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!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The funny side of repetition

Of course, repetition isn't all seriousness and contemplation.  Toddlers find such joy in repetition and delight in things happening just as they expect them to....  And I must say it's pretty funny for the adults in their lives too!

Fun with a suction cup:

Repetition in the 18 month-old

I know I go on about repetition all the time, but seriously, it's so exciting to watch this little boy at work!  The past few days, Finlay has become obsessed with his press-button frame and has been choosing this work over and over again.  I'm amazed at how easily he opens and closes the buttons now after so much repetition.  The dressing frames have been in our home for many months and he has occasionally used them but mostly they have been sitting untouched.  Lately Fin has been interested in the press-buttons ("buh-bom") on his clothing so a couple of days ago I did a little presentation of the press-button frame to him... what a hit!  It is amazing to see the Sensitive Periods so clearly at work.

This video shows about 4 minutes of what went on to be a 40 minute work cycle:

Yet again, Finlay himself is reminding me of what my role is at this stage of his development:  prepare the environment, encourage independence and then.... back off!  He sometimes asks me to sit next to him and occasionally requests that I do a couple of buttons.  It is as if he wants a little 're-presentation'  to check that he has all the details.  Then he very clearly pushes my hands away, says "no" and gets back to work.  When he completes his cycle of activity he either says, "done" or "di-dish" (finished) and puts the dressing frame back on it's stand.  I really didn't expect cycles of activity like this from an 18 month-old, but it is very exciting to discover what is possible just by observing him.

Last night, right at bed-time (7pm), Fin picked up the frame and wanted to work.  I was really torn between allowing him to choose to work, or insisting that he go to bed.  Brent jokingly said, "What would Maria do?", and of course I knew that Madame Maria would allow the child to choose when they needed to work, and when they needed to sleep.  Well, he sat and sat and sat with this frame...  Meanwhile I paced the floor, Brent dimmed the lights and we waited.  And can I tell you that even after years of being a Montessori teacher and disciplining myself NEVER to interrupt a concentrating child, it was SO hard not to interrupt him and put him to bed.  Isn't bed-time sacred?  What if his routine is disturbed and he can't get to sleep later?

8pm came round, Fin looked up, said "done", put the frame away, took my hand, led me to his bedroom and went straight to sleep.  There's a lesson for you, Mummy.  Lesson learned, thank you Fin.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Living the life you love

What an amazing creature an 18-month-old is!  The world certainly seems to be Finlay's oyster right now and we are constantly astonished by new words, new facial expressions, new opinions and new abilities.  He has started recalling past events and stringing words together to tell a 'story'.  

Earlier in the week, Brent took Finlay to the swimming pool.  When he returned, Fin excitedly told me, "Beh-buin (penguin), ga-gool (cuddle), ah-tah (water), spash (splash), daddy, ba-dee (buggy/stroller)".  Brent explained that there had been a penguin mascot at the pool giving cuddles to all the children, and that they had been splashing in the water before returning home in the buggy.  How wonderful that he can now describe some of the many things that must be going on in his head!

Now that we are seeing and hearing more of that secret inner-life-of-Fin, I am reminded of how important his environment is in shaping the person he is becoming.  He really does spend his days replicating the actions he sees us doing around him.  On the days when I get my yoga mat out (not as often as I would like!) he unrolls his mat again and again striking various poses.  He constantly hums into his 'trumpet' (a trumpet mouth-piece connected to a funnel), just like Daddy.  He is starting to sing throughout the day, just like Mummy.  Yesterday I saw him trying to close a drawer with the side of his hip...  I don't even notice myself doing this but he has absorbed it none-the-less!

Back in June my dad (Fin's Pa) came to visit for two weeks.  During this time, dad brought into our house the things he is passionate about - drawing and playing drums.  By the end of those two weeks, Fin was playing his drum non-stop and constantly getting out his crayons and pencils.  Even the style of his drawings changed as he replicated the sketching style that he had watched his Pa using.

These photos show just how much his drawings changed over the course of those two weeks:
- May 26th, 2011-

 - June 16th, 2011-
What a timely reminder this was to make sure that I am living the life I love.  Every day.  Each moment.    Reading, singing, cooking, writing, gardening, playing, dancing, loving, sewing...  not only do these things make my life happier, but they enrich Finlay's personality in ways I will never fully comprehend.  

What joy!

Reading with Daddy at 13months