Monday, December 21, 2009

Etsy Shop Announcement

My Montessori Mama Etsy Shop is now closed. I want to thank all of you who have supported me with this project. Sometimes life can be overwhelming even for over achievers. My apologies to any of you who ordered items that you have not yet received, it is my intention to fill your orders and refund your money. Although I do not like receiving angry comments that question if I am a good person, I completely understand your frustrations with me.
That said, I have changed my comment moderation settings.
Again, my apologies to the two customers who have not yet gotten the Montessori Mama products they ordered. They will arrive before the new year.
Etsy still ROCKs, I adore it's home~made goodness and the opportunity it provided me to make connections with other crafty people.

Saturday, December 5, 2009


Inspired by the wonderful and fabulous Maya Made, I put a Toddler spin on this Advent calendar idea and created individual baskets for hiding special treasures in. For a complete tutorial visit Maya Made. The pink strip of tape along the bottom is to cover the staples so little fingers won't get hurt. 
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I cut different color felt shapes and provided my toddler fav, GLITTER GLUE! Look out! These kiddos loved spreading the glue and all the choices (which pipe cleaner color, which shapes to stick on, where to put the glue etc.) For another fun paper towel roll idea visit here. Happy crafting to all.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Gift Tags

Using water color pencils, I'm having fun decorating holiday tags between completing book illustrations.
I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.
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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving...thoughtful Thursday


Just finished. Cut paper illustration. Title: Wonder
actual size 8X11
materials: Trader Joe paper bag (hair), wrapping paper (grass background), and other various scap-book papers.

Enjoy! Comments welcome :)
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Monday, November 23, 2009

Turkey Feathers

Sung to the tune of "Are you Sleeping?"
Turkey Feathers, turkey feathers,
brightly colored, brightly colored,
Who has the red one?
Who has the red one?
Add it now.
Add it now.

At the start every child picks a turkey feather (be sure to have enough for each child)
then you sing the song above. The joy on their faces when it is their turn to add their feather, is precious!
Simple and fun way to introduce color naming with toddlers.
Try it out!

Stone Fruit Salad take II

Yep! It's that time of year again. Here are some photos from today's toddler room celebration. We began the Stone Fruit Salad lesson with a craft of gluing fruit shapes onto a bowl. These are now on display as you walk into the classroom. A note to parents went home saying what fruit each child had offered to bring in. I contributed some fruit too, and yogurt also and of course the STONE.
This year I made the stone from felt and passed it around the circle before we began the preparations.



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The special stone fruit salad feast was delicious! The children prepared the fruit for the salad: they sliced bananas and cut apples, pulled and washed grapes, drained and rinsed the canned peaches, they set the tables and put out our special snack mats, one for each guest.
Although many a blueberry was eaten before it ever made it's way to the fruit bowl,it was a salad made by them, children 18 months to 3 years and a good time was had by all. Never underestimate a toddler! I am forever thankful that they remind me of this fact each and every day.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Lullaby and Goodnight

You HAVE to hear and see this song!!!! Visit my dear friend Amy Robbins~Wilson at her blog or site, Lullaby Journal and you'll come to love her as I do. Visit her Lullaby Link page and you can order your very own copy of her newest CD! She is an amazingly talented singer and song writer and WOMAN! I am so proud of her and all of her contributions to this earth. How very blessed are we that she has such talents and shares them with us all. Thank you Amy ~ I love you so.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Bird Seed in the Sensory Table

Birds of a feather stick together!
Every student spent some time scooping and dumping, pouring and measuring bird seed today! Oh what fun they had, There is something very Zen about letting small bits fall through one's fingers. Some friends did pour the bird seed on the floor, allowing others to practice sweeping! It was a win~win situation. When outside time arrived the bird seed table followed us out too. The children loved this activity. Here's hoping you have hungry birds in need of seed!

Friday, November 6, 2009

What's Happening in the Nest...


Teaching Opposites: Open ~ Closed
This mirror and photos set up is on the back of a shelf at toddler hight. The faces delight in "being the tiger".


