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April 2012
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June 2012

One of my favourite blogs is Say Yes to Hoboken. When Liz wrote about the Upcycled Watering Jug I loved the idea for the younger set. I used the same method but with a smaller bottle. Caspar gave a demonstration... and Otis was away. I wasn't sure if Otis was going to be able to do it. I only half filled the bottle so it wasn't too heavy. Totally cool for water play too. Otis and I have the gardening bug. This planter is a great height for Otis. We're making a sensory garden of sorts. We've used established plants... Read more →

Caspar's first reader

Yesterday Caspar received his very first school reader. He was so silly happy. I had to capture him reading on camera and share. I'm sure this is a moment in every mother's life when they feel just a little bit proud. It did strike me as odd that his very first reader from school contained talking animals who wear clothes. His school obviously isn't concerned. You may laugh watching how I struggle with two children. As soon as Caspar finished the story Otis tackled him. Caspar is so patient and calm and Otis is so forthright and fun. Read more →

Otis's care of self area. Finally a mirror on the wall. Children love looking at themselves! A hairbrush and a handkerchief. No tissues here. Otis would either eat it or pull it into a million pieces. I've moved his cube chairs. Now there is one here for dressing and the other is near his toileting area. You could use a stool however at this age when undressing Otis will move around and use the arms of the chair for support. Next to the chair is his wardrobe in which he has access to his clothes basket (which contains only a... Read more →

Do you ever worry that your child is doing too many or too few extracurricular activities? Just to put it out there Caspar does Gymnastics on Saturday and Soccer on Sunday. He goes to school everyday of the week, this means he doesn't have a full rest day. Initially I thought these extra activities would be good for building relationships. However I've found the classes are so full he doesn't get a chance to connect with the other children or his coaches. What has happened is that he connects with his Dad who takes him. Unless his Dad is working... Read more →

As I mentioned in the Fascinated by Froebel post I have been looking at building blocks for Caspar. Planks quickly went on my wish list. These are an Australian design and I believe there are some very similar products in the US. On the surface they look like over priced (they're not cheap) off cuts. If you have the tools and skills it's entirely possible to make them yourself. What sets these aside from other blocks is each plank is identical in size and weight. When Caspar opened the box he wasn't excited. He looked at the brochure and picked... Read more →

Otis wasn't even born when I first noticed these lovely large prints. Too scary for a newborn I thought. Newborn no longer. I almost have a toddler on my hands. He already loves to sit and watch the small creatures that surround him. Now he can see them in detail. These prints are truly wonderful, you can see the veins on the wings of the dragonfly and the hairs on the legs of the ant. I ordered the prints from Michael Olaf however a greater range can be seen here. It took some courage to install. They are large and... Read more →

I thought twice about posting this. I was worried you might think I'm crazy. I know there were more than a few raised eyebrows when I wrote about Otis preparing his own snack. But you know this is a Montessori blog, don't be surprised by Montessori posts. When I've gone though my Montessori texts I've seen children much younger pour themselves a drink. No shock in seeing Otis do it. This goes to the heart of Montessori "help me to do it myself". Often Montessori goes against societal norms. I didn't introduce this to Caspar until he was around eighteen... Read more →

My attitude to preparing activities for Caspar has changed. While I still explore and try to expand upon his interests I also try to engage him in new and interesting concepts. Like growing sprouts or making our own butter. Because he spends so much time in school I try to present learning opportunities that are not available to him there. Like growing mushrooms. How much fun. I didn't know you could get kits to do this. It takes a while though, all things going well we'll have mushroom mold in a week and harvesting mushrooms within a month. Otis is... Read more →

I am looking for some new blocks for Caspar. Something architectural. I haven't made any decisions but Froebel's blocks and his other gifts have caught my attention. I'm fascinated. It has been said that Maria Montessori was inspired by Froebel and it's easy to see his influence in her work. Straight away the Roman Arch and Constructive Triangles appear Froebelian. Froebel was the founder of the kindergarten. He designed a series of tools called gifts to stimulate symbolic learning. These gifts have been called the original educational toys. Froebel created these gifts to allow children to experience the order and... Read more →

Pets add a feeling of warmth to a home. For a minimalist like me that's important. Pets allow us to observe nature up close. We can learn anatomy, behaviour patterns, eating habits, oh so much. I love these little critters. They have personality and are very active. They like digging, climbing, tumbling and eating. To start I wasn't sure. They require upkeep. Their water and food needs to be replenished frequently. Their water needs to be dechlorinated and they need a salt bath. You have to monitor their temperature. It's too much for Caspar so his responsibility is checking on... Read more →

Do your children use a work mat at home? I wonder at what age it is introduced? In the past Otis has worked at his table or straight on the floor. This is the first time he has used a work mat. I felt like a real teacher rolling it out slowly and deliberately. As you can see Otis wanted to sit on it. I only have two rules. 1. The work stays on the mat. 2. The mat is rolled up and put away when we are finished. When I met with Kate last week I realised that we... Read more →

Since Caspar has started extended days at school he has started making his own lunch. I really love this however there are some difficulties. Mainly time. It takes him around twenty minutes. While we try to keep our mornings nice and easy it's hard to spare the twenty minutes. You know you can't rush a four year old. There is no telling him to hurry up. I think it's a good idea for a child to prepare their own lunch no matter their age. I'm sure there are children much younger doing this. Even if your child is older I... Read more →