I’m Anne: mama to Elise, wife/best friend to Richie (aka Hubs), scratcher-behind-the-ears of Rosie the red heeler, enthusiast of Maria Montessori, knitter of wool, climber of mountains, concocter of three meals a day, tender of flowers and vegetables, reader of books, keeper of the laundry pile, and then some! Whew!
questions received via email and comments, as-well-as asked by friends, family, and other curious folks
How old are you?
How did you become interested in Montessori education?
I went to a Montessori preschool when I was a child - I still remember counting the beads of the bead stair. While studying elementary education in college, my interest in Maria Montessori’s educational philosophies was piqued, and I began substitute teaching at a local Montessori preschool. I enjoyed that experience so much, when I graduated from college, I went on to take a Montessori teacher training course, and became a certified Montessori teacher.
What is your educational background?
I have a degree in Elementary Education (grades K-8) from Montana State University. My Montessori teacher certification (ages 3-6) was received through the Caspari Montessori Institute.
Why did you stop teaching?
After I became pregnant with my daughter, Elise, I decided to stay at home with her rather than continue teaching. I had wanted to have a baby for so long, I couldn’t (and still can’t!) imagine missing a single moment with her. Staying at home has been a little bit of an adjustment, but I celebrate the whole experience - even the laundry and dishes! I taught at the Montessori preschool for 6 years (not counting the years that I substitute taught in college), so I felt satisfied that I had taught two full cycles of children - from their first year of preschool at 3, to their last year of preschool at 5 or 6.
Will you go back to teaching?
Only time will tell… I miss my little pupils terribly, but I am having lots of fun making materials and creating a Montessori inspired environment for Elise here at home.
What school did you teach at?
I taught at Sourdough Montessori School in Bozeman, Montana. I was really private about this on the blog while I was teaching. Itty bitty love was not affiliated with the school - it maintains its own website and blog - and I really wanted to respect the privacy of my students. Now that I’m done teaching and all of the children pictured on the blog have moved on, I feel more comfortable sharing where I taught. Even though I’m no longer a teacher there, Sourdough is still a great school! ;)
What Montessori materials do you recommend purchasing?
I think about this a lot now that I have a daughter. There’s no way I can recreate a Montessori classroom here at home, but I can consider what I know about Montessori education while preparing the environment for Elise. Many Montessori inspired activities can be set up with things you probably already have around the house - treasure baskets for babies are a perfect example. When it comes to spending your hard-earned money, I would recommend investing in child-sized tools and furniture. In my experience, it seems like little children usually want to be involved in what us big people are up to, so why not provide them with a broom or a rake or a table and chair that’s just their size? Vacuuming with the push vacuum was one of the most popular activities in my classroom; I will definitely be buying one for Elise in a year or two! Montessori Services and Michael Olaf are great resources for well-made, child-sized items. Montessori is more that just materials, though; it’s also about observing, following your child’s interests, and treating him or her with dignity and respect. Being mindful of your child may be a challenge at times, but it doesn't cost a thing!
How’s the floor bed thing going?
Great, thankyouverymuch! I get such mixed reactions when people find out Elise isn’t sleeping in a crib. Many of my friends are Montessori teachers, so it’s nothing new to them, but some of my more traditional friends and family think we’re naïve and crazy. In the beginning, Hubs and I kept the floor bed to ourselves, but now that we’ve experienced how well it works, we’re more confident talking about it with others. I plan to do a few posts about it, but here are our two favorite things about having a baby that sleeps on a floor bed: #1 We can lay next to her to help her fall asleep. #2 When Elise wakes up after naps and in the morning, she can look at books or play with toys without having to call out to us for help.
Any other juicy tidbits?
Hmmm… I just shaved my legs for pretty much the first time this summer. Does that count? ;)
If you'd like to ask me a question, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org