Discover the secret of childhood from 0-3 year old:

Speak and communicate

VIDEO: What to do when your toddler doesn’t do what you ask

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012 11:16 am | By Stephanie Woo

Daisy, with B and M, at the Denver Zoo

If you’re wondering what a good Montessori teacher looks like, here is a glimpse of my cousin, Daisy. She is AMI-trained, has 10 years of experience, but her most admirable quality is her constant search to becoming a better Montessori teacher. She came to stay with us for 8 days while we were in Denver and in that short time, she transformed my girls. Before she came, putting things away and cleaning were a hit-and-miss in our house, but while she was with us, it was a constant.

I think this video is remarkable. In 16 short minutes, you will see B and M (19 months here) cleaning crumbs off the floor, clearing the plates and utensils, wiping their table mats, wiping the table, putting things away and washing their hands. But what you will experience is how Daisy asks them to do these things with patience and gentleness. Her language and tone are masterful – never a hint of impatience, aggression or threat no matter what the children do. She is engaged, matter-of-fact and completely present with the child’s process. If you’ve ever encountered a toddler who doesn’t do what you ask him to and you don’t know what to do about it, watch this video and learn!

This video was shot in July 2012. It is 16 minutes and 8 seconds. Here are some video highlights:

00:00 M cleaning up crumbs with a carpet sweeper

00:39 M puts carpet sweeper and chair away

1:47 Daisy asks M to put her dishes away. M walks away. Watch how Daisy handles this.

3:45 B says she’s done eating, then says she wants more. What would you say to her?

5:31 Daisy gives M the space she needs to take care of herself

5:55 B starts putting dishes in the dirty dish basket. Watch how Daisy directs her.

7:06 Toddler needs a lot of collaboration from the adult. This is how it’s done.

7:18 M starts to take cereal out of the box. Ever encounter a toddler doing something totally different than what you asked?

8:21 B drops things in the basket loudly. Watch how Daisy models putting things away quietly and how B imitates her

9:01: Daisy asks B if she would be willing to help put M’s stuff away.

10:20 All plates and bowls are now in the basket

10:44 M wipes the placemats

12:15 Puts wiping sponge away

12:20 Puts placemat away

12:51 Daisy asks M to wipe the table

13:21 B starts to play music in the background and distracts M. What to do?

13:43 Daisy asks M to put the cleaning basket away

13:55 Time to wash hands!

16:08 The end

To learn more about Daisy’s Montessori school in San Francisco, click here.

I would love to hear your comments about this video. Please send me an email at stephanie@montessorionthedouble.com or post it in the comments section below.

Children know exactly what they want

Thursday, April 26th, 2012 8:47 am | By Stephanie Woo

Brooke signs, ‘Music.’

I’m sitting at my computer. Brooke comes to me and makes the sign for ‘music.’ “Would you like me to play some music?” I put on a Raffi song she’s never heard before. She listens for about 30 seconds and then shakes her head vigorously. “You don’t like this one?” I put on the Suzuki piano CD that starts with Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. She immediately starts swaying back and forth to the music. After about 3 minutes, I say, “Would you like to read a book now?” She shakes her head vigorously. “Okay. Well, then would you like to hear this song again?” She makes the sign for ‘again’ several times. And then starts humming along when the music begins.

Children know exactly what they want and I LOVE HOW CLEAR they can be.

Does Your Toddler Know a ‘Tulip’ from a ‘Chimpanzee?’

Friday, April 20th, 2012 4:19 pm | By Stephanie Woo

B and M are learning so fast these days I have a hard time keeping up with them. I’m often turning to my Montessori training and community to see what else I can give them to keep up with their growth.

Children are in a sensitive period for language from 0-6. I don’t know how it happened: just a few months ago, they hardly showed any signs of understanding what I was saying, and all of a sudden, not only do they understand both English and Chinese, they know where to find the “rhinoceros,” “toothbrush,” “tulips,” “measuring tape” and “kiwi” in the house. They can follow commands like, “Please get your shoes,” “Bring the bowl to Daddy,” “Please get some tissues and wipe up this spill,” “Peel the banana and put it in the mixing bowl.” All of this happened so fast I think it’s fair to call it an EXPLOSION!

When I visited a Montessori classroom, I was very inspired by the way the children loved and absorbed the language material. I’ve adapted my own version. Here is a great way to give your toddler more language while enhancing their sensorial learning.

Get a couple baskets/containers and fill them with items from several different categories. Here are some examples:

Household items – you can include things like binder clips, pencil case, a set of keys, ruler, measuring tape

Items you need before you go out – include items like sunglasses, wallet, metrocard, bracelet, necklace, watch, scarf, etc.

Animals – I bought mine from a company called Schleich. Their animal figurines are based on real animals. They are awesome.

I added these baskets one by one over several weeks. This is how you can present it to them:

  1. First, prepare the basket and put in on their shelf the night before.
  2. When they first see the new basket, they would invariably rush to see what’s inside. Say, “Do you want to see what’s inside? Let me show you!”
  3. Pick up the basket with BOTH hands, decide where to sit, then clear everything out of the way, so the area is clean from other distractions. Then, invite them to sit down next to you.
  4. Roll out a small rug on which to place the items. Begin to take out each item, naming them as you lay them out from left to right. (Left to right gets them used to the direction we read and write in the English language)
  5. If they try to reach out to grab it because they’re so excited, say, “It’s my turn right now. When I am done, I will let you have a turn.”
  6. After you lay them all out, put each item back one by one into the basket, again naming them as you put them back.
  7. Repeat this 2-3 times.
  8. When you are done, let them have a turn. Then LEAVE THEM ALONE without interrupting them. Let them further discover the items on their own.
  9. Repeat this 2-3 times over the next couple days or as often as you feel they need.
  10. Note: Keep this basket in a place that is easily accessible to them at all times.

These baskets are very popular with our kids, as well as all the kids who come to visit us. We always take one of these baskets with us to restaurants in case we need something to entertain them before and after meals. And it keeps them hooked.

Mackenzie is going through her “purse” and trying on the various items

When you are choosing what to give them

If you can give them the real thing, don’t use a replica. Yes they will throw the banana a few times till it gets bruised and the sunglass lens will get a little scratched, but so what? Real items are more interesting and offer them so much more sensorial learning than plastic replicas. A real mango can be experienced with all five senses, a plastic one only looks good. While you’re waiting for the fruits to ripen, put it to good use by letting the children have a chance to explore them! In a similar way, children who are allowed to use real silverware, glass cups and bowls learn to be careful with them, whereas children who use plastics all the time have much less awareness. When Brooke was 13 months, she broke a glass. It was a scare, but we swept, vaccummed and everything ended up being fine. Since then, she always handles the glass with care, whether she is bringing it to the table to use or bringing it to the sink to be washed. We’ve never had a second broken glass since!

A fruit lesson – all real fruits! Even Nola, our little visitor, loved touching the avocado!