4/4/17

Spring Nature Table Inspirations

This post is a part of the Montessori Bloggers Network project "Our Montessori Spring". My blogging friends and I collaborated to share with you our seasonal ideas.

I like nature tables because they bring nature to the classroom. Usually nature table is a selection of various natural gifts or nature-related items that are collected in one corner or on one shelf. They add life to the classroom. They connect children to our wonderful natural world. These items welcome children to explore and discover them. Children like to touch, smell and interact with these items. A child can complement the table with his own finds and nature treasures.


During different seasons we can create seasonal nature tables that will include seasonal items and support children in their learning of the seasons and let nature to always be around. It may contain seasonal nature gifts, seasonal works of art and anything that is connected to this season.

Let's look at some spaces and get inspired to create something wonderful in our homes and classrooms. Let's get some ideas of what we can place on this table. Some of the tables have less natural elements and more seasonal items. You can combine several ideas and create something that is suitable for your environment. 

This spring area looks very beautiful and lovely. It will not take a lot of space. You can place it on any shelf or chest with drawers. Spring-themed painting or art piece, fresh flowers, little birds figurines look wonderful.
Spring nature table with birds and flowers
This table also looks pretty simple but lovely. It doesn't have a lot of elements but it definitely has a spring feeling. It has fresh bright flowers, lovely art works in spring colours and a couple of little figurines. 

Spring nature table with flowers
This is a very lovely seasonal setting. It includes different elements in various shades of green. Such table setting can be made even in small spaces. You can add more elements during the span of the season. Such setting can be easily substituted for another season by changing the elements. 

Spring nature table
This is the whole spring shelf. You can also have one if you have enough space. Painting with warm sun and bright colours, flower, book about spring, little birds. Think about what feeling spring gives you and what items will help your child to have these feelings also.

Spring-themed table
Spring flowers and green grass. This table also includes some elements of one of the biggest spring holidays - Easter.
Beautiful table inspired by spring
Look how springy this one looks! Willow twigs, green bulbs, green colours. It shows the the spring is a time of growing.
Spring table with flower bulbs
This one doesn't look specifically like spring one, the summer one can look similar. But it looks very green and full of plants. 
Fresh and green table
Again spring colours and flowers. These are definitely the things you want to include at your table.
Spring table with flowers
I like this piece of cloth that has different shades of green. Lovely book about spring. Small painting with growing bulb. Beautiful blossoming flower.
Nature table in March
I wish you inspiration!

Don't forget to check out other amazing posts about Montessori and spring! I wish you inspiration!



Don't forget to come back on March 21 and read all our botany related posts!

3/29/17

Where should I start? Practical advices for starting using Montessori method at home. Part 2

We continue sharing advices about starting using the Montessori method at home (Please read part 1 also). I asked wonderful Montessorians about what they think a person should do first if the person wants to start practicing Montessori at home.

Please read all the advices carefully, make notes and decide at least one of them to start using. 
I think all of them will give you a clearer understanding of what you need to do and show you the right direction.


Matt Bronsil: "I think a good piece of advice to start is to set up a space for the child to do something specific and create a small environment there. For example, set a desk that is just for art and have an art shelf. Set it up like a Montessori art shelf and let the child begin with that. After that, start to branch out and make it bigger. If you start too big in the beginning, you'll be worn out"
About Matt:
I grew up in Montessori. I was brought into my parents' classroom as an infant and am now a Montessori 3-6 Teacher in Taiwan. Please visit me at http://www.MontessoriWebinars.com

***
Vanessa Thiel: "I believe the place to start is preparing oneself with research and reading the works of Maria Montessori. The next step is setting up the environment and the place to start is with practical life skills. That is the easiest place to begin because Montessori is not just the materials, it is a way of life. A new way of thinking."
About Vanessa:
I'm a Montessori stay-at-home mom who is homeschooling my preschooler. I'm also a Pediatric RN and an IBCLC (Lactation Consultant.) Please visit me at http://www.mamashappyhive.com

***
Deb Chitwood, M.A.: "Preparing yourself would always be the most important place to start. Dr. Montessori said: “It is not enough for the teacher to love the child. She must first love and understand the universe. She must prepare herself, and truly work at it.” I think that applies to parents (the child’s first and most important teachers) as well as to classroom teachers. That said, I think it’s natural to start preparing the environment as soon as possible, too."
About Deb:
I have my master’s degree in early childhood studies, and I’m a former Montessori teacher, school owner, and administrator. I was also a Montessori homeschooler and homeschooled my now-adult children through high school. Please visit me at http://livingmontessorinow.com

***
Jae Espuerta: "Preparing of self and the environment"
About Jae:
I'm a homeschooler teaching my kids through Montessori methods. Please visit me at www.pinayhomeschooler.com

