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January 2013
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Today we needed fresh air and space to run around. Space where we could run and run and not bother anyone. Even if it meant getting wet. Since moving to Canberra I have wanted a picture of the above sculpture and today I got it! The National Arboretum is a place you must visit (even if it's just a drive through) if you find yourself in Canberra. The views are amazing. Did we get wet? Yes, absolutely! Later in the day I shared this story with Caspar. Did I cry? Yes. It is a very strong and moving story about... Read more →

I put some old coats and jackets into a basket and presented it to Otis. There are zips and buttons to explore. It's our home version of the dressing frames - a fun practical life activity. Over the period of a day Otis made a lot of progress. He loves the zips and snap fasteners. As I walk through the house and put away laundry I'm looking for other types of fasteners, buckles and the like. After school I found Caspar sitting at Otis's table working with some of the coats. It's really good for him too, especially lining up... Read more →

How far in advance do you think about birthday presents? If I leave it to the last minute I buy things I regret. I've done this so many times. The other thing I'm good at is thinking about gifts but not making the decision until the last minute - then panic that it won't arrive in time. Otis's birthday is in April so it's something I've started to think about. I've compiled a list of suggested Montessori and educational gifts for those turning two. This post contains some affiliate links. Schleich Animals. No gift guide of mine would be complete... Read more →

The Three Levels of Obedience

Discipline and obedience are not words you would hear in my house. I don't like the sound of them. They sounds rather harsh. Discipline isn't something I had to think about with Caspar. He is a very patient, well mannered and self disciplined child. Otis on the other hand feels like he's out of control sometimes. When I was reading the book Montessori Talk to Parents - The Road to Discipline I wanted to capture the section about the three levels of obedience. Understanding these three levels helps me to better understand Otis. Montessori shows obedience of the highest order... Read more →

. Yesterday I introduced you to Emma and her family and today we take another look around. To refresh your memory Emma has three sons aged 7.5, 4.5 and 17 months. I love old Queenslanders (the buildings) and this one is no exception. Just have a look at the hammock on the deck pictured below. How fantastic. But on a practical note this is a wonderful home for children. . In the photograph of the playroom above you can see a hermit crab aquarium and a fish tank on low shelves. I asked Emma about the gorgeous alphabet wall hanging.... Read more →

I would like to introduce you to Emma and her family. With three boys this looks like one busy household! Can you tell us a little about yourself, your family and where you live? I am a stay-at-home mother to three beautiful sons, aged 7.5, 4.5 and 17 months. My professional background is as a lawyer specialising in industrial relations and discrimination and since the birth of my oldest son, I have worked from home once my children are asleep at night (I am currently completing my PhD in discrimination law). We live in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, in a high-set... Read more →

How about Five Minutes with Oits? Playing with Bruder trucks. I've mentioned before that these are built to scale. These trucks get played with every single day. Morning tea. He's decided to eat at this table (his placemat and napkin are on his snack table). I'm not sure what is going on with the tokens but he's carrying this bag around everywhere (it has his schleich dogs inside). He's eating left over Chicken Fingers (that I've cut up) from Wholefood for Children. An excellent tip here which I was also told by Caspar's dietitian is to marinate the chicken in... Read more →

I love having a toilet trained toddler. Life is so much easier. All of the perseverance and pain was worth it. . At 22 months I feel like I can finally say that Otis is toilet trained - daytime only. We haven't approached night toileting but I must get to that soon. . It has been painful. For about three months his toilet learning just plateaued. By plateaued I mean one or two accidents everyday - for three months. Now I cannot remember his last accident. He sometimes makes a mess but that's associated with tricky clothing or dare I... Read more →

If you've read our What we are reading page you'll know I'm more than a bit in love with Wholefood for Children by Jude Blereau. It's changed the way I shop, cook and eat. Most importantly it's changed the way I view food as a mother. My children love crackers. I thought I was doing the right thing by buying commercial crackers that were wholegrain. I totally missed the problem. It's not only the grain, the salt and the sugar in the these crackers it's how they are made = processed. For something my children eat so often I think... Read more →

I've previously written about how I was considering using the Movable Alphabet with Caspar at home during the long summer break. Some of you thought it was a good idea and others suggested it wasn't such a good thing. First it is important to note that Caspar uses the Montessori cursive Movable Alphabet at school. I (as his parent not teacher) have only ever seen him write in print. All the books that he reads at home and his school readers are in print. Before deciding on an alphabet I spoke to Caspar's teacher. She suggested to go with cursive... Read more →

. These are just some of the botany, geography and zoology puzzles you will see in a Montessori 3-6 classroom. Plants, Maps, Animals. Even if you don't follow Montessori these are still fantastic educational puzzles. We don't have any of these at home as Caspar can enjoy them at school but I think they look wonderful. The puzzle maps would be one of Caspar's favourite materials. Related articles A Guide to First Montessori Puzzles Favourite Puzzles - Toddlers to Preschoolers Read more →

The Hammering Shape Board (also known as a Hammering Geo Board) is an activity idea I picked up from our Montessori parent toddler class many years ago. A toddler with nails? Yes. But supervise. I sit right next to Otis the entire time he does this activity. This tray is placed on his shelves but I keep the nails up high. If he wants to do the hammering he knows he needs to come to me first. Otis knows exactly how to handle them. The hammering is the difficult part as he is working on his coordination, often he misses... Read more →

In my earlier post Learning to Cut with Scissors - The First Step I mentioned how I introduced the scissors to Otis. Since then Otis has watched and observed Caspar and I using scissors on many occasions. You know how Maria Montessori wrote of children having an absorbent mind. They watch everything. He's got it. Snip, snip, snip. These photographs tell a story of how Otis will often use his materials. He's taken only what he needs from his tray. He didn't take the entire tray from the shelf - just the scissors and the card. Usually I will remind... Read more →

Over the weekend I introduced Otis to the water dispenser. I think it's good for a child to get lots of practice pouring from a pitcher and really there is no better way than to pour their own drink several times a day. But now for the water dispenser, it's much easier for everyone. We still have a pitcher which is a little larger than before. The boys will fill the pitcher for drinks at lunch or dinner. Cleaning cloths are a must. While we are in the kitchen I might show you around. It's not all that different to... Read more →

The Mystery Bag is an activity usually associated with older children (3-5 years). An adult would put a few small items in the bag (it's important that the child is already familiar with all of the items). The child (sometimes blindfolded) would put their hand in the bag and using touch name the items and then pull them out one by one. This is an excellent activity to do with the Geometric Solids. Caspar tells me at school he also uses the mystery bag to match items. . For a toddler the activity needs to be adapted slightly. To start... Read more →