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Learning

So often we focus our parenting energies on "teaching moments": spouting nouns ad nauseum, choosing the perfect picture book, or refereeing toddler interactions on the playground. We fail to notice, however, that babies and toddlers really learn the most when they are given the time, space, and framework to explore, experiment, and reach their own conclusions.

Zach is transitioning from babyhood to toddlerhood, a process that's as enthralling as it is exhausting. Meals are messy food-flinging f…

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MontessoRIE

I absolutely love RIE, an approach to infant care developed by Magda Gerber based on the work of Emmi Pickler.  I found in RIE a simple, practical, and effective path for helping my baby navigate the rough waters of his first years of life.  One of my favorite aspects of RIE is the belief that a child deserves to be treated with the utmost respect and his feelings need to be acknowledged.  Here's a great article that goes into more detail, courtesy of one of my all-time favorite bloggers, Janet …

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What's the Rush? (a rant of sorts...)

Our daily rhythm involves spending an hour at the park between morning and noon naps.  Before Zach was mobile, I would lay out a blanket on the grass and he would be content rolling, playing with toys, and watching the other children.  I would push him on the swing for a few minutes, which he loves, but for the most part we would just hang out on the grass and Zach would do his thing happily while I chatted with other care givers (i.e. nannies and grandparents).

Zach has recently started wanting …

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Food Fight

Yesterday at the park I struck up a conversation with a grandmother who's visiting from Argentina to help her daughter, who just had her second child.  The older sibling, a little girl named Carla, is only 15 months old.  Carla's grandmother told me that the little girl's world has been turned upside-down with the baby's birth, and for the past week she has refused to eat anything except fruit.

Every couple of minutes, the grandmother would interrupt our conversation to walk across the playground…

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Using a Fork (with video)

During the past few months, I've given Zach many opportunities to explore eating with his fingers.  On several occasions I've offered him small pieces of fruit or steamed vegetables that he can grab with his hands and bring to his mouth.  I thought he would find this enjoyable, since he loves to eat, but it's actually been super-frustrating for him!

Because he's only 8 months old and hasn't developed fine motor control yet, he can't grasp the pieces with a coordinated pincer grip.  He manages to …

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Childhood is the Laboratory of Genius

When my uncle was in the sixth grade, he was expelled from the German school he was attending because, according to the teachers, he would never be able to keep up with the level of math required in junior high.  Twelve years later, the boy who would never be good at math received his Ph.D. in Geophysics - GEOPHYSICS!! - from one of the top universities in the United States, and is now a leader in his field.

Inside every child is a genius.  Inside each of us is a genius.  For some of us, that gen…

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Independent Children = Happy Children

Take a look at this beautiful and sensible kitchen arrangement from An Everyday Story, which encourages independence and satisfies the needs of two different-aged children.  My favorite part is how she uses cupboards as shelves.  Using the space you have instead of feeling like you have to set up additional shelves is INSPIRED!!

 

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A Celebration of Work on Labor Day Weekend

Going to work... Doing housework, yard work, homework...  Yuck!  For adults, work is something we want to do as little of as possible, because it takes time away from play!   (This was recently confirmed by the Twitter Mood Map, which showed that people are considerably happier on the weekends, when fewer of us work.)

It's therefore understandable that one of the Montessori concepts which can throw parents for a loop is the idea that their little child will "work" in the classroom.  Here are some…

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Montessori Mealtimes

I come from a Hispanic culture, where mealtimes are sacred.  As children, we were expected to have breakfast, lunch, and dinner sitting down at the table.  We were also expected to remain seated throughout the meal, have appropriate table manners, and join in or at least listen to the conversation.  Weekend meals at home and in restaurants were three-hour affairs, especially as my brother and I got older and could partake in adult discussions about politics and current events.

Those times around …

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Montessori Nuggets: When Your Child Knows Better Than You

This morning, while browsing through my Montessori books, I came across a short speech that Dr. Montessori gave in England, ca. 1930.  I have taken the liberty of transcribing it to this blog from the book "The Child, Society, and the World".  As you read this speech, it's important to remember that the Montessori approach is an entire philosophy, with each principle dependent on the presence of many others to function properly.  Therefore, when Dr. Montessori talks about giving children freedom…

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