Please welcome Aimee Fagan!  Aimee’s work on the Montessori Works Blog has been an inspiration to me for a long time.  Aimee is a trained Montessori teacher and she has some wonderful resources for the practical life area of the classroom.  She also writes about her experiences raising her children in a Montessori home.  Today she has some ideas to help you incorporate a practical life activity to get ready for the gift giving season!



Holiday Gifts Your child Can Sew Montessori Sewing Activities

Handmade gifts are the best!  The only thing that makes them better, is when they are made by children.

I strongly believe in the benefit of sewing with children. In my classroom, I have a sewing sequence that we follow, which not only develops sewing skills, but more importantly independence, concentration, coordination, and a sense of order.

Here are two super simple sewing projects that can be used for gifts and easily incorporated into the home or classroom. Now, if you are jumping into these with a relatively new sewer, you will need to be available to help, and guide, especially when it comes to threading the needle and tying the knots. But personally, I love the look of “child made” and I try to make sure that my sewing help is minimal (like making sure that the thread doesn’t completely tangle!)

To get started

you will need:

Needles — for early sewers I suggest blunt tapestry needles, then I move on to the sharper needles that still have a large eye.

Needle threaders – if you plan on incorporating sewing into your class and home, you must invest in a few of these!

Embroidery floss – We tie the loose ends together so there is no chance of the needle becoming unthreaded.



All of the above in a cute little basket would make an adorable Holiday gift for a child interested in sewing!


A Set of Ornaments


Christmas Tree and Star Simple Sewing Projects for Young Children

The great thing about these is that they can be done by a child at almost any sewing stage. Obviously the youngest will need support, but it still results in a lovely homemade gift!


  • Stars (or other holiday shape) cut from felt, I like to have the child make 2-3 per gift.
  • Beads and sequins with holes large enough for your needle (the sparklier the better)
  • Ribbon
  • Needle, embroidery floss, scissors, pincushion


  1. Start by helping the child get the needle threaded and the knot tied. If you are interested in lessons to help the child do this independently, see below.
  2. Have the child come through the felt and then pick a bead to put on the needle. Have them sew back down through the felt.
    Here is where your involvement comes into play with the younger sewer. My main goal is to help them not pull the thread so tightly that the felt shape becomes distorted – but otherwise I am very hands off, and allow the child to follow their ideas. The great aspect of this project is that the embroidery floss becomes part of the decoration as well, if you cut out Christmas trees, and used red floss, it’s now tinsel! I like the look of the white floss on the star.
  3. Continue to add beads until the ornament has been decorated to the child’s satisfaction, help the child tie a knot to finish.
  4. For adult or older independent sewer, cut a length of ribbon and attach it (either with a thread or a glue gun).
  5. Repeat for as many as needed!


Embroidered Dishcloth

Embroidered Dish Towel simple sewing projects for young children


This is a gift we make every Mother’s Day with out kindergarten students. It is for the more independent sewer, but can still be adapted for the beginner.


  • Dish Towels, prewashed, dried, and lightly ironed. We always use these from Ikea
  • Embroidery hoops
  • Needle, embroidery floss, scissors, pincushion


  1. Trace the child’s hand onto the lower middle part of the towel.
  2. Attach the embroidery hoop.
  3. Have the child backstitch (or just stitch for the younger sewer) along the pencil line.
  4. When complete, we write the child’s name and the year on the edge of the towel.



Threading a Needle

This is how I teach a child to thread a needle. It is a long process, and it can take a child months to become an independent needle threader! Often the child needs help guiding their hands to get the needle threader through the eye of the needle. We usually incorporate this lesson into any other sewing work that we have out, rather than have a “needle threading” work on the shelf.

learnking how to thread a needle simple Montessori sewing projects for young children


  • A pincushion or cork
  • A needle with a large eye
  • A needle threader
  • A precut length of thread
  • A magnet (optional, to hold the needle and needle threader)
  • A small dish for the magnet
  • A tray to hold the materials


  1. Invite the child to the lesson, take the tray to the table.
  2. Holding the needle, point out the eye and name it. I say, “This is the eye. It’s not like our eye, but it’s the same word.”
  3. Place the needle in the pincushion, showing that the eye is still upward.
  4. Take the needle threader in the dominant hand and slide the large hook through the eye — do not let go of the needle threader.
  5. Pick up the thread with the subdominant hand, and place it over the hook with about a two-inch tail at one end.
  6. Hold the needle at the base with the subdominant hand. Using the dominant hand that is still holding the needle threader, pull the hook of the needle threader back through the eye and until one end of the thread has come through the eye.
  7. Point out that there is an end of the thread on each side of the eye.
  8. Remove the thread, invite the child to try, helping as needed.


