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Sara E. Cotner
Teacher, traveler, writer, and dweller in possibility.
Recent Activity
Awww...such an honor to be included, Kylie! I love following along with you and your beautiful family!
What kind of tablecloth did you purchase? Love the idea! Do you think you'll be able to wash it? Thanks for the inspiration!
Toggle Commented Nov 24, 2013 on Thanksgiving traditions at RISING*SHINING
Hi, Kylie! I think uniforms can be implemented with plenty of diversity. I think choosing from four tops and two bottoms during the weekday is still significant choice. Children can still wear the rest of their wardrobe on the weekends and during breaks. Getting ready for school already takes a considerable amount of time (especially when children are involved in the preparation); I think it's a positive thing to streamline the process of selecting clothes. To reiterate, I think choice is good, but too much choice can be overwhelming/over-stimulating and it can take away time from more important things (like other aspects of self-care and family time). I think uniforms can help combat our materialistic, consumer culture that tries to convince us that we will be cooler, more popular, more liked, happier, etc. if only we buy and wear x, y, and z. Uniforms can help children focus on the real things that make us special--our personalities, how we treat each other, what we're interested in, etc.
Toggle Commented Aug 27, 2013 on School uniforms? Yes or No? at how we montessori
Thanks for starting this dialogue, Kylie! Henry's Montessori school does not require uniforms, but they have very strict guidelines about not wearing clothing with commercial characters on it or fantasy stuff or things that are distracting, etc. They believe that these recommendations are part of creating an authentic Montessori environment. As I think about recreating that kind of authentic Montessori environment in a public setting that is open to very diverse families, I think it makes sense to implement a uniform policy with a variety of choice. I think it can be done in a Montessori way. The children will be given their choice of polo shirts or t-shirts from four different colors and their choice of bottoms (skirts/pants/shorts) from two colors. I think it honors their need to independently choose while also communicating this very important message: "At school, we are here to focus on who we are inside, not who we are outside."
Toggle Commented Aug 27, 2013 on School uniforms? Yes or No? at how we montessori
Yes, it is Henry! Watching Ruby and Henry spend time together is truly heart-warming and it affirms that Montessori is such a wonderful approach to parenting and education. I'm so lucky to live just miles away from this awesome Montessori family!
Toggle Commented Apr 26, 2013 on Montessori Family - Texas at how we montessori
Oh, how I love this post! Honestly, it makes me want to move to your foot-friendly town! You are such a beautiful writer. Thank you for sharing your words, thoughts, and heart with us.
Toggle Commented Nov 25, 2012 on good for at home at Live Free
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Hi, Nichole! These are not little thoughts at all! Quick thought about the camera question: Can you set either the aperture or f-stop (I can't remember which) to action and then let the other one adjust automatically, based on the particular shot you're trying to get? I took a photo class once, and we learned how to set the f-stop and aperture for every shot, but the professional photographer teacher confessed that she never took shots that way. She would set one of them manually and let the other adjust automatically. Sorry if I'm stating the obvious; it's the only thing I can contribute to the camera discussion! As for time for you, are you able to start some kind of childcare exchange with another family? Where Bea goes to their house for one afternoon a week, and their child comes to your house on another afternoon? That way, you could have a whole glorious afternoon to yourself. Plus, Bea could build her independence by getting some time in a new situation without you. Just a thought! Big hugs to you...
Toggle Commented Sep 10, 2012 on Not so big thoughts at Live Free
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Just lovely! Thank your for sharing your perspective, your approach, and insights into life with your sweet, sweet, child.
Toggle Commented Aug 25, 2012 on On screen time. at Live Free
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Oh, the quotes gave me goosebumps! Love! Love! Your environment is so beautiful (and I feel lucky to be able to say that from first-hand experience)! Let me know if you need a quote for some marketing materials! P.S. I've been coveting your bungalow lately, worried that we are building a modern home to hold my bungalow heart.
Toggle Commented Aug 16, 2012 on the school room at Live Free
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Thank you so much for your kind words, Meg! We are huge fans of yours, and we are tickled pink to be featured on your lovely blog. Big hugs to you!
Toggle Commented Jul 31, 2012 on kids in the kitchen at Sew Liberated
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Hi, Kylie. I'm wondering about the little red, non-stick mixing bowl in the book. Where did you get that from? Was it designed for kids or is it just a small adult version? What are its dimensions (width across the top and height)? Thank you!
Toggle Commented Jul 24, 2012 on FAQs - in the Kitchen at how we montessori
How funny, Kylie! I literally just took a new video of Henry peeling a banana because he's gotten so much better with it. I'll go post it now.
