Category Archives: Bastardized Home Montessori Preschool

This is How I Roll

Back in December, I was in a Keystone Montessori staff meeting with Keystone administrator/teacher Cathe and we were brain storming about a school fundraiser. One of the things that I immediately liked about Cathe when I first met her was her early and often expressed interest in making a Montessori education accessible to anyone that wanted one. She wanted to have a scholarship fund, and she wanted to raise the money in a way that was as inclusive as possible. Which is the shortest way to tell the story of how I became the race organizer of the 1st Annual Keystone Montessori “This is How I Roll” 5K.

I’d run enough road races to have a basic handle on what’s important to runners when it comes to deciding to run a race or not: cost, organization and an awesome tshirt. We set the entry price to the lowest one normally finds in the area, made a point of putting together a clean and informative website, and had a Keystone parent design our tshirts and decided to pay a little extra for dry-fit over cotton.

The nuts and bolts of the organization and promotion of the race were very involved – at times it was its own part-time job – though I had a lot of advice and support from John’s Run/Walk Shop who we hired to measure the course and time our 5K. Back in January, I sat down with Chuck at John’s Run/Walk Shop for over an hour talking through the logistics of how to run a great community 5K (the three keys to a great race basically boil down to Sponsors, Runners, Volunteers).

Just after my half-marathon last September, I started running with the Georgetown Run Club & Intellectual Society (which you should join if you live in Georgetown and run even a little). They were another great resource when it came to working through all the details of the race. They were also gracious about coming out and actually running the race, and collectively won a number of the overall and age-group awards!

The Georgetown Run Club at the This is How I Roll 5K – From May 2011

When it was all over, I felt like I had collectively organized my wedding and birthed a 9-pound baby all over again simultaneously (there’s a nice mental image…). I heard a lot of nice compliments on the race from both our ‘elite’ local runners as well as people who had never run a 5K before. People loved the dry-fit race tshirts and the refreshment table with fair trade coffee, organic bananas and Chick-fil-a chicken biscuits. I was glad too that the whole race wasn’t populated just by people I knew or that were connected through the Montessori community, but also by local running groups and others who thought it would be a nice race to run. We ended up having 114 people register and 105 people run, which is pretty good for a first-time 5K being run the same weekend as the Girls on the Run 5K.

We also had a children’s fun run following the 5K award ceremony. It was great seeing how many kids participated because they wanted to run a race just like their parents, grandparents or other special people in their lives. Anything to encourage an active lifestyle early on!

 Race organizer, first time 5K runner & Fun Run boys! From May 2011

I’m hoping that all this work takes a step toward doing something positive for both the Montessori community in Georgetown and the families that want to be part of them as well as generally encouraging health and wellness in our small town. Montessori and running have done tremendous things for our boys and our family.

Check out more event photos here and join us next year on Saturday, May 19, 2012 for the 2nd Annual running of the Keystone Montessori This is How I Roll 5K

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Filed under milestones, Montessori School for the Gifted, run white girl run

Together Again

Two students from John’s Montessori primary class moved up to my elementary school classroom after Christmas, which opened a spot for James to join John in his classroom. James is so excited to be going to school with John!

James’ first day of school – From January 2011

One of the unique things about Montessori is they have mixed age classrooms. The older children are roll models for the younger children and assist them in learning new lessons. It makes me really happy that John and James get to spend their mornings together and share this experience. They seem to enjoy being together.

Working on the pink tower together – From January 2011

One of the interesting differences between the boys is we could barely get a word out of John when he started school about what he did during the day. His descriptions were limited to “squirt” and “bang.” James will go on and on about what he did that day in a long diatribe that is something only James can deliver.

I got letters on my hand and sit on the line and play with the farm. The pigs go in the mud. The ducks go in the water. The cows go in the grass. These are numbers on my hands. This is zero and it has no dots. This is two and it has two dots. This is a smiley face. I only have smiley face on this arm and Miss Michelle didn’t put one one the other arm.

In his Montessori class, they write letters and other lessons on the childrens’ hands so they can reference them throughout the day. James is so proud of his letters and tries really hard to remember what they say. His favorite day is Wednesday when he gets an “O letter.”

