Jeanne-Marie Paynel, founder and CEO of Voila Montessori, is a Montessori Parenting Mentor and Home Consultant. She guides expectant parents, caregivers and parents of young children to prepare their homes and themselves for their children to thrive during the first years of life.

472: Relisten: Simplify with Montessori at Home - Jeanne-Marie Paynel (143)

Jeanne-Marie Paynel

What do Jeff Bezos, Sean ‘P.Diddy’ Combs, and Anne Frank have in common? They were all educated in the Montessori system. The Montessori approach to children has been time-tested to be incredibly effective. Want to learn more about how to bring a taste of Montessori into your home? You’ll learn how with today’s podcast guest, Jeanne-Marie Paynel, of Voila Montessori. 

Relisten: Simplify with Montessori at Home - Jeanne-Marie Paynel (143) [472]

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[00:00:00] Hunter: Hey there, it's Hunter, and welcome to Throwback Thursday. Most Thursdays, we are going to re release one of my favorite episodes from the archives. So unless you're a longtime listener of the show, there's a good chance you haven't heard this one yet. And even if you had, chances are that you are going to get something new listening to it this time around.

[00:00:18] Jeanne-Marie: They're brand new on this planet. They need us to guide them and to show us, and we cannot expect them to know how to do things or to, you know, get on our agenda right away. They're living in the present moment. They are, you know, Dr. Shefali talks about them being our little gooberies of being in the present moment, you know, and that is what we need to kind of put aside our ego and really help them and connect with them.

[00:00:52] Hunter: You're listening to the Mindful Mama podcast, episode 143. Today we're talking about how to simplify with Montessori at home with

Welcome to the Mindful Parenting Podcast. Here it's about becoming a less irritable, more joyful parent. At Mindful Parenting, we know that you cannot give what you do not have, and when you have calm and peace within, then you can give it to your children. I'm your host, Hunter Clark Fields. I help smart, thoughtful parents stay calm so they can have strong, connected relationships with their children.

I've been practicing mindfulness for over 25 years, I'm the creator of the Mindful Parenting course, and I'm the author of the international bestseller, Raising Good Humans, and now, Raising Good Humans Every Day, 50 Simple Ways to Press Pause, Stay Present, and Connect with Your Kids. Welcome back! So glad to Be with you here today, glad to be in your ears, glad to connect.

If this is your first podcast with First Mindful Mama Podcast, I'm so glad that you're here. Thanks for choosing this podcast, and I promise you this is going to be a fabulous episode. In just a moment, I'm going to be sitting down with Jean Marie Penel. Founder and CEO of Voila Montessori, a Montessori parenting mentor and home consultant.

And she guides expectant parents, caregivers, and parents of young children to prepare their homes and themselves for their children to thrive during the first years of her life. And she gives talks locally and internationally where she combines her three passions, Montessori conscious parenting and positive discipline.

You're going to get so much out of this conversation. I mean, really, it's pretty amazing thinking about. The Power of Montessori, and I love talking about this because this is something that's been powerful in my own life, which you'll hear in this conversation. You know, come sit down with me as we talk about how children are way more capable than we give them credit for and how children have a natural desire and curiosity to learn that we can really tap into.

And I love that we should stop. Interrupting your children when they're absorbed in play. So there's a lot of great takeaways here. And now, on to this episode.

Dawn Marie, welcome to the Mindful Mama podcast. I'm so glad you could be here. Well, it's a delight to be here. Thank you for inviting me. And I've known about your work for a little while and, and some of my listeners know that I'm kind of a Montessori nut. I love Montessori. But maybe you could tell us a little bit about, more about what is Montessori and why is it so special and different?

[00:03:50] Jeanne-Marie: Well, I'm a nut about Montessori too, as, as you know, I founded Voila Montessori, which is my business about seven years ago to do exactly that, to share the passion with families worldwide. And because I think it's just valuable, valuable information that is needed for parents from the very beginning. So I work with expectant parents.

all through the age of six. But Montessori itself was created by a woman, first of all, which that's pretty awesome in itself. Maria Montessori, more than 150 years ago in Italy, Maria Montessori was the first woman allowed to go to medical school. And from her scientific education and, and her scientific mind, she really devoted all of her work to understanding really human development.

And that to me is the beauty of Montessori. It is really more than just an educational method, which is what it's mostly known for. For me, it's really a way of life, and it's really a way of understanding human development, and more importantly, our children's human development and how we can be a support and guide them.