Tying a Knot to Finish

We have two ways to tie a knot, and both have their pros and cons. Practice both and see which works best for you. We present both: some children prefer one way and others another – and still others come up with a different way!

Similar to threading a needle, this is not a lesson that we always put out as an individual work. Some years children enjoy practicing, other times the material is hardly touched. If we don’t have it out as a lesson, we present this same lesson as part of the initial sewing lessons.

Again, this is a lesson that I usually do in an interactive fashion, rather than the traditional Montessori way of the teacher presenting the whole lesson, and then inviting the child. Since it is so complex, I find that children tend to master it faster if we do it together, and I use my hands to guide them — hand over hand.


  • A pincushion or cork
  • A needle with a large eye
  • A needle threader
  • Embroidery floss wrapped on a plastic bobbin
  • A pair of scissors
  • A magnet (optional, to hold the needle and needle threader)
  • A small dish for the magnet
  • A tray to hold the materials

Presentation I:

  1. Invite the child to the lesson, take the materials to the table.
  2. Measure the thread and cut. We use the measurement on the length of the table or the length of the child’s arm — it ends up begin about 20 inches. Based on your environment, you can adjust your method of measuring the thread.
  3. Thread the needle as described in the previous lesson.
  4. Remove the needle from the pincushion.
  5. Bring the ends of the thread together so that they are even and the needle is in the middle of the thread.learning how to tie a knot simple Montessori sewing projects for young children
  6. In the dominant hand, pinch the ends of the thread.learning how to tie a knot simple Montessori sewing projects for young children 2
  7. Add the eye of the needle to the pinched ends in the dominate hand.learning how to tie a knot simple Montessori sewing projects for young children 3
  8. With the subdominant hand, grasp the floss in the middle.learning how to tie a knot simple Montessori sewing projects for young children 4
  9. With the subdominant hand, wrap the floss around the needle three times.learning how to tie a knot simple Montessori sewing projects for young children 5
  10. Now hold the tip of the needle with the subdominant hand.
  11. Slide the dominant hand’s grip up to include the thread that was wrapped around the needle.
  12. Holding the tip of the needle with the subdominant hand, slide the dominant hand (which is holding the wrapped thread, the eye of the needle and the end of the thread) off the end of the needle and to the end of the thread.
  13. Cut the knot and return the materials to the tray, or start sewing.

Here is the whole process in motion:


Presentation II:

  1. Invite the child to the lesson, take the materials to the table.
  2. Measure the thread and cut. We use the measurement on the length of the table or the length of the child’s arm — it ends up begin about 20 inches. Based on your environment, you can adjust your method of measuring the thread.
  3. Thread the needle as described in the previous lesson.
  4. Remove the needle from the pincushion.
  5. Bring the ends of the thread together so that they are even and the needle is in the middle of the thread.learning how to tie a knot simple Montessori sewing projects for young children 6
  6. Lay the end of the thread in the palm of the subdominant hand.learning how to tie a knot simple Montessori sewing projects for young children 7
  7. Pinch down with the fingers to hold the thread, leaving the thumb sticking up.learning how to tie a knot simple Montessori sewing projects for young children 8
  8. Wrap the thread around the thumb.
  9. Use the needle to sew under the thread.learning how to tie a knot simple Montessori sewing projects for young children 9
  10. Carefully remove the knot from the thumb.learning how to tie a knot simple Montessori sewing projects for young children 10
  11. Gently coax the loop down to the end of the thread
  12. Pull the knot tight.

This is the easiest method of tying a knot, but unfortunately the knot isn’t very large, and often the child tightens it in the middle of the thread, so they can’t sew for very long without rethreading.

I hope that these ideas inspire you to make some wonderful gifts this holiday season.

 About Aimee Fagan

Aimee Fagan of the Montessori Works Blog

Aimee is a 3-6 trained teacher who works in Charlottesville, Va and blogs at Montessori Works. She is in the final stages of publishing a book outlining a sewing curriculum for the Montessori classroom. If you are interested in more Montessori sewing lessons and projects, hop over to Montessori Works and subscribe to the email list. You will be the first to know when her Montessori sewing book is published!


