Cutlery Options for Montessori Infants, Toddlers, and Preschoolers

Montessori Cutlery Options

Annabelle and Elliot’s silverware drawer

I’ve sort of put myself on maternity leave from the computer, but I have been reading and communicating on mobile quite a bit, as I’m putting in quite a bit of time pacing with or nursing a nearly asleep newborn. This has meant lots of conversing in various Montessori groups. Yesterday, someone raised a question about silverware in the group: Bringing up Montessori Infants and Toddlers and many of us chimed in to make suggestions.

I have said before that we Montessori guides often become curators of beautiful collections of small objects, delighting over bits and pieces discovered for use in the classroom. Some of us take this role more seriously than others. In honesty, though, I can frame this any way I like, but a couple of decades from now one of my children might be putting me on the modern-day equivalent of hoarders after they open a cabinet in my house and find themselves buried under a pile of miniature pitchers, tiny bowls of various kinds and, well, cutlery. Reading the comment thread about silverware yesterday, I realized I could put my collection to good use, as we own all of the various options that were suggested. I snapped a side-by-side comparison picture for those considering their options and a few moms found this helpful, so I thought I’d grab some better photos and drop them here in the blogosphere for easy reference. Continue reading

Nora’s Birth Story

She’s here!

nora newbornWe  were working in the outdoor classroom, when I noticed that the Braxton Hicks contractions I had been feeling for weeks seemed to have given way to the familiar sort I had in early labor with Annabelle and Elliot. Not only did I feel them in my belly, but they wrapped around my lower back, squeezing more so than simply tightening. I was afraid to believe I was really in labor, lest I be disappointed when I sat down and the contractions stopped, so I continued on as usual. School ended and I panicked a bit when Andrew indicated that he planned to leave immediately to take Annabelle to lunch. I wasn’t ready to say I was in labor, but I was pretty sure I was and I was overwhelmed by the idea of being left at home alone with a cranky Elliot and a back yard full of large items to be put away. I’m sure Andrew was confused as to why I was cross over the idea of a father-daughter lunch date, but he kindly helped me put everything from outside away and get Elliot inside for lunch. It was then I told him I might be in labor, so he should be ready. He and Annabelle went off to lunch and Elliot and I had a bite to eat before heading to bed for a nap. Continue reading

Cloth Washing, under our permanent clothesline

Backyard Montessori: Our Outdoor Classroom

I’m nearly 39 weeks pregnant, with an energy level on the low side and the knowledge that every day could be our last day of school. While most of the children in our little school are pretty resilient, I wanted to make sure we had an official end to the school year for those who are especially sensitive to routine and might be really thrown to wake up and hear, “Miss Melissa had her baby, so there’s no school today. You’ll see your friends in September!” What I decided to do was to continue as usual until I reached 38 weeks, and then to have an official last work time together and a simple picnic to mark the end of the school year. Then, those who wanted to keep coming would be more than welcome to do so until baby-time, but I wanted to change it up a bit – both to make things obviously different from the school year routine, and to give myself a bit less cleaning work in the evenings during this busy time, I decided the solution was to have outdoor school.

For many weeks now, I’ve been pinning ideas, gathering supplies, and making plans for our “outdoor classroom,” and today was our first official day of it (well, Friday was supposed to be, but it was pouring rain!). It was awesome. Everyone seemed to enjoy it so much that I’m seriously considering making it a regular thing in the late Spring (and perhaps early fall, too), when there is so much to discover outdoors and the weather is so delightful. I thought I’d share some photos of our set-up with you. It took me about 15 minutes to get everything outside and ready this morning, and about the same to put it back in for the day, so it’s really not any more time intensive than prepping the indoor classroom in the morning, and there is no vacuuming, mopping, or dusting waiting for me – a beautiful thing! Continue reading

Annabelle poses next to her completed timeline

Montessori Birthday Traditions (and Annabelle’s 4th!)

Most lovers of Montessori are familiar with the popular Montessori birthday celebration, or “Celebration of Life,” as it’s often called. We marked my now four year old, Annabelle’s birthday with a celebration of life at school this year, but we also enjoyed two other, slightly less popular Montessori birthday traditions. I wanted to share these with you all, in case you should be unfamiliar with them, as I think they’re fantastic activities that not only make birthdays that much more special, but also help deepen the child’s sense of their place in history and in their family.

“…for all things are part of the universe, and are connected with each other to form one whole unity.  This idea helps the mind of the child to become fixed, to stop wandering in an aimless quest for knowledge.  He is satisfied, having found the universal centre of himself with all things.”

Maria Montessori

Timeline of a Child’s Life

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[Virtual Baby Shower!] Supporting a Family During the Postpartum Period

I know it has been quiet around here for awhile! The kids and I are on Spring Break now, so I’m hoping to get a few things scheduled, as much is bouncing around in my head following Annabelle’s birthday (a month ago now!), an amazing time at the American Montessori Society’s annual conference, my first night (four nights!) away from the kids, and the everyday awesomeness of the classroom. We’ll see how much I can get in writing before the final weeks of the school year and the arrival of our littlest family member. Speaking of new arrivals, the incredible Multicultural Kid Blogs bloggers are hosting a virtual baby shower and many bloggers are writing baby or baby shower related posts as part of the celebration, including me! Read on for more:
Multicultural Kid Blogs - Virtual Baby Shower Continue reading