Montessori At Home Mondays with Marie Mack

Small Space Montessori Setup

Wow! Our last post in our Montessori At Home Monday’s series. I’m so excited to share with you all and thank you, again, Seemi!

Did you miss the previous posts? Check them out here:

Small Space: Introduction and Entryway

Small Space: Living Room

Small Space: Bedroom and Closet

Small Space: Bathroom

Montessori Setup in a Small Space Montessori at home 5 part series

 

 

The Kitchen

Small space kids kitchen table uses at trilliummontessori.org

The kitchen is my favorite place to have my children! I am part Italian and have been working in the kitchen as long as I can remember. I want to bring that same love to my children, so I have made their time there enjoyable.

Small space kids kitchen table uses at trilliummontessori.org

First, we have the table. This is an Ikea table and chairs. Definitely affordable and very easy to clean. The children can move the chairs in and our easily. This space served as our space for EVERYTHING! Art projects, experiments, water work, food prep, flower arranging, and, of course, meals.

When doing Montessori homeschool setup in a small space everything you have gets used in multiple ways. Often I perched on a stool next to this table to be with the kids are their level. They had so much pride in being able to complete tasks with ease because of the smaller size materials. I would encourage you to make a table a priority in your setup.

Small space kids kitchen low kitchen drawer uses at trilliummontessori.org

Low drawers are one of my favorite things to setup for the children. They are easy for kids to open and very easy to reach. This drawer we used for extra clean up rags for the inevitable spill and a couple utensils for cooking. The measuring cups are twofold. My daughter pulls these out as a nesting cups work. With my son, we use the measuring spoons for scooping and are always discussing the amount we are using. Of course he doesn’t really get what ¼ tsp is at this point, but one day it will click because he has always heard the number while we cook together.

I apologize for not having a picture of our cabinet setup for this apartment, but here is an example of another setup we had for our children in the kitchen.

Small Space kids kitchen low cabinet uses at trilliummontessori.org

This is a low cabinet, primarily for our son. On the left we have a couple of snacks he could choose to get to any time. His utensils are in the basket. The wire rack worked perfect to have cups on top and plates on the bottom.

The Montessori Method is meant to have beautiful thing, but sometimes beautiful, expensive things can break in the learning process. I was so excited to help Samuel work on his pouring with the small milk jug in the picture. The first time he took it out to work with it, it broke. We used that learning experience, first, to help him learn how to pick up broken glass carefully, and second to use our financial mind while choosing materials. The glass plates in the picture are from the dollar store. I found the small glass cups from a second hand thrift shop. I want to give my children all real materials to learn how to work with them correctly, but I do not want to break the bank by replacing expensive Montessori specific materials each time learning happens and something is broken.

Series Wrap Up

Montessori homeschooling in a small space is a lot fun! As a work at home mom, I found a lot of comfort in a small space. My children were always where I could see them and I didn’t have to spend hours every day cleaning and maintaining a big home on top of my online work. Because of our small space, I had the opportunity to focus more on my children; not maintaining an extravagant home.

I hope you are encouraged that any space can be make into a Montessori home and working within a budget is always possible. Although specific Montessori materials are beautiful and wonderful to have, your child will learn and thrive in a loving home with a little preparation.

I really enjoyed sharing our small home space with you!

About Marie Mack

Small Space Montessori Setup

Marie is a work-at-home mother of two. She co- blogs at Montessori on a Budget with Kimberly Huff and Lisa Nolan. She is also a contributor to Confessions of a Montessori Mom blog. After much self-study and with a background in education, she chose to follow her own children in their education and created the blog Child Led Life. She would love to hear from you on FacebookPinterest, and G+.

Thank you for checking out our Small Space Montessori Setup!

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Can you smell autumn in the air?  Neither can I  :-) But that doesn’t mean it’s not here!  Pretty soon there will be a nip in the air, the leaves will begin changing color and pumpkins will start showing up on door steps.  It’s time for us to start thinking about how to bring signs of the new season into the classroom.

There are so many ways to sprinkle autumn themed activities around the room.  We have simple things like leaves, seedpods and acorns in our nature tray.  We’ll take a field trip to the pumpkin farm and pick some pumpkins to decorate our class with.  This also involves a lot of washing and scrubbing… one of the most favorite pass times of 3-4 year olds!  We’ll add orange and brown colored items into our art and practical life areas.

