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April 2018

Raising Children as Disabled Parents Guest Post by Ashley Taylor

I am so blessed to have two healthy children, and at the same time, I am humbled and thankful, as all this can be taken away at any given moment. So, please, meet my guest Ashley Taylor, who will share with you a story of courage and success. Ashley Taylor is a disabled mother of two wonderful, amazing, energetic children. She met her husband, Tom, while doing physical therapy. Tom had suffered a spinal cord injury due to a car accident and uses a wheelchair for mobility. Ashley and Tom knew they wanted children and knew they would have to adapt their lives and home in order to make this dream come true. Ashley is happy to say that they are the proud parents of two healthy, wonderful children and their disabilities haven’t stopped them from leading a happy, fulfilling life. Through this article, Ashley wishes to show her gratitude to the universe for all the ways they have been blessed as a family!

Hopefully, this article can help people with disabilities on how they can prepare their lives and their homes for parenthood.

 

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Raising Children as Disabled Parents,

by Ashley Taylor


Preparing a home for a newborn can be difficult for any parent, but especially so if you have a
disability. According to 2012 census statistics, nearly 1 in 5 Americans suffer from a disability.
That’s almost 19 percent of the U.S. population or 56.7 million people. Meanwhile, data from
the same year revealed that 1 in 10 kids in the U.S. have a parent with a disability. In this context,
a disability might include chronic or untreated pain, being bound to a wheelchair, or having
difficulty seeing, hearing, lifting or grasping. So if you or your partner have a disability and are
about to start a family, here is some advice to prepare your lives and homes for parenthood.

Resources


First off, if you’re a disabled parent, keep in mind that you’re not alone. Databases of resources
for disabled parents exist online. The American Psychological Association, for instance, offers
programs like “Through the Looking Glass,” “Parents with Disabilities Online,” “Disability
Resources on the Internet,” and “Project Star Parents with Disabilities Program.” With a few
clicks, you should be able to uncover parenting tips, referral resources, and family support
networks. Other websites list fact sheets on disabilities, know-your- rights advocacy materials,
and information on adoption, legal issues, and child custody.

 

Preparation


Planning for a newborn as a disabled parent is, in many ways, no different than it is for a parent
without a disability. Routinize these habits into your schedule as you’re preparing for your baby: first off, sleep. You won’t be sleeping much once the child gets here, so make sure you stock
up on rest now. Set aside a fund for your baby’s expenses. Consult your doctor and dentist to
make sure that you’re healthy before giving birth. As the delivery date approaches, fill up your pantry, stash away frozen meals and clear out a few shelves in your refrigerator for bottles of
breast milk (or formula) so that you’ll be prepared at all hours whenever your newborn gets
hungry.

Outside of the home, cultivate a strong support network, so that once your newborn does arrive,
you can rely on family, friends, neighbors, babysitter, and others for assistance. Feel free to ask
your parents to bring over a home-cooked meal once in awhile. Invite a relative or trusted friend
to play with your newborn so that you can sleep for an hour or two. You never want people to
feel used, but if you’re just asking for a favor or two, you’ll probably discover that your loved
ones are happy to help.

Home Preparation


Just as important as surrounding yourself with friends and family is preparing your home for a
newborn. Some accessibility features you might consider putting in include replacing steps with
a ramp, installing skid-resistant flooring, or purchasing expandable hinges for doorways. Also, if
your room is next to the nursery, you might consider knocking down the wall between the two.
Especially if your disability impairs your ability to move, this modification will help you get to your baby quicker if it wakes you up wailing in the night. Alternately, try sleeping with your child, or placing its cradle or bassinet alongside your bed. Raising a child takes hard work, no less for people with disabilities than for anybody else. But be sure to consult the resources available to you and make any changes necessary to your home to maximize its accessibility so that you’re prepared for this first phase of parenthood.

Please, know that you are not alone! Should you have any questions, please visit Ashley's website here. Also, leave a comment. Would love to hear your thoughts. 

