Incorporating an Infant or Toddler into a Montessori Primary Classroom

Both children were very enthusiastic about our first day of school photo shoot.

We had a few weeks of “homeschool” before our license came in and we were able to have friends come join us. This helped us work out some of the kinks for Elliot.

I’ve been talking with a lot of Montessori families lately, and I’m finding that the question of how to provide for a Montessori work period for an older child, while also keeping an infant or toddler happy, is not an uncommon one. My youngest, one-and-a-half year old Elliot, has been in our Montessori preschool classroom since he was five months old, so I’ve had a bit of experience with this and thought I’d share what has worked for us.

First, some of the back story. If you’re not interested in all of that, you can scroll straight down to the big text for some tips for working with an infant or toddler in a Montessori Primary Classroom.

I set out to start our little, home-based Montessori school for two reasons: I wanted to continue to be my children’s primary caregiver, and I wanted my children to be able to attend Montessori at least from age 3-6. Financially, these two things just did not go together. If I wanted to pay for Montessori for my preschooler, I was going to have to go back to work outside the home, and this would mean regularly leaving my infant in someone else’s care. Being a trained Montessori teacher, I saw a simple solution: if there’s not a school that works for our family, why not make one myself? Continue reading

Review and Giveaway: A Merry Montessori Christmas

A Merry Montessori Christmas by Aubrey Hargis: Review by Vibrant WanderingsHave all of the ideas shared in the Montessori Holiday Hop gotten you inspired? There’s still a bit more time in this holiday season, and I have the ultimate source of holiday-themed, or specifically Christmas-themed Montessori goodness for you! If you haven’t heard, the wonderful Aubrey of Montessori Mischief has created an ebook, A Merry Montessori Christmas. I cannot say enough good things about this beautiful resource. Here’s the testimonial I shared with Aubrey for her site: Continue reading

Montessori Holiday Hop: 2013 Edition

Montessori Bloggers Network Holiday Hop: via Vibrant WanderingsIn a Montessori blogging network I’m honored to be a part of, we were recently chatting about how much things have changed for Montessorians in the past decade or so. I remember scouring the web for Montessori discussions and ideas during my training and internship years ago, and coming up mostly empty-handed. The few Montessori focused blogs I found could not update often enough to please me. I lived for the next post on each of them!

Now, there are so many Montessori blogs that I doubt I even know about half of them. With a quick search on Pinterest, you can find specific ideas in any subject area and based on virtually any special theme. There is so much at our fingertips, and I get chills thinking about how much the Montessori internet’s collective creativity enriches lives. It’s truly awesome, and I’m honored to be a small part of it all. Continue reading

Montessori for the Holidays

I spent much of our Thanksgiving break sprinkling our classroom with holiday cheer, and I thought I’d share a few scenes from our space, in case they should inspire you in any sprinkling you’re doing in your home or classroom.

I love decorating the classroom at least as much as I love decorating my home – in fact, the tree, however small, went up here before one went up in our living room. I love this little, live tree, which has temporarily replaced the Umbrella Tree that normally graces our reading corner. Between it and the wreath on the door, it smells of evergreen throughout the whole room. Originally, I thought I’d leave the decorations for this tree in a basket so that the children could decorate it themselves over and over, but I found that the process was not exactly pleasant, due to the very sharp little needles on this particular tree, so it stays decorated to make the classroom more beautiful, and another, smaller tree is available on the shelf for the children to decorate and redecorate as much as they’d like.

Classroom Christmas Tree: Vibrant Wanderings Continue reading

A Resource: Record Keeping in the Montessori Primary Classroom

Tea and a quick records update

Tea and a quick records update

There are so many different ways to keep a record of the work individual children are doing in the Montessori classroom. I have seen a number of systems, and they all seem to be working well for the teachers using them, which is what counts, really. In my training, we were given a model for record keeping, referred to as an Individual Learning Plan. This plan is a spreadsheet which includes the materials typically found in the classroom, with space to make dated comments about the work each child does with these materials. In the past, I have simply reproduced this spreadsheet and used it for my record-keeping. It is a wonderfully useful document, but it does not perfectly reflect what is in my classroom, however, nor is it perfectly set up for me to include the information I like to record. Continue reading