Fall Color Tweezing


Leaf Crowns!

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

What Will These Be?


The holidays are not too far away....I am just beginning to think on this. I love fabric and color! I hoping to make some sweet stuffy friends and dolls for the children in my life. Have you started preparing for gift giving holidays? What is on the drawing board for you this year? Do share.
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A friendly reminder....

I found this poem on line this morning...just HAD to share. Not all of us say comments like this (most of us don't) but every so often we might think them.

A Child's Plea
The poem EVERY parent should read!

Today I did my math and science.
I toasted bread, I halved and quartered, counted, measured, and used my eyes, ears and hands.
I added and subtracted on the way.
I used magnets, blocks and memory tray.
I learned about a rainbow and how to weigh.
So please don't say -


You see. I'm sharing as I play, to learn to listen and speak clearly when I talk
to wait my turn and when inside to walk.
To put my words into a phrase, to find my name and write it down.
To do it with a smile and not a frown,
to put my pasting brush away. So please, don't say -


I learned about a snail and a worm.
Remembered how to take my turn.
Helped a friend when he was stuck.
Learned that water runs off a duck.
Looked at words from left to right.
Agreed to differ, not to fight.
So please don't say -


Yes, I played the whole day through.
I played to learn the things I do.
I speak a problem, find a clue
and work out for myself just what to do.
My teacher's set the scene, and stay near-by to help me when I really try.
They are there to pose the problems, and to help me think.
I hope they will keep me floating and never let me sink.
All of this is in my head and not in my bag. It makes me sad to hear you say -


When you attend your meeting today and do your work I will remember not to say to you -


~Author Unknown

PEACE to all you AMAZING MAMAS and PAPAS out there.
We are doing our best right, man this parenting thing is tough!


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Crafty Bloggers

So lately I've missing in action. I apologize to my regular readers. The reason for my absence is due to a new business adventure. I will share more about this soon.
On the home front I have been caring for two sick kiddos and now I am also ill with a lung infection. But I am on the mend and will be back to school soon. I miss my toddler friends!!!
While home these past few days I have enjoyed using the computer and seeking and finding some crafty projects for kids out there in blog land! The following is a short list of some of my favorite finds. Enjoy!

Visit: Art Projects for Kids...A Positively Negative Pumpkin Project

or check out this very cool recycled paper bag journal project from the always amazing and inspiring Creative Kismet!

You could also get lost searching for 'the one' among a sea of crafty projects with That Artist Woman this one is a favorite of mine...
cool fall craft: salt dough leaf prints

And the same goes for Deep Space much time do you have to dive into space and loose yourself in the creative land of children's art? Make the time! Here's a groovy Halloween project:
Day of the Dead Art Project from Deep Space Sparkle

or these beautiful leaves also from Deep Space Sparkle

and of course the old stand by....
Pumpkin Painting with twos over at Desert Shadows Montessori

And one past Montessori Mama Autumn post you might also enjoy:
Painting Pumpkins

Happy (Almost) Halloween Everyone!


Friday, October 23, 2009

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Silent Sunday

My son Maximillian drew this comic, I laughed out loud!
Just had to share. The caption reads:
"Do you ever feel like, your life is one big maze?"

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Coffee Sunflowers




What young hands can do....
twist green construction paper to make flower stems, brush on glue, sprinkle coffee...sniff, and admire.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Adjusting to School

When children enter a new school or child care environment emotions can run high. (for everyone). It doesn’t matter whether the child is returning to a familiar school or starting someplace new. They will be meeting new people, changing their daily routine, and discovering new ideas, skills or concepts. The unknown can be a little scary, especially when you are small.

Children have a hard time controlling their response to a new situation. As adults, we have the ability to meet children where they are emotionally to ensure that the transition to a new situation is as smooth as possible. While every child is different and will exhibit their own, unique personality, understanding how children in general develop emotionally can help us make informed choices regarding how we react to a child’s behavior.

