A Year of Montessori Learning: March

It’s that time again! The third month of our Year of Montessori Learning has come and gone, and holy smokes it feels like so much has changed in just the last month. Our little guy is walking, talking so much and has entered a whole new phase of learning, growth and independence. He’s so tall all of a sudden, looking like quite the little boy and is climbing on absolutely everything. And I mean everything. We’ve had quite a few bumps and bruises, but luckily no trips to the ER for stitches quite yet. Knock on wood. It’s all I can do to keep up with him most days, and you’ll often find me parked on the couch during nap time these days, just trying to catch my breath.

In light of this new phase, he hasn’t been super focused on his shelf work this month, instead preferring lots and lots of gross motor. He spends most of his days climbing up and down on our dining room chairs, bench, highchairs, the couch and the living room chairs. He loves to look out the windows at the cars (or better, tractors!) driving by, both still eliciting an enthusiastic “oh wow.” He goes up and down the stairs hundreds of times per day and has just in the last week, started to take more and more consecutive steps. I haven’t been in a rush for him to walk, but now that we have the promise of some sunny days ahead, I’m hoping he’ll be able to toddle around outside with me soon.

MARCH

Theme:
Language Arts- I wasn’t quite sure how to interpret this month’s theme, as language arts is a rather broad topic, and it’s not like he’s reading or writing at this point. So, I just kept it wide open and added things in as inspiration struck. I originally planned to purchase an alphabet puzzle, some books and perhaps some alphabet flashcards to hang around, but instead I just picked up a couple inexpensive alphabet books from Costco and we made do with things we already had.

Emmett’s language skills seemed to have exploded in the last month, so more than anything we’ve really just been working on saying words and figuring out what they mean. He’s pretty confidently saying “car, ball, dog, Cash (our dog), Pop, Mama, Dad, Nana, Gram, Cole, down, book, Bamb” and understanding even more. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me when I can tell exactly what it is he’s saying or meaning. We are still going strong with his baby signs, and it’s so helpful to be able to remind him when he gets frustrated, to use them.

Another way we’ve worked on language and comprehension, as well as met his developmental needs for this age, is by rearranging his room. We’ve been feeling like he’s ready to try the Montessori floor bed again (we tried around 9 months I think, but he couldn’t get into bed by himself so we went back to his crib) and decided to go for it when we got back from our weekend at the coast on Monday. It felt like a nice clean slate to start after a few days away. We took his crib out, set up his bed, added a baby monitor camera so we can see every corner, and rearranged the rest of his room. Though I was a little nervous I wouldn’t like the way it looked, or that I’d feel anxious about him being completely mobile in there, I’m feeling so, so good about it. It was time and he was ready. That’s one of the things I love most about the Montessori philosophy: when you follow the child, and the child is ready, you really just get to watch them blossom. It’s pretty darn cool.

In addition to the floor bed, we set up a self-care station so that Emmett can begin to do more and more of his own care. We turned our toy shelf that sits on the floor into a dresser of sorts, adding baskets with photo labels so he knows what’s what. He’s already choosing what he wears each day, picking out his jams at night and helping me put away his clean laundry. He gets so excited to do it himself and the very first time I asked him to pick a pair of socks, he looked over all the labels, found the right one, pointed to it and then pulled out the basket, retrieving his socks, before I even said a word. It was such a fun moment. He has a box with his hairbrush and lotion on the top of his “dresser,” and loves to stand in front of the mirror brushing his hair. We still have the changing station set up in his room as he’s not quite ready to transition to standing in the bathroom for diaper changes, but he’s definitely getting there. It won’t be long now. Changing diapers in the bathroom is kind of a precursor to potty training. You get used to bathroom stuff happening in the bathroom. Makes sense, right?

Books:
Language Arts and books, books and language arts, well they kind of go hand-in-hand don’t they? This month Emmett has really started to engage in the books we’re reading to him, conveniently. He’s specifically seeking books out to sit down with and “read” himself. It’s no longer just a few favorites. If there is a basket of books accessible, he digs right in. We’ve been reading the larger, more story oriented books at lunch. Usually 4-5. And board books are pretty much fair game all day long, but especially beloved at nap time and night. Anything with a dog in it is an instant favorite, and he’s been pretty pumped everytime I read Bear Sees Colors the last few weeks. This month I tried to stick to books about Spring or the alphabet. It’s also lifted my spirits to read these bright spring books full of flowers in the midst of all this crazy rain.

Library: It’s Spring. Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt. In the Garden. Alphabet. Jack’s Garden. And then it’s Spring. How a Seed Grows. Flowers are Calling. A Nest is Noisy
Our Collection: Happy Easter Mouse. The Berenstein Bears Happy Easter. DOG. The Berenstein Bears Don’t Pollute. The Very Hungry Caterpillar. My First Alphabet (Costco). Baby Farm Animals. ABC. Bear Sees Colors

Adventures: Even though it felt quiet, and we did stay home a lot thanks to the near-constant blanket of rain we’ve had, we did manage to squeeze in quite a few fun adventures this month. Starting with a very rainy day at the Oregon Zoo with my brother, Cole. It poured so hard my clothes were soaked, I got a $44 parking ticket, all the animals were inside their shelters, Emmett slept almost the entire time, and I sat in traffic for two hours on the way home. But you know what? It felt wonderful just to be outside, walking around, out of the house. We actually had a really good time. And Emmett just adores my brother, which is pretty great in and of itself.

Later in the month we met up with our good friends at OMSI and until the 0-6 area filled up with what felt like hundreds of kids, we had a really great time! Emmett loved the water works room and then spent about 30 minutes crawling in and out of the bear cave. After the crowds hit, we found ourselves a quiet little corner and had some snacks, and though it was just a simple morning, we really enjoyed ourselves.

