So, where are we at now– Black Friday? Cyber Monday? Small Business Saturday? I have no idea. All I know is that today, my friends, we are having a sale, and it will go on until… well, until I remember to make the Paypal buttons inactive, I supposed, but at least until Tuesday, I am offering several sales today. I may be adding more as the weekend goes on. Before I post them, however, I want to share two things.

As I’ve been thinking about this “sweet spot” where Waldorf, Montessori, and Reggio Emilia meet, I’ve been trying to pull out where exactly those intersectionalities occur. This is, undoubtedly, a partial list, but it’s what I am able to come up with in the noisy lobby of my kids’ arts school.

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  1. The aesthetic. Let’s face it, this is the first thing people tend to notice about all three of these “lifestyles” (if there is such a thing). Natural materials, muted colors, an ethereal glow. Toys are often handmade with love and knowledge of the child and are imbued with meaning. Toys tend are beautiful, open-ended, and multi-purpose.

I’m at an interesting point in my life right now. I am finding that there is this fascinating sweet spot where Waldorf, Montessori, and Reggio Emilia all meet. I’m at the thinking stage, sorting it all out.

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For a long time, I have praised the merits of taking a few moments to create small-scale play set-ups for your child to discover in the morning or when they come home from school. But it wasn’t until I began my work in a Reggio Emilia-inspired preschool program that I found a word for what these are– provocations.

What is a provocation? Well, at its most basic level, a provocation provokes further learning. A provocation sets up a child for inquiry or learning. The best provocations– indeed, in Reggio philosophies, all provocations– begin by exploring the questions, wonderings, and interests of the children. As you observe how your child interacts with the materials and provocation, you can document learning and further questions, creating a spiral of provocations that continues for as long as your child shows interest.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about Circle Time (such as though found in Seasons of Joy) vs Meeting Times, also called Morning Meeting. The two are often used interchangeably, although in my experience, have very different goals.

It’s hard to know what to say say about Matthew. When people used to ask (as people do when you have more than two children) when you’re going to stop procreating, I used to say “Oh, you know, when God gives us an easy one.” And then God sent me Matty… and, for good measure and to keep me on my toes, threw in Molly as well. Ha, ha, ha… good one, God!

Matthew in a Tree