Smiling like Sunshine

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

What is the Montessori Method and How to Start Using Montessori At Home

I get asked this question a lot:  "What is Montessori?"
Some people think the Montessori method is too structured whereas others think children are allowed to do whatever they like! 

I am passionate about Montessori and it is so difficult to summarize it in a few sentences. Each and every time, I feel I have left something out;  I have forgotten to say this or that.
So today I would like to share a Youtube video that sums it up really well.

Maria Montessori believed that each child is unique and therefore we have to observe and follow the child's abilities and interests. We can then prepare the favorable environment where the child is free to explore and learn at his/her own pace. The Montessori method puts utmost importance on independence and on self-discipline.
The teacher prepares the environment, observes the child and facilitates the connection between the material and the child. The teacher does not dictate, the teacher does not lecture. The teacher shows the child how to work independently. The teacher shows the child how to control his work. The environment is set out as such that the child can choose any activity independently, without asking for help from an adult.

When we try to create this environment at home for our children, whether we are homeschooling or not, things might get a bit tricky. But there are wonderful resources online. Here a few of my favourites.

Aubrey  at Montessori Mischief shares : Montessori 101.
Deb at Living Montessori Now shares her tips on how to get started with Montessori at home.
Ideas and examples of how to prepare a Montessori environment at home.
Everything you need to know about how to Montessori at home.
Free Montessori at home videos.

Montessori materials can be very expensive but some of  them can be prepared at home. Also, you might not have the perfect room that you see in some the photos in the above links, you might not want to invest in all or some of the materials. Montessori is not just about the materials.

What matters is the philosophy! Are we respecting the child? Are we following his interests? Are we encouraging self-discipline?
Are we teaching them  how to be independent? How to focus on an activity for prolonged periods? Do we encourage exploration? Can they follow their interests? Are they able to take initiative? Can they take responsibility? Are they resilient? These are just some of the qualities that will enable our children to be successful in the future.

I am going to share more about the  Montessori method on a fortnightly basis so if you'd like to learn more,come back soon.

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Thursday, 18 June 2015

Win a Matilda Cushion (Open to UK& Ireland,ends 25.06.2015)

A few weeks ago I was asked if I would like to review the Roald Dahl cushions at House of Fraser.
Defne is a huge fan of Roald Dahl. She asked for a Roald Dahl book set for Christmas and has been reading through the books.
When I saw the cushion, I knew she would just love it and I wasn't wrong! It is a book shaped cushion featuring Quentin Blake's illustrations and when you open it, there is an excerpt from the book. Absolutely lovely!

The great news is that I have one to giveaway to one lucky reader.
Please enter trough Rafflecopter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Tuesday, 16 June 2015

At Home In The Whole Food Kitchen

If you follow my Instagram account,you probably know that I try really hard to incorporate wholesome, healthy foods into our diets. I was intrigued when I first heard about At Home In the Whole Food Kitchen by Amy Chaplin. When I received it, I wasn't wrong: It is a gem. A great resource with beautiful pictures,delicious,healthy  recipes and a great deal of knowledge.
Just browsing through the book, you can feel Amy Chaplin's deep appreciation for good food. Being born and bred in Australia, Amy Chaplin talks about how from a very young age, she has spent many hours in their kitchen and garden. 
The book consists of two parts. Part One lays out the basics of a whole foods kitchen. The pantry essentials: The legumes,super foods,nuts and seeds, the oils and flours, how to store them, the equipment that you will need, even the type of water that is best to use.. All explained in the first part that ends with a section on pantry recipes.
Part Two consists of recipes for breakfast,soups,salads,snacks,whole meals and desserts. I also really enjoyed the little snippets of personal anecdotes with each recipe.
 As the weather is warmer now,we like having light dinners so most of the time we have salads.I have tried a few of the salad recipes in the book so far and I have been very pleased with how easy and tasty they were.

Shaved Courgette Salad 

I am really looking forward to trying the fermented foods in autumn. And of course the desserts section looks very delicious,too. I just need to find an excuse to bake that gorgeous chocolate hazelnut layer cake!

Disclosure:I received the book for free from the publisher for review purposes. All opinions my own.

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