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Introducing Trillium en Espanol

by Seemi on November 26, 2014

in Cultural

I’m excited to announce the launch of Trillium en Espanol!  I am collaborating with my dear friend Rachel Kincaid to translate as many of my TpT products as possible into Spanish.

Trillium en Espanol


About Rachel

Rachel and I have been friends for many years.  I first met her when I began doing some field consultant work for the Center for Guided Montessori Studies.  She handled the back end work in their office at that time.  Once she decided to do the Montessori training herself, she joined me at Trillium to do her internship and was our very first employee!

Rachel World Map

Rachel then moved on to start a Spanish immersion Montessori program with Marc Seldin.  She is now the head of school at Renaissance Montessori.

About Trillium en Espanol

I have been creating printable materials for my classroom here at Trillium Montessori for the past couple of years.  Most of these printables are designed to be changed out with the seasons so the children can continue to practice basic skills.

Rachel is working on translating these printables into Spanish.  We’re hoping that those of you who work in Spanish Montessori classrooms (or homeschools!) will find them useful.

If you’re not already familiar with the Trillium Montessori line of products on TpT, we have the following categories:

  • Preschool Packs that include basic skills like cutting, matching, color and size sorting, prepositions, oral language development, etc.
  • Phonological Awareness Packs that cover essential pre-reading skills such as rhyming, syllables, phonemic awareness etc.
  • Continent Packs which provide some unique materials to add to your Montessori continent studies
  • Mini Units which help you add Montessori friendly activities to your thematic units

We will be uploading the translated Spanish Montessori printables into our brand new Teachers Pay Teachers store as they are ready.

Trillium en Espanol Montessori printable Materials in Spanish


Keep up with Trillium en Espanol

Our goal is to have the printables translated and updated regularly.  We will post all new printables at a significant discount for the first 48 hours.  If you’d like to keep up with new product announcements, be sure to sign up for email updates!  Enter your information in the form below and then check your email for confirmation.  By the way, signing up here will also get you access to our free printables page.  Get more details here.

You can also follow us in the following places:

Follow Seemi @ Trillium Montessori’s board Montessori in Spanish on Pinterest.

Free Download

Download our first set of 3-part cards for free!

Spanish 3 part cards Animals in Winter


Today I’m excited to welcome Tanya Wright to the blog!  She is sharing some information about the Montessori Baric Tablets.  This is an elegant Montessori activity that you don’t hear about much, which is unfortunate because it’s an important part of the Montessori sensorial curriculum.
The senses are the child’s window to the world; it is through them that he gathers information about his environment.  The sensorial materials and presentations help the child make sense of the sensory impressions he is taking in.   “The training and sharpening of the senses has the obvious advantage of enlarging the field of perception and of offering an ever more solid foundation for intellectual growth.  The intellect builds up its store of practical ideas through contact with, and exploration of, its environment.  Without such concepts the intellect would lack precision and inspiration in its abstract operations.” – Maria Montessori, Discover of the Child.


Hello, my name is Tanya. My blog is The Natural Homeschool and I feel very privileged to be a guest writer for Trillium Montessori and share our experience with the wonderful Baric Tablets.
Baric Tablets… beautiful work that isn’t appreciated or used enough, maybe because it isn’t quite as known as other more popular activities. Maria Montessori knew that this work was important to include in the Sensorial material for a reason. It teaches some very important skills that we will discuss here.
Why should we love and encourage this work? Read on and find out.

Baric Tablets are a wonderful work to encourage learning about and recognizing weight.

The materials you need:

- Three wooden boxes with seven tablets in each box (some companies offer boxes with 6 tablets instead of seven)

- A table or a mat


light, medium, heavy, heavier, heaviest, lighter, lightest


Each wooden box has seven tablets made out of wood (about 3 inches long). 

The seven tablets in each box are the same size, but they are made out of different woods. 

Each box has seven tablets. The first box has tablets that weigh 12 grams. The second box has tablets that weigh 18 grams and the third box’s tablets weigh 34 grams. Some companies make tablets that weigh 20, 30 and 40 grams.

Note: In all reality, I am a homeschool mom and two things you learn when you move from the Montessori classroom to the Montessori homeschool room is to be flexible and creative. If you want to make these at home, but don’t know what woods to use, don’t worry. As long as you can obtain three woods that are obviously light, medium and heavy in weight, you are good to go.


* The first time this presentation is done, the child has his eyes open. The second time, his eyes will be closed.
- This work is supposed to be done at a table, but since our table is not large enough in the homeschool room, then we use a mat and do it on the floor.

- Invite the child who will be working with you to bring the boxes to the table or mat.