And so, You know, in a nutshell, Montessori education is really this education that is based in the profound knowledge that children are, first of all, way more capable than we give them credit for, and highly intelligent human beings. and that they know within themselves what they need to learn and that they have this really desire and curiosity to learn about their surroundings and their what's going on around them.

And it's really giving them the tools to adapt to their time, place and culture with ease. And that's really the beauty of it because it's really knowing that we all have this really profound, intrinsic need to just learn and to adapt to, to our time, you know, place and culture. And that if we are given the opportunity to, to do that on our own rhythm, in our own time, you know, with our own sequence, then we are just, you know, opening up to, to so much possibilities.

And so it's really about being a child led. So we're really following the child, and that's, that's a, you know, motto in Montessori education is follow the child. And that is, you know, we, the educator is really trained. to be able to really sit back and observe and be able to just nudge or guide that child because we see what they're curious about that day and in what they're wanting to learn about.

So we're going to really create very individual lesson plan. It's not a lesson plan where, you know, all 30 children are going to learn the same thing that day. We're really You need to be very present and mindful and really observe each child as a new child each and every day. It's tough, but it's beautiful.

Excuse me. I love that. Yes. Yes. Yes. It's true. You know that and it is it is work because you, you have to let go of, you know, your preconceived ideas. Those what, you know, a child that age should be doing or not doing. And really, Be open to what their needs are. So that would be really that the main principle is this, this notion that it's really child led, that it's not adult friendship.

It's not one adult, you know, telling all these children what they need to learn. It's really the child saying, Help me to learn it by myself and that's the beauty of it. So there's that. There's also one aspect of it that I love is this notion of mixed age groups where we're not separating children by their birthdays.

We're really kind of grouping them in groups. Kind of developmental windows, so Montessori talked about the four planes of development, which are these three year windows where children have a certain way of learning, and so the environment is adapted for that, and it's beautiful for that. The social interaction too, because as you know, when you have, you know, a family with children of different ages, well, they're going to help each other and they're going to look up to the older ones and the older ones is going to, you know, help with the younger one.

And that's the beauty in that mixed age classroom is that you really see that and you really see the children interacting with each other and helping each other and all of that. And then Another big point is this notion of not interrupting our children. Unfortunately, in our society today, and in more of the traditional education, we tend to think that we need to keep children on this, you know, schedule of telling them what to do every 20, 30 minutes.

And you know, you've got to change activity. Okay, time to clean up. Go do this. Go do that. When Montessori is really about what we call uninterrupted worksites, because we really want to let the child be in their flow, be in this, place where they know that they have enough time in front of them to do an activity, to repeat the activity, if that's what they're called to do, and to repeat it as many times as they need to, to master it, because we know that it's, you know, through repetition that the child really learns.

And so it's really, to me, it's just You know, like I said, it's a way of life because it's really very respectful of how we know human beings learn and especially, uh, our children. So, that's in a very quick nutshell, but those are kind of the main points that I really gravitate towards and also, you know, transfer it into the family life and the home life as well.

[00:10:32] Hunter: I think you, you say it really beautifully, John Marie, and for me as a parent of kids in Montessori, ever since they were 18 months old, my, both my girls have been in Montessori, and the experience that I've had is, totally underlines everything you say, like, our children are way more capable than we give them credit for.

I remember my oldest daughter Maggie coming home and she was in a two year old in a classroom and saying, Yeah. Well, we, we scrambled eggs today. Exactly. Exactly. And I'm like, what? You scrambled eggs? Like, wow.

[00:11:08] Jeanne-Marie: Yeah.

[00:11:10] Hunter: And all of these things they would do, it was amazing what they're capable of. And as a parent, what Montessori showed me was that I could also make things a little Fostering their independence was a really good thing.

Yes. And I could do all these things around the house to foster their independence. And I think that's something you help parents with. But I remember like, Screwing the little coat hangers, hooks, like way down low, so they can hang up their coats by themselves when they got home and all of these different things.

And in this, and you know what you say about, I guess as my experience as a parent is something like, well, what I've seen is that desire and curiosity to learn has never been squashed in them. Yes. Peace. Always have that. And, and they love going to school. They, they enjoy going to school. It's fun for them.

My daughter gets kind of sad. My oldest daughter gets a little sad around summertime, actually. That desire to learn is constant and they're really, really creative. It's really, really beautiful.

Stay tuned for more Mindful Mama podcasts right after this break.

