This week, we’re highlighting a local practitioner who is helping parents establish and integrate their parenting beliefs and styles into a peaceful, nurturing environment for their children. She also offers Skype consultations for those not located in San Diego. I’m thrilled to introduce Jeanne-Marie of Voila Montessori!
1. What does it mean to have a Montessori home?
A Montessori home is one that is adapted to meet the child’s ever changing needs, as well as it being nurturing, peaceful and respectful to all family members. It is a home where obstacles to children’s natural development are minimized, enabling children to become life long independent and confident learners.
2. What modifications do you help parents make in their homes? Why are these modifications important?
When helping parents make simple adjustment, I first look at the four main areas depending on the child’s age and the size of the home. These areas are the sleeping, feeding, personal care and movement areas. For example the feeding area at first will be for the sole purpose of bonding with the child while breastfeeding. I usually recommend a quiet, comfortable place where the caregiver can give a 100% of their attention to the infant. This area will then change once the child is introduced to other foods.
To name only a few simple ideas I share with parents: make sure children have access to real child-size utensils to do ‘real work’, such as cooking, cleaning, personal care, caring for animals or plants as well as creating a quiet reading area just for them etc. I also recommend many different activities to set-up depending on the age and interest of the child.
(photo credit: Laura Christin Photography)
These modifications evolve and change as the child grows and their needs are different; they are not going to be the same for an infant as they are for a walking toddler or a preschooler. These changes are also about being mindful parents, aware of the child’s needs by learning to observe and never interrupting when they are concentrating on their own self-construction.
I believe that these changes are important in that they help the entire family to live in peaceful harmony. These are small modifications that will make a world of difference for everyone involved. They are wonderful tools for the development of the child’s will as well as their self-esteem “I can do it!”
3. How does clutter in the home affect a child's ability to reach his/her full potential?
Clutter is actually an obstacle to their development. A home that is cluttered with too many toys and activities can be very overwhelming for a young child. Children have a real need for order and routines in their early years. External order brings internal order. Young children are absorbing so much information in these early years that it is helpful for the home to be clutter free and orderly to help them make sense of it all. I am always overjoyed to hear parents tell me how much their child’s behavior improved by simplifying their play area.
4. How does having a Montessori home go hand in hand with Positive Discipline?
Beautifully! There are a lot of misconceptions about Montessori that it is a place “where children are left to do whatever and it is a free for all”. Montessori is actually a very simple and intuitive way of life and educational method, where all freedoms are within limits. Positive Discipline is a great compliment to Montessori since it is a very respectful way of guiding children. It is firm and kind at the same time believing that connection before correction is crucial for the child’s healthy development.
5. What type of consultations and classes do you offer to local parents? Do you conduct Skype visits?
I have many different types of consultations. I work with expectant parents helping set-up a baby-focused nursery as well as parents, grandparents and any caregivers of young children from birth to six years. My consultations are for families wanting guidance on how to adapt their home to meet their child’s needs as well as for families who need help with having children be more cooperative and respectful.
I offer workshops throughout the San Diego County. Small workshops can be created for specific parent groups.
I am also available to help set-up larger learning environments such as home daycares or family home school co-ops.
Yes, I do offer long-distance consultations either by phone or via Skype. Parents from different parts of the country and world have asked for advice, so I needed to make myself available. I’m also working on developing some online webinars.
Jeanne-Marie's multicultural upbringing and travels planted the seeds of a lifelong curiosity regarding the fundamental needs of children and families.
Her goal is to help parents appreciate the true importance of their role – not as servants or teachers, but as supporters and guides of their children’s natural development. Families who work with Jeanne-Marie reap the benefit of her Masters in Montessori education, her two AMI Montessori certifications covering childhood development from birth through age 6, her Positive Discipline certification for both parents and the classroom as well as her extensive classroom experience, and first-hand parenting knowledge.
She launched Voila Montessori in response to the overwhelming demand from parents for advice and guidance for raising children in a gentle, peaceful, and supportive environment that’s conducive to their full development – psychological, academic, artistic, spiritual, physical, cultural, etc.
Jeanne-Marie describes herself as “genuine, passionate, and straightforward”. She’s honest and direct, because she realizes that clear and precise information is what will help parents cut through the overwhelming amount of advice that engulfs them.
Jeanne-Marie will be offering a monthly workshop at Nature’s Whisper Yoga starting Thursday, November 21, 2013.