Welcome to 'A Montessori Home'.
With so many of our friends and family living in far-off lands, I hope that this blog might help our loved-ones get to know our gorgeous Finlay as he grows up. I also hope that these posts may provide inspiration, provoke thought and conversation about creating beautiful Montessori environments for infants and toddlers at home. I'm always happy to hear your comments, thoughts and suggestions. Feel free to pop in now and then to see what we're up to!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The art of collaboration

Blogging seems to have fallen by the wayside in recent times.  Unfinished projects seem to be piling up around me, and so many topics are on my mind as Finlay reaches 21 months.  Life in this household certainly is changing!  

I think it's time I finally posted some pictures of moments I have been intending to share for many months now.  

One of the many exciting developments that accompanies toddlerhood is the deep need to participate in daily activities a child sees taking place around the home.  Allowing this to happen, and facilitating a child's participation wherever possible can be a huge challenge for parents who are busy and sleep-deprived.  But if we can master the art of collaboration... amazing things happen!  Concentration, pride in their work, joy, satisfaction, fine-motor development and impulse control, to name just a few of the benefits.

These tasks needn't be 'materials' or 'work' set up on shelves as you would see in a Montessori classroom.  Any regular home can allow for this magic to take place.  In fact, the most important thing in a home is that we adults have an open mind and can let go of the preconceptions we hold about what young children are capable of, how long a task should take and how perfectly it should be completed.  In short, removing our own egos will let our children truly shine.  

There isn't much mystery as to when to offer these activities - toddlers have an amazing ability to make it known when they want to try something new!

Here are a few of our magic moments from the past year:

'Painting' the deck with Daddy, 11mths

Watering plants, 15mths

Helping to clean the fish tank, 16mths

Spooning yoghurt and blueberries for a snack, 16mths

Scrubbing potatoes, 16mths

Collecting eggs in the garden, 19mths

Shelling broad beans, 20mths

Buttering toast, 20mths

Fin loves the food processor! 20mths

We are by no means perfect in our household!  There are many days when I struggle to be an ideal collaborative partner to Finlay.  A wonderful image that I use to remind myself of the magic of collaboration is the following video.  I had the good fortune to hear AMI trainer, Ginni Sackett speak at a conference earlier this year and she showed us this clip as a reminder of what true collaboration can look like.  With the utmost humility, Christopher Dean offers his grace, strength and support to Jayne Torville in order for her to truly shine.  Enjoy :)


  1. This is beautiful, Cathy, and so timely for me as most of your writing is. I have been super, duper extra tired lately and doing things the easy (for me) way instead of the collaborative way more often than I'd like. I'm so grateful for this reminder to slow down and enjoy the beauty of collaboration with Annabelle.

  2. I hear you, Melissa! Sleep-deprivation continues to plague our household and makes it so much harder to be present, patient and calm :)

  3. This brought a tear to my eye. It is so easy to rush and leave them behind. What a beautiful image to hold in my mind. My daughter and I dancing through her childhood. Thank you.

  4. Rach, I'm so glad to hear I'm not the only one who ends up in tears over this video! :)

    It really is so easy to rush ahead... and so difficult sometimes to let them take their time, make mistakes, make a mess...

    We can't be 'perfect' parents all the time (real life tends to get in the way), but if the overall choreography is one of collaboration I think they'll find their way peacefully through childhood.

  5. I hope you don't mind - I linked to this post from my latest post. I hope your new school is all you hoped for!

  6. Not at all, Rach, what a compliment :)
    Yes, the new school is wonderful and has completely taken over my life but I'm hoping to get back to blogging soon!