[00:12:24] Jeanne-Marie: And you bring up a good point because also one of the kind of color stone of Montessori. It's this idea of preparing the environment for them, so it's really about preparing the environment so that they can adapt to their time, place, and culture with ease. We welcome them into a very adult centric environment.

environment. And, you know, even when I look at maybe photographs of, you know, beautiful nurseries and things like that, I see it, I don't see it benefiting the child as much as it is, you know, a beautiful environment and the parent is happy because they've created this, this gorgeous, you know, atmosphere and all of this.

But when you really, really look at it from a child's perspective. You're going to want to put everything down low, just like that, you know, code hook you put there because they've been watching us. They've been watching us do all these things. They just want to be doing the same thing than us, but they just need for us to adapt the environment for their needs and their needs.

are ever changing, especially those first six years of life. So, you know, parents sometimes kind of get a little anxious of, you know, Oh, I mean, I, I actually had one dad asked me once if he needed to move. I was like, you know, you just need to adapt it a little bit. I mean, it's really, for me, it's like, You know, welcoming a special guest into your home that just has different needs than yours.

And this guest, if they're your child, is just, you know, it happens to be staying for quite a bit of time. And you're just, you're going to modify that environment as they evolve to just help them adapt and to learn what their body is capable of. So, you know, there's this very big notion also of freedom of movement.

Of where, you know, in the classroom that's translated as, we don't ask the child to sit in a specific place all day long. Like they can, they have the freedom to move, to choose to work on the floor if they want to. I had a classroom where, you know, I had an indoor outdoor environment. Go sit outside, inside at a table on the floor, wherever.

They choose, and to me, it's the same thing at home. We need to make our entire home safe for their exploration, because for them to learn what their body is capable of, they need to have the freedom of movement to do so.

[00:15:05] Hunter: Yeah. Yeah. I love that. And that frees us a lot from saying, no, don't touch. Exactly.

[00:15:10] Jeanne-Marie: Exactly. And that it's all temporary. You know, it's not, they're not going to be crawling forever. That, that, you know, beautiful crystal bowl you have on the coffee table. Well, just put it up for, you know, for a year up on a shelf and you'll enjoy it up there and you will be, like you say, you know, relieved of the stress of, of having to say no and worry that they're going to get into something.

So yes.

[00:15:36] Hunter: This is interesting because I talk to a lot of moms about, you know, that they have the responsibility to take care of their own needs, right? That we moms have to remember that we have to take care of our own needs. And that's, that's wonderful. That's what we've talked about a lot on the podcast, but I love what you're bringing here, which is a mindfulness and awareness of what are your kids, what are their needs and how did they, and some of these ideas that you have for helping them learn and helping them grow.

Within the home, actually make it so they're maybe more cooperative and more interested in doing chores and things like that later. Like you have, I was checking out your blog and you have a section on kids, you know, doing responsibilities like washing windows, watering plants, and even ironing.

[00:16:22] Jeanne-Marie: Exactly, exactly.

And this comes from the, you know, what I was saying earlier is that the child has this really very deep desire to learn what they've been watching us do. They've been absorbing, and Montessori, you know, is the one that coined the absorbent mind, which is that the brain of the child the first six years is a sponge that is just absorbing everything.

Good and bad, but everything. And that's how they're able to speak in perfect syntax, you know, by the age of three and such. But they have been watching us do all of these, you know, And chores for me kind of holds a little bit of a negative connotation, but not at all for the young child. The young child sees us, you know, grooming, dusting, ironing, whatever.

Wow. That looks like I wanted to do that. And so to me, that's why I emphasize so much on bring them into what we're doing, share what you are doing. You know, when you are starting to. To prepare a meal and your child comes in the kitchen and you know that they wanted me there, don't send them off to play and to, you know, go do something else because, oh, oh, mommy needs to cook dinner and it's not for you.

Find something that you can share with them. Find a piece of what you're doing. And, you know, I often say like for, for a younger child, You know, maybe you're making a meal that involves mashed potatoes or something, you know, an example, give them just one potato to wash and scrub. And, and I always say, you know, you might never see that potato again, but that's okay.

They feel involved. They have that, that significance and belonging that we. All strive for, and this, you know, starts from a very early age and if we involve them in these activities when they desire to be involved in the activity, you are setting the foundation for later on when it is more of a, of a chore, you know that they have the skills to do it and they will be more willing to, to do all of those, you know, when they've been doing it from a young age.

[00:18:45] Hunter: Yeah, yeah. Believe it or not, my girls were just inside putting away the clean dishes and loading the dirty ones. Yeah. So, Jean Marie, I wanted to ask you about how did you get so fascinated with Montessori? Because I was checking out your bio and We have a similar background, like I have a degree in art, you have a studio art degree, and you're born, but you were born in Tunisia.

