Friday, December 21, 2012

A Home Day & Crafts

Making garland with hand made beads

Bead Stringing

Cooking:  Mortar and Pestle, bread crumbs!

Making ornaments with applesauce and cinnamon

We rolled and rolled

The gift of crafts, doll making kit for the girls!  They are going to be so busy...

Happy Winter!!!!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Gift Courtesy

Re-posting what I wrote over at Mommy Moment.  A timely re-share for the holiday season.  Happy Holidays!

At our house, we have been practicing some gift receiving with one another.  I feel this is a valuable lesson with little children, so that they aren't corrected or prompted while they have the spotlight.  ”Say thank you.”….”Don’t be rude.”….”What do you say?”  Preparation is the key.
To a child, its hard not to state the obvious when opening a gift…..”I already have this.”….”I’m too big for Elmo”…..”Clothes, again?!”   Children aren’t trying to be rude, they just know these things to be true;  so they say it.  Sometimes the side effect of many gifts comes in tossing gifts aside for a better one. Truthfully, at our birthdays, we wait until the party is over.  It gives us time to go over the gifts on our own schedule and write hand written thank you notes for each. Its more calm, and not so post-cake sugar crazed. Of course, it’s okay to not love a gift, but it is the adult’s role to help a child learn to wait until the appropriate time to express these notions.
We give this lesson before the holidays and birthdays, but it is a good idea to review it often. Gifts tend to come to little kids when life is a circus, during holidays or birthdays, at a time when there is a lot of stimulation.  Regular practice may ease the moment.  We like to play this after grocery shopping, which happens regularly, while many bags are handy.  Often, we use play silks, a furoshiki, or reusable shopping bags.  Then, we  fill it up with things from around the house. The receiving child slowly opens it, looks carefully at it, and then makes on observation about it.  ”It’s purple, my favorite color!” or “I have a book about this character.”  Go over the possible comments with your child, so that they are armed with some language for the big event.  The most important part, the receiving child looks the giver in the eye and says, thank you.
Be sure that you model the same grace and courtesies that you hope your child to gain. 

5 Montessori Books to Read and Read Again

Good morning!  Today I'm sharing a list of books that I find myself reading and reading again.  Book selection and relevance is personal, but this is a book stack that rarely makes it off my nightstand and back on the shelf.  Montessorians are so careful what goes on the work shelves, but we must remember to keep ourselves refreshed by choosing quality books for OUR shelves.  There are endless books for parents, teachers, and Montessori enthusiasts

Sunday Morning Reading

1.  The Absorbent Mind.  Every Winter and every Summer, I read the Absorbent Mind again.  EVERY time I find something new that speaks to me in the phase of my teaching at that time.  I have two copies: one to make notes all over, and one to reference and allow peers to borrow.  The copy I wrote in is almost a time capsule for me.  I keep seeing my old notes and remembering my first years.  I can see my own growth, it's valuable.  Buy hardcover, it'll get used more than any other book.

2. Let My Children Work.  Although I find this book so essential, not many teachers have it.  I promise you that you'll find it useful and insightful if you teach or practice Montessori Principles in any way.  I had the chance to met the author at an AMS Conference a few years back.  I was so impressed with this man's continued passion for his work, after all these years.  If you find yourself at a conference, ALWAYS go to the elder meetings.  The room is full of experienced teachers who will converse and mentor you.  Look closely at the homework section.  It's safe to say I idolize John Blessington.

3.  Montessori Today.  Montessori in Layman's terms.  Read this, and read it again.  Share with parents for a deeper understanding of our philosophy.  Everything Paula Polk Lillard writes is amazing.

4.  Nurturing The Spirit.  I buy this book for everyone I know who starts Montessori Training.  This book changed the way I saw all education.  A teacher who nurtures the spirit in any type of classroom or group is reaching the deepest part of their growth.  Some programs require this book.  I find it essential to understanding the spirit of a child and the collective personality of a classroom and its values.

5.  Honoring The Light of the Child.  I met Sonnie at an AMS conference, and she was so warm and welcoming.  We are still in touch, as every teacher needs supportive friends in the field.  This book will connect you with the soul of the children you work with.  It is EVERYONE's job to honor, teach, and protect that spark behind a child's eyes.  This book gives clear examples and lessons on how to discuss feelings and love with littles.

What's on your nightstand?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Waldorf Holiday Faire

This is the 2nd Holiday Faire at a local Waldorf School and the girls find it to be the exact kind of magical experience to jump start our holiday festivities.  There was no Santa, there was no gifts, no candy.  It was a lovely day, just our style!  

It was the first time I was recognized by this blog, the Waldorf Mom and I had a good chuckle about our interests in another type of holistic education. :)

Making Natural Centerpieces.  Sanding Bamboo, choosing fillers, adding tea lights.

The sign outside of the Knome Cave.  Only children are allowed, but I hear that they saw FAIRIES!

We spent an hour in here, eating lunch and snuggling.  Every playground needs a cozy place.

Pony Rides!

Getting a Candle Making Lesson

Candle Dipping.  This took a very long time, but it was a great experience.  The concentration made me think about Practical Life, Waldorf-style.

Enjoying the playground in my Nana's sweaters.