Welcome to the very first of a series I’m planning to do regularly – What Montessori-Friendly Materials Have I Spotted In _________ (a series of different local stores).
This is my attempt to share my finds with parents who are just starting out in their Montessori journey, in the hope that instead of getting overwhelmed and intimidated with this beautiful philosophy, it encourages us to look for Montessori-friendly materials in our everyday things and usual stores.
I admit, sometimes, I tend to depend on online stores, specialty stores, or on the other side of the world for Montessori-friendly materials, but as we have been going out more often to the malls for errands, I have come to realize that if you look hard enough, many materials are very accessible, and often, with much friendlier price points. We just really need the eye for it, and the knowledge on how we can make them work for our approach.
While this blogpost contains specific materials, may these serve more as inspiration than a checklist of what you need to have at home. I decided to limit the number to 5 items per post, or else it will be a very long one. I may just make another post on the same store next time if really needed.
These may not work for your child right now, and they may not catch his/her interest, that is why, as always, before anything else, observe your child so that you may provide materials that answer his/her current developmental need.
So for our first feature, I chose National Bookstore.
Why? Frankly because I was already shopping there when the idea of doing this series hit me. Also, they have branches nationwide, so I can accommodate more parents. And also, because honestly, for a while, I haven’t really been depending on them for our materials – so it’s nice to actually visit and spot some things for us.
Here we go!
1. FILIPINO BOOKS – If there’s one category worth finding in National Bookstore, it’s their section on Filipino Books for children. Back when we were volunteering around the country to help children, I was a fan of Adarna Books — seeing how the books really encourage children to read. I especially love how many of Adarna’s books are bilingual – so there would be English and Tagalog, English and Ilokano, English and Visayan, etc. But, as a mom, personally, I am more in love with the illustrations and simplicity of Tahanan Books. Anyway, both publishers are available in National, so take your time to browse before you checkout.
2. PRESCHOOL BOARD BOOKS – National Bookstore is not my go-to for storybooks except for Filipino books, but they do have a decent collection of simple picture books. They usually file them under the Educational Books section. Personally, I like the Preschool Board Books set: one image (real photo) per page and just one text to identify the photo – perfect for my toddler. I was able to score the Vehicles one for PHP 17 because it was on sale. Can’t go wrong with that. The regular price is PHP 69. We use these mini-board books during travels, and I always have the Vehicles book in my bag. It’s small enough that it doesn’t really bear weight, so I can just bring it in case we need to read or look at photos.
3. BLACK/WHITE BOARD – National Bookstore is actually big on supplies – so whatever basic office/school supplies you need, they probably have it – at a good price point. I didn’t get this reversible blackboard and whiteboard anymore since we have lot of similar items already, but for PHP 98, I think it’s a good find — thin, has round edges, and small enough to be portable. Your child can use it as is, or you may put it on an easel. There are a lot more boards to choose from, so go ahead and look for what fits best for your family.
4. FLASH CARDS – Using flashcards the traditional way is not Montessori, however, flash cards are still useful most especially when mixed with real-life items or miniatures. For example, you may put up the flash card of a tomato on a mini-easel or an acrylic stand and place it beside a real tomato. You can also use it for matching work with miniatures. National carries a lot of flashcards, but I especially like the ones distributed by Lines and Prints Enterprises. Love the simple and realistic graphics. Oh, also worth mentioning my other find – blank flashcards (PHP 55). I’m thinking of using them for memory games, actually, because I did make my own memory game prints then laminated them, but because I only printed them on regular bond paper, you can actually see the graphic even when you flip it, so I think this is a better option – also because they are more or less equal in cuts, unlike my very own cuts that differed per piece, haha. Another thing I thought of doing with this is to paste random images that my son is into (pasted with a washi tape so I can keep changing them, haha, tipid tip!) then turning the cards down and asking Pablo to look for a specific item for me. I’m sure they have more uses depending on what your child needs right now.
5. GLOBE SHARPENER – I’ve had one way before Pablo, and I’m glad they still sell it up to now (because I already lost my first two, haha) for only PHP 64. This Maped Globe Sharpener can work as, well, a sharpener, or as a language object, and even as a decor on my son’s birthday ring (inspired by Amy of Midwest Montessori).
So there. My finds for now. I’m pretty sure I’ll post about National Bookstore again because there are other things I’d like to cover, but as I mentioned, I had to place a limit or else we won’t stop. Haha.
But before I end this post, I’m sharing my own find for me.
You see, we need pens for our work, so I have a few out, and because our son can already access our work area, he sometimes keeps opening our pens, and they’re not erasable, so I’m always hoping he doesn’t use them. I mean, I’m all for real-life things and experience, but also, I think part of a prepared environment is not having things out that you don’t want them to use (or they’re not yet ready to use).
This is one of those things, but as mentioned, we need them. I’ve kept them in our drawers, and he could still find them, haha.
So anyway, I was so happy to chance upon these Zebra “pencils”. Apart from looking chic and clean, you have to twist it to open the pen! So, for now, I think, this is a good solution for us — we can keep the pens out, but they might not be of interest for him. We’ll see.
But just to share, I told my husband I think I want to throw all our other pens and just change all of them to this, and he said: “Let’s think about it first. What if Pablo writes with it and nothing happens (cause it’s not a real pencil and it’s just a cap)?”
So yeah, I guess we will observe to find out. What do you think? I’m itching to know your thoughts on this one!
Till the next blog!