We have pictures of many of our October activities in the following posts from last year:

On the Shelves in October

Pumpkins in Our Montessori Class

October Printables

 

This year I decided to gather together all the pictures I’ve already posted, along with some new activities I’ve created, into one printable album for the month.  This way everything will be together in one place and I can use it as a reference for years to come.  I love how it turned out!

October Montessori Seasonal Guide Cover reduced

Here’s what’s inside

October Seasonal Classroom Activities Printable Guide

 

I’ve added it to the subscriber’s page so head over there if you’d like to download a copy for yourself.  It’s free.

If you’re not a subscriber yet, enter your name and email in the form below and check your email for instructions.  You can get more information about what it means to be a subscriber here.





 

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Montessori At Home Mondays with Marie Mack

Small Space Montessori Setup

I am excited to be back for part four of our Montessori At Home Monday’s series.

Did you miss the previous posts? Check them out here:

Small Space: Introduction and Entryway

Small Space: Living Room

Small Space: Bedroom and Closet

Montessori Setup in a Small Space Montessori at home 5 part series

 

 

The Bathroom

Small Space Montessori Home: Bathroom at trilliummontessori.org

We all shared one bathroom in our small home. We did a couple of things for the children in the bathroom to keep with their Montessori homeschooling.

The left picture is a station I setup for Avalyn to practice her care for self. A tray with a brush and small mirror next to her bows was perfect. Everything at child level.

The middle picture is a space for toilet learning. The mat helped keep that a defined space and Avalyn had everything she needed to work on her potty learning.

The right picture is a little setup in the bathtub. Each child has their own washcloth, cup, and toothbrush. Samuel also has a small container for shampoo/body wash. This helped him with using a small amount. Some parents worry about their young children pouring out the entire bottle of shampoo and this is how we avoided that being a problem, but still allowed Sam to work on his independence.

The Stool

Small Space Montessori Home: The Stool at trilliummontessori.org

Many Montessori homes have a learning tower for the children to use in the kitchen or other areas of the house. This is a wonderful tool to help children step up in order to be at a level to work on the counter. At the time we started using Montessori in our home, we did not have the money to buy a learning tower and ended up with this painter’s stool. We LOVE it. It is light enough for our children to move it around easily and very sturdy.

Above, you see Avalyn has moved the stool to the dryer to turn it on while helping me do laundry.

Check back next Monday for our Small Space Montessori Setup post where wrap up the end of our series and I’ll give you a tour of our kitchen and all the Montessori learning setup there.

About Marie Mack

Small Space Montessori Setup

Marie is a work-at-home mother of two. She co- blogs at Montessori on a Budget with Kimberly Huff and Lisa Nolan. She is also a contributor to Confessions of a Montessori Mom blog. After much self-study and with a background in education, she chose to follow her own children in their education and created the blog Child Led Life. She would love to hear from you on FacebookPinterest, and G+.

Thank you for checking out our Small Space Montessori Setup!

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 It is my pleasure to welcome Pauline Meert to the Trillium Montessori blog!   Pauline is a trained Montessori teacher with a ton of experience.  I met Pauline in Aubrey Hargis’s Montessori 101 Facebook group .  I was super excited to learn that she has written a series of early reading books that are sequenced according to the pink, blue, and green series popular in many Montessori classrooms.  You have to check them out, they have the sweetest hand drawn illustrations and charming stories!  Today she’s going to talk to us about some important concepts for the beginning of the school year.

-Seemi


 

The importance of grace and courtesy

Every new school year, I contemplate on the best possible way to begin the year. As Montessori teachers, we have all learned about the importance of the prepared environment, the meticulous way to present lessons, and the many other crucial aspects to offer children the best Montessori education. However, the more I teach and learn, the more I see that Grace and Courtesy lessons are what is most important to prepare for a successful year. Yes our environment must be beautiful, our materials spotless, our assistant trained, and our plan ready, but without Grace and Courtesy all our hard work could be worthless.