Really fascinating. So how did you get so involved in this?

[00:19:11] Jeanne-Marie: So Montessori, um, was something kind of in the back of my mind for a while. I have a brother who is 12 years younger than I am. He went to a Montessori school, so I think that's probably where I saw, you know, that in action. And I think it goes back further than that.

It's just my love and desire to be around children from a very young age. You know, I'm kind of that person at social gatherings or family events where I'm almost more playing with the kids or I've just always been very attracted to children. When I was, you know, in middle school, I would volunteer to go work at his daycare and, and things like that.

So that's just always been there. You know, life takes you down a path. I went to college, like you, did studio arts, worked actually as a graphic designer for 20 some years in advertising, actually in France, where I met my husband, had my first child, and while I was pregnant of my first child. So this is 21 years ago.

I read a book in French by Dr. Maria Montessori called in French, it's, it's l'enfant, so the child, uh, which I think in English, it's the discovery of childhood, but it was one of her books where, and it's actually the Practically the only books that I read as I was expecting. And at the time, you know, I'm dating myself, but there wasn't this whole internet of, you know, Googling all these different things.

So I read this and the book was really about this understanding that exactly what I just shared with you, that the child comes to us knowing what they need to learn and that it is our role. to kind of get out of the way and, and observe and let them be our guide. And I took that to, I took that very seriously and, and I had a beautiful experience with my daughter when she was born and I followed her.

I mean, you know, today, knowing what I know, there's probably things that I wouldn't repeat or, you know, things like that, but I, I really did follow this beautiful old human being. And it's really not until we moved to the States. So we moved to San Diego 20 some years ago. And I had my second child, and there it was one of those, I think, you know, I don't know if we call it midlife crisis or just an awakening or just an aha of, okay, graphic design has been great, but this is not what I wanted.

And that's really when I decided to look into what were, you know, what was really my true passion. And it was children. Learn And I looked into the Montessori certification and it just so happened to be that we have a international, world renowned center right here in San Diego. And the journey started there and it was kind of, you know, a time in your life where it was like, this is where I need to be.

And I started on studying and I ended up getting a master's in Montessori education. Worked in the classroom for many years, which was, which was definitely challenging being, you know, a little bit older than most of the teachers, already having my children, all of this, but it was beautiful and it was just amazing to see, you know, really how capable children are.

And then this is what led me to the work that I do today because I realized how much the parents were asking for support and asking for questions. And it's also, you know, for me, I came to it, my second was already four years old and it was like, Oh my gosh, why didn't I know all of this before? And I really, really want to share this information with expecting parents because this is such valuable information to set the foundation for, you know, the next generation to really guide our children.

[00:23:34] Hunter: Yeah, yes, I agree. So, how would you say, kind of, you were probably in a milieu of other Montessori teachers and things like that, but I'm sure you had other mom friends who were raising their kids maybe slightly differently from you, and how would you say Okay. Okay. How did your Montessori study and passion influence your parenting, and then maybe comparing that to, you know, your friends?


[00:23:58] Jeanne-Marie: unfortunately, I feel that I was pretty isolated here being, you know, from France and, and having come here with a two year old and, and, you know, working full time and everything. I kind of forgot. parented in my home and, and, and, but the Montessori, my Montessori training definitely influenced my parenting right away in that whole, when you say independence, you know, when one image that comes to mind when you were asking that is I remember my four year old, um, you know, we'd have breakfast together every morning and he wanted to pour milk into his cereal bowl.

And, you know, those of you who are in the States know how big those, you know, gallons of milk are and how heavy those are. And for a four year old to do that was extremely challenging and, you know, it would be spills or whatever. And from, I think, you know, being in the training at the time, I just, you know, got up and got a little creamer and put enough milk for him.

In that creamer, and that was the way that I set up breakfast from that day forward for him. And oh, the smile and the satisfaction of being able to care for oneself. Like, I can do this and, and that's why I say it's really the child is just asking us, help me to do it by myself. So, just that shift of, you know, instead of saying, Oh, no, no, no, you can't do that.

Let me do it for you. All I had to do is put enough milk in a smaller container that was manageable for him. You know, and, and those are just, you know, those seem so obvious to us, but those are just small little tweaks that we can do to really, you know, empower our children so that they can feel that, yes, I can do this, you know, by myself.

So, little things like that, but yes, definitely. Parenting. What also, you know, the beauty of it too is because I did start my Montessori training when I already had an eight year old and a four year old, I was actually able to realize that I had done a pretty, you know, damn good job so far that I had followed the child that I had, you know, given them the freedom, most movement.