I love the melon balls with toothpicks idea, Kylie! I get chills when I think about what it means for a child's development when they participate in food preparation and then serve it to others. They learn focus, concentration, problem-solving, critical thinking, fine-motor skills, intrinsic motivation, and self-confidence. Plus, they learn grace, courtesy, and care for others. All of that from balling some melon and sticking toothpicks in it! The subtle brilliance of the Montessori method is astounding. Thank you for always being a source of inspiration and ideas, Kylie (and Caspar and Otis).
Toggle Commented Jul 10, 2012 on What does food mean to you? at how we montessori
Ooh, I'm crossing my fingers and toes! Thanks for hosting this, Kylie!
We go on a lot of family walks at the lake, and we always pass by a little league practice. It seems to me like the young, young children aren't actually having much fun. Their coach is usually trying to corral them, when it seems like they would rather be following the butterflies or playing in the sand. It also seems like there's a lot of waiting around for a turn, which seems incredibly boring. I love the book Simplicity Parenting, which addresses the negative effect of too many activities and too much stimulation... Thanks for another thought-provoking topic, Kylie!
Toggle Commented May 27, 2012 on Extracurricular Activities at how we montessori
Hi, Kylie! I just wanted to chime in with an unrelated thought: I am so, so thankful that Otis is just a wee bit younger than Henry, so that I can turn to your blog as a constant, ongoing source of inspiration. Thank you!
Toggle Commented Apr 11, 2012 on Love. Growing. Sprouts. at how we montessori
Thanks for the shout out, Kylie! I'm glad I could inspire you because you give me ideas ALL THE TIME! In fact, I called Matt and asked him to look up your blog post today. He tried the banana activity while he was home with Henry. He said Henry kept putting the pieces straight in his mouth (he's obsessed with bananas). I asked, "Did you model how to peel each one?" He replied, "Yes, four times." Oh well. We'll keep trying!
Toggle Commented Apr 6, 2012 on Preparing his own snack at how we montessori
Beautiful! How long will he sit and focus on an activity, Kylie?
Toggle Commented Mar 8, 2012 on Sometimes I am asked why. at how we montessori
Ooh! Can Henry be first in line to be Otis's pen pal when they are ready?
Oh, thank you for the sweet shout out, Kylie!
Toggle Commented Feb 15, 2012 on Fun links at how we montessori
P.S. Reading Molly's comment reminded me of this thought: Hopefully all of this will be easier when you create your amazing community! It truly does take a village.
Toggle Commented Jan 2, 2012 on Time Bending at Progressive Pioneer
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I hear you, Amy. You are not alone. You are not alone in your desire to build the strongest possible foundation for your children. You are not alone in your desire to fuel your individual interests, so that you continue to burn brightly with passion. You are not alone in your desire to figure out how to balance it all. I can't provide any wisdom (yet!). My dear Henry is only ten months-old. I have struggled with so much this year: the major shift in my identity, the constant demands placed upon me, my loss of freedom to determine what to do with my time. I have some working hypotheses. First, I wholeheartedly believe that we cannot put our own lives on hold for 20 years. Our children model themselves after our example. We have to show them how to find your passions, pursue them, persevere when something is difficult, and step back to pat ourselves on the back for a job well done. That is the foundation they need; that's the kind of foundation they can build a life upon. I don't want to model a life of complete sacrifice and martyrdom. I have sacrificed myself in many ways for Henry this year, namely by staying home alone with him for ten hours a day. Don't get me wrong; I am completely grateful that we've been able to swing this arrangement by living frugally, but it has taken a huge toll on my energy and my spirit. Because we're following the Montessori philosophy, we will put him into a Montessori childcare community when he turns one (the idea is that the community will be good for his development at that point). It will only be three times a week for the morning, but if my husband takes care of breakfast and morning stuff, then I can start reclaiming an entire half-day for my own projects. On the other days, I am considering doing an exchange with a fellow parent (I take two kids one day; the other parent takes them the other day). As Henry gets older and his needs change, he will spend longer and longer at school. He will gradually move to five half-days and then full days when he is three. This will allow me to reclaim more and more time to continue to develop myself (and be a model for Henry). That's how we're planning to deal with it. I look forward to reading others' thoughts! Huge hugs to you! s.
Toggle Commented Jan 2, 2012 on Time Bending at Progressive Pioneer
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You are the sweetest, Kylie! I hope you know that I diligently read every single post you write. Thanks for making me a better mother! Hugs and a happy holidays to you and yours!
Toggle Commented Dec 21, 2011 on Thank you and Happy Holidays! at how we montessori
Yes, instructions and more photos, pretty please!
Toggle Commented Dec 11, 2011 on Handmade Soft Blocks at how we montessori
Oh please please please please please! I am crossing my fingers and toes! This material looks fantastic! Thank you to Carrie and Shane for this opportunity, and thanks to Kylie for hosting it!