In Episode 11, we have a wonderful guest named Jodie Bato who graciously talks all about what we learn in the Birth - 3 AMI Montessori Training! This weeks episode is for Montessori parents, educators, and caregivers alike! We touch on...
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Bianca A. Solorzano, M.Ed.
Baby Development & Montessori Consultant
And Your Baby Tour Guide
Bianca: [00:00:07] Welcome to Baby Tour Guide’s Montessori Babies Podcast! I'm your host and Baby Tour Guide, Bianca Solorzano. And for the last decade, I have dedicated myself to helping parents, educators and caregivers optimize baby development through a Montessori lens. This podcast is all about evolving our Montessori practice to make our time with our sweet babies easier, relaxed and so much fun. Let's jump into it.
Bianca: [00:00:40] Welcome to Episode 11 of Montessori Babies this week is actually an interview week, and I'm so excited to say that I have one of the kindest people who also happens to be a lovely Montessorian on the show. Her name is Jodie Bato. And we are lucky because we get to ask her all about her Montessori training. She just finished her Montessori training actually not that long ago, just took her exams. And so we get to dive into, you know, what you learn if you want to take your Montessori training, you're just interested in seeing what it is that, you know, a certified Montessori and would study. That is what we're going to be talking about today. So I'm so, so, so excited because we're diving into pedagogy, you know, all the materials and other things that just really matter when you are implementing a Montessori lifestyle. And so we're going to jump into that interview in just one second. I want to say also that I'm so, so grateful to have this awesome community and we get to join our educators and our parents all together into this wonderful community. So I'm just so glad this is one of those topics we get to kind of dive into the mind of of a teacher, say you're a parent who's transitioning your child into school and you know, you're wanting to learn more about what we're interested in and the types of things that matter to us in the classroom, that kind of thing. This is for you. So. All right. Let's jump into our interview with Jodie.
Bianca: [00:02:18] Thanks for being with me today!
Jodie: [00:02:21] You're very welcome!
Bianca: [00:02:23] So good to see you. I want to go into also starting with how we know each other, too, because I feel like that's important.
Jodie: [00:02:32] Oh, yes!
Bianca: [00:02:34] So Jodie and I, we're teachers together. We shared a classroom. She was my assistant for a while, and now she's wrunningriting her own space, which is so wonderful. She is totally destined to do that. I knew that she had that energy, had that wonderful relationship with the babies and the parents. And so I'm so stoked that you're doing that and, you know, so. Yeah. So I just let everyone know that, you know, you just finished your training. So I'm so excited for this because you get to talk about what the Montessori Assistants to Infancy training entails. So we likely have a lot of parents and prospective teachers out there, prospective Montessori teachers who would be super interested in knowing what we study, what the training is all about, the why behind everything, you know. And in a sense, you just graduated. You were the best person to do that. So can you give us a little insight into what it entails?
Jodie: [00:03:37] Sure. I received my training. It's the assistance to infancy. So that is the 0-3 birth to three years. Beautiful age, my favorite personally. And so throughout the course we are you know, we're having lectures and having all this practice and it's all to help us build our own manual, I guess. Yeah, we have seven albums and they are the AIDS to psycho sensory motor development, our child neuropsychiatry, home environment, our two community albums. So our infant and toddler community, as well as our Nido community albums and our Psycho-Pedagogy album and our Medicals album.
Jodie: [00:04:56] But I do love Medical's me, too. I definitely was one of the more interesting, interesting aspects of of training
Bianca: [00:05:09] I felt like the Medical's album really brought everything together. The study of just the science behind everything, you know, what's going on in their brain and their body and how they're growing and all of that. And, yeah, so fascinating.
Jodie: [00:05:30] Yes. And it's so amazing how, so this medical text is just filled with things about our biology. Right? And it can relate back to everything that Dr. Montessori observed all those years ago before all of the most of this is known. You know, it's just it's so amazing.
Bianca: [00:05:53] Totally. Were there any facts that surprised you or that really fascinated you or you wanted to look more into?