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🌸Spring and🌱Nature Inspired 📚Books

April 23rd is William Shakespeare's birthday (1564) and World Book Day, so below I have put together our favorite 🌸Spring and🌱nature-inspired books with links to hands-on activities. DSC_0074

A closer 🔍look at our 🌸Spring 🌱Nature 📚Books (top left to right):

  • My First Discoveries Series with its transparent pages add a new twist to a traditional reading. TreesFlowers, and Woods and Forest books are a great addition to your spring or botany book collection:
    • Trees book (buy here) gracefully explains how nature's cycle works.
    • Flowers book (buy here) will show a child how bees and butterflies settle on spring flowers, how buds blossom and flower into fruit, and how sunflowers turn to face the sun.
    • Woods and Forests book (buy here) teaches a young reader about nature, seasons, woods and forests.
  • Everything Spring (Picture the Seasons) National Geographic Children's (buy here) is an amazing beautifully photographed picture book where young children can see, hear, and feel the warmth of springtime by reading and learning all about chicks, bunnies, and the other baby animals that come out to play in springtime.
  • Spring book is a part of Four Seasons Book set (buy here), where each of the books describes the characteristics of one season. Spectacular images of children, plants, and animals in all seasons combine with simple text to demonstrate how seasonal changes affect all life on Earth.
  • Cherry Blossoms Say Spring National Geographic Children's Books series (buy here) looks at the life cycle of a cherry tree, the history behind the gift of the Japanese cherry trees to our nation's capital, and the association of cherry trees and spring. Vibrant scenes from the Cherry Blossom Festival and the flood of visitors to the Tidal Basin are balanced with shots of the natural beauty of these trees. 

DSC_0109"The sun opens the buds and tiny leaves uncurl." ~  Trees book.

DSC_0109"In spring, chestnut trees blossom. The flowers grow into chestnuts."

Through beautiful overlay pages of My First Discoveries series books, a child can see a little seed grow into a mighty tree. The Trees book takes a young reader through a journey of a tree, which flowers every year, bearing seeds that will in Autumn fall to the ground just to grow slowly into more trees.   

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Flowers book has the most beautiful transparent overlay pages which reveal how buds blossom and flower into fruit; how sunflowers turn to face the sun; how bees and butterflies settle on spring flowers, and how Dandelion: grows from a flower ~ to a bud ~  to a seed.

DSC_0002For more flower books, read here a post about our favorite 🌸Botany 📚Books.

DSC_0066Learning about ❄️🌸🌳🍂Seasons ~ read here about our material and books.

 See here our entire 🌸Spring 🌱 Themed Unit roundup.

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🌐Earth Day Inspired 📚Books

🌐Earth Day is always celebrated on April 22. Although we pay tribute to this National Holiday by educating our children on the importance of conservation and caring for our environment, there is still so much that can be done in terms of reducing pollution, making sure we all live in harmony with every living creature and conserving our valuable resources. Below are some of the 🌐 Earth Day favorite 📚 books we enjoy reading. I hope you can utilize these books not just for this Holiday, but for the entire year, teaching children how to appreciate, respect and cherish our planet Earth.

The three books that have touched our hearts deeply are by Schim Schimmel, who is an internationally renowned professional artist/author with a great love of art as well as the environment. His artwork and books have been lovingly embraced world-wide for their beauty and environmental message.

In The Family of Earth Book (buy here), through surrealistic acrylic paintings of leopards, penguins, hippos, and gorillas, each in their appropriate landscape (or floating in space with the moon and stars and planet Earth hovering nearby), Schimmel expresses his beliefs about planetary interdependence of all of Earth's creatures. "The earth may look different to each of us, but we share only one earth." Lions live in a world of grassy plains. To dolphins, the world is water. Lush green trees make up gorillas' world. And yet, all these animals share the same world. 

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Flowing rivers, quiet ponds, and muddy banks are the only world hippo knows. We all live in our own worlds.

Schimmel describes his paintings as environmental visionary surrealism and hopes to change the way readers see the world. The text attempts to describe the perspectives experienced by a variety of animals. For example, snow leopards don't see the same environment as dolphins."Leopards do not swim with dolphins. They have never seen a penguin." Gorillas call the forest home, while lions live on grassy plains. The point of the narrative is that although all of the creatures live in different habitats, they all inhabit the same planet. 

DSC_0012"We share the canyons and the oceans. We share the same sky."

 

However, perhaps Schimmel's most famous book is Dear Children Of The Earth (buy here) which is a remarkable letter from Mother Earth asking for help from children everywhere. She (Mother Earth) writes to express her love for each and every child and asks for their love and appreciation in return.

