Our summer time is about to come to an end and we are slowly gathering matching socks and finding pants that aren’t too short.
We are also rotating our bookshelves to include our favourite school related Montessori compatible books. We’ve written about some of our favourites before and you can find them here.
This year we are adding a new favourite.
A beautiful simple story of a day at school. Some look a little worried, others look excited, but no one looks exactly like anyone else and all are welcome.
The illustrations are bright and colourful and leave so much opportunity for child led further discussion.
We love that this book showcases so much diversity and yet doesn’t specifically touch on it because that’s not the point. Children reading this book can see themselves in the pages and point out the things they have in common and that’s the point.
That though we are all slightly different, we are very much the same and that classrooms and schools have the opportunity to bring people closer together and welcome everyone in.
We are always on the hunt for books that encourage kids to go beyond simply reading them. So when we were approached to review this book I was intrigued.
I grew up reading Choose Your Own Adventure books and this one is a modern day one that focus on a young boy named Danny. The concept here is that a child has the ultimate super power: the power of choice. Such an important message not just for children but for everyone.
This book allows a child to make the choices of Danny’s behaviour and to find out that one positive choice has the power to change the entire day of not only oneself but of others. It’s a great book for groups, and children have fun making the choices and finding what happens next.
We have enjoyed it so much that we are giving away two copies of the book on our Instagram feed found here. Follow the link to enter. If you have ideas of ways to empower children with the power of choice we would love for you to share them. Leave a comment and we will share some of them in an upcoming post.
We wanted to start the new year of our Book Club off with a good one and so when The Book Report sent this over we new it would be the one.
The sweet and tear jerking story of a boy and an elephant who are in need of a friend. It’s about putting on your best red scarf to go to the party only to have your friend turned away.
And it’s the story of making those hard decisions when the time comes to be a friend, and stand up for those that are different, alone and excluded.
While some in the Montessori world may raise a fuss at the lack of realism in this book due to the miniature main character, we would like to suggest that the message of Peace Education is far greater than worrying about whether or not a child will be confused by the tiny pachyderm.
This is the message that is so very needed in today’s world. It is a must have book for any classroom and home and the discussions it starts will last through a lifetime.
It’s hard to believe I started this little book club two years ago. There have been so many amazing books over the years and 2017 was no different.
One of our very favourites was Here We Are. We are madly in love with Oliver Jeffers children’s books.
The artwork asks the audience to stop and take a closer look, something that’s important to me. So many books miss this critical aspect of a good children’s book.
Then there’s the written message. Does it speak to you and the child who is absorbing the story? This book speaks to us very very much.
If you haven’t had a chance to read this one, go and see it out. You won’t be disappointed.
Thanks for joining us on this journey of seeking out well written, gorgeously illustrated, diverse books.
We will be back early in the new year with our latest finds.
We have so many favourite Montessori compatible Winter books and were going to post them today, but we have been patiently waiting for someone (anyone really) in the Montessori social media world to post this book as it is one of the very few traditional Christmas themed books that is truly compatible with Montessori.
It’s not that it’s a new book, it’s just I suppose a little less popular than others.
We all have our favourites from our own childhoods or ones with beautiful art, but when we are looking for a truly Montessori compatible book for teaching the traditional message of Christmas, just as we do with all other books we seek for our children what are we looking for? What are we choosing?
Are we choosing books that are reality based or are we choosing books with a very whitewashed version of a humble family of Middle Eastern decent looking for shelter in Bethlehem?
Above all, are the books we choose broadcasting a strong message of inclusivity, love, hope, and peace for everyone?
This one does.
Originally read by Angelou herself at the White House Christmas tree lighting in 2005, it is a stunning book.
Focusing on the traditional message of Christmas, it brings together Christians, Muslim’s, Jews, Atheists and many more by acknowledging that whatever our differences, we can come together.
We can do what Maria Montessori asked of us.
We can build peace not only in ourselves but in the world.
This is education, understood as a help to life; an education from birth, which feeds a peaceful revolution and unites all in a common aim, attracting them as to a single centre…This is the bright new hope for mankind.” – Maria Montessori
Montessori Peace Education is at the forefront of my approach to the pedagogy and so when I was asked on our Instagram account last weekend to host a theme on another site, Peace Education is what I chose.
These are some of the materials use at home and in my Montessori 3-6 classroom. It is a simple exercise kept in a basket or tray that children can choose freely in the same way they would choose any other work.
The Emotions and Mindfulness cards are from Diamond Montessori and can be found here.
They are 3 Part Cards so there is an accompanying set of solo picture cards and also a set of solo word cards to match. They can be used with even the youngest of toddlers by simply exploring the different faces each child is making and we love that there is a wide range of ethnic diversity in them.
Our Love Light house. Both in my classroom and at home we use the concept of a love light, an internal light that can either shine brightly from each person or can be extinguished with nothing more than a little hot air. The concept comes from this book and we adapt many activities found in it to suit our needs.
This little dish was a gift from a dear Montessori friend and teacher. It is a beautiful pottery piece made by a local First Nations artist. We keep it in our Peace Tray and we fill it with freshly ground lavender when Quentin wants to. Sitting with it on a work mat a child can choose to smell the sweet and calming smell.
This book is a new addition and couldn’t have arrived at a better time. We have been anxiously awaiting it as it is absolutely perfect for a 3-6 year old child to actively engage with.
The pictures are simple and so is the text but the message is a powerful one.
Each of these activities and many many more are so easy to take the time to do with children. The sense of calm they can invoke in a child is remarkable and will help a child with so many important social emotional aspects.
Autumn is such a busy time. A time of new beginnings, new classrooms, new friends. As it gets a little more crisp outside, we purposely try and step back and take a breath. This is not the time for extras here. So while others are shuffling off to new afternoon programming of teams and lessons we are snuggling down.
Back to school, less daylight and colder mornings all make us treasure our downtime. School days are busy and filled with learning. Quentin will often ignore his Montessori home shelves at this time of year more than any other time. Instead we make extra effort to connect with each other. This includes long walks in the crisp air to the market. It does us all good to get out together.
His basket (the Little Luggy by Olie and Ella) is a new addition. We searched and searched for a supplier in Canada. Finally I contacted Nineteen Ten in Vancouver. The staff was amazingly helpful. They offered to order one in for us, and then shipped it to our home. We are so thankful for all their help. It arrived quickly and Quentin has been smitten ever since.
We love watching the seasons change and finding quiet activities to help each of us find calm and peacefulness.
Some of our favourites include:
- Play dough with essential oils (ideas found here)
- A stack of great books about the seasons to curl up with (our favourites listed here)
- Baking some of our favourite homemade seasonal treats including home made apple cider from our orchard trees
- Board games we can all sit and play together
- Long walks outside bundled up.
If you are feeling like the approaching holiday craziness is getting a little too close, or the back to school madness is starting to take over, consider stepping back at home. Instead of restocking your Montessori shelves with new activities, stop and observe the child. This may not look like it, but this is one of the most important ways we teach Montessori Peace Education. By learning to slow down and be mindful of our bodies need for rest, we give the child the ability to self regulate. This is the first step in Peace Education. We ask ourselves are they wanting more to do on top of what they do at school each day?
Or are they just wanting us?