I love how happy he looks – From January 2011

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Filed under brother bears, Montessori School for the Gifted

Hitching a Ride on the Gravy Train

This week being the exception, I haven’t been around Blog Land much in the last few weeks. I’ve been really tired lately and sick to my stomach. Almost like… I’m kidding. ;) At the beginning of August I started a new job! I’m working as a teaching assistant at a new Montessori elementary program that just opened in our town.

You might remember from my Bastardized Home Montessori Preschool experiments that I’ve been interested in the Montessori educational model for a while now. This new job is really a testament in the power of volunteering. Through a connection with John’s Montessori preschool teacher, she recommended me for this position. One interview and search for a babysitter for James later, I had a new part time job.

I’ve been in the position for four weeks now and I’m really enjoying it. I’m really Assistant to the Teacher rather like Dwight Schrute is Assistant to the Regional Manager and not Assistant Regional Manager on The Office. While I’m doing exciting things like cutting paper and laminating things, I’m a second pair of eyes and ears observing the children in the class. I’m learning so much about Montessori in the elementary years and am really excited about this opportunity. A Montessori classroom is such a unique thing that it’s difficult to describe. You really have to see it in action to get a true feel for it.

Until a spot opens up for James at John’s preschool, he is being watched in the mornings by a lovely Catholic lady about three minutes from our apartment. Every day when I ask James what he did at Mary Susan’s house, he’ll give me a report about what he ate. “Had blueberries and goldfish,” “Lots of goldfish,” “Had pretzels and NO goldfish.”

I’m still continuing my freelance writing business on the side though scaled back slightly.  Since I work Monday-Thursday, 7:30-12:30, Michael has stepped in to handle drop offs, pick ups and feeding the boy’s their lunch. That man’s a keeper.

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Filed under Bastardized Home Montessori Preschool, brother bears, Montessori School for the Gifted

John Reads!

There is a 80+ year old lady who comes to John’s preschool each week to give the children a music lesson. I got to sit in on the lesson last week and was really impressed with the mix of music theory and basic rhythm lessons they were learning. Since their teacher is quite elderly, the songs she teaches the kids are a little dated. There’s one about driving a Model-T and another about riding the rails as a bum. And there’s one that John just loves that includes the refrain, “… would you please teach me to read.”

Today, John came home very excited and had a photo copy of the first booklet in the beginning set of Bob Books. We sat down after naps and he read the whole thing to me! It was such an incredible experience listening to him sound out words and piece together the simple story.

His teacher sent me a note about him achieving this milestone in class today that I really appreciated:

I know John was so excited about reading Mat.  He told me now that he can,  he will do really good work and be responsible.  I think he has heard me talk to the older children about that. His face was glowing, and he kept giving me hugs, then at group he sat really close to me, and was a very good role model, he was definitely proud.

What a wonderful exciting world is open to him now!

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Filed under Montessori School for the Gifted

Montessori Letter Sounds

Montessori Letter Sounds, originally uploaded by ShotSnaps.

After seeing this activity in John’s school, I made a box of letter sounds to have at home. He’s actually one or two steps beyond “work” now, but still enjoys doing it.

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Filed under Montessori School for the Gifted, one for the grandparents

Photo Friday



John’s Parade Face, originally uploaded by ShotSnaps.

John was in the Christmas parade last Saturday with his Montessori school. He took a very short nap before the parade and was NOT a happy camper even though he’d been looking forward to the parade for over a week. This was pretty much his look during the whole of the parade experience.

The funny thing is the next day it was all he could talk about and he wanted to do it again that night.

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Filed under Montessori School for the Gifted, Photo Friday

School for the Gifted

School for the Gifted A Far Side classic. Friday night, John was doing an exact demonstration of this on our way out the door from dinner at the college cafeteria. You have to cut him some slack though because, despite two whole weeks at Montessori school, he can’t read yet. I am a little disappointed, but John has been showing more interest in calculus and Montessori is all about following the child!

John has been doing really well in preschool. His favorite things include “squirts” (washing the windows), “banging” (hammering nails), number rods and painting. His teachers describe him as being very “focused” and “concentrating well” on his “work.” I’ve noticed at home, he is concerned about picking up messes at the end of a playtime and is more into putting the toys away by category rather than putting everything together in one basket. He was already growing in independence before starting school, but I’ve noticed a slight uptick in wanting to do things for himself. And since his brother is only 19-months old tomorrow and keeps me plenty busy with feeding, changing and dressing, I say godspeed.

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Filed under Montessori School for the Gifted, one for the grandparents