April is here and I am so thrilled to kick off our very 1st MomStar of the Month!
From being a wife, a nurse, a Montessori inspired mother to a SaveMom entrepreneur and a Playgroup organizer, Karen Zaragoza has influenced many Filipino moms in her Montreal community.
Her feed @iamthekheeng in Instagram needs no introduction. From captivating day to day posts of her children’s activities to instantly inviting materials of Montessori Education, she has shared her passion, full of educational pieces to moms like me, who wants to start Early Childhood Learning at home, the Montessori way.
When I contacted her for the feature, she gladly accepted the collaboration, despite her jam-packed schedule. Not even a day or two that she has given me her detailed response. It’s such a great opportunity to interact with motivated moms like her through the Montessori approach and I can’t wait to share the Q&A with all of you.
1. Tell us about yourself (ex: Family, Profession, what do you do?)
I am Karen Zaragoza, I am a mom of two to Luc (29 months) and Naomi (7 months). I am a nurse by profession now a SAHM. We have been incorporating Montessori and Montessori
–inspired at home activities in our day to day living. My husband, Jose Romeo Zaragoza, who is also a nurse works in a pharmaceutical company. We were both born and raised in the Philippines; In fact, we were neighbours and schoolmates in College and we are currently living in Montreal Canada.
2. As a Mom of 2, what keeps you busy at the moment? How do you manage your day to day activities? Do you find yourself more or less productive as you used to?
I run the group page named “Filipino Momtreals” in which it became a venue for immigrant moms to help each other in exchanging information and support businesses. I could not imagine being in a new place and has to adapt or integrate without a support system. I am also an Amazon Associate in which I earn through referral links.
I recently organized a Montessori playgroup. The response has been positive so we will be doing it moving forward on a monthly basis with different areas to focus and that’s what makes it unique to any other playgroup. The five key areas of learning in the Montessori environment include: Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Mathematics, and Culture.
My children’s activities are usually planned ahead. For that week, I already have things prepared in which it’s inclined to focus on their strengths and current interests.
There were times that they would want to do other things and won’t prefer on what I prepare for them. One of the core principles of Montessori is to respect the child. We do not force an activity in which he is not interested. Treat the child as you want to be treated. We have to slow down and move at the child’s pace.
I Am a SAHM so expect that the cooking, cleaning and other household chores fall on me but I am just thankful that there is a division of labor between me and my husband because it is not that easy to do it alone. It is all about time management. I usually prepare a list on that day; For example, on Mondays, I will do the laundry, make some appointments, do some errands and so on. If I cannot do it, then I still have time for tomorrow. I don’t stress myself too much on that matter. I am also lucky that my external support system from my family is always there.
3. When, How and Why did you decide to implement Early Learning to your children such as following the Montessori approach?
I first discovered the #montessoriathome on instagram. I was curious and followed some accounts. The Montessori online community has been very generous in providing ideas and inspirations. I have an aunt who is a teacher and she has been guiding me not just to this approach but also to Waldorfand RIE.
I started reading the book: The Absorbent Mind and The Discovery of the Child. It was explained in depth on the nature of the child and the method of working more fully with the child’s urge to learn. Learning doesn’t end there after we graduated. It is a continuous and lifelong process.
Currently, I am reading “The Montessori Toddler” by Simone Davis. I also enrolled to some online courses for me to have a better understanding and more ideas on this approach. The Montessori method is thoughtful and a purposeful approach to education which emphasizes children’s innate ability to direct their development when given the opportunity and tools. “Play is the work of the child.” This approach believes that kids learn best through play.
4. What do you think is the most rewarding part of being a mom?
The most rewarding part of being a mom is the unconditional LOVE that you give to your kids. Those precious moments that you share with them is priceless. Being a SAHM and hands on parent, I was able to witness every milestone they have unlocked-their first word, when they started to crawl, walk and run. Everyday, we make deposits on their memory banks. Those moments that you can never take back.
5. If you could pass one of your best habits to your children, what would it be?
To value the gift of Family. No matter where life leads you, your family will always be there. Value the love and support from your family that you cannot compare to anyone else.
6. What message can you give to all moms who want to be a Mompreneur, who wants to approach the Montessori philosophy or for those who struggle with Motherhood?
I would say that applying the Montessori method is a lifestyle. Any activity could be Montessori-inspired but it is important to abide on its principles. Remember that “What the hand does, the Mind remembers.” There is hands on and concrete learning. I am going to borrow the words from Maria Montessori, she said in her book “The Discovery of the Child” that “The education of even a very small child, therefore, does not aim at preparing him for school but for life.” YOU ARE MOM ENOUGH!
So I hope you enjoyed reading our MomStar’s story. I can’t wait to feature more Moms in my blog. Remember “There’s no way to be a perfect mother but a million ways to be one”-Jill Churchill.
If you are a Mom and wants to learn the Montessori philosophy, start with the Absorbent Mind book. Here are some Chapters that we have started. Thanks for reading!
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