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June 2015
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August 2015

Sometimes it feels like we have books in every corner of our house. It's not true though. We sometimes have books on the boys' shelves and in use in their various work spaces, there are always books in this above little book unit and next to the boys' bed. Here we have Animalium, World Atlas (this almost never leaves the shelves), a Space Encyclopedia (so popular after following the recent New Horizons images of Pluto - it's nice to have science feature so prominently in news and current affairs), The Animal Book (another favourite by Steve Jenkins - we love... Read more →

There has been a huge shift in the amount and variety of art we have been creating since setting up our art nook. The biggest change is the location where the children are doing art. I'm thinking an art area needs to be super accessible (and it wasn't before). There are many times Otis doesn't want to help in the kitchen but can work in this area and still talk to me while I am preparing meals or snacks (Caspar can work elsewhere as he doesn't need as much supervision). Otis is also being super clingy right now so it's... Read more →

Some gorgeous, mostly Montessori finds that I am loving on Etsy. Nature Themed Play Dough Set by Montessori Restore. Lots of materials for play dough - or cooking. Lots of ideas here! Modern Child Table Set by Jesse Lee Designs. This is gorgeous - so, so lovely. Cotton Montessori Placemats by Natura Baby (who also make cube chairs). Handmade Sewing Kit by Cobble Works. Adorable! This would be a gorgeous gift. Check out this store for other lovely handmade Montessori materials. Rainbow Pure Wool Hand Knitted Balls by Indigo Inspirations. How perfect for a Montessori baby! Montessori Palmer and Pincer... Read more →

We have used lots of different Montessori sewing trays. Each tray or basket has focused on one activity or one skill such as needle threading or sewing buttons. This is our first real 'sewing tray', one which the child can use the materials and sew as they wish. Use running stitch on the linen in the embroidery hoop, sew buttons onto the felt, sew buttons onto the linen, sew felt pieces together, sew felt onto the linen. There is a limited range of materials available however the child has scope for creativity. I have tried many ways for managing thread.... Read more →

Everything about writing letters to friends is good and heart warming. While Otis loves his letter writing tray he also loves using our old typewriter. Otis can use letter recognition and copy my writing (we are only talking about a couple of words) or Caspar will sit and help him. This is fantastic for his literacy skills. We end up with lots of little letters and notes to friends. It's really sweet coming from a four year old. These letters are to his two closest friends. I love stationary and feel we can never have enough fun stationary and stickers.... Read more →

I love to get my children's brains going, I love to see them think in different ways. I like to get those neurons firing! Online I have seen many visual perception exercises but when I tried to track them down they were all overseas (not in English) and expensive workbooks to get here. So once I tracked down some resources that are accessible I thought I definitely need to share them. Firstly though - what is visual perception? Visual perception refers to the brain's ability to make sense of what the eyes see. Visual perception is the ability to interpret... Read more →

Art shelves are always so lovely to look at. Always so colourful and full of texture. We still have most of our art supplies downstairs (you can see a bit of the shelving here) however we have created a little art nook upstairs which is smaller in size and really only contains what the boys are using. I can see (supervise) this area from the kitchen so it gets used a lot. It is so important that we use restraint here. I could easily fill this area ten times, but the boys would get overwhelmed - this area is for... Read more →

I don't often write about Caspar. He is seven years old and loves Minecraft and Soccer. His needs are pretty simple. However as he is in the sensitive period for culture (I haven't read about this but have noticed - I don't really know if there is such a thing!) I thought I would highlight a lovely product that we have been sent by The Adventurous Mailbox which taps into this interest and helps to meet his need to know more about the world around him. Caspar loves learning about culture but in context. This makes sense right? It's how... Read more →

I don't think about childhood development as much as I did when Otis was a toddler. However every now and then I think 'wow' I haven't seen you do that before - 'that's new'. We know through Montessori that children do not grow or development at a consistent rate throughout life but rather through phases, through stages of development. Montessori described the stages of development as a rhythm of six year cycles, each cycle having an opening and closing phase. The first phase of each cycle opens up to a set of particular experiences and consequently to the related acquisitions... Read more →

I know we have discussed that in a Montessori classroom art is not confined to art shelves. In Montessori classrooms art can be found on the science, cultural, botany, geography and nearly every shelf available. However most Montessori classrooms do have art shelves and I am interested to see what is on them! Here are ten fantastic Montessori school art shelves. These pictures do not do them justice, if you are interested please click on the links - many posts feature the shelves and trays in detail. 1. The Brilliant Child - click through for many classroom pictures. 2. Montessori... Read more →

I've been wanting to try this idea for a while. An area where the children can hang their special feathers, leaves, photos, artwork, letters and postcards. A place where they decide what they want to hang (not the adult) and where they can hang it themselves. I think there is something to be said about not displaying children's art - not taking the focus away from the process and putting it on the end result. However there are many special items my children want to display. This is not about the adult making the decision and putting special or attractive... Read more →

In each Montessori school we have attended there have been areas that I feel have been lacking. In Canberra I felt the children could do more cooking, baking and food preparation. Here in Brisbane I feel they could do more art. Our Canberra school had a specialist art teacher and regular art evenings. I know (and understand) the theory behind not having specialist teachers in Montessori classrooms however having a specialist teacher draws attention, focus and perhaps resources to a specific area. However as I have absolutely adored both schools and all of our teachers I simply compensate for these... Read more →

We only made a few changes to our shelves this week. We included new crayons with paper, they are shaped like rock crayons and are handmade so I'm interested to see how much they are used/compare to the commercial crayons we have. I wonder if their shape will change the shading or approach to drawings. We refreshed our letter writing tray with new paper, coloured envelopes and stickers. Our Noctural/Diurnal Tray is out. Still on our shelves is the spiral paper cutting tray. This has been very popular and seems at the right skill level. I have been printing off... Read more →

There are lots of ways to display materials in a Montessori environment. In the home we have more freedom however the concept is similar to that of a formal Montessori environment (school or community), materials should be accessible to the child and easy to pack up and put away. Beauty and aesthetics are important. Some trays need to be food safe. Some activities the child will do in the tray and therefore the tray needs to be large and open. Some activities the child will do on a work mat and a basket or tray can be used for storage... Read more →

Are your children interested in what happens at night? We are often out when it is dark. Last night we were at a park and were able to lie down on the grass and look at the stars and listen. We've gone for night walks with a torch just to see what we might find. I have never seen a Nocturnal/Diurnal Activity out at a Montessori school so I figure it might be a fun topic to discuss at home - at home we have the advantage and opportunity to observe our local nocturnal animals (possums on power lines anyone?).... Read more →