Meet Anya from Montessori from the Heart. Anya describes herself as ‘an attorney by degree, an educator by heart‘ and she, in my opinion, creates the most wonderful, accessible Montessori activities. Read on to find out why Anya got started with Montessori and how she has made the educational approach work for her and her family…
Anya, thanks so much for agreeing to be interviewed for the Inspirational Educators series. I know you must be so busy with the upcoming launch of your new e-book, ‘The BASICS~ Bringing Montessori Home: Birth – Age 6’. Could you tell us all a little more about it?
My new ebook, THE BASICS (releasing soon) is the first in the series of books to help you understand and hopefully embrace the Montessori method, making it a part of you and your family. You will find the information that will help you start Montessori now no matter how small your space is or how limited the resources are. And I am hoping to share with others my passion for education and what I have learned during our amazing homeschooling journey so that parents and educators can take advantage of the golden period of child’s Absorbent Mind. I myself had no idea until I had encountered the Montessori philosophy that the first six years of life are immensely crucial in terms of learning! During the period called “The Absorbent Mind” children have extraordinary abilities to learn almost effortlessly! From birth through approximately the age of six, young children experience a period of intense mental activity that allows them to absorb information from their environment quickly and easily without conscious effort. They are indeed like sponges! And Maria Montessori outlined very specific windows of opportunity – magical pivotal periods – when children are biologically ready and receptive to acquiring a particular skill or ability – be it language, math, reading, etc. During such periods of special sensitivity to particular stimuli, a child tends to produce spontaneous bouts of concentration and repetition and they soak up specific concepts, knowledge, and information – effortlessly, spontaneously and with remarkable ease. However, these periods are fleeting and once the “window” is closed, the same information or skill must be learned the hard way – through mundane repetition and memorization. So, in my ebook, I outline these windows, as well as the age range and the skill. (I will have a chapter on Infants too and their gross and fine motor development with charts and the significance of myelination.) Also, I will be sharing “Why Montessori?” and beautiful goals of Montessori Primary Program which are achievable at home if made aware of!
Lastly, I will share our 3-6 YO curriculum outline reference guide, the order of lessons, and the age when they should be introduced, in my opinion. (Note, the curriculum outline on 5 main Montessori subjects will not be a comprehensive homeschooling manual! I might consider it as the next step or as a next book in a series, where each book will focus on just one subject like Literacy, Numeracy or Practical Life for example.) This current ebook the “BASICs” – covers a lot of topics, but it is impossible to cover each very extensively.
To sum up, I would like to share my knowledge and what has WORKED for us and which aspects of Montessori philosophy were the most useful so that parents and educators can DO it at home and not miss any important developmental windows of sensitivity when children learn like sponges! And, deep in my heart, I hope to ignite the love of learning and make it less daunting but desirable!
What made you decide to become a Montessori teacher?
I am not a certified teacher by degree (my Doctorate Degree is not in education), however, I am an educator from the heart! My credentials come from my passion which led to a lot of reading, research and observing what has worked for us since it is not what is in the books, but what that knowledge can do to help our children grow to their fullest potentials! I hold the Juris Doctor degree, but after experiencing the blissfulness of motherhood, instead of practicing law, I decided to devote myself to my children: 9 and 5-year-old, my family and my home, becoming a happy full-time stay-at-home mom (SAHM), a wife and a blogger who enjoys learning, nature, photography, and most of all, seeing the world through the eyes of my children.
There’s always a lot of Maria Montessori quotes circulating on the ‘gram. Do you have a particular favourite?
“The unknown energy that can help humanity is that which lies hidden in The Child … [a] human being to whom respect is due, superior to us by reason of their innocence and of the greater possibilities of their future.” — Dr. Maria Montessori.
There is a misconception that Montessori has to mean lots of super expensive toys. What I really like about your page is that you share ideas that can be done with everyday items at home. What made you start creating your own activities?
A lot of Montessori materials are unattainable or extremely expensive, making the only option is to enroll in a Montessori school. However, I am a strong believer in homeschooling, so bringing Montessori materials home (as DIYs) is a wonderful way to bring the Montessori method to families who otherwise cannot afford it! Sharing my passion for learning and making it true for others, despite space and budget limitations, makes me extremely happy, so I do it from the heart!
What are your ‘must have’ items for Montessori activities on a budget?
As well as your own account, you are also the host of @tagfromtheheart – how important is it to collaborate with your fellow instagrammers?
This is what Instagram is all about – to share, inspire others and be inspired! I also found that creating structured themed weeks is fun and motivational! (For me too!) And. I try to keep the themes broad so a lot of people can participate. Also, getting to know my weekly hosts better and work with them for an entire week, makes this platform more personal, since we can connect on a deeper level! And I love sharing accounts I love with my followers!
Obviously, Instagram only shows us a snippet of people and their personalities. What three words would your friends use to describe you?
~meticulous, passionate, from the heart~