Spotlight Living With My Little Love
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Your background, your interests, your dreams?
Hi, I’m Natalie! I live with my husband and 3 year old daughter on an island just of the coast of Scotland. I originally trained as an occupational therapist, then dabbled in a few different things before I ended up where I am now, spending my days with the beautiful soul whom I get to call daughter. I also do a bit of volunteering in the local school and try my best at blogging, gardening, photography, cooking, nature loving and textile crafts. Oh, and books! A book is never very far away from my hand.
As for my dreams, I’d love to be a resource to families, helping them carve deeper connections with each other. I want to see children being able to really live their childhood and being respected for who they are now, not just who they will become, and see parents confidently living out their best parenting selves.
Q: Now that the hardest question is out of the way: What’s your favorite color?
Definitely green. It’s hard for the other colours to compete with the colour of leaves!
Q: Do you have a favorite book? How about a film?
We are book people, so picking a favourite is soooo hard! I think The Dispossessed by Ursula Le Guin is a great read and really fascinating, and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is just absolutely hilarious. As far as kids books go the Katie Morag books are definitely a favourite in this house, as are the Look Inside series of books.
Q: When you close your eyes late at night, and imagine waking up and starting a new adventure: what is that adventure?
I don’t need a new adventure, I’m living my adventure! But there is always more to come. I don’t want to say too much now but there are potentially some exciting things on the horizon. Watch this space!
Q: What first appealed to you about Montessori?
I think it was probably the freedom of choice that it gives to children. Allowing children the space to direct their own learning, driven by their own needs, trusting that internal teacher, is still something that I find really attractive about Montessori. It’s such a respectful environment for a child to learn and develop in, I think it’s beautiful.
Q: Did you have a “Montessori Moment?”
Yes. I have never been one for maths, I was one of those children who decided early on that I just couldn’t DO maths. When I first started to look into different avenues for homeschooling I was reading about the Montessori maths materials and, even just reading the presentations, numbers started to make more sense to me. I thought it was some kind of miracle, I was actually understanding! I was attracted to Montessori before (after meeting a Montessori child) but now I was head over heels in love! I could clearly see that Montessori was going to gift my child with confidence working with numbers. As we have walked the Montessori way, I have seen first hand how it has gifted her with confidence in so many things, more than just numbers.
Q: What’s your favorite Montessori quote?
“The child who has never learned to work by himself, to set goals for himself, or to be the master of his own force of will is recognisable in the adult who lets others guide him and feels a constant need for the approval of others. The obedience forced upon a child…an obedience that does not recognise the rights of reason and justice, prepares the adult to resign himself to anything and everything.” (from Education and Peace)
Q: What inspired you to share your Montessori story on your blog and social media?
In the beginning, I learnt a lot about Montessori and what it could look like in a home from other wonderful mothers who were sharing their journey with the world. I enjoy writing and I thought that if I could learn from what others had shared, then maybe, just maybe, I could be of some use to some other parents out there. I don’t claim to be an expert, from the start I’ve only set out to share what we do and what has worked for us and I’m always so encouraged to hear when somebody’s gleaned some little tips here and there. The blog is also a great record for me of our journey, what we’ve done and the direction we are moving in.
Q: What advice do you have for new parents trying to incorporate Montessori at home?
It doesn’t have to all be perfect all the time! Social media is a great place to get inspired and find new ideas, but it can also sometimes get depressing seeing all these perfectly presented Montessori environments and Pinterest worthy activities. At the end of the day the most important thing is the loving, respectful atmosphere that you create for your little one. The time you give to let them be independent, including them in the everyday things, giving them space to explore who they are and the world around them, these are the things that really matter.
Q: What do you think is the best introduction to Montessori?
Probably meeting a Montessori child, seeing how confident and able they are. Seeing how much they love life!
Q: What continues to inspire you about Montessori?
I feel like the deeper I dig with Montessori philosophy and the more I read about other parents journeys with Montessori at home, the more I evaluate my own parenting. Montessori and the community that surrounds the philosophy are constantly helping me to find better ways of communicating, helping me to see where I need to let go and let the little one have a bit more freedom, encouraging me to re-examine the environment and how I can protect her freedom of movement and choice, amongst so many other things! It basically helps me to find ways in which I can be a better parent.
Q: Where do you see Montessori in the next 100 years?
Where I live most people have never heard of Montessori and I would expect that is true of the country in general, not just our little bit of it. I would love if it was not only widely known but also widely practised. Wouldn’t it be great if Montessori philosophy was common place in schools and in homes, so much so that it no longer needed its own name, it was just the way things were done? If Montessori education was as accessible to those from an underprivileged background as it is to those who can afford to pay for it? And if respect for children was as commonplace as the lack of freedom is that children have now? I hope my little one will see these changes in her lifetime.
Written by:Charlotte Wood