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Montessori Field Notes: Simplicity Summer

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Q: How do I keep the summer simple, like it was when I was a child?  I'm afraid my kids will be bored out of their minds and will drive me crazy!

- Erica


Dear Erica,

Have you ever heard the lyrics to the song, “Tis a Gift to Be Simple?"

'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free,


'Tis the gift to come down where I ought to be;


And when we find ourselves in the place just right,


'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.


When true simplicity is gained,


To bow and to be…

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Who Taught Wyatt How to Write?

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Peter and Margaret had heard that children in Montessori schools were precocious learners. Their neighbor's five-year old daughter, Jenny began to read and write while she attended the local Montessori school. They didn’t know much about the method, but when the time came to enroll their three-year old son Wyatt in a pre-school, they decided to give Montessori a chance.

To their dismay, Wyatt didn’t seem to do anything academic during his first year of Montessori, but he sure was active! He was…

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Montessori Field Notes: The One-Work Challenge

Q: My child chooses the same work over and over, and doesn't want to do more challenging activities.  Please help!

- Anna



Dear Anna,

We want to give the world to the child and it’s only natural to feel concerned when they hyper-focus on one work in the beautiful sea of choices we offer.  We know time is precious and it can feel maddening to watch them let it slip away by “repeating,” especially as they get older.  

Here are three Montessori-aligned steps you can take:

1. Observe.

What …

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Who's the Second Plane child?

A transformation takes place around the age of six. 

"What happened to my sweet, lovable, and dependable little five-year-old," parents often ask me.

The transition from the first plane of development (the stage between birth and age six) to the second plane (the stage between ages six and 12) can be a challenging one if we don't take the time to understand who our children are and what they need from us and the world.

Over the summer, I put together a short video to help adults begin to unde…

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A New Perspective on Albums - Part I

Montessori albums can seem overwhelming at first, so I want to help you understand how to use them to find a balance between structure and improvisation.

To do this, let’s take a little trip.

Imagine you and your child are planning this trip. You first have to decide on a continent. From there, you choose a starting country. And then, you start thinking about the cities you’ll visit and what you’ll see in each city. This type of planning is leading you from the whole to the detail, and it refl…

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Helpful Playroom Ideas!

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Redfin.com has a SUPER helpful blog post on creating the perfect playroom that minimizes clutter and maximizes creativity.  I was thrilled to be able to contribute one of the most effective hacks that I've used in my children's bedrooms to keep my kids engaged and maintain order. 

Check out their entire article here: https://www.redfin.com/blog/kids-playroom-decor-ideas/

Let me know what's worked for you!


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The Second Plane Child

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Note: This essay was one of many that I wrote as part of my AMI elementary training in Bergamo, Italy.  You can find a complete bibliography at the end of the post.

METAMORPHOSIS
The child enters the second plane of development somewhere around his sixth birthday, and traverses that phase for approximately six years (through age 12). It is important to note that this development, like that which came before it and that which will follow, is transitory. Therefore, the changes the child experien…

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The Most Valuable Lesson

I would love to say that the first official day of our homeschool year started off peacefully, but that would be a big fat lie.  I did everything right; we discussed a routine, prepared our environment, and set expectations for the week.  And yet, when Monday rolled around and I reminded my son that it was time to practice writing (his biggest challenge), I was met with all kinds of resistance.

I expected his push-back. And he expected me to respond as I do most of the time: with empathy, trust…

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Five Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Homeschooling

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My kids and I began homeschooling halfway through the school year when I left my Montessori teaching job, and at first I invested all my energy into re-creating a small classroom in my living room.  I had visions of my children happily engaging  in my inspiring lessons. But instead of harmony and joyful learning, there was apathy and avoidance of anything that remotely resembled what they knew as school.

Humbled and defeated, I gave up my visions of my one-room schoolhouse. I wiped away tears o…

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