Jodie: [00:06:01] Prenatal was really, really interesting. Mm hmm. I. Love. Pregnancy. My sister has been through it multiple times and I have been with her through it and just being on the outside of that was really cool. And it was also. It's really nice because she is pregnant during training, right, so I was able to be like, oh, this is what your baby's doing right now where her development is right now and this is what she's doing. And it's so important for us to do this. You know, it was just so fun, so cool.
Bianca: [00:06:44] So cycling back to some of the other albums so that the psycho sensory. Can you explain a little bit about that album, Psycho-Sensory.
Jodie: [00:06:55] So in Montessori you utilize all these different materials that aid and development. So this album is all of those or not all but a lot of them. And then so so they're they're split up between ages and as well as gross motor versus eye hand coordination. So that's what we have in this album. And not only that, but we also have so these albums, when we make them there for their for our own personal use. Right. So it's our reference. So in this album, because it's relating to the aids for the development, you also have different different resources in it, like hand development handouts that are really helpful reminders of what we're looking for and why we're putting out certain these certain aids in our environment, which is so cool.
Bianca: [00:08:06] Yeah, that's so cool. And for those of you who aren't familiar, if you research online, they might come up under toys. But the whole idea behind the aids to development is that, you know, we're optimizing at every single stage of development. We're trying to hit within that zone and stimulate and hone in on their concentration and all that good stuff.
Jodie: [00:08:36] Concentration is the key.
Bianca: [00:08:39] Yeah, for sure. Reeling him in with those points of interest.
Jodie: [00:08:47] Oh, yes! Yeah.
Bianca: [00:08:49] So within the communities. So can you talk a little bit about those albums? Those I love those albums.
Jodie: [00:08:58] Yes. Those probably took the longest just because it has all of our instructions for everything. Right. So there are presentations when we're giving giving a lesson we're giving a present is presenting the material to the child. And these these two albums have literally step by step by step instructions on how to do it. So which is awesome because you might not have done a presentation for a long time. So it's nice to go back and kind of read through and make sure you're doing it right. And when you're practicing, it's just it's such a good reference, so our the first one is our Neidl community, which is my community, my faith.
Bianca: [00:09:53] So do you mind my asking within the Nido community? What's what's in there?
Jodie: [00:10:00] So in the community, so specifically in the album, we talk about not only the presentations, as I was saying, but also the different areas of of your environment. So we have the areas where sleeping area where eating area for physical care, just like the bathroom area and that our rest of the classroom things. And then we also have in there the different elements of the needle. So the people, the actual space and the furniture in the space. So what's really nice about the album is that it helps you to organize your space because we go through training. We've learned how to how to arrange the space where things should go, how how the people should kind of prepare themselves and help each other and all of those fun things and having them just. In the album and being able to reference back to them is is so useful. Yeah, I love having them and I'm proud of it because you make it yourself. All of these albums were made by me. Yeah.
Bianca: [00:11:36] Yeah. So for a visual for every community out there, these albums are those, what, four or five inch thick albums filled with essays, observation, research, everything that we accumulate within our couple of years within this training goes into our albums, which is also why it's partnered with that Masters program as well. It's a lot like these things. So, yeah. So they're big, beautiful resources that we get to always come back to. They're really lovely. Congrats for just finishing.
Jodie: [00:12:14] Thank you so much.
Bianca: [00:12:16] How does it feel to be on the other side?
Jodie: [00:12:22] It's both a relief and I don't want to see burden, but it's like I don't have to worry about studying for exams or finishing my albums anymore. Now I get to implement them. But then it's like, oh, now I have to implement.
Jodie: [00:12:46] So it's both. I'm like, I'm so relieved. But now I'm just like, oh I want to do this right. I know what I have to do. Mmhmm. To guide these beautiful small just starting minds. And just to help them grow and how it's a lot, but I love it, so it doesn't stress me out the way like. You know, my previous job would go, you know, I used to work at a law firm and I was just stressed out all the time and there was there was no no love in that kind of work because I didn't I didn't want to be there. I had to be there. But I love going to work every day. And even though I'm certain things will stress me out and I could just, like, not want to get up in the morning, it's too early to tell or whatever. Thing is, I get to work and I love it. Mm hmm. I, I actually I walked in to the classroom this morning. I walked into my environment and one of the children just looked at me and goes, Jodie, no. And she said, my name so clear. This child has been so interested in language recently. So I'm we're bringing in all these different language materials for her. And she's trying to say everyone's name. And it was just, you know, it it's heartwarming.
