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September 2012
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While writing the last post about cutting with scissors I was reminded about Otis's attempts to use a peg. Using a peg would also be a good for strengthening hand and finger muscles in preparation for using scissors and one day writing. . The above photograph is a month or so old (I featured it previously as a Photo of the Day). Whenever I hang out the laundry Otis helps to set up this small hanger and he will hang socks and some of his clothes. I have previously shown Otis how to use a peg but thought it might... Read more →

I have put a 'cutting tray' on Otis's shelf in the Art Centre. Today I demonstrated sitting next to him. I used Caspar's scissors which are the same as his. The red strips are heavy weight paper that I had left over from teaching Caspar to cut. Although Caspar was introduced to scissors at an older age and got it straight away. The idea of using the slightly heavier paper is that a child can hold it and it will stay straight making it easier to cut. The lines are probably unnecessary at this stage. After demonstrating and allowing Otis... Read more →

Before Otis was born I had his floor bed in this exact location - in Caspar's room. I have always wanted my two children to sleep in the same room, to share a bedroom. Except as Otis's birth got closer I struggled to see how it could work. I couldn't completely baby proof Caspar's room. Was it safe for a baby to sleep in the same room as a pre-schooler? The baby could get stuck under Caspar's bed. So before Otis was born I put his bed in a separate room and set it up as much as I could... Read more →

Do your children like locks? When Caspar was young we put a lock on his cubby house as he loved locks so much. He always wanted to use the lock on our letter box. When he was a little older I gave him a lock tray using locks from around our home. . I wanted to show you Otis's lock box because if it wasn't for Montessori I would never have thought to give my child a toy like this. He can open about six of the ten locks. Inside there are compartments so it's fun for the child to... Read more →

What is your greatest toddler frustration?

What is your greatest toddler frustration? For me it's not toilet learning, bedtime or dinner. It's walking with Otis. Like Maria Montessori wrote a child of this age will walk from one item of interest to the next. Otis has no interest in getting from point A to point B. I have come to the realisation that I don't need to and shouldn't be carrying Otis at all anymore. But my frustration gets the better of me. As much as possible I leave time to allow for Otis's wanderings but it's getting ridiculous. I have realised that I have given... Read more →

The advice I have received is you can start presenting a three period lesson as early as you like. A toddler might only get as far as the second period especially if they aren't very verbal. Honestly the only reason I haven't used it earlier with Otis is because I kept of forgetting the steps, the periods. Every time I thought about it I missed a step and it didn't make sense. So I did something I haven't admitted before and printed out a cue card! . I was prepared to stop at the second period but I was totally... Read more →

I know there are a million language activity ideas out there but what activities do we actually do in our home? . During the recent school holidays Caspar was interested in writing and initiated most of these activities. The above activity he did not initiate as it was prescribed by his speech pathologist. I thought it was such an interesting idea I wanted to share it. I haven't been worried about Caspar's grammar but his speech pathologist thought it was time he was accurate with the use of he/she. Caspar was presented with two A4 sheets, one of a girl... Read more →

After my last post I decided to give Otis the opportunity to do matching work with a greater number of items. With a refrigerator full of food matching fruit and vegetables (once again) looked like a good option. This was good, physical work for Otis. I want to mention that we do this work together and Otis doesn't always complete his matching work or get it right all the time. . This matching work could also be used as a language activity as I realised Otis doesn't know the names of all of these vegetables. My floor was clean and... Read more →

I'm not sure if it's related to Caspar being back at school or to his stage in development but Otis is going through his materials at a great pace. He is using a lot of materials everyday although he might only do the activity once or twice which might last only one or two minutes. In some way this is really frustrating as he appears to be concentrating less and acting like he is in a hurry. Above Otis is matching some small model animals. Most of his matching activities to date have been matching identical items such as model... Read more →

I recently published a photograph of Otis lifting a heavy rock in the Photo of the Day. I couldn't remember exactly how Montessori referred to this stage. This stage when children find opportunities for maximum effort. It appears that Otis is right at the peak of this stage. Maria Montessori's words (from The Absorbent Mind) are so relevant. It was only yesterday that I took this series of photographs. Observation shows that at the age of one and a half a new factor appears of great importance to the development of both arms and feet. This is the development of... Read more →

Otis began pouring his own drink at 13 months (you can see how we went about it here). At the time he was about 50% accurate, about half of the water made it to the glass. Now at eighteen months it's still pretty much the same - lots of spills. . This little pouring activity is easy to set up with two little jugs, a tray and something to pour. We've used dried beans but there are lots of other things your could use; dried pasta, rice, beads, water etc. The tray is good to store the activity and to... Read more →

I guarantee your child will love these. They super easy to make. I made circles of the same size so the children could focus on the colours but it would be just as easy to cut out different shapes for the children to 'build' on the window. I find this more of art expression than learning about shapes or colours. How did we get to this point? After making the Fun Colour Window Shapes (which I totally love because the black frames make a real statement) I laminated cellophane and then later tried contact and cellophane. Contact and cellophane didn't... Read more →

After making the Fun Colour Window Shapes I was left wondering could they be laminated. I had serious doubts, I thought the cellophane might melt in the laminator. I put one shape through the laminator and it worked fine. The cellophane was a little wrinkly but the shape was super tough and would stand up to any toddler. I didn't like it though. After being laminated the cellophane didn't make that lovely crinkly sound and it felt nicer to hold when the frame was just cardboard. Keep in mind my cardboard/cellophane/unlaminated versions are crinkled and a little torn from Otis... Read more →

This week I've been short on time so make it easy for myself I thought I would post pictures of some new things Otis has been doing. He is now eighteen months old but I want you to know that age is not a good indicator of skill level. All of these materials Caspar used at a much later age, perhaps closer to two years. Otis likes threading which could be why so many threading activities feature here. He uses a stacker and the threading activity with the container and matchsticks almost everyday. . The top photograph is a wonderful... Read more →