On one of our last Saturdays on Guam, the amazing mothers I had gotten to know through Garden Day got together and made me feel like the luckiest woman alive. I’m not really sure what to call the gathering they had for me, but it made me feel incredibly blessed, so I suppose a Mother Blessing is the closest thing. To any who were a part of it and may be reading this, I can’t say how incredibly grateful I am to know you, and to have you in my life – even if only from a distance now. All day long, I kept looking around at the people surrounding me, thinking, “Is it possible that I could ever find such an incredible group of talented, generous, caring women again?” There are amazing women everywhere, of course, but it’s a rare thing to find so many in community with one another. In the past I have dreamed of pulling together and introducing all of the amazing women I know, but on Guam, they were already friends and I’m honored that they shared that friendship with me, too. Continue reading
I’ve been promising a post on the alternatives to store bought household cleaning and personal care products, and I promise that’s coming tomorrow, but I’m excited to link up to Montessori Monday at One Hook Wonder and Living Montessori Now today.
Why am I so excited, you ask? I finally found a box I’ve been digging around trying to find for months now and you would have thought I’d discovered a coffee can full of cash. I was delighted to reunite with my animal models and finally be able to share them with Annabelle. They’re not made of natural materials, but they’re one of those exceptions I mentioned in my Montessori-Inspired Checklist for Choosing Toys. They are far more realistic than anything made of wood or other materials I have seen, so they’re an important part of my personal stash of learning materials.
One new basket on Annabelle’s shelf contains a few of the control cards from the Juvenile Animals Nomenclature (3 Part) Cards that Montessori Services sells and models for the corresponding animals. Annabelle is a bit young for three part cards at the moment, but she loves to carry photos of various things around the house, so I had ordered these for her and planned to put out the picture cards only. She enjoyed them, but loves this matching activity with the animal models much more. She does it over and over again!
I have also put together a basket that contains just the adult male and female animals from the same families as those shown here. Annabelle loves to carry them around, pair them, and have me say their names. Of course both baskets can be combined to make Farmyard Animal Families – one of my favorite zoology activities, just because I love to see all of the animals grouped together. At Annabelle’s age, this is simple exploration and matching, but older children can gradually learn the names of the different family members through three period lessons, if they’re interested, and many extensions can come from that.
I have many other fun ideas for these and our other animal models in the near future. The possibilities are endless, hence my adoration for them!
In other news, right after I wrote about how I simply integrate Practical Life exercises and don’t place EPL activities on Annabelle’s shelf, I ended up giving her a bit of out of context, but still enjoyable practical life to do. Follow the child, right? Sometimes what I’m working on in the kitchen just does not appeal to her and she’d like something of her own to work on. Here she is spooning star-shaped ice cubes and loving it. She practiced a bit with tongs as well, but is still finding them to be a bit of a challenge.
I have also finally decided to grow some food. Better late than never, I say. Annabelle really loved helping me plant seeds and has enjoyed going out to check the plants and give them water each day. She has also been working with me as I try to prepare a space for our little seedlings that are ready to transplant. I have been really surprised by how much that interests her!
It is quite tempting, however, for her to grab handfuls of soil from fledgling plants, or just pull out tiny seedlings. There is also one pot in particular that is the perfect height for her, and she can’t help but step in it. My thinking is that this is simply age-appropriate exploration and is a natural part of her becoming acquainted with gardening. That said, I’m open to suggestions from those of you with extensive toddler gardening experience.
On the weekend, Annabelle and I went to check out the Micronesian Cultural Fair for awhile and she loved it. I was surprised by how long she was content to watch some of the traditional Chamorro dancers. It captivated her, and yet again I was pleasantly surprised by what a great date she was. We met up with friends, but I know I would have enjoyed myself quite well if it had been just the two of us instead.
And those are the Montessori-related highlights of our week of living and learning together. What did you and your family learn this week, and how did you go about learning it? I would really love to hear tidbits from you, too!
|Soaking up some rays at a party hosted by
Garden Day friends
|Friends at our weekly play group|
|Veggies, chopped in the company of friends|
It’s funny how living in a place, even for just for a short while, can cause you to take it for granted. I often focus on the things I don’t like about Guam (which really aren’t that many!) rather than the things I love. The grass is always greener, I suppose. Showing my visiting parents around the island has really given me the opportunity to look at some things with new eyes, and I really am grateful for this adventure. The history, the beauty, and the culture here are something comparatively few have the opportunity to experience.
Earlier this week, we met a woman who is a park ranger and grew up on Guam. She talked to us about the years during her childhood when speaking the native Chamorro was forbidden, and those who did so were punished. She talked about how her grandmother, a medicine woman, taught her about the plants in the jungle and their benefits. We learned from her that the Chamorro people believe that when you see a coconut crab (Ayuyu) during the day, it is not actually a crab, but a spirit. I have read about Chamorro culture since we moved here, but it’s altogether different to hear about it from someone who has lived it.
|Learning to make fire using the wood of the wild hibiscus|
|Annabelle looking at a grasshopper made from palm fronds|
|Playing with a coconut “spoon”|