Sunday, August 29, 2010

Productive Parenting

I stumbled across this fantastic website tonight.  It's called Productive Parenting.  I went through the free membership process to be sure there weren't any hidden fees or charges.  A group of moms created this website as a way to provide simple, age-appropriate activities for children ages infant to five years.  Simply give them some basic info (your name, city/state, child's name & age) and choose the days that you would like to receive your activity ideas through email.  I know that there are some days when I am just too busy to even read an email about an activity, so I chose the days that I would most likely put these activities into action.  After reading through some of their sample ideas, I was pleasantly surprised that many of these games are Montessori-inspired!  I think the goal of this website is simply to encourage parents to reconnect with their kids for a few minutes a day.  Most of the time, any materials needed are found objects around the home.  Take a look at this video and then visit their website to sign up for some free activity ideas.

Productive Parenting Web 158p Video from Emily with Productive Parenting on Vimeo.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

A Time to Celebrate

Thursday night, we had a our annual Back to School BBQ.  This year, it was a bit different because we included a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate our school expansion.  The mayor joined us for this special event, and many of the parents were there to help us usher in this new school year.  My two daughters helped to cut the ribbon, and they're still talking about it today.  I had also asked some returning students and school alumni to help us hold the ribbon on either side.  It was quite an emotional evening, but I managed to keep it together!

After the ceremony, the children enjoyed some time playing on our new playground while the parents got to know each other.  I was able to steal a moment just to stand and watch all of these loving, dedicated parents as they got to know their new little Montessori community.  At that moment, I was so proud of how far we've come and so excited for what's yet to come.   

It was a glorious evening and I can't wait to get this school year started!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

An Independent Breakfast

Looking for a way to get your children involved in (the sometimes hectic) breakfast time?  Certainly, a parent can get their children involved in cooking eggs or pancakes, but most times, we're looking for helpful ways to get our kids fed and on the school bus in time.  It does take a day or two of adjustment, accidental spills, and a few dollars but it's worth it in the long run.  Start simple. A cereal breakfast. 
Here's what to order:

Bowls and silverware of your choice

Serving tray (these work great)


  • Set up your bowls and the cereal dispenser on a low pantry shelf.  Place the juice glasses on a serving tray on the same shelf.
  • Fill one pitcher with milk and one with orange juice and place on a low shelf in the refrigerator.
Day One:
Tell your child you are going to pour yourself a glass of juice.  He or she is welcome to try it too as soon as you're finished presenting.  Using limited words, show your child how to choose a juice glass and place it on the kitchen table.  Walk to the refrigerator and choose the juice pitcher.  Carry it properly with two hands- one on the handle and one supporting the spout.  Slowly and deliberately, pour the juice into the glass.  Put the pitcher back into the refrigerator, holding it properly.  Then, sit down and enjoy your glass of juice.  Stand up, push in your chair, and place in the dishwasher.  (Maybe on the weekends, you can show your child how to wash the dish in the sink.)

Day Two:
Tell your child you are going to pour a bowl of cereal.  He or she is welcome to eat the cereal as soon as you have prepared it.  Using limited vocabulary (it's simply too distracting for the child to watch AND listen to you at the same time) show your child how to fetch a spoon and a napkin.  Set your place (introduce place setting with this puzzle if you like).  Walk to the pantry and choose a bowl.  Put your bowl under the dispenser and turn the knob.  Put your bowl on the table and clean up any pieces that may have fallen.  Walk to the refrigerator and choose the milk pitcher.  Carry it to the table properly and pour the desired amount of milk onto the cereal.  Return the pitcher and invite your child to eat the bowl of cereal.  Again, encourage pushing in the chair and placing items in the dishwasher. 

Day Three:
Ask your child to pour himself a glass of juice.  Then, ask him to serve himself a bowl of cereal.  Watch carefully and note any difficulties.  Go back later when your child is not present and find solutions to the problems. 

Breaking the lesson into days ensures that your child has mastered one skill at a time, without getting overwhelmed.  It may seem like extra work, but before you know it, your children will be downstairs serving themselves breakfast while you're catching a few extra zzzs!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Board Review

Tomorrow morning I stand before the State Board of Private Academic Schools to review our school's application for licensure.  Please think good thoughts tomorrow morning at 9:00am!  I'll keep you posted.

**Post Update**

We just got home from the Board Meeting and we were APPROVED for licensure as a Nursery/Kindergarten Private Academic School.  I think tonight will be the first Friday night in 6 months that I'm shutting off my computer and saving my work for tomorrow.  Thanks for all of your positive thoughts this morning!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Magical Little Land

I had to share this wonderful online toy.  The price for the entire kit is beyond reasonable, but wouldn't your child love to get lost in this magical little land?  It seems Waldorf-inspired, so in my mind, it's fun and creative!

The Tree Fort Kit

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Quick and Easy Breakfast

Looking for a quick, easy, and healthy breakfast?  Here's the breakfast my 2 year old likes to eat 6 out of 7 days/week.  Also, keeps kids working while you're making lunches for the day.

Here's what you need:
Pour the desired amout of yogurt in a bowl or cup.  Rinse off blueberries and pour on top of the yogurt.  Place the Cheerios in the mortar and demonstrate grinding with the pestle. 
As soon as your child finishes grinding the Cheerios, use the paintbrush to  carefully brush the crushed cereal into the yogurt.  Older children can make a parfait by creating repeating layers.  Kid tested, mother approved.


One of our employees has recently been diagnosed with a terminal illness.  Maybe our readers could offer up a prayer of strength for this sweet woman and passionate follower of Montessori.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Sigh of Relief

We had our final state inspection today and we passed with flying colors!  I feel like I can finally breathe and enjoy what's left of this summer.  Our inspector is fantastic, very upbeat and positive.  She even commented that our classrooms are just beautiful.  Here's to years of a great working relationship with the state!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Word Search

We just returned from vacation last night.  We had a fantastic time, and had much better experiences with the children there.  See some of my posts from this time last year if you weren't a reader back then and you'll understand!

Wanted to pass along this link to you.  It's a free online wordsearch maker.  I don't often use "worksheets" with my children or my students, but G loves little games like this.  You're able to customize the topic and the words in the puzzle.  I like the fact that you can simplify it by getting rid of the diagonal option, and creating words that are read forward only.  They also provide the customized answer key.

You can access the link here:  Lakeshore Learning

Have fun!