- The child is then instructed to put his hands out (as if receiving a gift), palms facing up.

- Place one light tablet on one hand and ask child to move his hand up and down, as to gauge the weight of the tablet.

- Place one heavy tablet on the other hand and ask the child to move his hand up and down gently.

- Take the light tablet off and place another heavy tablet on that hand. If he realizes that they both weigh the same, then ask him to place them together on the table or mat.

- The child can try this again with two lighter tablets. If the child realizes that they are the same weight, then he can place them on the table or mat.

- Continue placing the tablets with matching weights in rows (light, medium, heavy). Continually, use the vocabulary words  mentioned above.

Extension: Do the same activity, but this time, the child has his eyes closed.

The goal of this work is to let the child become aware of weights and how things can weigh differently. Baric sense is very important as is sitting still long enough to focus on recognizing whether the two tablets held are of same weight or not.

The control of error is usually the color of the wood. The set that we have at home is harder to recognize due to color, which helps with becoming more in tune with the weight and not the color, which is great, in my opinion. The point of this work is to engage in recognition of weight differences.

I hope your children enjoys this work as much as mine do. They have asked for it several times. 

Here are some other resources that you might find helpful. It would be wise to note that there are always variations in the materials and presentations. I like to stick to my Montessori training binders, but doing what works best for your family is the most important thing. Montessori World, Info Montessori, Montessori Commons.

Please feel free to visit us over at The Natural Homeschool for more Montessori and Montessori-Inspired activities. Also, follow us on Facebook, Pinterest, Google + and to subscribe to our weekly emails.

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by Simone Davies

A Day in the Life of a Montessori Toddler

It is so fun to be back guest blogging here for Trillium Montessori. Thanks for having me visit, Seemi.

I always say that Montessori is not just an educational philosophy but a way of life. So I thought it would be fun to delve into the photo archives to show you what a day in the life of a Montessori toddler was like in my house.

My children are now 13 and 12 years old so it has been really fun to put this together for you!

The timings are just approximates. The timing changed from day to day but we had the same basic routine almost every day – toddlers like to know what is happening next! But it also gives you an idea how slowly everything happened. The other thing you will notice is the children are invited to join in all our daily activities. My favourite part is still just hanging out with these two!

6:30am/7:00am Wake up time

The children shared a room until they were in their teens so if one of them woke up it wasn’t long before there were two wakeful children. I’d often find them chatting in bed or out of bed playing with the few toys in their room or reading books.

Emma is sleeping here in a junior toddler bed from Ikea that she could climb out of by herself.

1 Wake Up

8:00am Breakfast time

Toddlers eat a lot. We would make a 3 course breakfast together starting with some cereal like Weetbix, then some fruit, followed by yogurt. The children would help me set the table and we always put out a small jug so they could pour their own milk.

I like to eat main meals at the family dining table so the children would just kneel on their chairs to reach the table. We would chat about what we were planning to do that day, watch what was going on out the window, and inevitably there were spills which the children would help wipe up.

8:30am Get dressed

The children enjoyed choosing their own clothes. I would sit on the floor to help Emma while Oliver would mostly get himself dressed. Some days this took a very long time. Ideally there is no hurry with toddlers in the house.

2 Get Dressed

9:00am Feed the fish

A fish is a great first pet. We kept the tank on the shelf at child-height so the children could watch it. At feeding time, we would put a small amount of food into an egg cup for them to pour into the tank. A custom glass lid stopped little fingers playing in the water.

3 Feeding the Fish

9:15am Head out for a morning activity

Shoes on! In the entrance we had some small chairs where the children could sit to put on their shoes. Velcro is perfect for little ones trying to dress themselves.

4 Putting on Shoes

9:30am Montessori playgroup (or other activity)

Once a week we would attend a Montessori playgroup for toddlers and parents. Here is Oliver setting the table for snack time.

5 Playgroup

Other days we would attend a music class, visit the grandparents, head to the beach or the park or playground.

12:00pm Make lunch

We would mostly have a simple lunch of sandwiches or cheese on toast. The children like to take turns on the step ladder to make their own (clothing optional!).

6 Making Lunch

12:15pm Lunchtime

The children would carry their lunch to the table and sit with me to eat together. I still love meal times to talk about everything and anything. These two are such sweet company.

7 Lunchtime

12:30pm Naptime

There was generally a quiet time in our house for around an hour and a half. When Oliver got older, he would just read quietly in bed while Emma napped. There was even a time when I practised tai-chi while they were resting to get enough energy to get through the afternoon.