***
Simone Davies: "I would suggest looking at ways to include your child in daily life. I love to have the kids help me in the kitchen, get ready for visitors, help in the garden and spend time together. It can take longer at first, but you will be helping your child scaffold skills as they experience these parts of daily life with you."
About Simone:
Simone has been working in Montessori since 2004. She is a trained AMI teacher who runs parent-child Montessori classes in Amsterdam at Jacaranda Tree Montessori and has two children who have attended Montessori school through primary school. Please visit me at http://www.themontessorinotebook.com

***
Kelly Johnson: "Preparing yourself. Take a month or more to immerse yourself in reading Montessori's philosophy, learning the basics of the method, double check in with experienced Montessorians, in person or online, to make sure you are interpreting what you are reading correctly, and then carefully plan how you will apply and implement the method and philosophy into your environment.
For example one may read "follow the child" and allow the child to not brush their teeth or hair because the child doesn't want to, but they are actually misinterpreting the meaning due to lack of knowledge in the philosophy and method, not realizing that the freedom to follow the child comes from defined limits and expectations in the child's environment."
About Kelly:
I am trained AMS 6-9 and have been a Montessorian since 2000 in many capacities, from art and music teacher to toddler assistant to garden coordinator to substitute to lower elementary lead teacher. I find immense joy in the method and philosophy because I see how holistically amazing it is for children, and I adore the aesthetic preparation of the adults and environment. Please visit me at http://www.wingswormsandwonder.com


***
Lolly Kent: "I would say the best starting place is with the self. In preparing yourself and reflecting on why you want to pursue the Montessori philosophy you will have the foundation for making consistent choices as a parent. If you are clear in your intentions it will be easier to assist your child in their development. The rest will follow, because if we are aiding the child to become independent the limits, preparation of the environment, choosing the types and amount of toys, etc. will be a natural result of these choices."
About Lolly:
I am a Montessori teacher (6-12) and Montessori mum. I have several years experience in Montessori classrooms and currently tutor students using Montessori principles and materials. Please visit me at http://elementaryobservations.blogspot.com.au

***
Yuliya Chernikova: "In order to prepare oneself and the environment for the child, one has to know what principles to take into consideration and implement. So we are coming back to the necessity to educate ourselves first which opens limitless possibilities for the whole family."
About Yuliya:
AMI trained teacher for the Primary level

***
Yang Jingyi Gabrielle: "It's important to start with the environment. By taking small steps, rearrange or set up the home environment that promotes independence & movement for your child. One does not need to buy every Montessori toy or activity tray. It can be as simple as doing cardboard box toys, or letting your child feel empowered eg, brushing his teeth, getting a drink, making a snack. Limit toys to open ended ones like wooden blocks or legos. You can also do toy rotations to keep the child engaged"
About Yang Jingyi Gabrielle:
I used to be a preschool teacher before becoming a stay-home mum 5 years ago. It was also then I discovered about the Montessori method and has been adopting a Montessori lifestyle with my two boys. Please visit me at Coffeeandtoastmama.wordpress.com

***
Meghan Hicks: "Preparing the environment is helpful to set the right tone for the family, and the right frame of mind for the adults. Simplify things by culling unnecessary belongings, ensuring that everything you decide to keep has a place, and making conscious decisions about how to include your child in daily life. Think about every job you do in your home to maintain it, think about the tools you use to complete this work, think about how you can make these tools (or more child appropriate tools) available to your child"
About Meghan:
I am trained in 0-12, I teach children from birth to age 16 in various settings, I lecture for two international Montessori teacher training institutes, I write about Montessori for families, I travel to schools around the world to help them refine their environments and their practices, I homeschool my own children.

***
Grace En-Tien Chang: "Regarding acquisition of items: Remember that if your child will be going to a Montessori school (3~6), it is not wise to have the same didactic materials at home. Offering it too early may be detrimental as well.
A lot of toys infants like to play with are easily home made. In fact, infants appear to like to play with items in the home more than commercial toys, for the most part.
The biggest challenge is not giving in to commercialism: Not becoming overwhelmed with all the activities and things to get out there, not trying to do everything, and nor putting things and activities over observation and routine - because every child is different and you will soon see that what someone else's child loves will not necessarily attract your child - but be willing to experiment and enjoy! ... a steady routine and familiarity for the 0~3 is key to child's development of mental organization and confidence.
What you should invest in is your own education and growth. Get hard books on Montessori that go deep into the theory. If you don't like reading, sign up for webinars or hire a Montessori coach! There are quite a few seasoned Montessori teachers consult virtually and they can serve as a great resource for you. Moreover, find a group of like-minded parents in your community and this will help so much in the process of personal transformation and growth!"
About Grace: 
I have a BS in Biology, and have been an Montessori & brain science autodidact for the past 5 years. Have helped run a Montessori co-op and am currently undergoing my internship for my certificate at a Montessori 3~6 school in Taiwan. Please visit me at http://whenthediaperleaks.wordpress.com

