We just received this lovely note from Post Oak school in Texas. It made our whole week! Thank you Renee for sending this along.
"I wanted to say thank you for your beautifully created materials. The work of making language materials is extremely painstaking for a Montessori perfectionist, and the energy that then goes into re-making portions that get chewed, bent, or torn can be overwhelming to torturous. I found during my observations and practice teaching back in 2008/9, that many classes did not have definition stage material beyond *maybe* one or two old, rarely used sets. I also found that there was a lot of "extra" language "lessons" on the shelves that seemed to stall children in the phonetic word decoding stage of reading. The first classroom I led came with exactly ZERO definition sets and a few incomplete "parts of" sets, and a glut of non-Montessori reading materials to "fill in the gaps." (this is not a judgement, but what the previous teachers were able to manage at a time that Montessori options or the time needed to make materials weren't available) My first order of business was buying a complete set of the parts and definitions for botany and zoology. It amazed me to see the difference when children took on the challenge of reading themselves the books after labeling and eventually reading and playing the exciting and humorous language puzzle of the definition stages. I am just deeply grateful for your well-designed, thorough, and unyielding materials. You don't dumb things down; you use the word "throughout" right there in the definitions of the parts of the tree, "easiest" set according to my students! We love your materials, and I am deeply grateful for the level of excitement these materials bring to the students and to me in learning about and loving the world around us.