What’s on my montessori toddler’s bookshelf?

I’m always on the lookout for a good book for my daughter, I want her to enjoy reading as much as I do, although I don’t do it as much as I would like!

I do try to ensure they’re Montessori friendly, so that means…

  • Keeping the books as real as possible – for example stories about daily life, it’s advised to stay away from fantasy books especially while they’re really young as this can often be confusing for them when they’re not old enough to differentiate between what is real and what isn’t. I also like to provide her with books showing children from different cultures and countries.
  • Beautifully illustrated – this will have a positive impact on the child and will most likely bring them back to the book time and time again to admire it’s beauty and interesting pictures.
  • Age appropriate – when the child is young it’s more appropriate to show them picture books, or books with flaps, and then introduce books with a few simple words, sentences. Also when they’re little they’re less likely to sit still for very long while you read them a story, so it’s best that it’s kept quite simple. In the stage between 1 and 2 years I would often find it hard to get through a book properly with Binti, she would be grabbing at the pages or wanting to see what was on the next one, quicker than I could read the few words on that page! but now as she’s getting bigger I’m starting to see a big difference in her….mainly that she’s actually letting me read the story! 🙂
  1. Contains rich language – avoiding baby talk, and using descriptive words.  This is much more beneficial for the child, just as we speak properly to our children in every day life, the books we bring to them should also be doing the same thing. Also look for books that have rhyme in them.

These are some of the books we currently have in Binti’s book collection, the two top ones were just delivered yesterday and she’s enjoyed them both.

  • Please, baby, please 

This lovely board book takes you through the day in the life of a sweet, energetic, often rambunctious baby girl, she actually reminds me of Binti quite a bit! 😉 alot of repetition on each page starting with the sentence ‘please, baby, please.. the ending’s pretty sweet, a nice little read.

 

  • The Snowy Day

This is a nice little book about a small boy who wakes up one morning to discover that everything is covered with snow, and then takes you on a journey as he sets out to explore his surroundings.

 

  • Playtime

Has pictures of children from around the world playing alone or with their friends.  Some of the countries included are : Vietnam, Mali, Brazil and South Africa.

 

  • Summer

A nicely illustrated board book about summer.  Explores the unique visual and sensorial characteristics of this season with adorable characters.  The book has a lovely, glossy feel to it.  Part of a series of books about the seasons.

 

  • Hands Can

Binti has requested this book many times.  We often go through it copying the hand movements, such as waving and hugging to say ‘I love you.’  Large, colourful pictures throughout starting with the caption ‘hands can….’ Definitely a winner in our house!

 

  • Global Babies

We’ve had this one for quite a while now, beautiful pictures of babies from around the world with a very small amount of text on each page.  I found Binti the other day sitting there just looking through it.  There’s one page with a sweet little baby from South Africa sticking his tongue out, each time she gets to that page she likes to do the same thing.

 

  • Noisy Farm

A lovely lift the flap book, and a favourite of Binti’s.  Follow Sam the dog as he whizzes round the farm chasing all the different noises of the animals.

 

  • The little book of hugs

We picked up this adorable, little book in a charity shop quite a while back.  Full of adorable photos of animals hugging with a short sentence on each page such as ‘hugging’s so easy you can do it in your sleep’ or hugs can shield you from the big wide world.’  Although I’m not sure if it’s aimed at children, it’s still a lovely book to look at and read through with your child.

 

  • Montessori – letter Work

Not a story book but this one is always out on Binti’s book display.  She likes to look through and asks me ‘what’s that?’ as she points to each sandpaper letter.  Not so long back she would often open the book and go straight to the letter ‘O’ and trace it with her finger whilst saying the sound.

 

aishadoor

 

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Sensitive Periods

 

Since learning about Montessori, from books and my online course I’ve come across the subject of sensitive periods quite often, it’s something which interests me as my daughter is only 2 1/2 and so, many of these periods she is currently going through or will be going through eventually, so it’s important for me to know when to look out for them so I can provide opportunities for repetition which will then fulfil her desire for learning.

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Maria Montessori believed that within a child’s development there are periods of increased sensitivity to learning a specific skill, more commonly known as ‘sensitive periods.’ You will find within this time the child often wanting to repeat the same thing over and over, excluding other characteristics in the environment he may have once given interest to. This is the perfect opportunity to help the child by providing him with activities that focus on this one particular skill.

Sensitive periods are transitory states, therefore, if sufficient opportunity is not given to the child to satisfy his need for learning, then his desire for it will simply fade away, learning will still occur outside of the senstive period, however it will take more time and effort.

