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early childhood development

Montessori Weaning: Food and Independence (with video)

When Zach was around 4 months old, we started noticing that he was extremely interested in watching us eat. He would follow our fork from plate to mouth, opening his mouth in imitation of our actions and salivating madly! We knew the time had come to begin the weaning process.

The word "weaning" strikes fear in the heart of many parents. It is associated with the end of breastfeeding and connotes depriving the child of the nourishment and affection he has come to know and love. However,...

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Biology for all ages

The new Michael Olaf newsletter has fascinating information on exposing children of all ages to the wonders of Mother Nature. In Montessori, subjects generally taught in high school, such as biology, are made accessible to even the youngest children. We identify the child's "sensitive periods" (windows of opportunity in which the child is driven to develop certain psychological/cognitive characteristics) and "teach to the sensitive periods" by providing aspects of each subject that will...

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As easy as a ribbon, a bracelet, and a bell

While Zachary observed his Gobbi mobile recently, I realized that from one day to the next he had started moving his arms. These movements weren't the reflexive jerks of a newborn; they seemed to have a different energy and trajectory.

I mentioned this to my husband, so he decided to hold out a rattle near Zach's right arm to see what would happen. Zach flung out his arm repeatedly while keeping his eyes fixed on the rattle, and several times struck the toy, causing it to chime happily.

This...

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Mobiles, part II - Yo Gobbi Gobbi

I previously posted about the first two mobiles that are introduced to the newborn: the Munari and the Octahedron mobiles. The third mobile that the young infant is exposed to (somewhere around 6 weeks of age) is the Gobbi.

This beautiful mobile consists of five balls in five graded shades of one color. Its purpose is to further refine the child's developing sense of sight by providing a slight change in tone from one ball to the next. The baby tracks the change of shades back and forth, and...

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Zach's Digs - A Montessori Room

I was in Italy finishing my Elementary training when I found out I was pregnant, so my wonderful husband decided to surprise me by totally re-doing our spare bedroom and turning it into a Montessori room. When I came back, we worked together to add the finishing touches (mattress, nursing chair, artwork, etc.).

A Montessori room consists of four areas: sleeping, nursing, hygiene (diapering), and activity. Here's a description of Zach's room...

The floor is wood and it has slight grooves and...

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Making a Difference

ADHD drugs are only band-aids and fail to deal with the underlying issues affecting the child's behavior. So says this article in Psychology Today. I tend to agree... It's easier to medicate than to make the lifestyle changes that will make a difference (funny how this applies to so many issues, from obesity to heart disease - not just ADHD!).

What are your thoughts after reading this insightful article?

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Topponcino Tutorial

I'm very much a "fly by the seat of your pants" type of sewer, so I unfortunately don't have a pattern or very precise measurements for the topponcino. However, I can share with you how I made it and you can check out the pictures of my topponcino, in case you want to make your own.

Materials:
  • muslin fabric (or other thin cotton fabric) for topponcino
  • soft cotton fabric for cover
  • cotton batting
  • embroidery thread
  • sewing machine (or needle and thread)
Cut out two ellipses from the muslin,...

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Zach is born

After many years of dreaming, nine months of gestation, and 12 hours of labor, our beautiful son was born into the hands of our midwife. He was born at home, with no painkillers or medical interventions, just like Nature intended.

From the moment he came into this world, Zach had his eyes open and was intent on looking around. He made every effort to focus on my face, and from that day on the characteristic that has most defined him has been his amazing curiosity for all that surrounds him. I...

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