Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Montessori Moments

These "Montessori Moments" posts are meant to highlight some of the ways we implement the Montessori method in our home. Many of the activities that are featured--cooking, cleaning together, going out into nature, etc.--overlap with other parenting philosophies or might seem like things that parents just do with their children intuitively. I've still chosen to highlight them here because they are integral to the Montessori approach to parenting and education and fit within a comprehensive continuum of activities that support children as they undergo the important work of forming themselves. For more information about incorporating Montessori into the home, I recommend How to Raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way for a basic overview. For more insight into Montessori as an educational philosophy, I recommend Montessori Today. When trying to implement Montessori with infants and toddlers, I recommend Montessori from the Start and Joyful Child, as well as my favorite resource, which is a DVD documentary of Montessori at home with a 20 month old called Edison's Day.

Creating an environment of yes's: There are some people who love rearranging their furniture constantly. I am not one of those people. I prefer to set it and forget it. But that isn't possible when you try to create an environment of yes's. Once Tate started pulling up on shelves around six months, I took some time to remove all the fragile items off the small bookshelf on the end of our kitchen island and instead store them inside a drawer. This drawer is low to the ground, so Henry can easily access it.

Following our curiosity: While walking down by the creek behind our house one day, Henry and Matt found an animal's jawbone. Matt set it on top of our fence, and we didn't do much else with it. This past Saturday, Henry saw it out our bedroom window and asked about it again. He wondered what kind of animal it was from. I got my notebook and we brainstormed a list of guess. I guessed possum, raccoon, coyote, or dog; Henry guessed hawk, deer, or bear. We looked closely at the jaw and realized that we could actually pull one of the teeth out and put it back in. So amazing! We could also see some teeth that had not broken through the gum.

We searched for images on Google, but the jaw didn't seem to align with any of our guesses. I'm thinking we might need to visit a professor at the University of Texas to figure out the mystery once and for all. 

Adding to our nature bowl: While we try and figure out the mystery, we are storing the jawbone in our nature bowl. It also houses a feather, rocks, seed pods, etc.

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Kelsey said...

I'd suggest taking the jaw to the Texas Memorial Museum on the UT campus, it's a natural history museum that I love and it's always free. You could compare the jaw bone to all the other bones that you will see there.

Jenn said...

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center has lots of people who can help with wildlife identification. Plus it's a pretty place to visit!

Maureen said...

Could you tell us what some of the tools are in Henry's drawer? What is to the left of the apple slicer?

Sara E. Cotner said...

Thanks, Kelsey! We will check it out!

Maureen, he has a juicer from For Small Hands (I don't recommend it), a little ice cream maker (a gift), a cherry pitter from Amazon, a masher, knife, whisker, and spreader from For Small Hands (I recommend them all).

Ashley W said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ashley W said...

Here in the US, we have opossums. Possums are another animal entirely, from Australia. But that jaw bone you found doesn't have enough teeth, or sharp enough teeth, to be an opossum. And a hawk wouldn't have teeth at all (and be MUCH smaller). Be careful, though - a lot of animals are protected. I'm not certain about mammals, as I haven't worked with them as much, but every native bird in the US is protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, meaning it is illegal to possess or harm any (protected) bird, or possess any nest, egg, feather, or bone from any (protected) bird. There are some exceptions; birds that are legal to hunt are safe to keep bits from. Good luck with your hunt! Maybe check out some identification books from your library.

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