Thursday, November 10, 2011

Deb Chitwood: Living Montessori NOW

Hi! I’m Deb Chitwood, and I want to share with you my love of Montessori education! Montessori focuses on following the child and helping children help themselves.

I’m not a Montessorian who insists on a rigid adherence to a specific method. I love preschool education in general. But I think there are many ways Montessori principles and methods can be used to help any parent or teacher.

A Bit about Me

I’m a certified Montessori teacher who taught at Montessori schools in Iowa and Arizona back in the 1970s before starting a Montessori school of my own in 1980. In 1988 during a Montessori teacher shortage, I decided to close my school to spend more time with my family.

I ended up homeschooling my two children through high school, using Montessori education during their preschool years and a mixture of unit studies, some Montessori activities, and Montessori principles through high school. My children are now adults, both with bachelor’s degrees and still with a love of learning (yay!), one of the main goals of Montessori education.

After my children graduated from homeschool high school, I returned to school to get my master’s degree in Early Childhood Studies from Sheffield Hallam University in Sheffield, England. Most of my master’s work, including my dissertation, incorporated Montessori education in some way. If you’d like to know more about my Montessori journey, please read About Me, How Montessori Can Be a Life Journey, and/or
How to set up a Montessori Preschool Classroom at Home (photo).

About Living Montessori Now

Living Montessori Now is my main place to share ideas and encouragement with parents and teachers. I LOVE doing online research and am always looking for creative, new ways to use Montessori education at home and in other settings.

While many of my blogging friends are Montessori teachers, I also connect with many who use Montessori education at home or want to use some Montessori ideas in preschools and daycare centers that aren’t Montessori schools.

If you’re interested in knowing more about options for using ideas from Montessori education, please check out my post “M is for Montessori.”

Montessori-Inspired Activity Trays

You can use Montessori principles and methods in any setting. I hope to give you some practical Montessori-inspired ideas and activities to help you do that, whether you’re a parent, a teacher, or both!

Here are a couple of examples:

Many Montessori-inspired activity trays, such as a Montessori-inspired photography tray, work well for preschoolers through early elementary.

Other trays work well for specific holidays and can be stored in a closet (either as a complete tray or as individual parts in baggies or storage boxes ready to be quickly reassembled) for the next holiday. The transferring practice golf balls tray is great for U.S. preschoolers in preparation for a patriotic holiday such as Memorial Day, Independence Day, or our upcoming Veterans Day.

Note: in Montessori schools and homeschools, only one tray of a kind is set out, so you don't need to prepare more than one of a specific activity tray. Having one activity of each kind encourages children to take turns. Of course, a child may ask the child using the activity for permission to work together, which also helps teach polite, cooperative behavior. You'll see lots of collaborative learning as well as individual work in a Montessori school or homeschool.

I’ll look forward to sharing more Montessori-inspired ideas and activities with you at Pre K + K Sharing! :)


  1. I learned a lot about you in this post. What a great blog idea and collaborative effort! You'll make great contributions here.

  2. Thanks so much for your kind comment, Michelle! I'm really excited about PreK + K Sharing and looking forward to contributing and reading the other posts as well! :)

  3. Looking forward to the collaboration! Great idea.
    Rachael @ Little Red Farm

  4. Deb- So glad you're here! I've used many Montessori based activities with the children in my classroom and can't wait for more ideas!

  5. - Rachael, thanks so much! I LOVE that Debbie Clement started the collaboration! It's amazing to see so many different ideas being shared with the common goal of helping children! :)

    - Thanks, Pam! It's awesome that you've used Montessori-inspired activities! I love your posts and look forward to sharing ideas each month! :)


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