2:30pm Out and about again

Some days we would stay at home in the afternoon, but many days we would head out and about again.

On sunny days, some of things we did were: exploring the park (including blowing dandelions), watering the plants, or taking some duplo and a blanket outside.

8 Outside Fun 1

Or if we were feeling like going further afield, we went for a short bush walk or went to the local train station to wave at the train drivers.

9 Outside Fun 2

Some inside options we enjoyed were heading to the art gallery or, once a week, visiting two ladies in a nursing home as part of a volunteer program.

10 Inside Fun 1

And if we didn’t even leave the house, we would get busy baking or get out some paints for an afternoon of craft.

11 Inside Fun4:00pm Snack time

Thechildren would eat their snack at a small child-sized table by the window. Here is Emma enjoying some apple. We always used regular plates and glasses – I don’t like eating off plastic and the children learn to take care and carry the plate with two hands.

12 Snack Time

Sometimes we had some visitors wanting to join us for a snack. Feeding birds with young toddlers is so much fun.

13 Feeding Birds

4:30pm Help mum

In a family with young children there is always a lot of washing. So Montessori  children get to help. Here Oliver has emptied the bucket of pegs and is trying on Dad’s t-shirt. It takes longer, requires some more patience, but involves them in our daily life.

14 Helping Mum

5:30pm Dinner time

Dinner time can be a messy affair. Cloths are at the ready for meal time clean up.

15 Dinner Time

6:00pm Bath time

And the best part about getting dirty at dinner, is getting clean in the bath. Such special times. Squeaky toys, small watering cans and sponges added to the fun.

16 Bath Time

6:30pm Story time

Our favourite part of the bed time ritual was jumping into the big bed to read books together. It wasn’t always such a peaceful scene though – often a lot of trampolining on the bed too.

17. Reading Books

7:00pm Bed time

It’s been another busy day. Good night all. It’s not long before they are both asleep and softly snoring.

18. Night Night

About Simone Davies

Simone Davies loves putting Montessori into practice. She is a qualified 0-3 Montessori teacher through the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) and mother of two children who attended Montessori preschool and primary school. She is from Australia and lives in the Netherlands where she runs a Montessori playgroup for babies, toddlers and preschoolers in Amsterdam. Visit her website here:

19. Simone Davies




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The Connected Family

by Seemi on November 7, 2014

in Montessori Home

I’m so excited to introduce you to my friend Kim Hughes today!  Kim has been a master teacher, mentor and leader for many many years.  Although she’s not a Montessorian, her approach to discipline works very well with Montessori.  She is a certified Conscious Discipline ® Loving Guidance Associate, personally trained by Dr. Becky Bailey.

by Kim Hughes

Building Positive Parent-Child Relationships with a New Approach to Discipline and Intentional Parenting

Connecting with our children should be our highest priority.  As parents, we can build a connected family in many ways, from spending quality time together to seeing the world from our children’s perspective; from noticing their interactions with others to listening to their thoughts and ideas; from setting firm yet respectful limits to loving them unconditionally.  Each of these elements solidifies the child’s trust in the family relationship.

Parents across the country have been enjoying the fruits of a new approach to discipline: positive discipline methods built on the principles of Conscious Discipline®.  Built on the latest in brain research and work in early childhood development, Conscious Discipline works in even the most challenging of situations.  One major difference from other discipline methods?  Conscious Discipline prompts parents to develop discipline within children rather than applying discipline to them.


The Connected Family


Tips on How to Build Positive Parent-Child Relationships with Conscious Discipline®


1.     Make time to truly focus on your children.

Don’t plan to be there for your children only during the good moments, but during ALL the moments, even when the going gets tough! Be an eyewitness to your children’s lives.  Be fully present by giving both your interest and full attention to your children rather than multi-tasking.  Make the decision to be accessible even when your life feels hectic.

Children know when you are genuinely with them.   Connect with your child by taking a walk, reading a book, creating a special ritual, or sharing a funny story.   Time spent with your children should be a sacred priority of parenthood.  Your presence is the greatest present you can give!


2.    Change your “don’ts” to “do’s”.

Conscious Discipline reminds us that what we focus on, we get more of… so if you focus on what you don’t want your children to do, you tend to get more of the same.  Children have a very hard time taking a “don’t request” and turning it around to a “do action.”  How many times have you heard someone say “don’t hit,” yet the hitting continues?  Children look to the adults in their lives to teach them the correct responses to challenging situations.  Be specific about the behavior you would like to see.  For instance, say, “Talk to him if you are upset. Hitting hurts.”  Capitalize upon these occasions to utilize conflict as an opportunity to teach children missing skills rather than reprimand them for not knowing what to do.


