by Henry Kendall
Grey Winter hath gone like a wearisome guest,
And, behold, for repayment,
September comes in with the wind from the west
And the spring in her raiment!
The ways of the frost have been filled of the flowers,
While the forest discovers
Wild wings, with the halo of hyaline hours,
And the music of lovers.
September, the maid with the swift silver feet!
She glides and she graces
The valleys of coolness, the slopes of the heat,
With her blossomy traces;
Sweet month, with a mouth that is made of a rose,
She lightens and lingers
In spots where the harp of the evening glows,
Attuned by her fingers.
We, having a secret to others unknown,
In the cool mountain mosses,
May whisper together, September alone
Of our loves and our losses.
One word for her beauty, and one for the grace
She gave to the hours;
And then we may kiss her, and suffer her face
To sleep with the flowers.
I would like to introduce our latest sponsor Beginning Montessori. Beginning Montessori produces high quality Montessori materials for infants and toddlers.
What do we think of Beginning Montessori? You only need to read through the archives...
Otis was only nine weeks old when he started to use the Bell Rattle. At three months he was using the Ball Cylinder, Bell Cylinder and the Primary Colours Mobile. At four months he started using the Interlocking Discs. He was still using the Bell Cylinder at five months when Learning to Crawl. At eight months he was introduced to the Progressive Ring Stacker which you can see him using at 11 months and is still on our shelves at 17 months!
I cannot wait until Otis is old enough to use their puzzles. A puzzle would make a perfect birthday or Christmas gift. I can't help but think how beautiful they would look on some low shelves in a child's room.
Do you have a Montessori baby or toddler to buy for? I have some great news! Beginning Montessori are offering one reader a gift voucher to the value of $50 CAD.
This giveaway is for one $50 CAD gift voucher from Beginning Montessori. To enter simply leave a comment in the comments section of this post telling me your favourite item/s from Beginning Montessori.
Comments close 10pm AEST (Australian Eastern Standard Time) Thursday 4 October 2012. The giveaway is open internationally but please only one entry per person.
Thank you to everyone who entered comments have now closed. The Beginning Montessori gift voucher is heading the way of Kirstin!
I love to see a child do something for the first time. Otis has tried cutting before but it hasn't worked so well. Often he would eat the fruit and not see the point of cutting it. He struggled to hold the cutter.
Today he got it and he got the point - it's so much fun. He got on a roll and cut his apple into small pieces.
Otis has used tongs before but today was able to put it together - slicing then transferring onto a plate.
I found peeled apple the easiest. Our bananas and strawberries got mushy and Otis didn't want to eat them. I think steamed carrot would be a good option for him to cut at dinner. I think they will be soft enough for him to cut without being too soft and it's a way he can contribute to our evening meal.
Otis has tried cutting with a small child sized knife and an ordinary butter knife. Using these the food got mushy as he couldn't hold the knife at the right angle. It was more like he was hitting the food. We'll try the butter knife again soon but for now I want Otis to enjoy his success with the crinkle cutter.
Later in the day I picked up this red crinkle cutter which Otis used to cut raw carrot and celery (for soup!). As it's smaller Otis has greater control over it and it will be our preferred cutter for now.
Slice one, eat one, slice one, eat one...
I had this fantastic idea for making children's bed linen. First I wanted to test my technique and my paints on a smaller project - a child sized tablecloth.
The materials I used included:
I was so pleased with the sharp edges on the coloured confetti dots. Bed linen here we come.
Montessori wrote of providing the child with the tools of observation. I take this literally and have found Caspar intently interested in using binoculars, magnifying glass and microscope all from the age of three.
Other tools of observation? A worm farm is a great tool for observing worms. You can see Caspar preparing the farm here last year. He received the worm farm as a gift as a two year old. What a great gift, he still loves it and he's almost five.
A bit of researching, a bit of drawing. Official notes, measurements and observations have been recorded.
I love that Otis as the younger brother has the opportunity to observe and absorb too.
Keeping the worm farm also serves as a care of environment activity. The worms need moisture, warmth (which is why we are keeping them inside this time) and darkness.
I'm completely in love with Alice Cantrell. Her artwork available on Etsy is whimsical and educational. This print serves as an extension activity, like a spark of inspiration for our thoughts. What really happens underground? I like it a lot.
And just because we like to have fun (and may be a little bit silly) we created a couple of extra large worms for some wormly play.
It's wonderful to see Caspar develop through using the same materials over and over again. Each time we use the worm farm he becomes more independent in setting it up and caring for it. Each time his knowledge increases and his interest increases. I'm sure worms aren't for every child but they have captured this boy's imagination.