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In her own words, and with all of her heart, Mother Earth swaddles children with love and entrusts them with her protection. She explains that we are all one big family~ her children: that we have to take care of our "brothers and sisters" who are not necessarily our kin but are indeed all living creatures. Mother Earth also asks to help keep our "home" clean.
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The message in Dear Children Of The Earth book is so simple and yet so moving! Through Schimmel's "eco-surreal" artwork, the book suggests the interdependence of all of Earth's creatures, asking for unity, humanity, peace, and respect - what a great message to celebrate the Earth Day!


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Lastly, Children Of The Earth...Remember book (by here) is a tender lesson on sharing and protecting the Earth, enhanced with Schimmel's stunning artwork.

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And all of these animals are children of this world. For this world is their Mother. And we call this world Mother Earth. The animals are not alone on Mother Earth. These are people living there, too. Billions of people. More people than all the twinkling stars in the night sky. And all of these people are the children of Mother Earth, too. So, the animals and the people and Mother Earth are all one big family.  

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We also enjoyed reading Help The Environment Series (on the right), which includes five books: Caring for Nature, Cleaning Up Litter, Reusing & Recycling, Saving Energy, and Saving Water.

Reusing and Recycling book (buy here) shows children simple, hands-on ways to reuse and recycle while explaining why it’s a good idea. Simple text and engaging photos of children and their families taking small conservation actions in their homes, classrooms, and communities make big conservation ideas accessible to beginning readers. “When we reuse boxes, we do not waste boxes. We help the environment.” 

Caring for Nature book (buy here) introduces very young children to the concept of caring for the environment in an attractive and accessible way. Based on children's real-life experiences, the books focus on things children can do to help the environment and keep the world around us clean. In this book, children learn what nature is, what lives in nature, and ways they can care for nature.

In Saving Water book (buy here), children will discover concrete ways to save water — and learn why it is important. “A hose uses lots of water. We save water when we use a watering can instead of a hose.

In Cleaning Up Litter book (buy here), children will discover simple ways to clean up the world — “Sometimes there are no trash cans. When we take litter with us, we clean up the world.


In Saving Energy book (buy here), children will learn ways to save energy. “We use energy to make cars work. When we walk or take the bus, we save energy.

Finally, Earth Day (Rookie Read-About Holidays) book in the middle (buy here) is very simple, straightforward book with controlled vocabulary, and a text of fewer than 400 words. The book also includes pronunciation guides to less familiar words.

Read here a post about another inspiring book that we love  I Cherish Planet Earth Book📘 with a Matching Game.

Also, see here the 🌐Earth Day 2017 Activities Roundup.

I would love to hear what you think ... And, please, spread the 💖 love & SHARE our journey! CLICK one of those buttons 👇🏻below! 📍SAVE, 💌SUBSCRIBE & 📲FOLLOW

Preschool Uses For A ⛳Golf Tee 🔨Hammering Montessori 🙌🏻Practical Life Lesson 💪🏻Gross Motor Game •101 🎥 Series 🎇

This is a Montessori Practical Life lesson on a preschool use of a golf tee, which is an awesome gross motor exercise. Additionally, I will also show you a couple of fun extensions where your child will also exercise fine motor control. 

DSC_0117What you will need:

  • a tray,
  • a little hammer or a little rubber mallet,
  • golf tees,
  • a box filled with non-drying modeling clay: rip the clay apart and mush it in, filling the entire space of the box; offer your child to do this since working with clay is a great hand-muscle control exercise.  

DSC_0120Advise your child to hold the golf tee with two fingers and hammer three times before letting go of the hand.

DSC_0132Then finish hammering until the tee is deep into the clay.
 

This activity is super fun! To pull the tees out of the molding clay, offer your child to wiggle the tee and work it out by exercising those arm muscles since it might be challenging. Finally, a child would mash the clay all back into the box, making the top smooth, ready for the next use. 
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A child can do this activity as many times s/he wants, so have it available on the shelf. Just make sure that this work goes back on its place after the child is finished with it.

Well, since you rummaged through your golf bag to find your tees, I will give you a few extensions you might like: 

DSC_0132 Use a styrofoam block.

DSC_0132Use recycled packing blocks.

DSC_0160 post Under HammeringOffer your child to hammer on wood. See our Earth Day Unit Study here

Also, use a larger foam block or two blocks glued together and offer your child to make shapes: a circle, square, rectangle, triangle – by hammering the tees. You may need to draw shapes onto the block as guides.

Other ExtensionsGolf Tee Poking (instead of Pin Poking): for youngest children who are just starting to work on their pencil grip or if you have a little one and you don't want to have a pin laying on a shelf. 

