Thursday, 29 January 2015

Montessori: The silence game

It can be difficult for young children to find a moment of peace during a busy day. Especially so when they attend nursery or school. Even when it's so obvious that that's what they need, they are often so caught up in what's going on around them that they can't step back for a bit of peace.
I'm a part time teacher in a Montessori nursery and I have been giving the children this chance to have just a few quiet minutes. They love it so much that they have started asking for it well before the time comes.
We have our little ritual now. After lunch, they sit down opposite me, usually quite agitated as it is a transition time; some children are about to go home while others will arrive soon for the afternoon session.
I ask them what we CAN'T do when we play the Silence Game. This gives them an opportunity for a last burst of energy. They stomp to show me that you can't stomp, they tap their feet, clap their hands, shuffle on their chairs...
Then, I say those magic words: "ok everybody, feet on the floor, hands on your lap, relax your shoulders, deep breath... and here we go"

I slowly and quietly count to 10 while most children try hard not to make a sound (it's hard work for the children who are younger than 3).

After I have reached 10, I whisper each child's name in turn. They know it's time to go choose a book to read while we wait for their parents to collect them.

A moment's mindfulness that brings so much to little souls: regained focus, energy, better impulse control, respect for others, mind/body balance...

I believe all children need a bit of this everyday.

Do your children get daily down time?

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Labelling anything and everything

Finn was so excited to play this game after his nap today! It's so simple... but so much fun for a 3-year-old.
Have you given your (reading) child word labels to stick around the house? No? Then you should!

Reading practice can be fun if you make it (tip: include movement)!

I currently have one label stuck on my jumper labelling me as "mum," and another on my right foot telling me I'm wearing a "sock."

What are your children's most favourite reading practice games?

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Mummy's milk

The pain as he was finding his latch was almost unbearable in the first few days. We went through some hurdles but they didn't stop us. Not even when the 3-month-old Finn suddenly decided he would only feed from one side.
On we went, a bit lopsided but still there.
If I had to describe peace, I would think about a child feeding on his mother's milk, gazing up at her lovingly.

15 months old

Day feeds, nap feeds, all-night-long feeds, bath feeds, tent feeds, airplane feeds, sling feeds, car feeds, lying in the garden feeds... I even remember one time while he was sitting on the potty.
3 years old. The last feed.
When the latch-related pain came back, a few months before his 3rd birthday, I knew the end was nearing. A natural end, but one that would need a bit of help from mummy. Because even though he couldn't latch on properly anymore, he wasn't going to give up his most favourite thing in the world.
One month ago today, we ended our breastfeeding journey.
I am pleased at how this breastfeeding thing went. It wasn't perfect but I wouldn't wish for anything different.
Are you breastfeeding your child(ren)? How old are they? I would love to hear about your breastfeeding experience.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Three years old

Today, Finley turned 3!

We had decided on a low-key birthday this year and it definitely was the right decision for our family. Just the three of us and all his wishes granted. He asked for a "pfannkuchentorte" (a cake made of pancakes stacked on top of one another) for a birthday cake, which he has been dreaming of since he first read this Pettersson und Findus book a year ago.

Participating in making the "pancake cake cake," as he calls it, was the best thing that happened today according to him. He insisted on having cherries in his cake, and when we couldn't find them in one shop, his daddy promised to go to every single shop in town if he had to.

The cherries were found, and the cake was made and decorated by Finn himself.

This was the first time we had done the Montessori birthday game and we all enjoyed it. I find it so meaningful and grounding for a young child.

We explain that the Earth went around the Sun "x" times since the child was born (as many times as the child's age). We place a lit candle (the Sun) in the middle of the room and give the child a globe (the Earth). The child walks around the candle, holding the globe, as many times as their age. We ask them to stop at specific points, where we show them photographs of them when they were younger, telling them their story from birth to now.

A beautiful birthday tradition.

Finally, I had prepared a little birthday interview for our little star of the day. This is also a new tradition we started this year and will continue in the years to come, asking him the very same questions each year.

All in all, an excellent birthday for our little prince!
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