Bianca: [00:14:38] One of those moments. love it. What's so cool, I feel like there is such this, I don't think that there's like a runoff word, but pure joy with working with infants and toddlers just because they're just these curious little minds. And you get to have so much fun. You know, of course, is like really stressful situations, you know, and their form of communication, especially when they're tiny, is through tears. And so you're like, you know, just observing, trying to get to know them. But then you just have these moments where, you know, they. Take their bottle for the first time from you or they put their hand on your face and, you know, stuff like that, like joyous, joyous,
Jodie: [00:15:26] Excited, and even even them like the tantrums, even during the tears. It's it's so beautiful when you're able to help them through that in a way that's that's empowering to them totally. And it's just there's so many different ways to speak to a child to help them through something that they're really feeling and not knowing how what to do about it. And that's just. I don't know, I think that might be might some of my favorite times, I would just think is crazy.
Bianca: [00:16:10] I love this. I love how the conversation went here. I love this.
Jodie: [00:16:17] I love. I don't love tantrums, but, you know, I'm we're having so many new children start so soon are we're having new children and they're older, so there's a lot of tears. But when you have those moments where they start to either connect with you or connect with the environment, and then it just it makes you feel good. You know, you're doing you're doing something right. Yeah.
Bianca: [00:16:52] So for those of you who aren't familiar with the transition process, typically with a child who starts so Jodie works in a Nido environment, which is an infant environment, and the way that it's structured at the school that she's working at is is it's still three to 18 months. Yes. OK, cool. So, yeah. So with the older ones, it's all about working through and it sounds like you're doing it.
Jodie: [00:17:24] Yeah. We're, we're getting through it. We're having. We have a few children, so,
Jodie: [00:17:32] Yeah, babies, well, though they'll grow to love this space and, you know, time
Bianca: [00:17:41] So I can say Jodie is one of the sweetest and nicest people that I know. She gives up one of the best energies I've ever, ever encountered. And she's brilliant with infants and with their parents. Brilliant. So does it take very long for the parents to adjust and then therefore, You know, the children as well. And and I know you love those relationships, right? Like those relationships with your families.
Jodie: [00:18:14] I do. It's so important because no matter how much we can love the children, they also have that other part of their life, their home life, their family life. And if if we're not connected with that part of their lives, then what we do in the classroom doesn't matter. And we ought to have that relationship, and it's what's great about this age specifically, Neidl, is that the the parents, the family most likely don't have any other experience with school yet. So you're that introduction to to school. First of all, thank you for saying all that kind stuff about me. And I have to say, I. Wouldn't be that person if I hadn't met you and if I hadn't worked with you, you know, so one of the biggest things about about Montessori isn't our presentations, but it's how we model to the children. And that doesn't just go from the adult to the child. It's from the adult to adult and. One of the one of the greatest compliments I've received is one of my AT's telling me that that I'm I'm a good model for them, for what to do with the with the children and how to speak to the children. And that's exactly how I felt when I was 80. I will definitely, you know. Observe, do a lot and I'll say certain things, and it's nice because I'll feel connected to you because I remember. I remember observing you say that that particular phrase, or even if it's just like a simple redirect or just like sometimes I'll take on a town and I'm like, oh, I must be on the
Bianca: [00:20:28] It’s all about those tones, those voice fluctuations.
Jodie: [00:20:32] Exactly. And singing all day long. Know, I'm just singing songs with the children. And so honestly, I really wouldn't be I wouldn't be the guy that I am today if it wasn't for you. Thank you so much.