Beginning around seven months, babies become mobile and actively explore their environments. Ten-month-old Matthew, for example, quickly scoots toward a colorful ball that has rolled into a far corner. Halfway across the room, he stops and turns toward his favorite caregiver. She smiles and says, "I see you, Matthew. I see you crawling toward that ball!" Having touched base with this important person, Matthew comfortably continues his exploration.

Children this age are also developing preferences for specific people and styles of interacting. Sixteen-month-old Sally always looks for Miss Kim when she is upset. When Miss Kim is not there, it takes Sally a little longer to pull herself together, even when she is lovingly comforted by another caregiver.

The benefits of a strong bond between a toddler and her primary caregiver far outweigh the stress caused when her primary caregiver is unavailable. And if the primary caregiver is unavailable our children will be comforted by someone else. This works especially well if communication is good between caregivers and parents.

Sarah, a feisty two-year-old, protests when Aline, her teacher, tries to coax her inside for lunch, so Aline tells her that she can go back outside right after nap. Sarah takes one last run around the play yard before she slowly walks inside. She is trusting Aline to follow through on her promise, and Aline will. They are building a relationship based on respect and trust.

Toddlers are wonderful relationship builders, especially when their expanding need for autonomy is respected. Gradually, they begin to relate the positive feelings from their first relationships to other adults and children as well.

However, they are new to all of this and can become worried or overwhelmed when they are cared for by too many adults.

Positive relationships during the first two years of life have a dramatic effect on a child's ability to empathize with and care about other people. Early bonds of love can set the stage for how children feel about later relationships.

more on this later's the weekend and my family is asking me to make pancakes. Apparently I am not going to get to finish typing this post. I hope this was helpful to someone. I've gotta run....Mommy duties prevail.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Quiet Time Activities

Most programs have two caregivers with 10 toddlers (sometimes more or less depending on state regulations). In that group of ten there is often a balance between younger and older toddlers; leaving you, the teacher, with two groups of children.

One groups still naps twice a day, the other group has graduated to one longish nap mid-day. What to do? Well, the goal is toward more independence. We all know that as the children in the younger group mature they will eventually phase-out the morning naps. So we need to plan our programs to accommodate the individual sleep schedules but also follow the schedule most of the children will one day follow and some of them already do, this is best practice. But it's not easy to do.

What does this mean exactly? Do we keep young toddlers (who are obviously in need of sleep) up until their older peers are ready to nap? NO.
Following the individual sleep schedules of your children is a very important piece of providing a nurturing home~like environment. Rushing young children who most likely only come two or three days to your program, through what their body is in need of (two naps) is not recommended.
Follow the lead of your children.
Yes, it would be helpful to have only a few children or three adults, but if you are like many programs, these scenarios are of a luxury nature.

In my classroom, I have prepared the environment to include several cozy 'nooks' for morning nappers. There are two caregivers and eight toddlers presently. I use my observation skills and the information that parents give me, to access the young toddler's need for a morning snooze. Because it is the nature of the younger toddler to play and explore solo and the older toddler is beginning to look to other children for interactions; the younger child is less likely to "get caught up in play" and disregard their body's need for sleep. More often the young toddler will choose to watch and settle down in a cozy spot to see the other children play and explore. Their first choice of places to do this is always a caregiver's lap. However, as those of use who do this work know, this is not always a possibility. And that is okay, at home with older siblings and busy schedules, it is not always a possibility either. But it must be able to happen at least 50% of the time it is needed. If we are always up moving about, we are moving too much.
So, your young toddler has fallen asleep while others are busy at play? Most likely they will rise when you have just gotten the other older friends down for their naps. :)
The key to success is to have things ready before your day even starts! I call them "Grab and Go" activities. Baskets or bags that contain activities or works that come out during these moments. You know: Quiet things to do. Felt board stories, care of the environment exercises (ex: chair scrubbing, window washing, plant care). A few pictures from our week.