Our final adventure of the month was hitting the Oregon Coast with the Martin family. We hiked Drift Creek Falls. We shopped at the outlet mall. We drank a loooooot of coffee at Mojo and did a great deal of playing games, climbing stairs and hanging out with Emmett’s little cousins. Emmett slept, ate, and played like a champ. Such a fun weekend! Thank you Nana and Papa for making it all happen.

Projects: Due to Emmett’s gross motor focus this last month, we didn’t attempt too many craft type projects. He’s mostly been into Practical Life work, both in his room and helping me in the kitchen, which is now so much easier thanks to the amazing tower his Dad made for him. He used a template he found online, watched a few video tutorials and spent a lot of cold nights out in his shop working on this beauty, and man oh man does Emmett love it! He can easily get up and down by himself, and now I’m not able to do anything in the kitchen without him “offering” to help. It’s really pretty wonderful.

We’re working on setting up a new water and snack station here soon, as well as continuing to let him do more and more food preparation and clean up. I’m so impressed with his capability and interest and can’t wait to have him more and more involved.

Just yesterday we added a few miniature Waldorf Stars (which I made by cutting out kite paper squares into 1/4’s) and I just love the way they brighten up his “new” room. Waldorf Stars forever!

Shelves/Toys: Though shelf work hasn’t been a huge focus this month, I had a really great time getting him all set up. I put the laminator I bought for Christmas to good use and made a few new trays of work. First, some farm animal matching cards to go with his Schleich animals. He might be a bit young for this one, as he hasn’t quite figured out the matching piece, but loves to point and make the sounds, and repeat the names of the animals when I say them. I also made some body identification cards so he can start to learn the names of some of his parts! So far, he mostly likes to give himself kisses in the handheld mirror. Ha! Developing positive body image?

We also added in a little sweeping work with the container of poms and his mini dustpan and broom, as well as some sticker work which he has found super entertaining. Lately, he’s been really enthusiastic about looking through a stack of card stock photo prints I’ve had for a while, pointing out Dad, Mama and Cash. I’m thinking it might be a good idea to make him a family memory game here soon. Other than that, it’s your standard puzzles, books and the good old stacking rings that have been his favorites this month.

Playlist: March was a fun mix to put together, and an even more fun mix to listen to. I pretty much added any song I could think of relating to language or words, and just loved the wide variety of songs and artists we ended up with. I turned the mix on almost every day during Emmett’s free play and he even started to dance a little this month! Give it a listen, it’s a good one

March | Language Arts 

Next month’s theme is Botany and I’m preeeeeetty pumped to spend lots of time outside digging in the dirt. I hope you’re enjoying this series! It’s been so fun for Emmett and I to have a loose plan to stick to each month and learn and grow together. If you have any more questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch. And if you want to catch up on the last few months of this series, click here. As always, thanks for following along on our journey!

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3 Comments

  1. Forgot to say–that work tower is ahhhmaaaazing! I am going to have to bug Mike to make one for Pehr. Don’t you love having handy woodworking husbands? It’s the best. And the floor bed thing is fascinating to me….we might give it a go in a few months…

  2. I have been eagerly awaiting this post, thinking from time to time “I wonder what Kali and Emmett are up to this months” as I bumbled through my first month of attempting to keep to a theme. It was so fun and helpful to read your update, so thank you for taking the time to be so thorough.

    I’m a little jealous that you have fun places to go together like the zoo (we have the library, and, uh, the other library in the next town over…), and that you have family nearby to visit so easily. How sweet are those pictures of E with his uncle and Grandma!! I love his focused expression during the dish-washing activity. Really looking forward to being able to do some of those practical living activities with Pehr, but we are a little ways off from that yet I think. She did help me sweep the floor today, which was kind of a big deal and of course made me pine after one of those adorable wooden child-sized brooms and dust pan sets that you see for sale on the Montessori websites.

    This theme came at a great time for Pehr, who was really focusing most of her developmental energy on language and communication anyway. She was SO into reading books together, and worked constantly on a bunch of new words (even in her sleep!) We went to two story-times at the library and listened to stories-on-tape most days while we ate lunch–probably more for me than for her at this point, but that’s ok (do you know Odds Bodkin? He is amazing! I listened to him as a kid and now Pehr is listening to him.)

    But now, at the end of the month, she is clearly transitioning into a new phase of gross-motor dev, is ALL about movement and exploration, and wants nothing to do with her once-beloved books and fine-motor skill toys/work! Bah! I have been scrambling around the house like mad trying to get it set up for this new era of increased mobility and exploration, which I kind of didn’t see coming as quickly or suddenly as it did. I used to pretty much blockade her in our living room with a big long baby gate…but in the last few days it became pretty clear that she has outgrown that space and needs to be able to move her body more than that one room allows (oh how I wish we could head outside into the yard, but it is wet and muddy and full of dog crap at the moment…) So I did a quick-and-dirty job of baby-proofing the rest of our main floor and released the Wild Rampant Pehr from her cell. Boy was she jazzed about that! Right now it’s really hard to get her to slow down and focus in order to do any kind of task or work, so I may have to wait for the novelty of freedom to wear off. :P

    Hope you guys get a reprieve from the rain soon, and can get outside and in the dirt. I’m jazzed for April’s theme of Botany as well! Looking forward to filling an Easter basket full of sweet little nature-inspired goodies for her, and taking her on many nature walks–something we love to do anyway. We’re all so, so ready to break out of hibernation…

    • Okay, I just spent like 10 minutes writing out a response and it got deleted. So, thanks for taking the time to comment, I hope things are well and hope you enjoy Botany month!!!

      Kali

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