This is a memorable book that made me feel so proud to support the work of Maria Montessori by having my children attend a Montessori school. Really proud to in some small way be a part of this inspirational story. Caspar was able to read this independently - the text is really simple and easy for children to comprehend. It was written by children for children. I felt it also gave Caspar a really good understanding as to the origins of his school. It is touching to read and is also very empowering to women. She was such a remarkable person and this book tells her story in what I believe is in an authentic way. It is also illustrated by children which is a really sweet touch. Maria Montessori - A biography for and by children.
I am often attracted to earthy vegetable/gardening books for children. This is a nice and simple rhyming children's book which is self published. You can actually see on the author's website how she made and illustrated the book. I love that children can read and feel the book and then watch how it was made - entirely by one person and with a little knowledge - totally doable. A nice read about two children gardening with collage illustrations. Our Summer Garden.
This book is very high on my all time favourite list. Caspar isn't a strong reader and would rather read blocks of text than an entire book. This book is full of facts and is so interesting. It is a wonderful book for children who have lots of questions about the world around them particularly in relation to mathematics and science with topics like length and distance, time, area, speed, height and depth, temperature, weight, mass and density, energy and power, volume, sound and population. What is remarkable about this book is that it answers the questions of 'how many' in a relatable way. In terms of weight there are 25 elephants in a blue whale! I love the size of this book too, it's a nice size for Caspar to carry or keep in his project folders. How Many Elephants in a Blue Whale - Measuring what you don't know in terms of what you do.
For my own reading I have just ordered Candid Classroom - What Parents Want to Know and Teachers Want To Tell Them, by Erica from the girl next door podcast. I can't wait to read this one, although it's not Montessori specific I would love to hear what it is that teachers want parents to know.
Finally I can't leave without mentioning my latest book/collaboration Toilet Learning - The Montessori Way. Meg Hicks wrote this book which was supported by my questioning and pictures. It covers the entire way we approached toilet learning and includes lots of tips and ideas. Even if you are not going the Montessori path with toilet learning I feel this is a good read - knowledge is power!
Connecting tactile activities to abstract ideas stimulates brain function in young children. When children under age five trace sandpaper letters, they associate a given letter with a concrete gesture internally. This association fosters more connections in different parts of the brain, rendering the child's mind nimbler. The acrostic poem accompanying each letter is designed to be read by an adult. These poems introduce the child to a famous site and physical activity. The letters of the alphabet thus become part of an exploration of nature, culture, and traditions. Tracing leads the way to a discovery of the world.
The systematic inclusion of maps suggests that learning about language is ultimately learning about the world. We are all beings communicating in a vast world of events, landscapes, and history. We hope that this alphabet book will carry a global message to your children, wherever on Earth they happen to be.
This book is too beautiful not to mention. The sandpaper letters are in a large format and are in cursive.
The pages are thick card but this is not a board book.
Part of the charm of this book is that each letter is linked to an action or activity in specific locations around the world. This makes it a fantastic book to read alongside a continents globe.
As the poem is intended to be read to the child, this is a book to read together. This allows the adult to explore the activity in the picture with the child and work with the globe together. For example Otis, my three year old would love the picture of fencing however it's possible it would need explaining, he knows of France however may need help to find it on the globe.
Over time reading this book would definitely have the child recognising world land marks (there are so many in here) - which I totally love and as it's cursive it's a double love from me.
Otis being studious (and quiet) at our nature table.
We're a little behind on this but today we changed the calender. Some number recognition work for Otis.
Identifying Swirls. I've mentioned this before - it's gorgeous.
Caspar and Otis played this all morning. Otis is presented with an item which he identifies using touch only.
Otis has been using sewing cards for such a long time but this was his first attempt at sewing buttons.
Simple and easy. This was also the first time I haven't taped or tied the thread at the needle end - so he had to work to ensure he didn't pull the thread out of the needle. Here he used a blunt tipped embroidery needle. Otis was so proud and now has his handiwork on display on the wall (in the study).
For an older child interested in architecture or world landmarks this book (Architecture According to Pigeons) is fantastic (it's also a bit of fun). Caspar received it as a gift and today he matched up landmarks that he was familiar with and found out about some new ones.
