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early childhood education

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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Sharing

A couple of friends who have babies or toddlers have recently brought up the topic of sharing; more precisely, should we expect young children to share?  One friend feels like a bad mom when her baby snatches his toys away from another baby.  Another mom pointed out that at the playground she always hears moms telling their toddlers: "You need to share; nice children share."

Dr. Montessori observed possessiveness in young children and realized that it stemmed from a lack of opportunities to engag…

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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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Texture Beanbags

Zach wants to touch EVERYTHING these days.  I have to be careful where I stand when I am holding him, because he'll reach out for anything within arm's length!  I've learned to keep the shopping cart in the middle of the aisle after a few near-catastrophes in the juice aisle.

I wanted to capitalize on his interest for tactile experiences, and I could tell he was getting bored with the objects in his activity area and needed new objects to manipulate.  A quick dash to the fabric store, four small …

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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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Some Light Summer Reading

I was recently asked to make a list of books that help parents understand Montessori, and I realized it would make a good resource on this blog.  Check out the "Recommended Reading" page and feel free to suggest your favorites in the comments!  Happy reading!

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Zach's Activity Area

We live in a small two-bedroom condo, which has posed some fun challenges as we work to continually adapt Zachary's environment to meet his growing needs.  One of the four areas that make up a Montessori baby room is the activity area, where the little one has the opportunity to stretch out, roll around, observe mobiles, and play independently.  It is a simple set-up, consisting of a low mirror and a thin pad or large rug.  A hook or tripod for hanging mobiles is also essential.  Eventually, a l…

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Filling the Bucket

An acquaintance recently posted this picture on his Facebook page:



Nice imagery... But how do you fill that darn bucket?  Praise?  Rewards?  A bucket full of "good jobs", A+, and gold medals?  Honestly, I don't think it's the parents' responsibility to fill the bucket.  Only by letting the child fill it on his own will we ensure that it will never run dry.

The only way we can encourage the child to fill his own bucket is by giving him experiences in which he can find success.  The crawling baby wi…

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Ca-ching!

Fellow Montessori mom and friend Amy, over at Positively Montessori, shares her experiences with the Positive Discipline approach to parenting.  Every week she addresses a new topic and discusses how it's been working at her household with her 6-yr. old daughter and 15-month old son.

Here's a post on helping children understand the value of money.  It offers some great ideas that take the power struggle out of buying toys, teach through natural consequences, and highlight the joy of giving.  

Do y…

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