Montessori Classroom Pauline Meert

 

Grace and Courtesy lessons are the corner stone to how everything flows within the classroom, from how to shake hands in the morning, to how to ask a question, or solve a disagreement. These lessons allow children to be a part of the community and grow towards normalization.

Children starting around age 3 have a very sensitive period towards social interactions. Grace and Courtesy lessons not only meet that need but also offer children the tools they seek to be both independent and successful in the classroom.

It can be easy to want to start the new school year just the same as we ended the last. We have many returning students, we know where they are at and the lessons they received in the past. So why not just pick up right where we left off?

Children’s sense of time is very different from ours. Starting a new school year feels like starting from scratch. Thus, we must also take the time to revisit the basics of the classroom setting. As the returning children review, the new children can learn. Not only does this help create a sense of community but it also offers the older children the confidence to teach and support the younger students. As Montessori said in the The Absorbent Mind: “Our schools show that children of different ages help one another. The younger one sees what the older ones are doing and asks for explanations. There is a communication and harmony between the two that one seldom finds between the adult and the small child.”

So how do we present Grace and Courtesy? Everyone has their own way but the most common is through role-playing. Not only do the children learn well through witnessing the interactions and participating but they also find this fascinating and entertaining!

In my classroom, we spend a lot of time reviewing, roleplaying, practicing, and learning Grace and Courtesy. This builds a strong foundation for the rest of the year. Should Grace and Courtesy only happen in the beginning of the year? Of course not! However, once we have set in place a strong foundation, all we need to do is review throughout the year!

Here is a list of some of our Grace and Courtesy lessons

  • Greet someone
  • Watch someone’s work
  • Offer or refuse help
  • Ask a question
  • Interrupt a lesson
  • Welcome a visitor
  • Solve a disagreement
  • Serve food
  • Set up snack
  • Excuse one’s self
  • Choose a work
  • Walk in the classroom
  • Use quiet voices
  • Respect others’ work
  • Use materials appropriately
  • Line up
  • Hang up coats and backpacks
  • Sit at the line
  • Use the restroom

And of course, don’t forget that Grace and Courtesy lessons should not be restricted to the classroom environment but also transfer to the lunch area, the playground, and most importantly, the home!

What Grace and Courtesy lessons do you give in the first few weeks of school? What have you found to be most successful in starting the year off right?

More Resources

Grace and Courtesy by Trillium Montessori

How to Start a New Class by Trillium Montessori

The Magic of Grace and Courtesy by Peter Davidson

Grace and Courtesy by Primary Montessori Guide

Montessori at Home or School: How to Teach Grace and Courtesy by Deb Chitwood


 

Pauline

Pauline Meert is the lucky teacher to twenty wonderful children in a beautiful Montessori classroom. She enjoys making new materials and discussing Montessori with strangers. She can be found at
For Little Ones:  Pauline’s Etsy store where you can find her handmade books
Inspire Montessori: A Montessori resource for parents and teachers
Montessori Geek: Pauline’s Blog
Pauline’s Pinterest Boards

 


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Montessori At Home Mondays with Marie Mack

Small Space Montessori Setup

I am excited to be back for part three of our Montessori At Home Monday’s series. You can view part one and part two to catch up if you missed them!

Montessori Setup in a Small Space Montessori At Home 5 part series at trilliummontessori.org

 

The Children’s Room

Small Space Montessori Setup 5 part seires with a tour of the children's room at trilliummontessori.org

Our children have shared a room since our daughter was 3 months old. There are many ways to help your children be comfortable sleeping together at a young age and I encourage you to research some techniques. A real quick note on helping your children share a room at a young age. Spend time with them in that room. Demonstrate appropriate behaviors and help them feel comfortable with the layout of the room. Doing this will give you peace of mind to know that your older child will act appropriately with an infant child when you are not in the room.

With that, here is their room! We adore the little kitchen. Since it is more of a pretend play activity, we chose to put it in their room. They were not disturbed by it being there, but used it to entertain themselves when they awoke. (As a note, be sure items like this are anchored to the wall so it doesn’t fall on accident.) We added a small tray of empty, unused food bins to help with open and close activities.

Our daughter’s bed is a twin mattress on the floor. We have never had an issue with her being cold at night with the mattress directly on the floor, even in NY winter. Beside her bed is a child size table with drawer. This was specifically Avalyn’s space. She kept her special items in the drawer (usually some kind of hair brush) and the books she was interested in on top.