***
Tamarah Rosenberg: "Look inward at yourself. There are amazing parents who do not have a single Montessori Material. Learn to follow your child and be prepared to treat them as you would your 80 year old great Aunt. Then read Montessori from the Start, The Child in the Family and The World of the Child. #1 DO NOT ALLOW TV or visual electronics until the child is 6"
About Tamarah:
I am unnatural Montessorian, my soul is loud and chaotic. Creating a peaceful place for my children brought peace to my soul.

I hope this will be useful for you. All the Montessorians were very passionate to share their knowledges. Have a wonderful Montessori Home!

Where should I start? Practical advices for starting using Montessori method at home. Part 1

Many of you want to use the Montessori method at home but you don't know where to start. I receive many questions from wonderful readers that ask for help. I decided to write this post so it can be a starting point for your journey.

I contacted Montessori teachers, parents, experts, bloggers and asked them a question:
"Please give one practical advice to a person who wants to start using Montessori at home. Where should the person start?"

The Montessorians were very kind and eager to share their precious knowledges. I devided their answers in two posts so it would not be too much information. 

Imafine as if you visited a Montessori conference and asked all of them this question directly.

I want to ask you to use these advices. Please prepare a notebook where you will able to make some notes that you would consider important for you. I hope this will be useful for you.

These advices should help you to find the right direction and to understand the Montessori method more.

Junnifa Uzodike: "I think setting up the environment is a good place to start. This does not mean a complete overhaul at once but can be small changes that support the child's development of independence and allows him to act on his human tendencies. It could be putting toys on a shelf instead of a toy box, putting some things that he uses frequently like his plate, cup and utensils at a level where he can reach them and maybe set the table, or just providing a stool/stair that allows him to reach the work surface in the kitchen and work side by side with you"
About Junnifa: 
I am an Montessori trained educator for the 0-3 and 3-6 levels. I have also raised my boys using Montessori principles from birth. Please visit me at www.nduoma.com

***
Susan Mayclin Stephenson: "Read the book "The Joyful Child: Montessori, Global Wisdom for Birth to Three" by Susan Mayclin Stephenson. This book is an overview of the AMI Montessori Birth to Three, Assistants to Infancy, course. It was written for parents based on many years experience working with parents and teaching Montessori with students from age two through high school"
About Susan:
When I was in graduate school to be a philosophy professor I put my first child in an AMI Montessori school. This was in 1969. The changes in her personality and happiness were so profound that I decided that being a Montessori teacher was more important for the world then being a philosophy professor. I asked for the best place to learn to do this. Thank goodness I was told to take AMI training, specifically at MMI (then MMTO) in London, England. Mine was the 58th course and this was in 1970-1971, so there had been many ears to refine and perfect training of teachers. Over the years I received AMI training at 3-6 and 6-12 levels, used the information as a parent, taught in schools, lectured at universities, and so on. For more information, as I do not like to talk about myself, please go to my website: www.susanart.net

***
Sid Mohandas: "In my own experience, I would say the the home environment must be above all a haven of trust, empathy and compassion. A place of deep knowing, listening and growing freedoms for the child. This relational aspects, I believe is fundamental to our family life. In all things, like Dr. Montessori said the happiness of the child is the true indicator. When it comes to the physical environment, I believe in keeping it simple and accessible to the child. The challenges in the environment must reflect the skill levels of the child. When this balance goes wrong, we will have either a bored or stressed child. Like I said earlier, it must be a place of growing freedoms, that would mean offering choices based on how your child is able to handle that freedom. Lastly, the home environment is not just yours, it belongs to all those who dwell in it, so co-construct beauty, co-construct guidelines, and co-construct knowledge"
About Sid:
I am currently a research student at the University College of London (UCL). I have been a Montessori parent and teacher for a number of years, even though I do tend to appreciate other pedagogical approaches and draw aspects of Reggio and Te Whariki in my own practice. Please visit me at www.themalemontessorian.com

***
Carolyn Lucento: "Environment makes a big difference. Order, simplicity, predictability can help you immensely. Don't forget the aesthetics: low shelving & tools that are child-size, wood & natural materials, plants, natural lighting, a few famous Art prints at child's eye level, so that child can enjoy freedom & choice that is limited by the well-prepared environment instead of the adult in charge."
About Carolyn:
I am a seasoned Montessorian. My first training was completed in 1980 and I trained again in 2005. I have been an assistant, head teacher, school owner, site director, and now I train teachers in an AMS training program in SF Bay Area. In 2013 I left my site director/head teacher position to become a music specialist in Montessori schools throughout SF Bay area. Nowadays I teach 32 classes a week in 8 different locations...about 800 children from 3-9 yrs old. Please visit me at http://www.magicalmovementcompany.com

