Interview with Montessori mother – Katerina Vosatkova

Dear mommies, today I would love to introduce to you one another great Montessori
 mother РKaterina Vosatkova from Czech Republic. Her daughter is 30 months at the time of writing this post and they practice Montessori since she was 6 months old. I love her work and I follow up all her post on facebook. Reading her story might inspire
someone ūüôā Make your coffee and enjoy yourself.

Hi Katerina, how many children do you have?

Hi, I have one girl, Natalia.

How did you get into Montessori education and philosophy?

It happened so naturally through babywearing and attachment parenting. I remember I got very fascinated after getting through the article about guiding kids towards independence. I loved the idea of opened shelves with trays so I immediately started browsing the internet.

Which Montessori’s thought is closest to your heart?

I personally perceive Montessori as a whole. It became our life style and it is providing opportunity for never ending work on myself.

How does your day look like?

Lot of moms are giving me this question ūüôā It is so individual that I can’t provide you with our plan of the day. We sleep in one bed, after waking up Natalia uses toilet (we have toilet downstairs), picks up her underwear and together we wear clothes. She chooses what she wants from the fridge and meanwhile I prepare all material needed so she can prepare her breakfast by herself. After breakfast she does her activities and plays and I clean house and prepare lunch we decide together. Before lunch we go out to garden or forest and after lunch she sleeps for 1,5-2 hours. After nap we usually don’t spend time at home but if we have to then we make something creative. I give Nataly all the freedom in touching, preparing, trying out the things around us without any obstacles. We take care of our animals – hens, rabbits, cat and dog and lot of other
animals we visit in our neighboring areas. When the season is there we grow our own crops and because we live in the beautiful forest everyday nature walks, activities, mushroom, herbs and fruit collecting is must-to-have.

Do you have prepared environment at home? And what about husband, does he educate Nataly Montessori way?

(laughing) When I read about Montessori for the first time, Nataly was 6 months old and because I was studying The Design and Construction of furniture immediately I started to prepare the environment. Our space is one room of 7,5 x 3,5 m size where we had kitchen, sofa with conference table, in the middle there was space for play, bed with attached cot. It started slowly. I made 2 low shelf cupboards for toys and ordered 6 trays. I can still remember how my partner was asking me why we needed it and I didn’t meet with understanding (laughing). From that time on I was nonstop moving the furniture here there and tried to do my best. We exchanged few furniture pieces for opened shelves and furniture that I designed by myself.

My partner takes care of Nataly intuitively, he tries to talk to her, explains her, lets her touch and feel. For “the male” activities she is still too young. They cooperate together mostly during shopping – selecting the groceries, putting them in basket, taking them out, keeping them in the fridge, preparing meals…

Do you have non-montessori friends? Do you change the environment before their children come? Can non-montessori kids work with material?

Yes, I have few friends who come to visit us with their kids and I must say they love to work with Montessori material and toys. Before I open the door I always remind them our rule –¬†once the play with material is over we always keep it back at it’s own place. I really have good experience. Of course I can see big difference in fine motor movements, patience and concentration.

Do you Montessori outside home also? Do you shop for original materials or are you DIY Montessori mother?

I am housewife, I spend my time designing the furniture for prepared environment of rooms, preschools, day cares and I offer online guidance. From the start of new school year I would like to start working in Montessori day care.

The materials we bought till the age Natalia is 3 years old. After that I don’t have plan to continue as she will be working with montessori material in preschool. If talking about DIY materials, I love them. The most I love to prepare thematic activities.

Which material is your favorite one and which one your child loves the most?

I love all of them. It’s that simplicity and timelessness which makes them special. Natalia’s favorite are till now coin box, cylinder blocks, animals and continents (cards) and of course all the practical life activities.

What gift would make you – Montessori mother – happy?

I am most happy to see the parents working on themselves to become better example for their kids.

Does your child attend any preschool or day care?

We have a beautiful Montessori day care,preschool and school in our neighborhood and right now we attend day care once in a week together for 1 hour. From September she will join preschool for 3 days a week and if everyone will be happy we will continue.

 

Your favorite Montessori book?

Maybe it will sound weird but till now I didn’t read any. I prefer to use internet where you can find lot of amazing and useful information.

Is Montessori way of education according to you only about laminated cards and wooden materials?

No, not even one of that.

What would you recommend to new Montessori mothers and families to start up with?

I would really advise everyone to find some nice Montessori parent who can help them and guide them. That would be very helpful at the beginning.

