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May 2015
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July 2015

I've recently finished reading the insanely popular The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. It made my heart sing - I loved it SO much!!! I am one of the many people in this world who loves and thrives in a clean, tidy and organised space. My mind goes crazy with clutter and I cannot think straight around it. The author really spoke to me. "Order is dependent on the extremely personal values of how a person want to live." "Being surrounded by things that bring joy makes you happy." Ask yourself "Does this... Read more →

This is such a fantastic game although we haven't played a lot of it until recently. Otis has been asking to play it with geometric solids which I believe is an idea he has taken from school. The hidden object game can be played with any objects of which the child is familiar with (think toys cars, coloured blocks, household objects). It is important the child knows the name of the objects - a three period lesson is a good way to teach this if the children doesn't know. The number of objects used would depend on the skills of... Read more →

Have you read Nature Anatomy? You may remember I listed in it our post What we are reading April 2015. The great news is that Storey Publishing has contacted us for a review and a giveaway! In her new visual guidebook, Nature Anatomy, noted illustrator Julia Rothman invites readers to share in her delight at the small wonders of the natural world. With more than 700 original full-color drawings, this book is chock full of irresistible images accompanied by intriguing facts. From the shapes and names of mysterious mosses to the anatomy of a mushroom, the phases of the moon,... Read more →

I don't read a lot of parenting books however there was something that Meg said to me recently (about how to teach children empathy) that drew me to Children Learn What They Live: Parenting to Inspire Values. I read the Kindle version over the weekend and I couldn't wait to tell you about it. It really made me think about my parenting, how my husband and I address, speak to and approach our children and so much more. I have put a link to it in the side bar and I will be recommending it to all the parents I... Read more →

After a morning of running around with soccer and shopping Otis who is slightly unwell settles in to do some work. We are one week away from school holidays and we are starting to plan some outings and activities. It's a good time for me to look at our shelves (for both boys) and perhaps make some changes before the holidays are here. Matching International Flags. We have a card at the top of the work mat which allows us to accurately name the country the flag belongs to and to ensure the flag is positioned correctly (right way up).... Read more →

There has been a lot of sewing, thinking and reading about sewing going on in our home. Here are a few Montessori sewing ideas that we are loving. 1. Sewing Buttons on Burlap at Ann Arbor Children's House. 2. Sewing Pouches at Ann Arbor Children's House. 3. Sewing Buttons using an Embroidery Hoop at How we Montessori. 4. Sewing Cards at How we Montessori. 5. Easy Sewing Cards at Mr Printables. 6. Running Stitch/Embroidery following a line (Triangle) at Montessori Album. 7. Sewing Kit with Wooden Button at Montessori Services. 8. Burlap Embroidery (Heart) at Carrots are Orange. 9. Free... Read more →

First I need to say that every idea in this post is attributed to Sewing in the Montessori Classroom: A Practical Life Curriculum. These are own take/versions but this excellent book has given me lots of ideas and inspiration and looking at Otis' enthusiasm and concentration today, I know there will be more sewing from this book in our immediate future. I am starting to put together a sewing tray/basket for both children to use. To encourage more free/hand sewing. In their basket I have these little snips as above and below. To give Otis some practice in using them... Read more →

Image credit Nienhuis In Montessori classrooms the world over teachers debate the merits of teaching cursive handwriting first to the children in their environments. In non-Montessori settings the discussion is a moot point, as most traditional schools have phased out the teaching of cursive entirely and have either adopted a ball and stick print, or a blend known as italics. But many parents are not aware that cursive handwriting is an essential part of the Montessori experience, and although some believe with the advent of the digital age that handwriting should take a back seat in favour of keyboarding and... Read more →

I have been working to set up a permanent board game playing area for the boys. A place where they can store and leave out any board games they are playing. Because they are playing them a lot and there is always one game on the go. Board games are perfect for the school holidays, weekends, rainy days, anytime really! However we have recently changed the type of board games we are playing. We have converted to cooperative board games. Friday nights with pizza the boys would often get out some board games. Connect Four, Battleships, Twister. They are all... Read more →

I love Montessori printables and use them all the time. This is a Living/Non-Living activity which I arranged as Otis was struggling with the concept. This replaced the Sink/Float and Magnetic/Non-Magnetic activities on his shelves. There are quite a few activities like these which are great to do at home. At home we have and use different materials (for example it's likely we use different floating or magnetic items) - it can still be interesting and fun even for a child who has done a similar activity at school. Other printables we have used are Families or Mother/Baby Cards, Initial... Read more →

I think most children are drawn to the cute board books about Chameleons. Otis asks for A Color of His Own every night, more than once and he knows it completely by heart. He also loves Blue Chameleon and The Mixed-Up Chameleon, all of these are classic and moral stories. Chameleons are a little mystical. Otis is obsessed. Stories and beautiful illustrations are one thing but I wanted to share with my Chameleon loving four year old some of the truly amazing, stunning features of a Chameleon that are non-fiction. Because nature is more beautiful. First I included a non-fiction... Read more →

'An interesting piece of work, freely chosen, which has the virtue of inducing concentration rather than fatigue, adds to the child's energies and mental capacities, and leads him to self-mastery.' 'Without concentration, it is the objects about him which possess the child. He feels the call of each, and goes from one to another. But once his attention has been focused, he becomes his own master and can exert control over his world.' 'The first essential for the child's development is concentration. It lays the whole basis for his character and social behaviour. He must find out how to concentrate,... Read more →

The question I am asked the most is about Montessori activities for children 3.5-4.5 years old. Otis turned four last month so he fits within this age group nicely. I will do my best over the next week or so to show lots of the work Otis has been doing at home. With the exception of practical life. I have so many posts on practical life and even though it is a major part of his work at home I will try to cover more of the other 'activity' side of things. So I'm hoping you might find these posts... Read more →

I love a good writing centre, this one at The Write Start is seriously beautiful. My children always have access to lots of paper, pencils, markers, paints in all kinds of sizes, colours and varieties. They also have a sand tray, sandpaper letters, small chalkboard and a movable alphabet. However I wanted to create a tray, a set, an activity based on letter/note writing. A tray which contains everything Otis needs to write a letter to a friend or family member. Otis loves sending (and receiving) letters and messages. He loves drawing and sealing paper in envelopes. I wanted to... Read more →

Have you tried massage or reflexology with your children? Do they enjoy it? Do you have any favourite massage or reflexology resources to recommend? My children love massage. It's relaxing, it's soul connecting, calming, centering, warming. At night before bed or with Otis just about any time of the day it helps to 'reset' and bring some peace. We have been using massage so often I thought it was time to explore some further techniques and options. I have been pretty much just giving Otis a back rub and I knew there was more out there. I found four resources... Read more →