***
Angela Hardy: "Find a Parent/Child class in your area and join if you can. If one is not available, find a school to observe. Start talking to the early childhood teachers and absorb everything you can."
About Angela:
Once, a child told me she wanted to change the world because of me. You can inspire children without knowing anything about Montessori, but Montessori does a great job of exploiting all the best ways of inspiring individuals.

***
Pamela Green: "To start from learning the philosophy, which extends then into the areas of preparing our environments for independence, freedom of choice, the materials, etc. But, it is the understanding of the child, and most especially, our inner preparation to learn about ourselves and our child through observation"
About Pamela:
I am a Montessori Guide, Consultant, parent educator, workshop facilitator, childbirth educator, Birth Doula, and Assistant Midwife. Please visit me at Anandamontessori.com

***
Yuliya Fruman: "I suppose before we can teach children, we should prepare ourselves. I would say first and foremost, it is important to educate yourself and prepare yourself. How do you see Montessori in your home? What are your expectations? The second very important task to do is to prepare your home, I would say. Make sure that your home is truly accessible for your child. As someone who uses a wheelchair, I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to make sure your home is set up to allow for independence. In my own experience, going somewhere and not being able to do something for myself is really devastating. I can imagine that our children experience something similar - so where you can (and where you can do so safely), set up your home in a manner that facilitates your child's independence. Allow them to be able to get their own snacks, their own clothing, their toys. Prepare your home by keeping artwork and visually appealing decorations at their eye level, etc"
About Yuliya:
I am a mom, raising my two children in a Montessori inspired home. My son is 4 years old, and I present Montessori style activities for him at home. Please visit me at http://www.welcometomommyhood.com

***
Jeanne-Marie Paynel: "Preparing the environment for the child to easily adapt to their time, place and culture as well as preparing ourselves to guide this precious new life. Simply get down to their level and crawl around your home to see it from their perspective"
About Jeanne-Marie:
I am a Montessori Parenting Mentor and Home Consultant, founder and owner of Voila Montessori, empowering parents to nurture their children's full potential with joy and confidence. Please visit me at http://www.voilamontessori.com/en/


***
Tammy Oesting: "Bringing Montessori into your home isn't about the "stuff", it's about how you apply an approach; reflect on your own upbringing and define your parenting values you want to instill. Make sure you and your parenting partner are on the same page! Working on your own understanding of why, then how to shift your approach leads to behaviors such as preparing your home for your child's independence and meaningful engagement."

About Tammy:
Twenty-five years ago I stepped foot in my first Montessori classroom as an assistant and never imagined my journey would drive me to pursue my training as a 3-6 then 6-12 teacher, Director of Education, teacher trainer, and now, the founder of a professional development company. From my dogma as an intern fresh from training to my seasoned view of how Montessori is applied around the world, I am more than convinced that this methodology serves children and the advancement of humankind. Please visit me at www.classroomechanics.com

***
Patricia Taylor: "Prepare places in the home environment where the children may function independently, with age appropriate activities that are directly or implicitly Montessori, provide your children with furniture suited to their age and functionality, learn how to present Montessori lessons on the materials as well as grace and courtesy , and love them by treating them with respect ... involving them in all aspects of life - taking them to the store, work, bank, relatives [explaining the whys, the proper behavior at each, teach and maintain boundaries between adult oriented and child oriented aspects of normal and specific cultural/religious life ... ; ] So much to share about!"
About Patricia:
Now I am 72, my eleven children are grown, see grandchildren seldom if at all, rent rooms in two homes ["Prepared Environments"] to keep ownership and earn more than just SS, widowed 18 years, as a watercolor artist, I teach children techniques in art, seamstress, and Montessori mentor to all I meet by chance, but on Craigslist I advertise my Montessori classroom for parents to utilize in a program that engages them with their children in learning how to present lessons and carry them into their homes - my life style centers around Christ's and Montessori principles.

***
Carine Robin: "Setting the environment to allow your child to be as independent as possible. When the child can reach sink, mirror, tools to take care of himself and his surroundings, most issues are reduced or disappeared"
About Carine:
I'm a Montessori teacher for children aged 3 to 6. I work for myself now, I run a parents/toddler group and I offer private support to help parents to incorporate the Montessori principles into their family life. Please visit me at www.montessori-family.co.uk

Read the second part of the advices in the next post here - PART 2.