDT. The giveaway is open internationally but please only one entry per family.
Edited December 15. Congratulations to Heather H who will be receiving this lovely Progressive Ring Stacker. Thank you to everyone who participated. This was the last of the Christmas 2011 Giveaways.