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May 2014
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July 2014

The first essential for the child's development is concentration. It lays the whole basis for his character and social behaviour. The child whose attention has once been held by a chosen object, while he concentrates his whole self on the repetition of the exercise, is a delivered soul in the sense of spiritual safety of which we speak. From this moment there is no need to worry about him - except to prepare an environment which satisfies his needs, and to remove obstacles which may bar his way to perfection. - Maria Montessori. The Absorbent Mind. As with many children... Read more →

In the weeks before the school holidays I like to stock up on new art materials. I'm usually looking for something different - something we haven't used before. These Ezy-Carve blocks were just too tempting and we used them straight away. We tried the Ezy-Carve blocks because they are smoother and softer than lino blocks. We also used lino carving tools, printing ink and rubber rollers. The ink was a little more expensive than paint. I've shared this with friends who feel that paint doesn't give the same finish and although the ink is slightly more expensive it will give... Read more →

Connecting tactile activities to abstract ideas stimulates brain function in young children. When children under age five trace sandpaper letters, they associate a given letter with a concrete gesture internally. This association fosters more connections in different parts of the brain, rendering the child's mind nimbler. The acrostic poem accompanying each letter is designed to be read by an adult. These poems introduce the child to a famous site and physical activity. The letters of the alphabet thus become part of an exploration of nature, culture, and traditions. Tracing leads the way to a discovery of the world. The systematic... Read more →

I Spy is such an important game to play at home because children are often learning and are interested in letters long before they start school. If a child is talking about letters it's a good indication they are wanting to know more and often children will start noticing and working them out themselves. As with many children Otis' awareness started with the letter of his name 'o' Otis, his brother 'c' 'Caspar and Mum and Dad. I Spy is a great way to extend that awareness to other objects - you could even use photographs of people! I Spy... Read more →

I know it's common for children to start drawing circles very early. However Otis has been using the 'o' sandpaper letter at school and understands 'o' is for 'Otis'. His teacher has previously discussed teaching him phonetically what I think is called the long 'o' first - so it sounds like the 'o' in his name. Otis has access to lovely crayons and pencils however I like to ensure he has other writing tools as well. Chalk is great for children who like to write, rub it out and then write again. He also loves the sand tray. A paint... Read more →

Do you know your apple varieties and seasons - or are you like me and need a chart? All I need to do is look at the markets (we've been enjoying the Northside UC Farmers Market - and the nutella waffles!) to see there is plenty in season. We're hoping to bake some - if Otis stops eating them all. I often see toddlers with this apple slicer/corer but it is still difficult for Otis to use at three. It is good a tool though as the child needs to put their hands on the handles to press down, keeping... Read more →