3.    Teach the behavior you want to see.

Children need a lot of time and practice to learn new skills.  The best time to teach your child how to handle conflict or social interactions is when he’s calm and can hear what you’re saying.  Work on his skills before the next conflict or social situation occurs.  How?  Explain what your child can do when he’s conflicted, frustrated, or angry, rather than what not to do.  Be calm, patient, firm, and crystal clear in your expectations.  Model the appropriate behavior yourself.


4.    Learn the QTIP rule: Quit Taking It Personally.

Strong feelings can conjure up strong behavior.  Your child’s intense reaction is truly not about you, it is about your child’s inability to control herself.  Often she becomes tangled up in her emotions and has temporarily lost her ability to understand and express her emotions in a positive manner.  Feeling hurt and taking this behavior personally can keep you from responding in a thoughtful fashion and supporting her transition to a state of composure and self-control.


5.    Keep your cool.

Be the type of person you want your children to become by modeling composure.  Take a deep breath and tell yourself, “I can handle this! Keep breathing,” over and over until you compose yourself.  Let your hurt and anger go, consciously quiet your voice,  and think through how to calmly and constructively respond rather than simply react.  Reframe your thinking and instead of simply trying to make your child stop a particular behavior, ask yourself, “What can I do to help him choose to take this action instead?”


6.    Offer choices.

Choices empower children while giving them a sense of control.  Additionally it grants you the ability to direct those choices.  You might offer choices such as …

  • “It’s snack time! Would you like string cheese or a small container of yogurt?”
  • “Let’s put on your jacket.  Do you want to have the zipper open or the zipper closed?”


7.    Encourage, encourage and then encourage some more.

Seek to be an active participant in your child’s everyday successes and struggles. Your encouragement during good times and bad will allow your children to see themselves as good people capable of good things.  Knowing you are fully supportive empowers them to focus on what they can do, not what they cannot.  Use verbiage like “You did it! You picked up your toys.” rather than just “Good job!” so they hear detailed information about specific successes.


8.    Effective praise relies on describing; notice instead of judge.

Notice and genuinely comment on appropriate behavior throughout the day.  Describe what you specifically see children doing by almost painting a picture of what you notice.  For instance, “You gave your sister a turn, so she could play with the toy.  That was helpful.”  Children quickly live up to our expectations of them.  When you notice appropriate behavior and genuinely comment on it, children will begin to exhibit more of it.


9.    Reclaim your parent power.

Children need and want boundaries and limits — these make them feel safe, secure, and loved. Setting limits provides children with guidance before they get into trouble as they know from the beginning what is expected.  Firm control and simple, clear-cut reasons for limits are effective ways to help children build inner control and establish the beginnings of a conscience


10.  Mistakes are how we learn.

Mistakes create another rich opportunity to learn.  Refrain from “saving” your child from the consequences of her actions.  Help her learn to handle frustrations and disappointment by offering support and empathy.  Compassion allows children a chance to step back, take a breath, and claim responsibility for their actions so they can move forward.

By fully exploring social relationships,interacting with people, and manipulating objects, your child will formulate ideas, try these ideas out, and accept or reject what she learns. By exploring and then trying out a hypothesis, and finally, solving problems, children make learning personal and meaningful.

Constructing knowledge by making mistakes is part of the natural process of problem solving.  The discoveries your child makes within both the mistake-making process and then the problem-solving process provides the vehicle for her learning.


Remember that parenting is a journey … Enjoy the ride as it is one that is filled with ups and downs.  Use Conscious Discipline® to create a fundamental shift of power in your family so that intrinsic motivation, helpfulness, problem-solving and genuine connection govern your home.



About Kim Hughes, M.Ed.