I hope you had a lovely Tuesday!
We have a wonderful (?!) collection of dead/found insects in the boys' bug catchers. By highlighting one at a time it helps them to explore it just a little bit further. A little deeper for both of them.
Caspar received Australian Backyard Naturalist for Christmas and it's been perfect, although perhaps in parts a bit advanced. It covers topics like building your own fly catchers, identifying birds to handling reptiles. Lots and lots of inspiration for your everyday Australian backyard.
Perfect for our nature table!
This year for Christmas we will be giving the boys a few items to encourage a smooth transition to sleep. This week their new bunk bed arrived and I'm thankful that Otis has started sleeping in his own bed through the entire night. The new bed has provided the impetus, the circuit breaker, the change needed for him to move off the floor bed and not to come to me during the night. Although his bed/mattress is still really close to the floor (not as high as a standard single bed). As I've mentioned previously, its a change for him, it's a marker of time, a big step and the floor bed is no longer. This post contains some affiliate links.
I have read and wrapped Buddha at Bedtime - Tales of Love and Wisdom for You to Read With Your Child to Enchant, Enlighten and Inspire and Nightlights - Stories for You to Read to Your Child To Encourage Calm, Confidence and Creativity. The stories are only three to four (small) pages long. The stories and tales themselves are for Caspar however I know Otis will love the process, he will love listening to my voice, to my storytelling. I believe Buddha at Bedtime will be good for Caspar, he has a strong sense of social justice and in these stories good always prevails. He will find comfort and strength in their messages. Nightlights is more about meditation through storytelling. Each story has affirmations at the end. What a lovely way to finish the day.
The Putumayo CD and Dreamland is on my wish list. We haven't listened to CDs at bedtime for a while and I think it would be really beautiful to play on our warm summer nights as the boys prepare for bed. Our night lights are starting fail us (and we must have night lights), I love the look of SunJars. Being solar powered these sound like a great option for us. Available in Australia here.
I mentioned it last Christmas and didn't get it, but this year I've ordered Otis a Steiner Doll (I've ordered Otis the smaller doll with lighter brown hair). So far Otis hasn't taken a big interest in soft toys, he doesn't sleep with any toys so I'm hoping he will love this doll.
My boys love anything that glows in the dark (in Australia here). I'd love Otis to have some of his own stars to decorate the underneath side of the bunk. Both of my boys need new pyjamas and we love these in soft organic cotton. These aren't actually pyjamas but are a singlet and shorts that are comfortable to wear in and out of bed.
A new bed calls for new bed linen, this quilt cover and cushion are on my maybe, one-day, wish list. I'm taking note as it is the first time I've seen Hello Milky produce a quilt cover in the single size.
I'm looking forward to lots of easy bed times and sweet dreams.
Any book with Montessori in the title is going to catch my attention. More so if it's a children's book. More so if it's a new release. Of course I had to read this one and I'm so glad I did!
Jack Goes to Montessori School was written by a Montessori Mom (Allyson Collins) and illustrated by a Montessori teacher (Lindsey R. Smith) - both in Texas, to help other parents and students learn what makes the Montessori experience special.
As someone who already understands Montessori and with children at Montessori, this book conjures up feelings of being part of a special community. No matter where we live if our children attend Montessori they learn the same way. In Austin or Canberra it's Movable Alphabets, Puzzle Maps, Pink Towers and Number Rods all the way.
The book is written through the eyes of a young boy, "Hi! I'm Jack. I am four years old and I go to Montessori school." And Jack walks us through his day at school.
Children who go to Montessori will love recognising the familiar classroom environment. Children who are preparing to go to Montessori will love the bright and upbeat nature of the book as Jack and his friends have a fun filled day.
The secret of this book? It explains Montessori in a classroom context better than any other resource I've found. Yes, this is a book for parents who might wonder what happens in Montessori. In a really subtle way it also helps us to understand why Montessori is so fulfilling for a child. Jack finishes his school day happy and content after much learning but also after circle time, choosing his own work, receiving a lesson from his teacher, working with a friend, group activities, preparing his own snack, cleaning and caring for his environment and working on problem solving and conflict resolution.