Bianca: [00:20:57] You're the most amazing is that I mean, I feel like I feel like our team was like we just flowed, you know, it was such a cool time. And it's really awesome to see what happens when they're adults in environments who work cohesively. And you know how the children respond to that, because, you know, as I'm sure you already knew, and then was reinforced in your training. And, you know, for me, every which way that I look, modeling is everything, everything to teaching children. It's basically like the do as I say, not as I do. But they will do as you do. Yes. So, yeah, I'm really grateful we had that experience because I felt like, you know, for those of you who have listened to my previous episodes, I also had stayed on and she worked in another one of our nido is right next door to us. And we just had this really beautiful, free flowing environment. And it was just a really fun time.
Jodie: [00:22:09] Yes, it. In the. It was so smooth, the transition between both rooms, like it didn't even feel like two separate environments. It felt like one. Beautiful, cohesive environment, which was it was beautiful,
Bianca: [00:22:34] Totally missed that a lot, I think about it a lot, too, when I'm in, you know, and I'm searching for new topics, they're like just trying to figure out what I'm going to do next. I think about my days and when I was with you guys and different things I would think about. I feel like when you're working with the babies, so many different things pop up throughout the day that you're just kind of like, oh my gosh, this would be really interesting to research. Like I remember, you know, that inner need for babies to push and pull, how babies will crawl over to chairs and they'll just like push and pull the chair, pushing the you know, before they're cruising. They're just sitting and they're pushing in. They're pulling. I feel like there's such there's something to be said about that. Like we should do that more, you know.
Jodie: [00:23:22] Yeah. And like, that's one thing we learn is there's a purpose for everything. Totally.
Bianca: [00:23:29] And then how to fulfill that need.
Jodie: [00:23:31] Yeah, exactly. Yeah.
Bianca: [00:23:34] Yeah.
Jodie: [00:23:35] So and in a productive way and not a destructive way you know. Yeah.
Bianca: [00:23:42] Everything's very purposeful. Very purposeful. Yeah. I feel like one of the biggest points that I've kind of been learning about in recent years is just that she was a scientist and a researcher and a pioneer and that, you know, she kind of gave us this amazing foundation to take it and evolve, you know, evolve our practice and continue to observe and continue to infuse modern research. And, you know,
Jodie: [00:24:19] She's for sure.
Bianca: [00:24:21] It's just so cool. And it's all based based around optimizing. Our natural human development, it's, yeah, just so beautiful is to kind of let everyone know, you know, just the logistics of the training. How about how long is it? I know that they're different, you know, I guess length options. But about how long is it? What do you need to do to graduate? Yes.
Jodie: [00:24:55] My personal experience, I it was a year held in two On-Site models or what's supposed to be on site. So the first module. It's all about gaining all of that information. We're building our albums during that first, let's see, I believe it was. It's it's a total of 10 weeks, I believe, and so and you're in class for 10 weeks
Jodie: [00:25:34] In class for lectures, we have three lectures a day and we're just taking in all this information and organizing it into our albums. Well, actually, for the first module, we're gaining the information kind of work through that work on the album throughout the year. But during the first 10 weeks, we're receiving all of that information and we also get to do practice with the materials. So Misty has a beautiful practice space where we're able to to practice all the different presentations from language to practical life. And it's nice to to be able to do that on site because you're also able to not only. Get feedback from your peers, but also from staff members, and they're able to let you know how your hands moving or let you know if you need to slow down or speed up or, you know, really try to to get that perspective, putting a lot of reading during that first module. And then and then you go home. Hopefully you have a space that you can you can work in the. You spend the rest of that year really putting together your albums as well as you make certain materials for exams and you also do observations. Hmm. So, yeah, you have. I believe it's over two hundred hours of observation, I can't remember right now the exact number, but you're observing a lot in your observing different age groups.
Jodie: [00:27:37] So you observe, you know, zero to two months, two months to 12 months and then 12 months to thirty six months. And then you also do some teaching practice during that year. So that is how the year is supposed to go. But because of everything going on, it was a little bit harder to do do observations because we're not allowed on site anywhere. Yeah. So for a good part of the year, everything was closed and there weren't anywhere where there wasn't anywhere to to observe, but. I was fortunate enough when the when our school opened up again, I was able to to do my observations, so they changed and I had changed the requirements a bit because of covid and all the restrictions. So I was able to do a lot of my observations in my own classroom, which I thought, yeah. And then they gave us different video options. So, yeah. So during during the year we do our observations, our albums and then second module we would typically go back to missed. But because of everything we were online, we had a second module which is basically exam prep and just all that good stuff. So we did that resume and then we did our exams that resume and then we did graduation. It was a really, really interesting deal that we had.