Our son’s bed is on a frame. This gave him a little of his own space since his sister couldn’t get on the bed on her own.

Small Space Montessori Setup 5 part series with a tour of the children's room at trilliummontessori.org

As a way to continue our homeschool setup in the children’s room, we added another bookshelf. This too was FREE! Hand me down from my mother in law with new coat of paint.

We added a bath mat as a work space and kept some fine motor work in their room along with plenty of books!

Beside the shelf is a small treasure chest. This is for Samuel’s special things. Every boy needs a treasure chest!

The door you see leads to the only closet in the house.

The Closet

This walk-in closet proved to be extremely useful for our small space Montessori setup. Storage space, diaper changing area, and clothes storage for our family of four. We will look at only the children’s side.

Small Space Montessori Setup 5 part series with a tour of the only closet in the small home at trilliummontessori.org

The dresser in the closet is for the children’s clothes. I added a couple of hooks to the side for easy access for the children to hang their jackets. Avalyn’s changing station consisted of a changing mat on the floor under their hanging clothes. Her diapers are in bins on top of the dresser.

Small Space Montessori Setup 5 part series with a tour of the storage space in the only closet in the small home at trilliummontessori.org

Above their clothes is a high shelf. High shelves are a must have for small spaces. We stored all of the extra puzzles, baby memorabilia, games, and a couple baskets of those pesky toys that don’t stack well. As you can see it is stacked to the ceiling, but it was great to have all the activities I wanted to switch out for the kids in the apartment. I would recommend fitting in a high shelf for storage in any small home.

Small Space Montessori Setup 5 part series with a tour of the low shelves in the children's dresser at trilliummontessori.org

Since Avalyn was still a little young to dress herself, we decided to put Samuel’s clothes in the bottom two drawers of the dresser. (Also, a hand me down! I love free!) We organized his clothes to be in a specific place. A place for everything and everything in its place has always worked well for our home. Sam was able to open and close these drawers on his own so this became another practical life area.

Check back next Monday for our Small Space Montessori Setup post where we will go over how we setup our bathroom to include a Montessori toilet learning space.

About Marie Mack

Small Space Montessori Setup

Marie is a work-at-home mother of two. She co- blogs at Montessori on a Budget with Kimberly Huff and Lisa Nolan. She is also a contributor to Confessions of a Montessori Mom blog. After much self-study and with a background in education, she chose to follow her own children in their education and created the blog Child Led Life. She would love to hear from you on FacebookPinterest, and G+.

Thank you for checking out our Small Space Montessori Setup!

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This week I’d like to introduce you to the talented Nicole Kavanaugh.  I first found Nicole when I was looking for resources to share with the parents at our school about how to set up their homes in a Montessori friendly way.  I loved how she had her bathroom set up to help her little ones be as independent as possible.  Check out all the areas of her home for some great inspiration!

Montessori Bathroom
Montessori Bedroom
Montessori Closet
Montessori Playroom
Montessori Homeschool Classroom

-Seemi


 

Montessori at Home and on a Budget Kavanaugh Report

Hi! I’m Nicole from The Kavanaugh Report, where I blog about using Montessori principles in my home with my 3.5 year old son and my newborn daughter. I also host a tot school co-op and share the DIY work I create.

When people hear that we use Montessori ideas in our home, I’m pretty sure they think it requires expensive customized equipment and work. While this can be true in a school setting (although there are plenty of DIY options there too), using Montessori at home can be a lot different.

In fact, in my opinion, it’s all about making your home accessible to your children to foster independence within a nurturing prepared environment. But, how do you do this on a budget? Use what you have and thrift stores, thrift stores, thrift stores!

For me, one of the best and easiest places to cheaply incorporate Montessori is with my children’s toys. I do this using trays, baskets, and bowls. Instead of giant toy bins, try placing a few selected toys on a shelf in a specific container. These containers can be purchased at local thrift stores very cheaply. All of the ones I have used in this post cost me $2 or less. When looking for stuff at thrift keep a few things in mind:

Size — you want something that your child can easily pick up and move. If it’s too small nothing will fit on it and you won’t use it. If it’s too big, your child won’t use it because it won’t be comfortable for them.

