I started a Montessori and Simple Family living series of Interviews with the hopes, as Readers, you may gain some information, encouragement, support and inspiration and just maybe, a way to connect with other like-minded families.
I think you are going to enjoy reading today’s Interview with Natalie from the Living with my Little Love blog. It’s so lovely to connect with other Montessori and simple living families. Maybe we can all encourage, support and inspire each other.
Q1. Dear Natalie, would you like to share with us a bit about yourself and your family?
Well, there’s me, my husband and the two year old. We are a nature loving family, we love to be out in the garden, down in the woods or on the beach. We are lucky enough to have just moved to a Scottish island so there are plenty of opportunities to be out in nature. We are also quite bookish and like to snuggle down for a story…..or five!
I actually originally trained as an occupational therapist, I did a few different jobs then ended up working as a nanny. Now I am a full time mum and what a great job it is! It is such a blessing to be able to spend my days with the little one.
Q2. How did you first start on a Montessori path and what does this journey mean to you and your family?
I actually first heard about Montessori when my husband and I were in the States. We lived there for 6 months and one of our neighbours had a son who was going to a Montessori school. We chatted a bit about it and something must have stuck with me because three years later when I first started to look into homeschooling Montessori was my first port of call. Of course, Montessori is now much more than an educational pedagogy, it is also a parenting philosophy and one that really resonated with me from the off. So, since those first hours of obsessive research, I have been making changes a little at a time.
Q3. How is your parenting influenced by Montessori (or other methods/philosophies) and what have you found to be the most challenging part? Do you have any tips for others?
There are so many ways that I have been influenced by Montessori. Having just moved house the change that is most evident is in the way I think about the spaces in our home. When arranging our spaces I try to think about how the little one will need to use the space, how freely she will be able to move around the space, if it is promoting or inhibiting her independence and how to make it beautiful from her eye level. I think Montessori has helped me to be more aware of her physical, mental and social development, especially in regards to the sensitive periods.
The most challenging aspect to me is maintaining a sense of order. Obviously for this you need a calm and uncluttered environment, something that is a real struggle for me as I am naturally (very) messy. I definitely see the benefits of it, particularly at this age, and I don’t want her picking up my bad habits, so I’m trying really hard! But, in fact applying Montessori principles in my home has helped when it comes to keeping things tidy. In a Montessori environment everything has it’s place and so it’s very easy to put things away again, even for a two year old! In our new house I am trying to make sure that everything that comes in has a designated place, as what doesn’t have a place tends not to get tidied away. A toy and book rotation is also great, there’s less to tidy away (and less to distract the little one) if there is less out.
Q4. What inspires you? Do you have any goals or intentions for this year or the next that you would like to share with us?
The spaces in our home are an ongoing project so I will continue to look at those. I also want to have a think about our daily and weekly rhythms. Rhythm is a Waldorf concept and it’s like a schedule or routine but without the timings, just one activity following another. So, lunch might be followed by quiet time which might be followed by outside time, there are no set times for these things. I think it will help to provide some structure and balance without being too rigid.
Q5. Are there any books or resources you would like to recommend, Montessori or other?
I love blogs. There are so many great bloggers out there sharing what they do in their home or classroom. I particularly love to read about Montessori families and their homes, Montessori looks different in every family. Some of my favourite blogs are;
- How We Montessori
- The Kavanaugh Report
- Every Day Begins New
- Three Minute Montessori
- Our Montessori Life
- Montessori and Me
- Frida Be Mighty
- The Learning Ark
- Eltern Vom Mars
- Momtessori Life
- The Pinay Homeschooler
- Living Montessori Now
At the moment I am listening to a great book on Audible called The Gentle Disciple Book by Sarah Ockwell-Smith. It looks at child development and age appropriate non aggressive discipline techniques. I think it ties in really well with Montessori as both hold respect for the child in high regard.