What to do With Halloween

In Montessori we “follow the child” in pretty much all situations. What about in celebrating the fall holiday of Halloween? I’m guessing if a group of early childhood teachers took polls in their classrooms, there may be interesting results. Would they differ from the beliefs of adults surrounding the trappings of this holiday? Never one to run away from the spookiness of controversy, I took a recent twitter poll about whether or not to celebrate Halloween (results to come).

In the past, I have written here about “alternative” holiday celebration practices typical of an inclusive Montessori classroom. As teachers with individualized learning as a goal, we operate in consideration of our class make up, cultural climate, sensitivity to the child, resistance to commercialism. Do we ever just ask the children we spend October with what they want?


Spring Fling Contest 2021

It’s time for Spring Fling 2021 hosted by Ciara O’Neal and Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez. I’m so excited to take part for the first time.

The brief: Choose a gif for inspiration and write a spring themed story aimed at children under the age of 12. The word count must be 150 or below.

Thanks to hallmark channel gifs (and to Esther) for my story inspiration.

Here is my hippety hoppety entry.

Rosie the Nibbler

By Megan Ray Durkin       


Rosie the Nibbler’s the pet for me.

She gives away snuggles and kisses for free.

Rosie the Nibbler hops this a ‘way and that,

But always returns to my lap for a pat.

You won’t hear her moo; you won’t hear her crow.

A thump of her foot is how she will show.

A bunny just wants to hop this a ‘way and that.

And then she’ll return to your lap for a pat.

Rabbits are pets that do not need much.

A full water bottle and hay in a hutch.

Time in the grass to hop this a ‘way and that.

And plenty of space in your lap for a pat.

If you want a pet that’s soft as a cloud,

Come over tomorrow and see what I found.

Cuz’ all Rosie’s babies hop this a ‘way and that.

I’m certain there’s one that will fit in your lap.

Rosie and Esther


 Happy Year of the OX!

Image result for Lunar New Year ox

Did you have your jiaozi last night?


Here’s a how-to from Cooking in the Children’s House

Jiaozi (Chinese New Year Dumplings)

1 pack (30) dumpling wrapper 1 lb. ground pork (optional)
1 Chinese cabbage, chopped
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
6 fresh shiitake mushrooms
4 water chestnuts (optional)
1 clove garlic or 1 slice ginger, finely chopped
2 T. vegetable oil

3 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
6 tablespoons water
½ teaspoon sesame oil
pepper, to taste

To prepare filling
Mix all the sauce ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
Heat oil in a wok. Add the garlic or ginger and fry till golden brown. Add in all the vegetables and stir-fry until tender. Stir in the sauce mixture and fry until dry.
To wrap dumpling
Place some of filling in the middle of wrapper and use finger to wet the edge with water. Fold up. Work from right to left, press and shape the dumpling.
To cook dumpling Bring water to a boil in a pot or wok. Add the dumplings and return to the boil. Remove the dumplings with a slotted spoon when they float to the surface. Jiaozi can also be fried in a skillet or wok.


I am writing a non fiction book for children about, wait for it…tea. Sound a bit insipid? After a few hours this morning I took a little break and my mind wandered back to the stark reality of the present. April 15, 2020.

Question to self: “Is what your doing helping?” I let it sink in for a while. Chewed on it, swallowed, and saw a child reading about camel caravans on the Silk Road and about the Boston Tea Party. Perhaps for the first time encountering the terms “colonization” or “fair trade”. History can sometimes be a hard thing for kids to understand. It seems like fiction but it isn’t. It doesn’t feel real but it invokes real empathy. The history of something as everyday humdrum as tea may appear not to address anything important. Or does it?

As a Montessorian I am steeped in the philosophy that my task is not to fix things, but rather to create an environment ripe for understanding. Real understanding – of history, and perhaps even an awareness that it is history we are living right now. Time can be relative – especially when one is immersed in a book or learning something new. Even if it’s something about a boring old cup of tea. Learning about history kids can see their place on the continuum and ultimately make decisions with an expanded perspective. That, my chamomile friends, is knowledge.

The Peace of Wild Things

The Peace of Wild Things
by Wendell Berry

When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

I am keeping Berry’s words close in mind as I work on Mr. Tickles’ “biography” today. Because it is a true story, I try to be so careful to get it right. It would be nice if he were still nearby to communicate with me in his reptilian ways. But I am happy he is free-styling in the lake and I will rely on memory and dig down to the cosmic core for the truth.

My Children’s House

Summer is a great time for children to explore the world around them, experience the joy of self-discovery and enjoy a variety of age-appropriate activities geared to their individual needs and interests.

A child-centered Montessori summer camp is playful, relaxed, and fun. It is an ideal change of pace for the summer months for 2.5 – 8+ year old campers. It combines the best of Montessori – love of learning, free choice, independence, mutual respect, and hands on learning– with the charms only summer can afford – plenty of sprinkler and water fun, outdoor games, nature walks, gardening, fantasy play, arts and crafts, cooking, sewing, science experiments, and picnic lunches. Your child will make friendships through play, improve motor, language, and socialization skills, and continue their personal path of growth.

If you desire a great way to transition your child entering a program in the fall, a first time camp experience, a camp staffed with experienced and nurturing teachers, consistency and convenience for your family, seek out a Montessori summer camp!