I started a Montessori and Simple Family living series of Interviews with the hope, as Readers, you may gain some information, encouragement, support and inspiration and just maybe, a way to connect with other like-minded families.
Today I am introducing you to Christina from Montessori-ish Mom. A former Montessori student and now Montessori Educator and Mother of two.
Q1. Dear Christina, would you like to share with us a bit about yourself, your family and what part of the world you live in?
I live with my husband and two children in Austin, Texas in the United States. My son is two and a half and my daughter is four months old. We love living here because there are so many opportunities to get outside in nature, despite being in the middle of a city.
I am a 3-6 AMS certified Montessori teacher, currently staying home with my kids.
Q2. How did you first start on a Montessori path and what does this journey mean to you and your family?
My Montessori journey started when I was just 4 years old. When my sister started attending our local public kindergarten, I wanted to go to school too, so my parents enrolled me in a Montessori school since her school did not offer preschool.
I loved it and my parents were amazed by what I was learning. I was coming home talking about the planets and excited about reading and she was coming home talking about the letter ‘J’.
They quickly switched my sister to the Montessori school and we attended though middle school. My mom loved it so much that she became a Montessori teacher and began teaching there.
I went on to get a business degree from Georgetown University and worked in management consulting in Washington, DC. I loved the people I worked with and the challenge of the work, but something about it was not fulfilling to me. I couldn’t picture doing it for the rest of my life.
I applied to business schools and was accepted to the University of Texas MBA program. Upon being accepted, I immediately quit my job to take some time off before business school was supposed to start. My husband works in IT and was able to work remotely, so we moved to rural Wisconsin, to his family’s lake house for the time in between.
In that time, out in nature and away from the corporate world, I reflected a lot on what I wanted out of life. I realized that while getting an MBA was the logical next step in my career path, I had no passion for it. What I really wanted to do was work with children and return to Montessori.
As soon as I had a little time and space to think, my path became clear to me.
I was lucky enough to find a wonderful Montessori school here in Austin, where I became an assistant, then an intern while I completed the AMS training, and then a teacher in a 3-6 classroom.
I’m currently taking time to stay at home with my children and enjoying using everything I learned as a Montessori teacher at home with them.
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 you would like to share?
All aspects of my parenting are influenced by Montessori, from how I set up our home to the language I use to talk to my children.
I think the biggest influence Montessori has had in my parenting though is showing me how to invite my toddler to help with the everyday work of the household, rather than try to entertain him whilst I get things done.
One of his favourite things to do right now is to scrub the produce we get from a local CSA, help chop it, and add/mix ingredients to turn into something delicious.
He also loves helping with mundane tasks like laundry and dishes though. If it were not for Montessori, I don’t think it would have occurred to me that he would want to help with those things.
The most challenging part for me right now is balancing the needs of both children.
My toddler son would be the happiest if we spent every day in the woods playing by a creek, while my daughter still naps frequently and needs to be home more to get good sleep. I’m sure finding a balance between their needs will be a lifelong process though!
I’m also struggling right now to find the time to make new work for my toddler.
My tip would be to get inspiration from Instagram and Pinterest, but try not to be overwhelmed by the possibilities (something I’m working on..) It’s so much more important to be present with our children than to have the perfect work on the shelves.
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?
My children inspire me every day. Watching them explore the world and become more confident and capable is amazing to watch.
I’ve noticed that both my toddler and baby are so calm and engaged when we’re out in nature, so my number one goal this year is to spend as much time as possible exploring outside with them, even if it’s just in the backyard some days.
I’m also very excited to begin showing my toddler some of the 3-6 Montessori lessons, like sandpaper letters. He is super excited by all things language right now and I can’t wait to watch him make new discoveries with language and take steps towards reading.
Q5. Are there any books or resources you would like to recommend, Montessori or other?
I just finished reading two wonderful books- The Montessori Toddler by Simone Davies and Balanced and Barefoot by Angela J. Hanscom and can’t recommend them enough! I also love the blog, How We Montessori and yours of course!
Thanks so much Christina for being a part of this Interview series. If you would like to read more, you can find Christina via her blog Montessori-ish Mom and over on her Facebook page HERE and Instagram feed HERE.