Category Archives: montessori

Big changes

The last few months have been filled with new opportunities and exciting changes!

In early March I started work for the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE) on a part-time basis. When school ended in late May, I started at MACTE full-time.

It is a very bittersweet change. I will miss the classroom, but it was time for me to move on. Thankfully, I found the perfect organization, and the perfect job.

I plan on keeping the blog as is — I will no longer update, but the archives will remain available.

Looking forward to seeing you all at Montessori conferences in the years to come!

Sewing in the Montessori Classroom is here!

I just came back from a wonderful and inspiring weekend at the American Montessori Society Annual Conference in Philadelphia. It was great to meet and talk with so many Montessori enthusiast!

I took 20 copies of my book so I could share it with people who have been instrumental in both my early and current Montessori journey. It was so very exciting to hand someone a book and say “I wrote this book, and I want to give it to you!”

Speaking of which, I wrote this book, and I want to share it with you! All of you have been so important to me these last 2 years (is this blog really almost two years old?). It is currently only available in hardcopy. I am going to have the Kindle and the PDF version set up in the next few days.

Sewing in the Montessori Classroom: a practical life curriculum

I am beyond thrilled to share this journey with you all, thank you.



montessori sewing lessons

I’m over at Confessions of a Montessori Mom sharing seven Montessori sewing lesson (there’s even a video!). Come over and check it out!

montessori sewing works

If you like these Montessori sewing lessons, subscribe to montessori works, because soon there will be a whole book! I’m writing and taking pictures of over 30 Montessori sewing works and projects, it will be for sale this fall — subscribe by email to stay in the loop!


montessori approach to allowance — real practical life

My daughter hoards stuffed animal, cats are her favorite. She prefers them in the $3.00 or less category (which you can find at almost any store) and every month, that is where her spending money goes. Is it what I call a quality item? No. Would I pick it to spend my money on? Not at all. Is it my decision? Nope, and that’s why it is so important.

We started giving Imogen an allowance a year ago when she was about 4 and a half. It all began because anytime we went into ANY store, there was always, the “I want!” “I need!” and even though she didn’t “get” those items, it was still a constant power struggle — so we transferred some of the power, her own little spending money.

a montessori approach to allowance | montessori works

I did a little research and we went with the system where the child separates all her money into three categories: Spend, Save, and Share. There are some pretty cool ready-made banks for this purpose.


Moonjar Classic Moneybox: Save, Spend, Share


Money Savvy Pig – Blue

I wasn’t looking to make that much of an investment when we started this journey. So I used some clear zippered pouches that I had, they were from the Martha Stewart line at Staples. They are easy to tuck in my purse (I always carry the spend pouch), it is easy for her to add and remove her money — for us, pouches win. Pinterest is also full of Spend, Save, Share jar tutorials, by people much craftier than I.

Now, this is how the system works for us — Imogen gets $12 a month, at the beginning of the month — I give her all $1s. Of the $12, $2 goes into Sharing, $4 goes to Saving and $6 goes to spending. If you google “How much allowance should my ? year old get” most people recommend a dollar for each year of their age, per week. So that would be $20 a month for Imogen who is 5, I find that to be a little too much, especially since we don’t require to buy her clothing, or items like that. $12 seems more appropriate, so that’s what I went with. Any birthday, or extra money is also divided in the same way.

  • I pay her monthly, it is easier for me to remember (I use cash anyway for most my monthly purchases, so I just add her $12 to my monthly withdraw). Also, I would rather have her budget her money all month.
  • We just use these three categories. I know others have a tithe category that is separate from the share, and still other people that have children saving for cars and college. To me the saving for college and a car is a little too abstract. What I want now is to instill the idea that there are items worth saving for, and the habit that every time you get money, you divided it up, some for now, some for later, some for others.
  • Her allowance is not connected to any chores. The idea that she helps around the house is a given and is not rewarded with money. I think this is very important in a Montessori type house. Children help around the house because that is the expectation, not because they are being rewarded.

What has Imogen gained from having an allowance?

  • Some things are cheap and they break easily. She now throughly inspects every stuffed animal she buys for loose threads or holes. The disappointment she went through when her cheap junk that she has purchased breaks, taught her much more about quality than I could have.
  • Buyers remorse. We did tromp back to a store once to return a $1 Japanese novelty eraser.
  • Budgeting — She use to go through her spending money by the 3rd of the month. Now she is more thoughtful about her purchases, is constantly figuring out, if I buy this, how much will I have left?
  • Delayed gratification. She is saving HER money for something big (one of those large stuffed animals), we aren’t buying it for her, it’s her choice and purchase. I have a feeling when she finally had enough money, and we buy it, it will be her favorite.thing.ever.
  • The joy of sharing. She has plans to buy a good friend a gift with her share money, and then buy cans of cat food for our local SPCA.
children and allowance, a montessori approach

how Imogen feels about her allowance

Allowing her to have her own money, and make her own decisions about how to use it, has really been an exercise in practical life. In a Montessori home, we are always looking for real ways to give children ownership and responsibility for their actions, what better way to help prepare them for life than to trust them with their own money.

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a compilation of free montessori resources!

For the last few years, at the end of the year, I reread Julie Volkman’s The Promise of Fall. It’s not because I am a super teacher that is constantly thinking about how I can improve, or what I can do better, it’s just that I finally realized it is the perfect time to reevaluate and think about your classroom, your homeschool routine, your co-op. At the end of the year we can see and remember “what’s going well” and “what’s not going well, and honestly driving me crazy.” Come September, the summer sun has faded those thoughts and feelings, everything has a rosy glow and I can’t even remember how I have the shelves arranged.

a compilation of free montessori resources | montessori works

To that point, I wanted to share this article so you too can also start thinking about next Fall. I also complied of some of the best and free Montessori resources I could find on the internet. I purposely kept this list not based on free downloads and printables and more philosophy/albums/lesson plan based. Continue reading

fundamental needs of worms – a montessori science work

In late March, I had the great opportunity to attend the American Montessori Society’s annual conference in Dallas. It was wonderful, inspiring, overwhelming and so busy! It was hard to figure out where you wanted to be, because there was too much to see and to hear.

fundamental needs of worms - a montessori science work | montessori works

One day my coworkers and I wandered into a session labeled “Teacher Networking”. AMS had invited local Montessori teachers to set-up some of their best and most interesting works — it was like a live Pinterest. This is where I met Loree Birkenback, head of St. James Episcopal School in Dallas, and saw her Fundamental Needs of the Worm work. She was kind enough to allow me to recreate it at my school, and post it here to share with you all. She also forwarded me her original extension printables (What do worms need? and papers for measuring worms), and you may download the PDF’s here (Earthworm documents). I have made a few changes to the lessons to make the lessons fit my school and my group, but for the most part it stayed the same. Continue reading