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July 2012
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September 2012

Do you have a toddler? Are you nodding your head as you look at these pictures? Toddlers really do like to put things away and tidy up. One way we've helped Otis not only to support his independence but to support his sense of self (he sure does like to help others) is to make putting things away really easy. I make sure he knows exactly where things go and everything has a place. Food waste goes in the compost bucket. Rubbish goes in the bin. Each toy has it's place on the shelf. Dirty clothes go in the clothes... Read more →

. I like to have at least one fresh language activity on Caspar's shelves. As a rule I'm not a fan of workbooks or worksheets but agree if carefully selected and used appropriately they can be effective. . Caspar likes to play 'office' and do pretend work. Well, it's not really pretend because he actually does work he just doesn't realise it. He has taken to these initial sound cards as his office work as he can use his pencil to circle or fill in the answer. It's why I've chosen to store these in a plastic pouch, so they... Read more →

I want to share these bilingual cards with you because they are such a great idea. They were given to Caspar by a sweet friend so I don't have a source for you. But of course it's entirely possible to make something similar yourself. You can see how attractive materials draw the child's attention. I love having materials like these on our shelves. . I'm not teaching Caspar the French language as a whole but a few words to expose him to French culture. We are really very silly about it. Mainly because we overemphasise the French accent. Just as... Read more →

I rarely take a camera on our nature walks. Today I intentionally took some photographs to add balance to our indoor activity type posts. We try to take a walk daily but recently it's been more like 2-3 times a week. Today I put both children in the croozer (like a bike trailer) and took them to this location. It's nice to explore areas further from our home. It's also nice to get some exercise myself and once here Caspar and Otis can explore at their own pace. Lucky we took a blanket, they both got soaking wet. Otis got... Read more →

Are Montessori children exceptional?

There is a girl I pass most mornings at school. She makes eye contact and says hello, she will often ask about Caspar or tell me something short about her day before running off to class. Can you guess how old she is? Seven! She is seven and has exceptional social skills. Why is this do you think? Because she is an exceptional child or because she is a Montessori child? It could be a bit of both but it really gets me thinking. Are Montessori children exceptional? My answer is a resounding no. Montessori children are not exceptional. They... Read more →

Sound was an element missing from our developing sensory garden. Well, there is the crunch of the gravel when you walk. When our wind chimes broke I immediately sent Kate a picture asking for ideas. The bamboo parts were intact. They were previously strung to a coconut shell which broke. I threaded them together with some twine using a large embroidery needle. I looped back around each piece of bamboo so they would stay in place and wouldn't slide on the twine. I created a stand by nailing three pieces of new bamboo stakes together. I had previously used a... Read more →

A couple of extra step stools mean that Otis can now turn on lights. This looks really simple but it took Otis a couple of days to get the courage to reach up so high. Some twill tape tied to door handles that pull open. He can now independently open the doors to our pantry, art centre and storage area (he can only reach as high as the first shelf). Not only can he access his own materials he also has greater control over his environment. This must be empowering. Read more →

"At about a year and a half, the child discovers another fact, and that is that each thing has its own name. This shows that, from all the words he has heard, he has been able to single out the nouns, and esepecially the concrete nouns. What a wonderful new step to have taken! He was aware of being in a world of things, and now each of these is indicated by a special word." - Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind. The best thing about language development is that it happens so naturally. Our children are picking up on what... Read more →

Otis has had plenty of practice watering outside. For inside he uses this watering can with a spout that pours, it doesn't spray. The key to not over-watering is to limit the amount of water in the watering can. I only half fill it for Otis. The water you can see on the floor is where he has missed the pot. Practice makes perfect. Since Otis has started walking we've introduced practical life activities slowly, perhaps one a week. We're in no rush. Now his watering can joins his dustpan and broom in the pantry, all within easy reach. I'd... Read more →

Many refer to the weaning chair as the Montessori substitute for a high chair. Otis eats at his low table and chair for most snacks and lunches but we value his presence at the family table for breakfast and dinner. Rather than confine him to a high chair we've chosen a more independent style of high chair. We've chosen the Stokke Tripp Trapp but chairs like this come in a wide rage of styles and in every price bracket as can see in the post High Chairs for a Montessori Home. A month or so ago I removed the baby... Read more →

It's just as important to know your child's weaknesses as their strengths. Our recent parent-teacher interviews confirmed my thinking on Caspar's weaknesses. I knew Caspar was lacking in hand strength but I wasn't doing anything about it. While Caspar's teacher has him focusing on hand strengthening/pencil control activities in the classroom it's important for me to follow up at home. The usual suggestion for increasing hand strength? Clay! It really hard for Caspar to get some time alone to work with clay although it's always available in our art centre. Otis loves to use clay too but the problem is... Read more →

Yesterday Meg told me about this great Kickstarter project. I instantly fell in love with the project and it's creator Marie-Claire. I can tell Marie-Claire is one fun Montessori mom. The product is a set of alphabet cards on non-toxic plastic that I just know young children would love. The catch is this is a Kickstarter project and I really need your help to make it happen. I also need to mention these aren't ordinary cards, have a look who is illustrating them! I asked Marie-Claire to tell us a little about the Children's ABC Wallet Cards. Wallet cards designed... Read more →

We are now on Facebook and Pinterest! I'm still finding my way around but feel free to follow or say hello. Do you remember my post on Jack's DIY Leaning Tower? You can now see Jack using his tower independently on video here at fifteen months. His mum Jackie explained to me that he was using the tower before he could walk. Wow! Recently I featured photographs of Caspar riding his bike using training wheels. I have read the benefits of balance bikes before but here is an article on Balance Bikes and Montessori (thanks Heike!). Are you a fan... Read more →

I've mentioned it a lot lately - Otis loves to walk. Yes he's still wobbly on his feet but he wants to walk. When I need to pick him up he protests. He's practising so he can master the skill, just like anything else. I'm usually surrounded by other Montessori parents or friends who think in similar ways so it's no issue to slow down to wait for him and it's by no means out of the ordinary. But how things change when we go somewhere like the post office or the supermarket. When he walks he gets looks, smiles... Read more →

I've been looking for some new art for the bedroom walls. Homemade art is the best don't you think? I have heaps of work from Caspar but only a few pieces from Otis. I love art that is bright and bold. Otis loves stickers, not just putting them on paper, he likes to peel them off too. I'm sure this activity is good for his fine motor skills - or something like that. This will look great framed. Read more →