When my boys were small I did a lot of research into the various education options we had for them-traditional schools, Montessori, Language immersion, etc. At first I had decided to try to home (pre)school but it became quickly apparent that my older son, who was 3 at the time, wanted nothing to do with whatever it was Mom wanted him to do! He was not very fine-motor oriented and I could not figure out the best ways to reach him despite the numerous approaches I tried. We finally put him in traditional preschool (which did not work well at all) and ended up switching him to an amazing private preschool/primary school earlier this year. Our second son will be starting the same school this fall as well.
During my research I found myself coming back to the concept of Montessori education again and again but unfortunately we could not afford the tuition at the only “true” Montessori school in our area. (Prices add up, especially with more than one child attending!) As a result I tried to look for ways to incorporate Montessori-type activities at home. Melissa and Doug is a great company for this-many of their products very closely resemble Montessori activities. I also used Adena Montessori.
The best (and most cost-effective) resource I found however, was Montessori for Everyone. This awesome site has printable Montessori activities for children ages 2-12 created by Lori Bourne, a real Montessori trained teacher. I have been using materials from her site for about two years now. You can download the materials and print them off yourself. I purchased a thermal laminator for a very reasonable price to extend the life of my materials and my boys just love everything I have gotten from the site so far. She even offers free downloads each month! Last night I downloaded July’s free Picture-to-Background matching activity. It took me 15 minutes start to finish to download, laminate, and cut the activity. My boys just loved it and it gave me some nice “quiet time” while I was cooking dinner!
(FYI, Lori doesn’t know who I am, I just love her site and have found her materials and customer service to be fantastic!)