Like I never bought any of those, you know, Contraptions or putting them in a playpen and things like that. And I remember we were living in Paris on, you know, in, in Paris, many buildings still don't have elevators. And we were on the fourth story and with a little one and, you know, coming home with groceries, she would ask to go on the ground and she was still just crawling.

And I would let her crawl those fourth lines of stairs. And, oh my gosh, you know, again, this joy of satisfaction. And I think, you know, a lot of parents would say, Oh, no, it's dirty or whatever. It's like. Let it go, you know, wash their hands when they get up. It's like, just like follow their lead. She needed to do that to feel capable and to know what her body was capable of.

So doing the training, I also realized like I did feel. Follow My Intuition a lot, which was really about following the child.

[00:27:22] Hunter: So it sounds like there was a lot more you could say yes to. And to the people who are like cringing at the idea of the kid walking up the stairs, there's a lot of evidence actually now that That we are, our lives are much too clean that, um, that kids are, are getting allergies and problems and all kinds of problems because they'd never developed immunity to various things in life.

And it's actually good for them to kind of get their hands in the dirt, et cetera. But yeah, wash their hands when you get to the top. Exactly, exactly.

[00:27:54] Jeanne-Marie: And show them how to wash their hands. You know, I mean, all of that is like really about. Make, you know, participate, having them participate in, in their own care from the very beginning.

And this starts, you know, at day one at birth of, of the way you communicate with your child of letting them know what you're doing, asking permission, letting them know what you're going to do. I'm going to pick you up now. Give it a second. Let it sit with it. You know, be mindful as opposed to just, you know, pushing them off and going and taking them to the changing table, changing them, you know, sometimes not even talking to them and doing all of that when they need that connection and they need to know what's going on.

[00:28:40] Hunter: That's beautiful. It sounds like This level of care is beautifully, you know, it's mindful. You're, you're really talking about respecting the child, seeing them as a whole person, you know, right away, seeing the, you know, them as, you know, just having more capability and, and than we normally do. And, and I see a lot, and I was certainly guilty of this, like the way, Most people talk to children.

When I'm out and about in the world, I'm amazed at how rude we are to children, how we bark orders at them. And, and I get it, like we're tired, we're frustrated, like our children aren't listening to us, things like that. How was your language as you were dealing with the children? How did you deal with it when you were just had had it?

[00:29:25] Jeanne-Marie: Well, I think it's an inside job for sure. You know, because if we are being mindful, you know, The children didn't ask to be here. They're not, you know, I always say that children who are maybe, you know, having a tantrum or, you know, not cooperating or whatever, for me, it's really always to remind ourselves that children are not purposefully giving us a hard time.

They're just having a hard time. And it is our role to, you know, take a deep breath and kind of put our own triggers and, you know, like you say, tired, annoyance, whatever, to the side because we are the adult here in the situation. We need to, you know, to show a little bit more self control and get down to their level and just, you know, I see you're really having a hard time, or I see that you're really, you know, You're busy doing this and you're, you're not wanting to, you know, get your coat on so that we can go and it's time for us to go.

So you know, it's really about the being loving, being kind, being compassionate, and still being firm and in control because you are the captain of the ship and, and, you know, being the captain. You are the one that is guiding. You are the one that is setting the boundaries because children do need us to set those boundaries, but it's just, how do we communicate that?

And, you know, when you say that you hear people talk to them in rude ways, yes. I mean, I witnessed that either rude or just, you know, talking to them as if they were idiots when they are finally highly intelligent. And very sensitive and very spiritual little beings that we need to me show the utmost respect to these divine little beings that are so pure and and so powerful.

Innocent. They're brand new on this planet. They need us to guide them and to show us, and we cannot expect them to know how to do things or to, you know, get on our agenda right away. They're living in the present moment. They are, you know, Dr. Shefali talks about them being our little gooberies of being in the present moment, you know, and that is what we need to kind of put aside our ego and really help them and connect with them.

And I think that's the biggest piece is just that connection, as opposed to wanting to go, go, go. Why, why are you such an rushed mom? Like I'm, I'm on a good time here, . So it's just, you know, kind of coming down to their emotional level and helping them transitions and such.

[00:32:32] Hunter: Stay tuned for more Mindful Mama podcasts right after this break.

Yeah. In Mindful Parenting, we talk about simplifying our schedules. And simplifying our stuff. Yes. Yes. You would also be advocating that with your parents and your clients. Why is it so important to slow ourselves down a little for children, simplify our schedules and simplify our stuff? Because the counter argument is, you know, that parents say, you know, it's like, you've got all these wonderful options.