Between naps...while other friends are napping:

Please share....what quiet activities do you do while children are napping?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Montessori Life Magazine

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Look on Page 42 in the upper left, for an advertisement for Parent child Press!
(my copy came in the mail this week) I am very excited that my little book is being advertised in AMS's Montessori Life Magazine AND that it is next to Aline Wolf's Guide to the Montessori Classroom!!!
(please excuse me for tooting my own horn, I just had to share!)
hugs to all,

International PEACE Day


Light a candle for peace,
Light a candle for love,
Light a candle that shines,
All the way around the world.

Light a candle for me,
Light a candle for you,
That our wish for world peace,
Will one day come true

Sing Peace Around the World
Sing Peace Around the World
Sing Peace Around the World
Sing Peace Around the World

This song was written by Shelley Murley, a musician and Montessori teacher. My toddler class last year, sang this song each day as part of circle. It is a beautiful song and I encourage everyone of you to visit Shelley's Sing PEACE Around the World blogspot.
I had the pleasure of taking part in Shelley's presentation at the AMS Conference in New Orleans this past winter; I wished I could have invited everyone one of you to join me. It was wonderful!
May PEACE be with you,

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Cloud Conversation

I learned tonight that Sister Anthonita Porta died this afternoon. Tears of great loss fell as I started to type this. I wanted to write something profound and beautiful, something that would tell those of you who did not have the pleasure of meeting Sister Anthonita more about her. All I kept thinking was, Heaven now has one more angel, how very lucky we all are. Then I thought about Anthonita finally getting to meet Dr. Montessori; how happy she would be! I think their conversation would go something like this:

"It's very nice to finally meet you."
"And you as well."
"I've heard so many wonderful things about you."
"And You! Tell me a little about yourself."
"I was a teacher of teachers."
"So was I."
"I loved children."
"So did I."
"People told me, my smile could fill a room."
"People said that about me too. Welcome to Heaven Sister."
"Thank you Maria, say do you have any cigars? I've always wanted to try one."

Goodbye sweet Sister Anthonita you were loved by so many, you made us laugh and cry, sometimes in the very same moment. You were a wonder and an inspiration. I learned so much from being your student and I will never forget you.

Please read my past post: My Favorite List when time allows you.

Ways to Connect with Parents


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I thought I would share with you some of the ways we connect with our families at the Nest. (the Nest is what we affectionately call our toddler classroom)
The first picture is of the coat hooks, conveniently located under the parent board :) The parent board has the snack calendar posted on it as well as the school calendar for quick referencing and other postings that change frequently (to attract attention). Some examples of additional postings:
the local library's children room upcoming events
parent education opportunities

Just across the way (diagonally) from the coat hooks are benches for the children to sit on while taking on and off their shoes/slippers or to wait for other children to be finished getting ready to go outdoors. Above these benches is the dry erase board where I write daily messages for parents, both at the start of the day and the end of the day.

Morning Messages like:
"Welcome All! Today is So & So's 2nd Birthday" or "Have you signed up for your Parent Teacher conference?"
[you get the idea]

Afternoon Messages like:
"Today in the Nest we...."
Then I list out who brought snack and what it was, songs we sung, books we read, and the activities we enjoyed.

Parents have said this helps them reconnect with their children and it's helpful for me when writing in the children's journals each day. Young children can have difficulty communicating what they did during the time they spent apart from their families; providing parents with even a little info (for ex: "snack was water melon slices and pretzels") gives them a conversation starter.

When you haven't seen your little one, reconnecting and sharing about the time apart is special and important. It is our job as caregivers to help families with this process.
Having recently started back to work after summer break, I feel so grateful to my little one's primary room teachers for the the information they share with me about his day. At 3 years old he is only able to tell me about the last 10 minutes of his day. He lives in the moment; and that's all he cares about. I want to know what materials he used, who he played with, if he napped or liked the lunch I packed him? When my son's teachers share with me a funny story from his day, it's like I won the lottery!

I hope you are all having a wonderful school year so far.
Enjoy your kiddos,

Where in the World?


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