Bianca: [00:29:25] I mean, I still do it and that you're able to do all your exams. Did you still have to choose the lessons like random lesson that you got to show your trainer?
Jodie: [00:29:39] Yeah. So so far, part of the exam we're required to do do presentations in front of examiners. Right. But because of covid. We aren't able to do that. And so what they had us do was they had us videotape ourselves. Doing two practical life presentations and two language presentations. They were very understanding of if we had to do it in our own home, so we had to substitute certain things for typical like Montessori materials and whatnot from. You know, what they're really looking for is our movements, what we're saying and what not. So it was really interesting doing that because if you didn't have another adult that you could do it with, then you are just presenting thin air now. But I had to pause and pretend like someone was doing the child's part of it, so.
Bianca: [00:30:55] Oh, yeah, because you're engaging and you're showing that point of interest to the the adult child in your test.
Jodie: [00:31:05] Yes. It's so weird. It was an interesting experience. And then watching yourself back on video is always like a strange totally. It was. It was definitely. Interesting, but though he did it and then during the exams, my examiner just asked me certain things about the video and what would I change and the things like that. So I was nice that we were able to complete the training even with everything going on.
Bianca: [00:31:47] Oh, well, good for you. For you sticking through it. I know this has been a tough year for for everyone. And I can imagine it's a tough year to do your training, so.
Jodie: [00:31:59] Yeah. Oh, yes. Training and start. Absolutely, that was definitely a lot. Yeah.
Bianca: [00:32:08] So for everyone listening, this was Jodie's first year as a lead. Oh, my goodness. So how does it feel to be a lead? What are you to kind of, you know, kind of journey through all of all of the experiences that that alone brings, let alone, you know, you had your training, everything else that was going on in the world, and then you had a baby niece, right?
Jodie: [00:32:37] Yes! Oh, I love her. She's three months now. So honestly, the best I love three months.
Jodie: [00:32:55] It's so fun. They're like starting to move where, you know, those first couple of months are so important for the mother and child. But that three months they're starting to engage in a little more and you're seeing you're seeing more development. I mean, obviously, developments happening before, but there's more outward representation of that development. You know,
Bianca: [00:33:28] It's starting to like reach purposefully and crack and and so that
Jodie: [00:33:36] The language is starting to come out. You're hearing the crews are hearing the sounds. They're reacting to your sound. So it's just so beautiful. Oh, I love it.
Bianca: [00:33:52] Well, congratulations. I know I never officially said that, so.
Jodie: [00:33:55] Oh, no worries. Yeah, thanks. It's been a ride. Just going to keep going.
Jodie: [00:34:04] Yeah, for sure. Keep out of it. I love it.
Bianca: [00:34:10] So how has your first year as a teacher been and what do you feel like? You know, to everyone we have, you know, parents and educators and caregivers in our community and I'm sure so much of what you're going to say. I'm so much of what you have said, but so much of what you're going to say as well is super relatable to everyone in our community. So how do you feel like this last year has been?
Jodie: [00:34:40] It has definitely been a ride and it's definitely it's been a learning process, you know. I mean, it's. In in this life, we're constantly learning, we're forever students, but the first year it's it's that jump off and you're also. It's an interesting thing to go from assistant to lead because you're having to switch your mindset, you know, and then sometimes all I want to do certain things like I don't I do more of the things that I used to do as an 80 in my 80s will be like, oh, I'll take care of it. Go, go do it. Yeah. So it's definitely switching to that kind of mindset you're managing.
Bianca: [00:35:48] Let's see. Yeah. Managing eight baby schedules. Nine babies schedules. Yeah. And teacher schedules. And the routine of the day and all those relationships, and it's a big shift that you're killing it.