You know, you've got swim class, you've got tumbling, you've got music. There's all these amazing things. I expose my kid to everything. So, tell me what you say to that.

[00:33:17] Jeanne-Marie: So, I say that that is satisfying your needs. I'm kind of harsh this way, where I'd say, whose needs are being met here? Is it your fantasy that, you know, maybe these are things that weren't around at your time or that, you know, you, you want to be able to say to your friends, you know, child is doing this, this and that, like whose needs are being met when we, you know, bring our children all sorts of places.

When we have a child who's kind of an introvert and just as a homebody and is just happy playing with their blocks. Like we have to pay attention there, I think. And then secondly, over the, the excess of. You know, the society that we're in is consuming, consuming, consuming, just gets to be a little bit too much and overwhelming.

And we have to remember that our children are brand new on this planet. That just being Here is already very stimulating of, you know, going outside, of having sensorial experiences, of talking with you, of learning a language, of figuring out how to get up and walk and run. All that, that's already a lot of work.

So, you know, slow it down. Let them show the interest. Let them kind of You know, show us what they're going to want, and they are following their lead. And there's already so much that you can be doing at home of, you know, things that you involve them, like the, you know, activities I was talking earlier.

But even you, you know, if you like to put music on and dance, well, dance with them, you know, involve them in all of that. You don't necessarily need to, you know, get them dressed, get in a car, Plan on the snack, go to a place just to listen to music and, and have some break. I'm like, there's a lot of things you can do.

I, I'm a big, you know, advocate of some of those classrooms, but oftentimes it's more, again, it's more for the parents to come together and find, find their village, find their tribe. We do need that as parents because we do, you know, tend to parent in isolation. So. Again, if that is your need, go for it, do it, but just do one, right?

Don't overwhelm yourself because you're putting yourself in a stressful situation where, you know, you're having to balance this whole schedule and, and, When all is good. So, slow it down, look at your schedule and, you know, make sure that you're in a good place and you're doing all of this with joy. That you're, you know, enjoying all of this.

So that's one. And then the other one is, yes, I tend to be very minimalist and simple. In our homes, in how we organize our physical space, because especially for the young child, order, the sense of order, needing order in the physical sense, but also order in our routines and such, children are extremely sensible, sensitive to this.

And so. We want to be able to have, you know, routines that can be slow, that they can predict what is expected of them every day. And this really helps them have less this feeling of overwhelmed, of not knowing what's going to happen. But then the physical order is really physical order. We all know brings the internal order.

And the child is in a state where they are trying to make sense of their world, and they are in a state where they are classifying of their world. So if reaching simplifying And really has, you know, a minimum of activities or toys out at a time. Really, really helps them kind of let go of this overwhelm and the stress.

And, and I, and I have seen, you know, how this affects just their behavior. You know, the homes, I do some, I do a lot of fields. Mentoring and everything, but I also for local families to go into the homes and often times, you know, I get overwhelmed with just the amounts of toys and activities and everything.

So, I can only imagine what, you know, a little person in that little body is feeling with Just too much to choose from on, on that, you know, they don't know what to choose or everything gets chosen and then it's a big mess to clean up and it's like, I don't want to clean up and all of this. So this is, you know, this is also beneficial to you, the parents of get rid of a lot of this.

you know, distraction and overwhelm. And you will see a lot more of a peaceful, calm, the child will be able to focus and concentrate more when they have fewer things to choose from.

[00:38:34] Hunter: I can testify to that too, for sure. When I have gone through and Decluttered my children's rooms. They come home, they're so grateful.

And then they play for hours, they'd play for hours when they're younger in these rooms that they had decluttered. Even though I had taken away like two thirds or more of their toys, they were so grateful because exactly, they had that sense of like, Oh, this is a calming, Orderly space that feels good.

[00:39:04] Jeanne-Marie: Exactly. Exactly. I mean, I think, you know, you and I know that, I mean, I know for me when, you know, my kitchen counter is all cleared off and clean, I'm a lot happier than when there's stuff all over it, you know? So it's the same, it's the same thing. And so it's really, really important, especially for the young child who is so sensitive to order to really just, you know, go, go easy.

Like they don't need. To have, you know, all this excess. And then I also, you know, go in deeper into like the choice of toys as well, where, you know, I'm, I'm definitely more an advocate for natural made, uh, toys. So natural material, whether it's wood or leather or metals, I am for, you know, all battery operated, plastic, junky toys, things like that.

