Today, I'm delighted to introduce you to Tiffany from @inspire.learn.teach on Instagram. She is a full time working teacher and her husband is full-time daddy at home. They are 100% committed to educate their daughter in the best way they can. And it shows through their observation, reflection and full of information posts they share online.
Can you tell us a little about yourself, your family and about where you live?
Hi, my name is Tiffany. I am teacher, a traveller and a avid Netflix binge watcher!
I met my hubby when we were both in school and I have been inseparable ever since. In 2018 we become the proud parents to a little girl, Little Ninja, who is full of life, determined and oh so cheeky.
We currently live in Queensland, Australia and love living in our sunny corner of the world. Yet can not wait to continue our travels further afield, since birth Little Ninja has already explored parts of Europe and next on her list is Germany and Scotland … and Yorkshire!
Day to day, I am a teacher and working full time while hubby is a full-time university student and the most amazing a stay at home dad and Insta dad taking most pictures for me!
How did you first become interested in Montessori? What it was about Montessori that really resonated with you and how did you learn more about it?
It was really a stumble into a different world, one day my husband and I sat down, as new parents discussing our goals for our child and for us our key goals were, independence, strength and happiness. A quick search through Instagram and I found some amazing accounts that truly opened my eyes to what my daughter could be capable of, and I remember sitting showing the videos to my husband and his first response what that intense!
This wasn’t able comparison but rather, for the first time I truly shifted my thinking to seeing my daughter as truly capable and an individual from birth rather than an individual that needed me for everything. As I dug deeper, into the principles, I was drawn to the level of respect and trust given to the child, as an equal voice within the family. I want for my daughter, to feel accepted as she is, to have autonomy and for her to grow up knowing I trust her and that I believe in her capabilities.
What changes did you make in your parenting style since you have discovered Montessori?
So many, but slowly and we are still working on it. Our first change was realising the importance of the prepared environment, we donated and removed so many toys from the play space. We cut down the toys to only ones with a single focus and now limit what is on our shelves.
The other biggest change is our interactions. We have altered the language we use, removing a lot of praise and we have learnt to sit on our hands more, allowing her to discover rather than us ‘teach’ everything.
When parents first find Montessori, it might be because of the toys or some specific materials, piece of furniture. Is there any Montessori “branded” items you regret buying?
No there isn’t but I have been very selective since cleaning out the play space. We DIY what we can and if there is a real life substitute we use that. The biggest pitfall here is that there are now so many items branded ‘Montessori’ that don’t fit within the philosophy nor were created my Maria Montessori, so just because they use the term, it doesn’t mean it suits the philosophy and just because it suits the philosophy doesn’t make it right for your child. With materials, I always remind myself that Montessori was attempting to recreate the home within a school environment, therefore if our days are filled with daily, practical life there is not ‘set’ materials that we need.
Talking about “materials”, what would be your must have items?
For me the MUST haves are anything that allow your child to access daily life and meet their self care needs. For use that has been the myriad of stools all around the house, allowing for access to the kitchen, the bathroom sinks and most importantly the fridge!
Other things that have been amazing for this include our wavy knife and small bookcase. Adapting items for access and independence is, for use the key aspect of Montessori.
With my work, I want to show that any family can use the Montessori principles at home with their children. How would you define yourself as a Montessori Family? What are the Montessori principles that are the most important for you?
As parents, the principles that define us as a Montessori family are that we value each family members voice equally, we follow our child’s lead and we build our child’s independence. If you come from a place of respecting your child, you will automatically give them choice, allow them to learn themselves, listen to their decisions and provide space for them to direct their learning. For us this is the centre for us as parents and guides all our decision making.
What are your future projects regarding your child’s education?
Being completely frank, we are still working this out. Prior to formal schooling she will either be home-schooled or attend a Montessori school, beyond that I am needing a crystal ball! We are still ironing out this but all schooling options need to respect her, build her independence and follow her lead.
If you are not planning to homeschool, how do you see yourself keeping the Montessori principles relevant once your child attends school?
Regardless of what we decide, we will continue Montessori within the home. To do this we will do three key things
- Respect her voice within the house by following her led in play and learning and including her in decision making
- Build her independence through a prepared environment that allows her to participate within family life
- Provide practical life activities for learning and involving her actively in family daily life.
Do you have a favourite resource, such as Montessori book or a blog that inspire you?
If you haven’t yet read The Montessori Toddler, it is a must read! I also love Instagram and learn so much from some amazing mums there, my top accounts on Instagram to go and follow
- Carine (of course), Montessori Family UK
- Shelly from Our Montessori Journey
- Trina from DIY Corporate Mom
- Teddy from Fred Ted and Company
What would be your tips for a parent who has just discovered Montessori?
Focus on the intent, the principles rather than the materials. Follow your child, they know what they need.
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