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We Made It Through Hurricane Sandy

Friday, November 2nd, 2012 10:46 am | By Stephanie Woo

We were hit by Hurricane Sandy. We didn’t lose power or anything but school closed for three days. We were inside all day Monday. On Tuesday, the winds had died down somewhat but it was still pretty wet, windy and cold. That morning, I was cleaning in the kitchen when I looked over at the B and M – they had put on their jackets and shoes by themselves and were standing by the front door. Mackenzie was tugging on the door handle as hard as she can and whining. They were dying to get out.

So we did.

Actually, I love exposing the children to all sorts of weather. We go for walks twice a day – sun, rain or snow. It’s great for them to exercise their little bodies (studies show active children do better in school), breathe some fresh air and take advantage of the myriad language opportunities! Hurricane weather meant lots of fallen leaves and branches, overcast skies, big puddles and water dripping down pipes on the side of house. The whole thing turned out to be a great learning opportunity.

Toddlers can be so hardy. They slipped a few times because it was definitely wet and slippery out. But they stood up and kept on going. I wish there were more kids outside experiencing the after-effects of a storm, but we were the only ones out and about that morning.

Happily, school opened on Thursday. Phew, we made it!

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.

Floor Bed Update – 17 months

Thursday, May 31st, 2012 3:07 pm | By Stephanie Woo

Now that Brooke and Mackenzie are 17 months, I decided to do an update on their sleeping situation. They are still sleeping on the same floor bed they’ve been sleeping on since they were four months old. Here’s a video of their bedroom: