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

Posts Tagged ‘practical life’

Video: 2.5-Year-Old Washing Dishes and Loading the Dishwasher

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013 6:15 pm | By Stephanie Woo

Young children love water activities. And I love it when they clean, work on motor skills while I check email. Dishwashing makes both of us very happy. 

To teach your child 2-years-old-and-up how to wash dishes, set up the Learning Tower  (or a tall stool) in front of the sink, open the dishwasher, making sure the top rack is clear, give a careful demonstration of how to use a sponge, how to rinse and how to place the dishes in the dishwasher – then let them go.  The hardest – yet most critical – part of it is this: Don’t hover! Try not to even look at them. Don’t worry if they are making a mess or getting their clothes wet. I Facebook furiously to stop myself from constantly wanting to interfere with their work. You might even go to another room to stop yourself from hovering. This is your chance for a well-deserved break, so take advantage!

Our Montessori School in Baltimore

Monday, February 11th, 2013 10:58 am | By Stephanie Woo

B and M with their Montessori guide, Mr. Man Fai

For the last 6 months, B and M have been attending the Federal Hill Montessori School here in Baltimore. Their guide, Man Fai, and I did our AMI 0-3 training together at The Montessori Institute.  The amount of work we had to do in order to graduate was extremely intense (the six albums I created during my training totaled almost 2000 pages). It’s a life-changing experience that creates a tight bond between all the participants. Knowing the kind of rigorous training Man Fai went through, I knew my children were in good hands.

B and M attend school Monday through Friday, from 830-1130am. For me, the schedule is just right. Three hours per day is the perfect amount of time to spend outside of the home at their age – they started at 20 months – and 5 days a week gives them enough consistency. One thing particularly appealing about the school for our family is that it is a bilingual school, where the guide speaks English and the assistant speaks Mandarin.

We will be leaving Baltimore at the end of this month. Looking back, I feel Man Fai was an excellent guide for my children. Even though I’m trained, I can still get lazy at home. For example, I never taught them how to use mats while doing work on the floor. Well, one day, M took out a floor mat, unrolled it, worked on it, rolled it back up by herself and then put it away. Whoa! Things like that don’t just happen by accident. I know she was taught well at school.

They also do activities at school that I haven’t thought of or haven’t created for our home environment. For example, one night last month, M ate dinner at the record speed of 3 minutes. She then spent the next 20 minutes scrubbing down the table and chairs with a scouring sponge. From the way she was scrubbing the sides of the table, I knew Man Fai had shown her the table-washing activity, something I haven’t put together at home.

Also, a couple weeks ago, Man Fai sent me this picture of Brooke’s rubber band art creation. As Man Fai wrote, “The board was clear when she got it, and this is the way it was when she walked away.” I love the parent communication I get from this school.

In case you’re looking for a Montessori school for your child, look first to see if there is an AMI-certified school in your area. You can do a search here: http://www.amiusa.org/school-locator-2/ If there isn’t an AMI-certified school, ask if the guide (there are no ‘teachers’ in a Montessori classroom, only ‘guides’ – a job title that says it all) is AMI-trained. AMI training is the most rigorous and comprehensive Montessori training available, started by Maria Montessori herself. Start there and you can always shoot me an email if you have any other questions regarding Montessori schools for your child. If you live in the Baltimore area, I definitely recommend Man Fai’s school.

Thank you, Man Fai, for a great six months. We are going to miss you and your school very  much!

Video: “Figure It Out Yourself”

Friday, January 25th, 2013 9:59 am | By Stephanie Woo

My favorite words to say to my children are, “Figure it out yourself.” I’ve been saying it to them since they were six-months old. I love hearing them repeat it to themselves as they work on that 1-inch lock-and-key, buttoning small buttons or opening a complicated latch on a box. They would spend lots of time with those things, concentrating very hard, trying to figure it out. If they come back to me and use words like, “Help me” (which I also taught them at a very early age), then I’ll help.

“Every useless help is a hindrance.”
— Maria Montessori

Here’s a video of Mackenzie at 22 months: