Montessori in the home - Australia
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Cameron's Family

Cameron 1

When I first met Cameron's mum Rachel online I knew there was something special about her. It's like she has a special spark and the best part - she is passionate about Montessori. Rachel has taken the time to answers some of my questions. 
 
Can you tell us a little about yourself, your family and where you live?
 
I'm a young mama who is married to my highschool sweetheart (Michael) and has an 18 month old son (Cameron). We live near Brisbane in Queensland in the suburbs with our two cats and numerous fish. 
 
When and how did you first become interested in the work of Montessori?
 
I first came across Montessori when I was pregnant and browsing images of different nurseries. I saw Finn's nursery (by Meg from Sew Liberated) and I was immediately drawn to the beauty, order and simplicity of the area. I didn't, however, look into much of the theory until Cameron was a few months old and Montessori caught my eye when researching different methods of learning. Since then, I have read a lot of books and blogs and it has become somewhat of an obsession. We are still at the very beginning of our Montessori journey.
 
How have you applied Montessori at home? (Big question, I know!)
 
Since Cameron started going to a Montessori playgroup (Infants House) at 15 months old; we have slowly incorporated more and more Montessori methods at home. As a parent who instinctively is an attachment parent, I have found that I already did some of the things that were emphasised by Montessori. I followed my child's needs, respected him, he slept on a floor bed (co-slept, however) and provided him with meaningful and loving interaction. 
 
Since doing more reading, our home has been slowly adapted so that each room is Cameron-friendly. We still have a fair way to go. Mostly, I attempt to be mindful and patient and allow Cameron access to whatever he needs at the time and to 'help' with what I do around the home. I try to watch him for new things he is trying to master and/or is interested in and help to incorporate things into our home to help him with that.
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Cameron 4 - pouring
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We have a cabinet next to the kitchen with a bowl of fruit and snacks, a selection of child-sized metal forks/spoons, breakable bowls/plates/cups/jugs, a spray bottle for cleaning the windows, small sponges, and a small dustpan and brush all available to him at any time. Next to this is a basket with his apron, mop and broom in it and a water dispenser which he is mastering. 
 
His playroom is organised with mostly natural toys, puzzles, instruments, blocks and a small selection of his books. I am working on a rotational system of books and toys. There is also always dough and his dough tools (inspired by Sew Liberated again) and art and craft tools. Everything is accessible for Cameron and has it's place. 
 
He is not yet at a stage of attempting to dress himself but he has a basket of socks and shoes which he loves to choose from and we have moved his change mat to the floor as he likes to tell us when he wants to be changed and get a wipe and nappy ready. He now also has a self-care basket with his tooth brush and paste, a comb, a flannel, and his moisturiser which he helps with after his bath. 
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Cameron 2
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I choose Cameron's books with Montessori in mind and purchase books that have real images in them.
 
Do you have any tips for parents creating Montessori inspired spaces at home?
 
If you are not sure where to start, Practical Life activities are the way to go. You may find that you have most of what is needed already. This includes care of self, others and the environment. With respect to accessibility & function, remember every room and watch your child for the answers. 
 
For some items (child-sized cups, jugs, wooden bowls for eating and sorting, books, some toys and furniture) search through thrift stores and second hand items. Get Montessori books and Montessori-inspired parenting books out at the library, instead of buying them first. 
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Cameron 3
 
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Are there any books, websites, blogs that you could recommend?
 
My go-to introduction for people who ask me about Montessori is the Michael Olaf catalogue. It is free, intensive but easy to read and practical to help you incorporate the theories and materials in your home. 
 
Blogs with Montessori-inspired posts that I frequent (in no particular order) include Sew LiberatedSimply MontessoriMontessori MomentsThe Montessori Child at HomeConfessions of a Montessori MomDiscovery Days and Montessori MomentsCounting CoconutsMontessori MamaMontessori Candy, and of course your blog Kylie. I particularly love The Adventures of Bear and My Child's Diary for their categorisation into age in months. 
 
With regards to books, I really enjoyed How to Raise an Amazing Child by Tim Seldin, Montessori Madness by Trevor Eissler, and Montessori from the Start: The Child at Home, from Birth to Age Three by Paula Polk Lillard. 
 
Where do you find inspiration?

My son, our Montessori playgroup and guide and I love to browse Montessori images of playspaces, tray ideas, etc on Flickr!

Thank you so much Rachel for sharing with us and for those gorgeous photographs of Cameron! If you haven't already click over to Rachel's blog Racheous to see more of Cameron's Montessori activities - make sure to check out his mud-pie-kitchen in this post

 

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