Because again, I want to really feed that insatiable curiosity and that amazing intelligence that they have. And I just feel like a lot of the toys that are out, you know, in the stores today kind of again, dumb our children down, you know, they're not, they're just entertaining them. They're not really, Helping them learn a skill.

[00:40:20] Hunter: Yeah. And, and this all goes back to that intrinsic motivation. That's really at the heart of Montessori. We're talking about the activities and my daughter really had a propensity. You tell right away, cause my husband's a musician. We have a piano in our house, had a real musical ability very early. And we actually, she, we asked her if she wanted to.

And so she got, she started taking piano lessons when she was like four and a half years old, so So young, right? But she really loved it. She really enjoyed the lessons. But then the teacher, being a traditional piano teacher, was like, she should practice 10 minutes a day, you know, just doing the E song or whatever.

She ended up doing piano for about maybe a year, Maybe a year and a half, but I, I remember I bugged her about her doing her, doing her practice and things like that. Because what you're talking about requires a level of trust and following the child, like a level of trust and a level of letting go. And, and I was in that place of, I'm supposed to make my child practice.

And she ended up hating, stopping, not, not wanting to do piano, not hating it, but not wanting to do piano anymore because it was too much. Yeah. And I realized, of course, kind of what I did over the years. I was like, Oh, what did I do? And, and so then when late, a little later, when she was seven or so, I had read some article about how, you know, lots of adults regret giving up their, uh, instrument when they were younger.

So I ended up just having a conversation with her and saying, talking to her a little bit about what I read and saying, you know, I, I think you really had a propensity towards piano. And if you really want to do it and love it, you know, it could be totally your thing and I won't bug you to practice. And whether you practice or not, I don't really care.

It can be totally up to you. If you want to do it, we'll pay for you to do piano lessons again. So she did. And now, and she's been doing it ever since. She loves it. Now she practices herself on her own. I never ask her. It was really interesting to see for me in my own life, that example of like, sort of not following the child, that outside in, that extrinsic motivation that I was giving her, right?

That really just crashed and failed miserably. And then allowing her to follow her own rhythm, right? Follow her own desire and curiosity and how that has blossomed enormously. Like she plays amazing things now. She can pick things, songs just out of the air. It's amazing.

[00:42:45] Jeanne-Marie: Yeah. And that also, I think is part of also knowing, you know, their, their brain development as well that, you know, at four, yes, she was very interested, but had no, you know, concept of what it is to, you know, practice to be better like that.

That's just not something that we, you know, we, we understand. And it's really after six where they have more of the same. Reasoning Mind, where you are able to have that conversation. So, kudos to you for, for doing that because that's wonderful now that she is, you know, loving piano so much. Wonderful.

[00:43:25] Hunter: So, for people who are interested in Montessori, maybe, maybe you can go out and find Montessori schools near you.

Here in Delaware, you're lucky enough, there's a public charter Montessori you can go to. But, for people who want to take some of these ideas and concepts, besides going to your website, which we'll share and we want people to get these resources, what are some sort of baby steps people can do to, you know, provide their child with more independence and more, um, you know, involvement in what's going on in everyday life?

So, depending on the age of

[00:43:58] Jeanne-Marie: your

[00:43:58] Hunter: child,

[00:43:59] Jeanne-Marie: I really, for new parents, for example, I actually tell them to Get down on all fours and crawl around their homes. Also, it's, it's true. It's like we have to like physically see the environment from their perspective to be able to be aware and to be mindful of, you know, where they might be.

Go and where might be the obstacles to like, if you see that your child is really motivated to wash their hands, for example, but there's no access to water anywhere. Well, you've got to go out and get a stepstool so that they can get. To the sink and, and, you know, wash hands, or is there always, you know, bugging you in the kitchen when you're about to make dinner?

That's a, you know, that's a sign right there that you need to be involving them. So, really about following their lead is, I think, you know, the major thing that we can do at home. I even invite you to look at how you, where you place artwork in your home, where you place photographs, you know, maybe, maybe a few of those can come down low to your child's, where their eyesight is, is looking, you know, we tend to put everything up high for our visual.

sense, but let's break some things down for them. So things like that, you know, dedicating maybe a cupboard in the kitchen where they can have easy access to some of the big things in mind and such. So it's really about learning to observe and that's a big thing that I'd work with the parents that I mentor is to really be able to step back and really enjoy just watching your child.

You know, go through the motions of the day, and there you're going to be also able to detect where they might need some guidance, where they might need to be shown, you know, again, how to fold that T shirt that they're, you know, struggling to fold or things like that. It's just about stepping, stepping out of her grave, but to be.