Jodie: [00:36:08] Thank you. And I'm loving it. I mean, it's. Like I was saying, I just I'm still loving it, so it's not it's not any skin off my back. I get whatever, but. Yeah, this OK, so I will. So what's crazy is I became a lead in February and then then March school closed because of everything. So February twenty twenty and then March twenty twenty schools closed. And then suddenly I'm an infant lead trying to be online. Yeah you do that right.
Jodie: [00:37:06] Sales. Definitely an interesting thing to kind of shift to. And then you know as things progressed more things closed and then when we opened back up. In June, it was June 20, 20. It was know, that's when it really started, right? That's when I was physically in a classroom with the children and I'm their lead.
Bianca: [00:37:37] So you were like “I was the lady in the screen!” Yeah.
Jodie: [00:37:43] I saw you in a video chat room. And let me tell you, it is very, very difficult doing a singing circle over Zoom. Oh, man. It was done, I have no desire to do it again, but, you know, it was it was nice to be able to do because even though the the child well, some children are into it, some or not. But I can tell the family definitely appreciated it, which was nice. So, yeah, I am coming back and, you know, that's that's how you know, how important the relationship is between between teacher and parent is because these these parents bring their child back to school during a time like this and they're really putting their trust in you.
Bianca: [00:38:49] What I really love about our baby tour guide and this podcasting community as well is that it's filled with parents and educators and caregivers. And so we're really getting to fuze the world and bring everyone together. And one of the things that stuck out to me when I was studying child development, actually, it's an image that just will not relieve my brain. The professor drew a little circle on the board and inside the circle was the child. And then there were little branches outside of that circle. And then it was everyone on that child's team. Right. So you have the parent, you have their educator, you have, you know, their grandparents. If they see them regularly, you have their pediatrician, you have anyone else depending on who that child is exposed to. And so, you know, it's just so wonderful to have that strong and cohesive and open communication relationship with your families. And, you know, I know that's always that's always for everyone out there. That's always been one of her strong suit. She's always been so good.
Jodie: [00:40:10] Now, I've definitely seen a similar image. Yeah. It truly does take a village. You know, it takes a whole community. A whole community touches one child. You know, one of the there's a quote I can remember exactly how it goes, but Dr. Montessori had said, you know, every adult next to a child is an educator or something like them. Yeah. Because, you know, again, it's modeling. It's interaction that this child specifically zero to three, it's they're an absorbent mind, but they're also an unconscious in mind. So it's so everything's being taken in, including you, including the environment, everything around them.
Bianca: [00:41:06] So everything matters. You know, kind of like we were saying earlier. It sounds like a lot of pressure and it can be the more that you learn about it. But then but then you start to live in their worlds. Then you start to experience the day to day joys. And as long as you just have a general understanding and carry on and do your best to be balanced, you know?
Jodie: [00:41:29] Yeah, that's it. Yeah, and we're not perfect always. No, that's okay. You know, we all need to see imperfections to be better, so it's fine. Yeah.
Bianca: [00:41:42] Well, thank you so, so much for being my guest on this episode 11.
Jodie: [00:41:52] Very welcome. Because we're all on that team. Oh, yes. What team? Wildcats!
Bianca: [00:42:04] I'm leaving that in there. *laugh*
Bianca: [00:42:09] And that was our interview with Miss Jodie Bato, an amazing Montessorian. And so I hope you guys enjoyed it! And thank you, as always, for tuning in and being a part of our Baby Tour Guide community. Catch you in the next episode bye!
Bianca: [00:42:28] Hey, it's Bianca, your Baby Tour Guide here hopping back in to say thank you again for listening to this episode of Montessori Babies, if you found this episode helpful and would like more information, help on over the baby tour guide dotcom and download my free Montessori guide to join our community and receive the latest on optimizing development through a Montessori lens. You can also find me on Instagram and Facebook @ Baby Tour Guide. Also, if you found this episode helpful to your Montessori practice, I would absolutely love it if you would leave a review to help other parents and educators find our show. Thanks again for listening and I will catch you in the next episode bye!