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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Attempting Montessori at home

As I adapt to my new life as a stay at home mom, I am constantly trying to learn how I can best serve my daughter and her development because, well, it's not as easy as I thought. 
I guess, I figured that since I've been in the classroom for over 5 years, adapting that at home would be simple.  But, as much as I know about teaching my students, I was am still learning about how to be Isla June's mom.  Did you know that being a mom is harder than being a teacher?? because, I didn't.

So, I spent the other day going through some of the articles from the Living Montessori Now blog (see my blog roll bar) for some inspiration.  I followed a lot of Montessori's principles in my classroom, and could see the benefits of it in my children.  I'm proud to say that all of my student's were able to follow a basic schedule and complete simple self-sufficient tasks throughout the day (I mean, washing your hands independently is a major break through accomplishment.)  I know that these principles work.  And I believe in building a child's self-esteem through independent accomplishment and exploration.

Most of the things I came across were exactly the ideas that I already knew, but, I guess I just needed to revisit the principles in terms applying them into our daily life.  And really, a lot of Montessori's principles are very basic of course! concepts.  I just needed to put them in play. 
After Isla June awoke from her nap, I got busy organizing all of her toys (I realized that I haven't really shared any pics of our little condo, so these pics might be a little disorienting.)

When walking into Isla June's bedroom, this large orange bucket sits next to her crib.  Since she had started to pull items out through the cracks of her crib whilst supposed to be napping, I figured I should tackle this one first.  It really had become a bit of a dumping ground, which means that not much of what was in there was being used any more.  So, after getting some of the broken toys and trash out, sorting through whats left, I filled this bucket with 2 main items.

since it is a large "dumping" area, I decided to stick with soft books/toys and balls in here.
Simple to dig through, see and to get out. 

In the middle of her room is her rocker and a wooden activity center from Mimi.  She's taken to sitting in her rocker to read (and even being willing to cuddle up with mommy and a good book on occasion), so I want to make sure this remains accessible.

This little shelf used to be shoved back against the wall with her hamper in front of it to kind of discourage any attempts at wanting to climb it.  But, since that hasn't happened (yet), I decided to fill it with toys and clear an area in front of it for some tower building and disk stacking.  She's really taken to this space now that it's accessible.

items on the shelf include: books, puzzles, stuffed animals, letter train and a mirror

This bookshelf sits in her closet, and it's the perfect little nook for her to enjoy all of her reading.  It has previously been filled with books, on every shelf.  But, some of those books were a little bit advanced (or too special for non-careful hands), so I decided to pack those away for a later date.  Now, the entire shelf can be used to house activities and toys for exploration. 
 Having the puzzles out and very accessible has spawned a new passion for them.  And now, I always find Isla June snuggling with a new stuffed animal every time I come in the room.  All of these items have always been in the house and available, but now they are enticing.  Off to the right side (can you see it) is a small stool (given to her by her GrammaLee) that she uses to sit on and read.  It's a perfect little spot for her to learn, and grow, and explore. independently.

In the living room, these three baskets house, quess what, more toys!  and books.  Seriously, books are everywhere, the bathroom, bedroom, car, stroller, diaper bag.  everywhere.  I love it.

Books and sorting activities.  Plus, musical instruments all together
But, instead of these baskets continuing to be a "dump and hide" kind of system, I slimmed them down to necessities/favorites and sorted them into categories.   

blocks and shape sorting, and little bit of hammering
It really is just the littlest (and free)change, but I can already see Isla June loving her toys even more.  Toys and activities that haven't seen the light of playtime in a while are being dragged out and used in new ways.  I couldn't be happier.


  1. Congrats on your focus here, Meagan! Yes, many of us know being a mom is harder than people in our society think - and since we don't pass out degrees for that accomplishment, even when done well, we tend to assume it doesn't require thought, purpose, creativity and education. It does and I applaud you - Leighton went to Montessori at 2 1/2 for two hours a few times a week. I was able to learn their concepts and tried to set up "areas" for her at home, and make sure she "cleaned her area" hahaha, before moving from cuttings to counting to reading to stacking, lalala! It's a great way to learn! Keep enjoying every moment! Best job in the world! Love you 5!

  2. Thanks Ms. Marian! If Isla June turns out half as wonerful as Leighton, we will be blessed.
    Can't wait to see you at Christmas!! LU5.

  3. YOU are the best-est mommy in the whole world. SO proud you are my girl.


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