Today's interview is with Laura of One Tree Montessori in Namibia. Laura has years of experience working with children and teaching Montessori. She gives some great advice for families who are considering homeschooling...what I took from her was to start slow and steady and build on your success. I hope you enjoy this interview!
Tell me about yourself...
I’m Laura from Namibia. I have no children but have been teaching in Montessori for eight years. I have experience with 3-6, 6-12, training Montessori teachers and running my own school (3-6). I hold national qualifications in both early childhood and elementary (Montessori). I want to help children develop as well as they can, and families to understand the treasure they’re responsible for.
What advice do you have for families that want to homeschool, but don't know where to start?
I like going about things in a very structured way. There’s no point falling head first into a million ideas and then not getting any right: Take it step by step. Do one thing every day, and take a few moments to appreciate the little victories. Start with setting up a dedicated "work“ space. Start working on a routine. Make little changes to your communication to help things go smoothly. Then start putting out activities. Expect to revise and adapt as you go along, and be patient with you and your child. New things take time to learn.
What was the hardest thing for you when you started teaching?
Adapting my expectations of what’s physically possible to accomplish in a single day, and realizing that it takes a lot longer to learn things than I thought. Especially things like tidying up after yourself.
Where do you get inspiration? What are your favourite Montessori blogs, accounts and books?
I love Carrots are Orange and Trillium Montessori. Facebook groups are always a good source of diverse ideas, and archive.org has a host of free books by Dr Montessori herself.
What's your favourite Montessori material or activity and why?
It’s tough. I love them all. I would have to say, verbal vocabulary games for their ease of use, and the Decanomial and classified cards for their incredible range of use.
How are you practicing self-care during the pandemic?
I’ve downloaded an app to make me go run a few times a week. Other than that, lots of Netflix and Skype-boardgames with my family.
Congratulations on running your own school... What does your program look like right now with school closures?
I’m supporting my families with resources. We focus on building foundational skills - independence, concentration, communication, emotional resilience - and as much as possible, I put out instructions on DIY materials. I don’t want my families to think they have to entertain their children for the better part of the day. A lot of them feel overwhelmed with loss of income and the economic instability, and then to still feel bad about not "teaching“ your child? That’s just not fair.
Thank you so much, Laura!
To learn more about Laura's school and "Lockdown Activities," check out her website www.onetreemontessori.com and follow her on Instagram @onetree.montessori. She has lots of free printables and DIY ideas.