Montessori method: “Igniting the flame”

montessori

These long winter days cooped up inside with the tot has compelled me to look around for some decent homeschooling materials to keep my three-year-old occupied. After trawling around for preschool worksheets, I stumbled on some free Montessori printouts, and onto ever more links of Montessori materials.

This all brings me down memory lane, as I spent two years of my childhood in a Montessori school — which I remember as some of the best years of my young life. My teacher, Anne — a soft-spoken Irishwoman who always had the most beautiful dangly earrings — guided me through two years of self-guided activities (my favourite things to do were to read, write stories, and handle those distinctive Montessori coloured beads that taught the progressive concepts of counting, multiplication, exponentials, etc.).

It was only after my transfer to a ‘regular’ school in grade four, and in much later hindsight, that I realize what a precious treasure the Montessori method is, especially in the early years (my thanks to my hard-working mom, who had the great foresight to send me to such a school). It is based on educating the whole child:

Continue reading

Beyond “Breast Is Best”: It’s More Complicated Than Just Choosing Breastmilk Or Formula

It’s unfortunate that in the debate between breast or bottle, there’s so much unnecessary guilt-tripping going on. Formula-feeding mothers get called “lazy”, “negligent” or even “failures,” while breastfeeding advocates are called “snobbish” or worse, “breastfeeding nazis.” In the larger picture, is all this mudslinging productive?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a firm believer that “breast is best” and that breastfeeding offers more than just food. After becoming pregnant, I started out certain that I would do it as naturally as possible. I chose a midwife-assisted home birth, found a doula but also had a hospital backup. I was also sure that I would breastfeed exclusively because of all the known benefits.

Continue reading