Our Need for Beauty

This week I took a much need trip to the Pacific Northwest to visit one of my dearest friends and see my younger sister.  It has been way too long since I’ve been surrounded by such breathtaking beauty.  This visit was rejuvenating and relaxing in the best way.  Maria Montessori wrote about the need for beauty and order in the environment and I truly believe that it aids in developing inner peace.

I started the trip (with my 5 1/2 month old in tow) in Oregon with my childhood friend and felt so at ease in her beautiful home.  The way she and her husband decorated, organized and set up their house is so refreshing.  Every item has a purpose and place;  it was like being in an adult Montessori environment.  Their sweet son is thriving because of their thoughtful planning and purposeful parenting.  We spent a lot of time outside: hiking, picnicking on the porch and walking the trials surrounding their house.  There’s something so magical about the way a trail looks framed by giant, moss covered trees.  I drank in my surroundings and quenched my unknown thirst for nature and beauty.

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Pouring

Sweet Treat

The mere mention of fruit snacks, fruit roll ups or fruit gummies send my daughter into a wide-eyed frenzy.  We’re visiting my parents this week and BB (my mom) told me about a homemade fruit leather recipe she found on CookingLight.com.  I jumped at the chance to make a healthy, organic version of my daughter’s favorite treat using local peaches and fresh strawberries.  I love that it only has four ingredients and uses natural sugar from the fruit and a little honey to make it just the right amount of sweet.

Cutting Fruit with BB

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Reading

Preparing for Reading

Where has the time gone?!  My daughter will be three in about a month and I could not be more excited for her to begin this next stage; a stage that has extended concentration, increased sense of order, a hunger for new information and love of work.  She started showing me signs of this transition (asking a lot of questions, repeating information and an incessant hunger for books) a few weeks ago.  I decided to take advantage of her curiosity and began some pre-reading lessons with her just to see if she had any interest.  Did she ever!

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Observing your children is something I encourage all parents to do.  I know it can be tough with crazy schedules and little down time, but it’s so valuable.  Familiarizing  yourself with their actions will help you recognize even the smallest changes in their interests and behaviors.  When was the last time you just sat and watched your child?  Observation is one of the cornerstones in the Montessori method and takes practice.  Sometime this week, sit down without any distractions and just watch for 5 straight minutes (or longer if you can).  You might want a notepad to jot down what you see.  Try your hardest to be a fly on the wall with little interaction and as a quiet observer, I bet you’ll be amazed at what you see! Continue reading

Eternal Student

As a teacher,  I had required seminars or other inservice hours that needed completion by the end of the school year.  I was constantly flooded with new information and fantastic resources  without even trying!  Since staying  home, I realized I’ve let too many books collect dust and done little to keep my Montessori toolbox stocked.  So, after one too many nights watching Netflix,  I decided it was time to wipe off some dust and crack open a few books.

Montessori from the Start: The Child at Home, from Birth to Age Three by Paula Polk Lillard and Lynn Lillard Jessen, discusses  important developments from birth to age three.  This 241 page book gives a detailed look into setting up your home the Montessori way.  The authors explain  the developmental planes and touch on ways to enhance each stage of your child’s life.  It includes pictures of children doing daily tasks in a Montessori environment as a great visual for what is possible!  Bottom line: A little on the long side, but definitely worth the read!  This book gives such great detail about life with a new baby and beyond.  Definitely two thumbs up for anyone with children under the age of three!
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