Material — natural materials like wood, wicker, metal or glass are preferred in Montessori environments. I try to use a mix of all these materials in all areas of our home.

Cost — Children can be rough, and grow out of things quickly out of things. Find things for cheap is important!

Supply — never pay too much for any of these things, many can be found again! Check multiple thrift stores, garage sales and clearance sections for the best deals.

Montessori Trays Baskets and Bowls Kavanaugh Report

Here are a few ideas on how I use each type container and what I look for when I’m buying them!

Trays — These are my favorite and probably the most versatile. All sorts of sizes can be used. Larger trays are great for art or puzzles. Smaller trays are perfect for keeping smaller toys organized. They can also be used to make bathroom and food prep items accessible.

When looking for trays, try to find ones with handles. I find those are the easiest to use. Also, avoid trays that are too big or heavy. Wicker trays can be a great alternative since they are lighter, but I find stuff slides around more on those trays.

Baskets — Baskets are great for loose pieces of all sizes! We use them for stuffed animals, legos, wooden blocks and more. We also use baskets so my son has easy access to his socks and undies. They are also perfect for a baby toy. Since they are lightweight, babies can pull them from the shelf without hurting themselves and they provide a good way for babies to learn to place something back in its place.

Baskets are the easiest thing for me to find cheaply. But, I’ve learned there are different qualities of baskets. Look for ones that are sturdy and aren’t cracked or broken. Craft stores often have new baskets on sale or clearance too. I like to have a variety of these from tiny to large, there’s always a use for these.

Wooden Bowls — I use these for small work or organizing a larger tray. I love these little bowls because they hold up the best and are often the prettiest. But, keep them small, I’ve bought plenty of larger ones that sit around unused because they are just too heavy for kids to use. However, these are the ones I will pay the most money for — they tend to be in the lowest supply and the nicest to look at.

Montessori at Home Kavanaugh Report


Nicole

Thank you Trillium Montessori for letting me share these tips. I hope they help you incorporate a little Montessori into your home without spending tons of money! For more ideas on how to use Montessori principles in your home, stop by The Kavanaugh Report, or follow me on FacebookInstagram or Pinterest!


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Montessori At Home Mondays with Marie Mack

Montessori Setup in a Small Space

Thank you, Seemi, for having me back for part two of our Montessori At Home Monday’s series. If you missed part one, check it out here!

I would love to show you around our living room next. We used this space for EVERYTHING! Our living room is the classroom, playroom, community room, and reading room all in one.

Montessori Setup in a Small Space Montessori at home 5 part series

 

It is a great space for a lot of wonderful family time without having to clean up an entire house at the end of the day. As a busy mom, there are big perks to living in a small home.

Small Space Setup Living Room

The first item in our living space is a tall bookshelf. This shelf was headed to the dumpster at my husband’s work. Solid wood and very sturdy. (I love it!)

On the bottom two shelves I have practical life trays. The bottom shelf is intended for my youngest and the next shelf up for my oldest. Although they both work with the materials, I wanted to be sure there was enough challenge for my oldest.

The upper shelves, even the very top, is storage for activities and toys I rotate. I asked my children not to take those items down without asking me. This is an organizational decision that worked well and helped them focus on the work I already had out. I used clear bins to easily identify the materials inside and stacked as high as I could on the top shelf to get the most out of my vertical space.

Living Room

The rest of our common living space looked like this. The white shelf has some math and language work, a couple things for each child. The lower shelves for the younger child and upper shelves for the older. The green pillows and basket served as our reading space and where we did our circle time activities. The chalk board against the wall became an art space. The black shelves were also a find before they headed to the dumpster. This set of shelves I reserved for play items. Puzzles, play-dough, and special books on the topic we were discussing that week. There is also set of drawers there, that is hard to see in the picture. This stored my extra materials for helping Samuel with beginning learning and drawing materials.

You can see my bed behind a little divider. My husband and I chose to sleep in the open living space to give our children the room in our one bedroom apartment. Let’s tour there next Monday.

Check back next Monday where we will go over how we setup our children’s room to include a Montessori learning space.