DSC_0006You would trace a letter with a marker on a hard cardstock first, and present the activity on a tray, the paper layered over a sponge or a mesh rug.

DSC_0256 copy Tee Pocking - Link Letter SeriesPoking with a tee offers a little bit more control. See here our 🔠 Letter Series (Montessori Language).
DSC_0006Offer your child to push down on the lines. Once finished, offer to hold the paper up to the window and have the light go through. More on Letter V here

Another Extension: use a styrofoam block for holding tees and balance small balls, marbles, ping pong balls, Easter eggs, Halloween balls, etc.

DSC_0037See here a 🎥video post  🇺🇸4th of July Inspired ⛳ Golf Tees 🔨Hammering and 🔴⚪️🔵 Ball Balancing DIY Activity (Practical Life 🙌 101 🎥 Series).

DSC_0272See here 🎃Halloween Inspired ⛳️Golf Tee 🔨Hammering • Ball Balancing • 🙌🏻 Practical Life Activity.

This golf tee hammering is a mixture of gross motor and an intro to fine motor activities before your child has acquired a more precise fine motor skill required for beading, collaging and Montessori frames. Before you introducing this tee-hammering, you would start your Practical Life curriculum with:

  • DRY pouring ~ read here DRY Spout Pouring 1:1, and here DRY Pouring 1:2; 
  • Also, see here 🍁Fall 👻Halloween Inspired Tongs Transferring (Montessori 🙌🏻 Practical Life).
  •  then introduce WATER pouring ~see here 💦WET Spout Pouring 1:1, and here 💦WET Pouring 1: 2;
  • moving on to food preparation, scrubbing and cleaning, water play activities like bubble making, nesting boxes and so on. 

I hope you found fun reasons to use your golf tees and enjoyed our PRACTICAL LIFE lesson. 

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👣Feet 🐣Egg Transferring 🌈Color Matching 💪🏻Gross Motor 📽Game

This is a super fun DIY: use recycled eggs (I am sure we all have tones of them after Easter) or use balls and let your kiddo have fun with this color recognition gross motor game. 

DSC_0082     I did not have either black or red egg, so using Sharpies, I colored them.

DSC_0094Besides exercising those little feet, this is also an awesome color matching activity, and if your child knows all the colors, use this opportunity to learn colors in a different language!

DSC_0060You would call out a color, and the child, using feet only, would transfer that color egg to a different container.

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We are also using traditional Montessori color tables (see links to posts below), but you can use paint samples from your hardware store for this color matching (see examples below). 

DSC_0094Also, use this activity to grade colors! 

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It is through appropriate work and activities that the character of the child is transformed.  Work influences his development in the same way that food revives the vigor of a starving man.  We observe that a child occupied with matters that awaken his interest seems to blossom, to expand, evincing undreamed of character traits; his abilities give him great satisfaction, and he smiles with a sweet and joyous smile. ~ Dr. Maria Montessori (San Remo Lectures, p. 28.)

DSC_0094If you have a color chart, offer your child to match the eggs to the chart. 

Movement, or physical activity, is thus an essential factor in intellectual growth, which depends upon the impressions received from outside. Through movement, we come in contact with external reality, and it is through these contacts that we eventually acquire even abstract ideas.  ~ Maria Montessori.

If you have siblings or a kids' 🎉 party, grab ⏱a timer and turn this game 🏁 into " Who can do it fastest!"🏆


DIY Color Matching + Fine Motor Pegging

This DIY resembles matching Montessori Color Tablets ~ similar to Color Box 2 ~ a traditional Sensorial material introduced to toddlers starting at 2 ½ years old. 

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With this activity, besides simply matching color samples from your local hardware store, offer your child to practice fine motor skills by matching colored clothespins and also graduating pegs in order from smallest to largest or vice versa. And if you have plain wooden pegs, just color them either with Sharpies (what we used) or use tempera stick paints which are awesome too!

IMG_1020 To learn more about Montessori 🌈Color Boxes, read here a detailed post with presentations on boxes one through three on my blog Montessori Color Box 1, 2 & 3 (Color tablets).

For more DIYs, see here our ✂️DIY, Crafts & Materials.

For more holidays inspired activities, see here our 🐣Easter 🐰Inspired Themed Unit Study.

I would love to hear what you think ... And, please, spread the 💖 love & SHARE our journey! CLICK one of those buttons 👇🏻below! 📍SAVE, 💌SUBSCRIBE & 📲FOLLOW