I am a huge advocate of Montessori Parent-Toddler Programs. I loved the first program I attended with Caspar many years ago. There is only so much Montessori you can learn online and in books. Getting a first hand experience is invaluable. If you have a toddler and are even just slightly the littlest bit interested in Montessori I encourage you to check out a program near you.
Live in Canberra or the ACT region? The Canberra Montessori School is opening a new Parent Toddler Program in Forde. The next open day is this Thursday 20th September, 9.30-11.30am, at the Forde Community Centre, corner Francis Forde Boulevarde & Zakharov Avenue. I hope to make it with Otis so if you want to catch up/meet there please send me an email (email@example.com).
In London (Winchmore Hill)? Have a look at the I Can Do It! toddler classes run by Rochelle.
Thinking about setting up your own toddler group? Rachel wrote a fantastic post How to host a Montessori parent/toddler group which includes lots of detailed photographs. I'm not sure if it's wider issue but if you are interested in attending a parent-toddler program be prepared to go on a waiting list. Many programs are very popular (and run with small class sizes) so the sooner you get on the waiting list the better.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart of all of your kind comments, tips, suggestions, funny stories and words of warmth and encouragement regarding my post on travelling with a toilet learning toddler.
As I mentioned we weren't only travelling, we were travelling last minute, I was travelling with the boys without my husband (therefore feeling extra vulnerable) and we were also grieving for member of the family who is no longer with us. Gosh, I'm having trouble holding back the tears now. So how did we go?
I was getting a little frustrated with out kitchen set up. Otis cannot yet use Caspar's drinking station and he cannot open or close the pantry door with one hand while holding something in the other. Otis needed a little addition.
This is a small coffee table that works a bit like a snack table. His water jug and glass are kept here unless he takes them to his table for a meal. This is where he gets a drink during the day. This is where I put his tray or snacks. The idea is that he doesn't eat here but takes the food from here (rather than me holding it and waiting for him and passing it to him or leaving it on the floor) to his table. It's also the perfect place for him to put his dishes when he's finished. The placemat is there permanently because it gets wet.
If I'm busy in the kitchen it's easy for me to put his food/snack/tray here and he can come and get it when he's ready. The jug is little as he spills a lot and it needs to be refilled frequently, but the benefit is there - he can independently get his own drink. It's also great practice for him to carry his own food and set his own table.
Otis' toys and materials at 17 months. Most of these I have written about before. We don't frequently buy toys but rather rotate them. 17 months feels like a good time to make an inventory. It's time for me to take stock of the materials Otis has and plan for the future. Eighteen months feels like a turning point and I want to be prepared.
1., 2. and 3. All stackers featured here. Yes, he's still using all of them!
4. Ball tracker. A range of tracking toys are featured here.
5. Imbucare box.
7. Peg hammering toy shown here.
8. Car tracker.
9. and 10. Threading activities with matchsticks. Usually there is only one of these activities out at a time.
12. Finger puppets as shown with our range of discovery baskets.
13. Basket containing three Australian animals, a variation of the animals basket we use for language development.
14. Toy worm that rotates at the joints.
15. Small bucket of trains. This is a recent addition. Caspar has a larger train set which has been out of rotation for a while. There is no track in Otis' bucket, just a few carriages the connect with magnets for him to assemble and play with.
16. Rainbow Stacker.
17. Shape puzzle seen here. This post illustrates how long some of these materials last. In the original post Otis was just starting to put the circle in and now Otis is putting in all of the shapes.
18. Shape sorter.
19. Jack in the box.
20. Sensory basket of brushes.
21. Small bucket of Duplo. This us a recent addition. Caspar and Otis usually use this together and Caspar shows Otis how to connect the blocks.
22. Scooping. This activity is on Otis' shelves but he needs to bring it to me to set up. I fill the bowl with water, get a towel and supervise.
Although there is no photograph there is often an open and close activity on his shelves, sometime I change the containers but the principle remains the same.
These materials are stored in three different shelves.
1. A hidden cupboard near our dining area.
Most of the materials out of rotation are stored in our storage cupboard although we also use a cupboard in our spare room for the larger items. We don't have a strict schedule for rotating the materials. About once a week I have a look at the materials and I might put away a couple of things that Otis hasn't been interested in and bring out a couple of new things. If Otis is frequently using an item I will keep it out for him.
Otis has a couple of soft toys in his room. He also plays with a lot of Caspar's toys. We have a basket of instruments and a basket of our blocks including our planks in our living area. Next to these baskets we also have a barn with a basket of farm animals, the barn is usually kept out and not rotated because it is such a favourite.