Kim is a 30+ year veteran of early care and education, Kim served as North Carolina’s 1999-2000 Teacher of the Year. In 2011 she began Conscious Connections, an educational firm that helps parents, teachers, administrators, and child care providers harness positive discipline techniques and cutting-edge early childhood research to create rewarding relationships and positive learning environments for children.
Kim continues working with children via ongoing mentoring, modeling, and coaching. She currently trains educators and families throughout North Carolina, the United States and Canada. In 2010 she received her certification as a Conscious Discipline® Instructor and was elevated to the national level in 2012 and to the LGA level in 2013. She is available to conduct educational keynotes and workshops nationally as well as to coach/mentor in the Raleigh and Central NC area. Feel free to contact her at Check out her website at

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A Montessori Lesson

by Seemi on October 31, 2014

in Practical Life

Today I’d like to introduce you to Linda Karchmar.  Linda is a now retired Montessori Guide who owned her own school for 28 years, and taught for 32 years.  She has a wonderful online store where she is selling materials from her school, including lots of lovely Practical Life items! You can also find children’s books, ready-to-go activities, and themed materials. Click here to check out Linda’s Montessori Shop



The Lesson by Linda Karchmar

Montessori is a lot of things – the philosophy, the materials, the beautiful and calm environment, but without The Lesson, it won’t all come together.

A Montessori Lesson

The Lesson is one of the MOST important parts of Montessori to master. It isn’t easy!

Anyone who has gone through a Montessori program such as AMI or AMS will tell you about the hours of practice just to pour rice from one jug to the other, or to spoon from one bowl to the other! Hours practicing building the Pink Tower, counting the Number Rods, and writing down each step we took. This is how we mastered The Lesson long before we sat down with a child (which was a whole new experience!)

Through these most important lessons, the child gains freedom in the classroom, to conquer independence and self-discipline.

Before you even give the lesson, you must make sure the activity is interesting, appealing, and offers a challenge without frustration. The lesson must be clear, so that every movement is seen and understood by the child. This is done by careful analysis of your own movements prior to the lesson. These movements consist of a series of logical and subsequent actions which lead to the completion of the exercises. The lesson is given in virtual silence, so that the child’s attention is focused on your action, not your voice.

Here is an example of a lesson I wrote for myself in my AMI training:


Pouring tray

Pouring Rice

Materials: Small tray, 2 breakable, matching jugs of equal size, one ¾ filled with rice


1.     Bring the child to the shelf, show him the activity, naming it “This is pouring rice! I’m going to show you how to do this activity”

2.     Carry the tray carefully to the table, with two hands. Place the tray quietly on the table, somewhat in front of the child’s dominant side.

3.     Show the child the contents of the jugs

4.     Pick up the jug on the right by the handle, with your right hand (we are assuming the child is right handed if we don’t know for sure)

5.     Steady the jug with your left hand by placing 2-3 fingers under the spout. (choose one or the other and always present the same way)

6.     Center the spout over the empty jug

7.     Tip the jug and pour slowly at first, making sure the rice flows through the spout into the center of the jug.

8.     Look into the jug in your right hand to see that all the rice has been poured out.

9.     Place the empty jug on the tray

10.  Turn the tray so that the jug with the rice is once again on your right side.

11.  Repeat the lesson.

12.  Invite the child to have a turn “Would you like to try?”


NOTE: if any rice is spilled, show the child how to pick up each grain using a pincer movement

Some people prefer to return the tray to the shelf before inviting the child to have a turn, thus totally completing the cycle.


Point of Interest:

·      Placing the left hand fingers below the spout

·      seeing and hearing the rice pour from the jug into the empty jug

·      turning the tray

·      centering the jug

·      checking to see that all the rice has been poured



·      preliminary to pouring water

·      controlled action (hand-eye co-ordination)

·      Indirect preparation of the fingers need for writing by picking up the grains of rice with a pincer movement


Age: 2.5-3 years


Variations: (After the initial activity has been mastered)

·      Pick up both jugs, one in each hand, and pour the rice from the right jug into the left jug. Place the now empty jug on the left side of the tray, and the now full jug on the right side of the tray.

·      Replace rice with beans or other substance suitable for dry pouring


Dry Pouring


A lot of repetition went into preparing this lesson!

After 30 years of pouring rice and giving lessons I would like to add: Before you start, have the child either grasp his hands together under the table, or place them on top of each other under the table. If the child starts to go for the activity before you finish your lesson, stop what you are doing, gently remind him to put his hands under the table, and place your left hand on top of his hands “remember – hands under the table!” (very quietly!). Don’t restart the lesson until he is ready. Sometimes the children are distracted from the lesson by another child. In which case you would freeze (or set down what you are doing) until his attention comes back to your lesson (you may have to whisper his name), and then continue the lesson once you have his attention. At no time should you chastise him for not looking or being distracted, just continue as soon as you have him again. Eventually, if you follow this every single time you give a lesson, the child will automatically place his hands under the table to show he is ready for the lesson.