“It is in the encounter of the maternal guiding instincts with the sensitive periods of the newly born that conscious love develops between parent and child.” – Maria Montessori

“A child’s different inner sensibilities enable him to choose from his complex environment what is suitable and necessary for his growth. They make the child sensitive to some things, but leave him indifferent to others. When a particular sensitiveness is aroused in a child, it is like a light that shines on some objects but not others, making of them his whole world.”                        The Secret of Childhood p. 42, Chapter 7

I’ve listed below each of the Sensitive Periods and some brief info about each one..

  • Sensitive Period For Movement – Birth to 4 years

Within this time Gross and fine motor skills are acquired, random movements become coordinated and controlled as he learns to grasp, touch, turn, balance, crawl and walk. It’s important that the child is given many opportunities to practice these skills, for example a bar fixed securely to the wall so the infant can learn to pull himself up, placing a toy a small distance away so that it encourages him to reach out and crawl to it.  Hanging toys are also great for helping to develop the child’s grasp, and eye/hand coordination.  If these opportunities are given often it allows these skills to be repeated and perfected.  Refinement /coordination of movement is from 2.5 to 4 years of age, this is a time when the pincer grip is developed and both hands are used in coordination. Gross motor skills are also developed with regular exercise, and fun activities.

  • Sensitive Period For Language – Birth to six years

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This period starts with coos and babbling and then eventually progresses on to words, then phrases and finally sentences.  This can be encouraged by speaking clearly and often to the child, using correct language and reading books. Through repetition the child becomes his own teacher.  The explosion of spoken language around two years of age is the result of many months of inner preparation and mental development, I have witnessed this in my daughter who is almost 2 1/2 in the last few months, all of a sudden it has been what can only be described and as mentioned before as an ‘explosion of language’, and now I’m seeing her often putting 2 or 3 words together to make a short sentence.

The sensitive period for writing is from 3-4 years of age.  Maria Montessori discovered that writing precedes reading, and begins with the child making attempts to copy letters and numbers.

For reading, the sensitive period is from 3-5 years of age.  They will begin to show much interest in symbols and the sounds they represent, and soon will be sounding them out. It’s therefore important to read daily to the child.

The Montessori Letter Work book is a fantastic resource, each letter of the alphabet is textured with sandpaper, I have this book for Binti and she loves tracing her finger around the letter O and often saying the sound with it.

  • Sensitive Period For Small Objects – One to 4 years

As eye/hand coordination becomes more refined you will find the child becoming increasingly interested in small objects and tiny details. On trips to the park for example you will often find them stopping to pick up a stone or pick out a piece of grass, many little things which us as adults tend to overlook, to the small child these things are incredible! The development of this sensitive period is the brain’s way of understanding and observing the little things that make up the world.

  • Sensitive Period For Order – 2 to 4 years

  The child at this stage loves routine and desires consistency and repetition.  Often at this age, a slight change of routine is often enough to unsettle a child, resulting in frustration and temper tantrums, often labelled as ‘the terrible twos!’. It’s important to provide an environment which is organised and everything has a place.

  • Sensitive Period For Toileting – 18 months – 3 years

Baby indoors going on potty smilingAs her nervous system becomes more developed, she will learn to control her bladder and bowels.  There is a nice little article here at Montessori Homes which gives tips on setting up a suitable environment for this stage.

  • Sensitive Period For Grace and Courtesy – 2 to 6 years

Children learn mainly from their parents in the beginning of manners and courtesy, they enjoy imitating polite and respectful behaviour, this in turn will lead to an internalization of these qualities in their personality.  Grace and courtesy lessons are taught in Montessori schools for 3-6 year olds.  Deb Chitwood from Living Montessori Now has a fantastic eBook out on this very subject.

I try to often emphasize the use of please and thank you with my young daughter, and it’s now becoming a part of her little personality, it brings a smile to my face when I hear her say ‘tank you!’ Also teaching them empathy is very important, so they learn to consider other people’s feelings and not just their own.

  • Sensitive Period For Refinement Of The Senses – 2 to 6 years

At this stage the child will be fascinated by a wide range of sensorial experiences, sight, sound, taste, smell, touch.. It’s important that many opportunities are given to the child to stimulate their senses, whether by tasting different kinds of fruits, smelling herbs/flowers or experiencing different sensory bins filled with rice, beans, sand etc..

  • Sensitive Period For Spatial Relationships – 4 – 6 years

Children, playing puzzles at homeIn this period as the child develops an understanding of spatial relationships, he gradually becomes able to work out more complex puzzles.

  • Sensitive Period For Numbers – 4 – 6 years

Maria Montessori found many ways to give children a concrete experience of math especially in this sensitive period for numbers and quantities. Previously to the child numbers would have been seen as just part of language, notice how they can rattle off 1,2,3… quite easily, now they are a seperate entity, and a completely different type of language, and the concepts of maths gradually begin to develop.

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