This is an excellent book for parents wanting to know more about Montessori, children who are about to attend Montessori and so perfect for the school office/waiting room/education evening.
This is also a great book for children who want to explain Montessori to others. For example a child could read it (or show it) to a friend, Grandparents or cousins if they wanted to show them how their school is different - especially if those Grandparents or cousins have never been to a Montessori school or haven't seen inside a Montessori classroom.
A charming, well written and well illustrated book that fills the gap in the market for children's books about a day at (Montessori) school.
This month I wanted to share three authors that we have been enjoying. Three fantastic authors and great illustrators too. Amazingly my book wishlist is getting low but I guess it's time to start thinking about Christmas titles too. This post contains affiliate links.
I've mentioned previously that Otis loves Lois Ehlert's Eating the Alphabet which we have as a board book. Straight away her other titles were recommended and I wasn't disappointed. If you love bright and bold colours you will love these. Planting a Rainbow and Lots of Spots are stunning. Perfect for children like Otis who won't sit for a long story and need a lot of visuals to keep their attention. We also love Planting a Rainbow because we can identify many of the plants in our own garden.
This series from Dianna Hutts Aston and Syliva Long has also come highly recommended. Simply the most beautiful and engaging books about nature. They highlight the beauty and wonder in the world. It has stimulated many discussions (with Caspar) about how amazing our world is. Perfect for inquisitive children.
Although we haven't read it yet, An Egg is Quiet is also a part of the series. For home or school I think these are classics.
I came across Joyce Sidman when I was looking for children's poetry. The Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night is perfect poetry for bedtime. Swirl by Swirl - Spirals in Nature is illustrated by Beth Krommes, they have also worked together on Butterfly Eyes and Other Secrets of the Meadow. Let's say her illustrations are... bold and captivating.
As always I'd love to hear what you are reading.
I have made a lot of book recommendations over the years but these two books (both released this year) have changed everything. You can see my favourite Montessori books listed on the bottom of this page.
We don't home-school, I believe we live Montessori rather than it being something we teach. These two books are similar in that they are not homeschooling books, or teaching albums. They are about living, having children in the home the Montessori way. Creating environments that support children to reach their full potential. Meeting the developmental needs of the child. However if you home-school or even are trained in Montessori these books will still please you!
I have already written in some detail about Child of the World (for the 3-12+ age group). The most recent book The Joyful Child is for the birth to three age group and is as equally delightful. It's the book that has been missing. It's the book that I have been waiting for. It is the book that I will recommend every time someone asks "I have a infant/baby/toddler and want to know more about Montessori, where do I start?". You start with this book!
Want to know how to prepare your home in a Montessori way before the birth of your child, need ideas for activities about art, people, language? Want lots of tips and ideas for materials and toys for each stage in development. Want detailed information on how to wean the Montessori way? In The Joyful Child Susan addresses all of this and more. It's a really lovely, reassuring and inspiring book.
The Joyful Child contains lots of little (black and white) photographs that are not only very cute but also provide ideas. Susan who is a very well travelled and well respected Montessorian also writes about her wonderful experiences in Bhutan. Does a more glorious book exist?
If you have a child under three, or planning to have a child under three I suggest you obtain a copy of The Joyful Child. It's really the only book you'll need.
I'm going to keep this little space in the study for themed baskets. I'm planning on leaving the basket there for as long as the children are interested in it. I don't have any expectations, perhaps a week, a month, six months? It will be a good way of using some of the materials not on our shelves and it might lead to some focused learning.
We are starting with a cultural basket. There are so many options to extend this. Lets see where it goes. It's the first time we have kept a globe where Otis can reach it. He loves and is fascinated by globes, wanting to carry them. This basket includes a children's atlas, book and a memory game featuring flags of the world and books about children from different cultures. I have found that children are often interested in different cultures from a child's perspective. I also feel less is better, at least to begin with. The children can always add to the basket.
This is quite separate from Caspar's research work which is very individual and kept where Otis cannot access it. This is more a basket of exploration for both children and possibly something they can explore together.
We have previously kept the world map about Caspar's desk. I think we'll find a permanent position where it is available for all to see and use.
Have you tried creating a nook or themed basket for your children? I'd love to hear about it and which themes your children enjoyed the most.