Thank you for lovely talk Katerina, wishing you and your family beautiful life ahead and easy start of “new era of preschool” ūüôā

 

 

25 PRACTICAL TIPS HOW TO START MONTESSORI AT HOME TODAY

Ok, so let’s say I have the idea who was Maria Montessori, what was she doing and what she aimed for. I know the basic principles, I know the respect for child is the most important and I also know that me¬†as a guide of my child I should provide him the safe space where he can discover and thus learn independently by himself.¬†

Yes, theory – check.
But how to put all these information into our everyday life? How to incorporate them into our home environment? 
‚ô•
I find myself scattered lot of times. My mind is wandering from thought to thought from kitchen to bathroom and to bedroom and to creative space and and and… I had to (still have to) learn how to focus on one thing (and my son will not have same problem as we follow Montessori that’s teaching that mostly, isn’t it :P)
I got a baby to teach me what I was not taught in my childhood. He came to me to show me how to enjoy the moment to the fullest and focus focus focus.
 ♥
The one can not teach kids how to swim, how to climb the rock or how to focus on one task if the one can not do it by herself/himself. That’s what I recently discovered. Wah, that’s great, but what to do with this information?
 ♥
Learn to swim, learn to climb the rock or become Montessori in the core of your personality.  
 ♥
There are lot of information about Montessori method available on internet, in books or you can join training centers, preschools or mother toddler classes.
Only once¬†I am sure THIS is my way, this is what my child and ME (along with him) need I can prepare our space and start our Montessori life, isn’t it?
 ♥
How to start Montessori with your child? 
1) Be sure you are not going to be disturbed, everyone is sleeping or out of house. It is difficult to think constructively with toddler hanging on your leg.
2) Take a pen, notebook, make a coffee and sit down. Get ready for some serious thinking.
3) Take a deep breath and focus!
4) You are going to write down the list of things that are the spine of Montessori method according to you. Try by yourself… You can check with my list below to get an idea of prepared environment (we don’t get into materials yet).
5) Now think! Write next to each and every point you mentioned how you can achieve that.
a) ADAPTATION OF SPACE
b) CHANGE OF APPROACH
6) When thinking about change of space, ¬†think from the child’s point of view. Literally!
Go down on your knees, belly (depending on age of kid) and see what can he see. Can he switch on the light? Can he wash his hands? Can he choose his clothes? Can he lie down on bed once tired?
If you found out the answer is NO you just started the Montessori journey.
Now you see how much the child must be stressed when he has to rely on adult all the time he needs something.
7) Try to work with whatever is available. If you decide you need to buy something first you will never start. I will show you our Montessori home in next post.
8) Think about all the changes IN DETAIL so you don’t have to change it again and again. Children love the order and they just don’t cooperate when our house or we are in mess.
9) After all the changes done keep the house clean and neat. All should have it’s space so child learns. Order equals to clarity. Clarity equals to focus. Focus equals to peace.
10) When I find my boy disturbed, running from activity to activity, messing around I stop. I stop myself, let everything be just as it is (means lot of days without home made food) and clean the mess in my head.
11) Work on habit to clean after yourself. Not talking about toys or materials only. Our kids are watching and absorbing all they see.
Today I got amazed,my 16 months old took out CD from drawer and CLOSED THE DRAWER like it’s completely natural thing!¬†
12) When you think about your approach to child, ¬†being Montessori mother (click to read When to crown yourself Montessori mother?) means to respect the child as human being, give him choices and respect the final choice (even if you don’t agree). Give him safe and prepared space to do everything by himself so he gets the feeling of independence¬†and importance. Ask him to help you (provided he wants to) so he feels important part of your family.

13) Get rid of all the plastic toys. Go for soothing natural materials.

14) Learn about and apply minimalism.
 ♥
Tips on changes in the space:
1) Bathroom – stool to reach sink, soap, toothbrush available, towel on low positioned hook.
2) Toilet – potty at one place (can be marked by tape so child always knows where it is)
3) Bedroom – bed on the floor. 2-3 books available at the height of child. Space for his clothes,easily reachable for him with choice of 3 different shirts, pants…His dressing table should contain hairbrush and mirror also.
4) Kitchen – shelf for snacks and water, space to keep spoons, forks, plates.
5) By the door – keep a chair so he can wear his shoes, hanger in height of his shoulders and space for shoes.
6) Learning tower (I will blog about this point in few days).
7) High chair without table
8) Small table with chair for eating, working
9) Creative space
10) Reading space
11) Cleaning material space
Take these tips as a guideline as for every family there are different ways of how to do and what to do.
Just remember it really doesn’t have to be lavish and most cool Montessori furniture the world has ever seen. You can come up with lots of creative ideas once thinking about it.
 ♥
HAPPY MONTESSORI