A scientific observer. To be an observer without judging or without any expectation, but just for you to take a mental note of this is where I relate to tonight. And then the other thing that I do like to remind parents is, how do you say, to really say something about the progress or encourage the progress and not always the result.

Like, I, I really, Sadness needs to hear good job so much. It's like, it becomes a very kind of shallow statement with no empowering of the child. It's really about, wow, that looked like it was really difficult. You, you really, you know, push through. That's great. That's it. It must feel good to you. So really bringing it back to that intrinsic value that they have, that You know, we, we, I feel that we are creating a generation of reward junkies, where, where more and more children are just wanting to be told good job, as opposed to doing it for what it makes them feel like.

So, just being aware of our language, I think, is another thing that would be very important.

[00:47:29] Hunter: Thanks. Thanks. I love that. Jean Marie, it's been lovely to talk to you. I can't wait for people to check out what you're doing and where you, you know, all the different resources they have. Get your kids started, your three year old started ironing, and more.

Where can people find out more about you?

[00:47:48] Jeanne-Marie: So I do have a website called Voila Montessori, so V O I L A Montessori dot com. And I'm on social media, Facebook, Instagram under the same handle, Voila Montessori. I also have a pretty extensive YouTube channel where I share all of those different activities in very short two minute videos to really show you how to present, and I've tried to film everything from the child's perspective so that you can see the importance of slowing down your movements and to, you know, stop talking when you're showing your child something because we tend to over explain, uh, things, and children just need us to slow down and show them how to do things for themselves.

[00:48:36] Hunter: So wonderful. Jean Marie, thank you for, I just want to thank you for, for showing up and doing this work and bringing the magic of Montessori to so many people who may not have access to it, bringing it into their home. I've, my family has benefited so much from what we've learned from my children going to Montessori.

And the way you're sharing it, it really does a great service to the world. And you have such a compassionate presence, like a real groundedness and wisdom that I really appreciate you bringing to us and sharing with all of us. Thank you. Yes, thank you. Thanks

so much for listening to this podcast. I love Marie and I love what she brings to the table. Montessori is pretty amazing. But you can take some of these into your regular life, you know, you can take some of these principles of respecting the child and all of these into your regular life. It really is possible.

And in fact, the work that I do sometimes with moms is really grounded in Montessori because it's been such a big part of my own life and my Children's Life. So that's it for this week. I hope in the U. S. you had a good Thanksgiving, and remember we've got that Holiday Survival Guide episode from last week should you need some support in the upcoming holidays and how to simplify.

And how to make it be less chaotic and more joyful. I'll be doing all those same things myself. Yeah, I'm wishing you a beautiful week. I really appreciate your ears. I'm so glad you're here with me today. I love that we get to have this time together. And I really appreciate that you take this time to spend with me.

So have a beautiful week, my friend. Namaste.

I'd say definitely do it. It's really helpful. It will change your relationship with your kids for the better. It will help you communicate better and just I'd say communicate better as a person, as a wife, as a spouse. It's been really a positive influence in our lives. So definitely do it. I'd say definitely do it.

It's so worth it. The money really is inconsequential when you get so much benefit from being a better parent to your children and feeling like you're connecting more with them. Not feeling like you're yelling all the time or you're like, why isn't things working? I would say definitely do it. It's so, so worth it.

It'll change you. No matter what age someone's child is, it's a great opportunity for personal growth and it's a great investment in someone's family. I'm very thankful I have this. You can continue in your old habits that aren't working or you can learn some new tools and gain some perspective to shift everything in your parenting.

Are you frustrated by parenting? Do you listen to the experts and try all the tips and strategies, but you're just not seeing the results that you want? Or are you lost as to where to start? Does it all seem so overwhelming with too much to learn? Are you yearning for community people who get it, who also don't want to threaten and punish to create cooperation?

Hi, I'm Hunter Clark Fields, and if you answered yes to any of these questions, I want you to seriously consider the Mindful Parenting Membership. You'll You'll be joining hundreds of members who have discovered the path of mindful parenting and now have confidence and clarity in their parenting. This isn't just another parenting class.

This is an opportunity to really discover your unique lasting relationship, not only with your children, but with yourself. It will translate into lasting connected relationships, not only with your children, but your partner too. Let me change your life. Go to MindfulParenting. com MindfulParentingCourse.

com to add your name to the waitlist so you will be the first to be notified when I open the membership for enrollment. I look forward to seeing you on the inside.

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