About Marie Mack

Small Space Montessori Setup

Marie is a work-at-home mother of two. She co- blogs at Montessori on a Budget with Kimberly Huff and Lisa Nolan. She is also a contributor to Confessions of a Montessori Mom blog. After much self-study and with a background in education, she chose to follow her own children in their education and created the blog Child Led Life. She would love to hear from you on Facebook, Pinterest, and G+.

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Today I’m honored to share with you a guest post written by my friend, Heidi Walker.  Heidi is a mother to three children and a certified Parent Effectiveness Training instructor.  We’ve had the pleasure of having her come and speak at our school and share her wisdom with our parents in the past and are looking forward to having her visit again this year.  Enjoy!
-Seemi

This School Year I Will Be Mostly Listening

A few years ago I learned how to really listen.  I realize now that before I honed my listening skills I was hearing my children but I wasn’t really listening.  Instead of really listening I was thinking about my response, or I was wishing that they weren’t feeling a certain way, or wishing that they weren’t experiencing something.  These were the thoughts that occupied my mind and for that reason I could not truly be listening.
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Before I learned to listen I sat in silence while my daughter, then four, shared with me her sadness at being left out of a triangle of friends.  The silence would have been a fine reaction had it not been for the fact that the thoughts running through my head were “Darn, she is a sensitive child, just like I was.  Life is so much harder if you take things personally.  I wish she wasn’t sensitive.”
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During my silence I was having flashbacks to my own similar childhood experiences which would have been fine except for the fact that my inner dialogue would continue;  “I don’t know what to tell her to make it better.”  I knew that when my own Mom had said “Just go find someone else to play with” that it really didn’t help.  I would think to my self “I just wish I knew what to say that would help.”  So I was not really listening well because I was so consumed with my own thoughts.
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I learned how to really listen when my daughter was nine.  The same situation presented itself again and she shared with me her sadness at being left out of a triangle of friends.  Again I was silent but now the energy in my silence was different.  Because I had learned how to listen I knew how to really be present with my daughter.  After I learned how to really listen I was much more focused on my daughter and hearing what she was telling me.  I learned that I did not need the answers.  I learned that instead of wanting to take away the situation for her that it was better to acknowledge the upset she was experiencing with a simple statement “You felt lonely at school today.”  I learned that if I really listened to her response that I would learn a bit more about the situation.
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You cannot teach a man anything,  You can only help him find it within himself. - Galileo
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After I learned how to really listen I knew that the more my daughter was able to share about the experience causing the upset, the closer she came to finding her own solution to the matter.  I learned that I didn’t need the answers, she would come to those on her own.  I learned that sometimes life is lonely and that is okay.  When I learned how to really listen I realized that it is not my job as a parent to make everyday a good day or to stop the bad days from happening.  I learned that it is my job as a parent to be there for my children when things do happen and to really listen to how they are experiencing life.
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When I learned how to really listen I gave my children the gift of acceptance regardless of the emotion it was they were feeling.  I showed them what empathy is and they experienced what it feels like to really be listened to.  Most importantly I taught them how to listen by my example.
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As the school year starts listen for the good days and the bad days.  The days when a new friend is made and when one is lost.  Listen for the elation of learning a new skill and the frustration of not quite getting the hang of it.  Listen for the excitement of a new routine and the fear of change.  Listen for the days when everything went well and the days when something in their behavior indicates things could have been better.  In each of those moments acknowledge what they are feeling and experiencing and then let them show you the way.  Less is more when it comes to learning how to really listen.
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Heidi Mulligan WalkerHeidi Mulligan Walker is a mother to three children and is a Family Connection Coach and Founder of The Difference.  As a certified Parent Effectiveness Training Instructor she helps families to connect and thrive by sharing the communication techniques pioneered by Dr. Thomas Gordon.  Heidi and her family relocated to Cary, NC in 2012 after living abroad in the UK and China for the past 18 years.  She is loving sharing the American experience with her husband and young family.  She writes a weekly blog for The News & Observer’s Triangle Mom2Mom section called Parenting for All Seasons and is also a regular contributor to Huffington Post Parents.  You can visit her website and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @heididifference.  She is also the co-author of Inspiring Global Entrepreneurs
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