I have fond memories of attending Montessori preschool when I was a child. I really wanted L to have the same experience but it's not realistic at the moment. While there is a Montessori school in town, it's five days a week and not within our budget at the moment. If I'm really honest with myself, even if money were not an issue, I'm not ready for her to be gone from me five days a week. She is still only two--if only for another month and a half.
Instead, we try to do a lot of hands-on activities at home. We encourage her be as independent as possible around the house. I've been reading up on Montessori and joined a homeschooling co-op with a preschool group. My friends and I had been discussing starting our own weekly co-op when we realized we could join an existing co-op. Our children entirely make-up the preschool class and two of my friends volunteered to lead the group so the lessons are tailored to the Montessori style and the experience we want for our children. It's the perfect arrangement.
We've met twice so far and L has had a great time each week. This last week the kids painted with (and snacked on) fruits and veggies...taking a break to play in the sudden downpour of rain. Once everyone had dried off we moved inside and made little books using pictures of fruits and veggies cut out of a seed catalog. L loves her little book. A week later she's still carrying it around in her purse. She refers to it as the "special little book you made with me, mommy!" Just so you know, she picked out the pictures, pasted them, and cut the yarn to bind the book...
I also realized that painting with vegetables is an entertaining dinnertime activity. A few nights ago while I was cutting vegetables I gave L the bottoms of the lettuce heads to paint/stamp with while I finished making the salad. She was really impatient for dinner and it gave J and I just a long enough break to finish cooking! When she was done painting she'd calmed down and was ready to set the table.
It was just another reminder that all the steps we take to incorporate Montessori ideas into our lives seem to make things a little easier. For example, encouraging and supporting independence eliminates (or at least diminishes) power struggles and whining. Consequently, I've started looking into more Montessori (and Montessori-ish) resources online for ideas of how we can make our home more Montessori friendly overall. Here are a few of my favorites:
What are your favorite Montessori resources?
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