Do as I do is the Montessori way. Lead by example. Therefore if you show a child how to hold a tray, bowl or basket by two hands, that’s what you need to do every time you carry a tray bowl or basket! If you show the children how to tuck in a chair when leaving your chair, you have to do it the same way every single time!! It’s all part of the lesson!

 Hold a bowl with two hands

Here are some lessons in pictures. I have included a small group lesson with solids, done the same way as a table lesson, except I am across from the children, and there is more talking, since it is a language lesson.

What is a Montessori Lesson by Linda Karchmar


Also, you will need to decide if the lesson is only for one child, or if others can watch. In this case, all the children watching were experienced second or third year children, and they were allowed to watch without making any sounds. They were also allowed to choose the work that I showed to the first child. I would observe when they chose the work, and if I felt they need a re-presentation, then I would give them an “official” lesson. I would never do this with a first year child. I would also give a large group lesson from time to time, to the whole class (or those who wanted it, some of the younger children would leave).

I had a small “floor table” that I would put in front of me, or use a carpet. Group lessons were usually interactive, where the children could take turns. Here is one on tasting different kinds of potatoes. The activity is then placed on the shelf for those who attended the group lesson.

What is a Montessori Lesson by Linda Karchmar 3


In conclusion – never underestimate the power of The Lesson! Always do what you have shown the child to do! PRACTISE the lesson before you give it! Notice or record all the steps you need to take. If you give fantastic lessons, everything else should fall into place. Remember – a lesson is a GIFT to the child!

About Linda Karchmar

What does a retired Montessori Directress who has taught for 32 years, and who owned her own school for 23 years do when she retires? Does she go off to travel the world? Live in Hawaii? Put her feet up with a glass of wine? None of the above! She starts up an online store to sell the materials in her school to other Montessori schools, and homeschoolers.

Linda Karchmar

Hi! My name is Linda Karchmar, and I am that retired Montessori Directress who decided to open an online store, called Linda’s Montessori Shop, in the fall of 2013, after retiring and closing my school. I have a garage and a storage locker full of materials, and my basement is full of about 2,000 children’s books. I wanted to share my materials and books with others who may need them.  Montessori materials are expensive, especially the good quality ones that will last a long time. I know this because I have quite a few of those that have done very well over the past years, and still look almost new. All of the items I am selling are half price or less than new.

Practical Life! I love wandering around garage sales and Goodwill stores to find all those special, one-of-a-kind jugs, bowls, and trays.  I’ve got a ton of those!

So, instead of sitting on the beach in Florida, or traveling to Paris with my hubby, I am staying put, and hoping to be of some benefit to those of you who are still out in the working/teaching world. Please stop by my Linda’s Montessori Shop or come say hi on Facebook.  You can also find me on Pinterest.  If you are already in the wonderful Montessori Facebook groups  that I belong to, I will probably see you there!


Montessori Continent Studies

by Seemi on October 29, 2014

in Cultural


I’ve teamed up with Kimberly from Natural Beach Living and Tanya from The Natural Homeschool to bring you this giveaway of fun things to add to your Montessori geography area.

  1. Continent insets (in Montessori colors)
  2. A continent mold to add to your clay/playdoh work
  3. a digital file with 3-part cards for the biomes of all the continents  (you can see North America, Australia, and the physical features of Antarctica on our subscriber’s page)  These biome cards are sold as part of the Continent A-Z packs in my TpT store.  This giveaway is the ONLY place where you can get just the biomes as a set.  If you want them, you’ll have to win them!

Continent Giveaway


a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Void where prohibited by law. Must be at least 18 years of age. This giveaway is in no away associated with Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest. No purchase necessary for entry. Odds are determined by the number of entries. Selected winner will have 48 hours to respond to email notification to claim their prize or another winner will be drawn. Entry into this giveaway will subscribe you to the Trillium Montessori Blog, Natural Beach Living, and The Natural Homeschool email lists. You may unsubscribe at any time.


Are you ready to delve into continent studies the Montessori way?  Here are some resources to get you started!  Click on the images to see more.


Introduction to Montessori Geography


You may also want to add my A-Z printable packs to your continent studies.  Get all the details in my TpT store.

7 Continents A-Z Bundle Thumbnail 1

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The November Seasonal Guide is ready!  All of our November seasonal activities have been compiled into one easy printable.

You can also see pictures of many of these activities in the following posts from last year:

November Fine Motor Shelf

November Printables

Learning About Leaves

Thanksgiving in Our Class


November Collage



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.

Banner Fall Blog

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