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Maria Montessori was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in three consecutive years. She spoke passionately about the importance of education in promoting peace and argued that education was a means of eliminating war. As a parent I wonder how can I teach my children peace. Perhaps to be peaceful themselves (tolerant, respectful, capable of independent and critical thinking, moral, intelligent, of strong character) and to be a global citizen - this needs to be modelled and taught. Also that peace starts with each of us, our relationships with each other, our neighbours, our schools and our communities. To commemorate... Read more →

I am an advocate for weaning the Montessori way, with a weaning table. A weaning table is traditionally used from around six months, often as a replacement of a high chair, at which the infant sits to have their first solids. While there is a lot of advice around about Montessori weaning tables it's great to see real ones, in action, being used by real children!! Top L-R: How we Montessori - and another post here, more about weaning chairs here, Midwest Montessori, Montessori on the Double Middle L-R: The Full Montessori, Our Montessori Life, Far Out City Bottom L-R:... Read more →

I've been parenting and interested in Montessori for a while now. While I read many books I actually hold onto very few. So the books I keep are important to me. Books like The Absorbent Mind are more often in my office and are used very often. Other books I will just pull out when I need to reference something. This is my entire collection of Montessori related books. Most of these I ordered after recommendations from friends and teachers. Some of these are hard to find in Australia and often only the 'popular' ones can be found in the... Read more →

A wonderful part of living in Brisbane is that with the warm weather (even in winter) our dough always rises. Always. We've been using the dough recipe from Smitten Kitchen and it's the best. Ever. Each child makes their own pizza. It takes them five, ten minutes at the most. Squishing the dough in-between their fingers. Licking the tomato sauce off their hands. Gently dusting the finished pizza with cheese. Sweeping and brushing off all that flour. So many things we make with the children (baking, bread, pasta) take such a long time. Pizza being so quick is a great... Read more →

Daily chores teach children responsibility, not just doing something because you want to. I think this is a great lesson for a four (or five or six) year old and if these chores become habits and a seamless part of everyday life then it will benefit everyone. Daily chores teach children life skills. What could be more important? Surely it is our responsibility as parents to ensure our children know how and are empowered to look after themselves and their environment - in an age appropriate way. Chores take practical life activities one step further. Children can (and will) learn... Read more →

It's Book Week (here in Australia!) and although I don't have any new releases to share with you I wanted to share the collection we have been working on - cultural books. Here are our list of cultural books for all ages. For Infants to Toddlers: Global Babies. Toddlers to Preschoolers: Houses and Homes Home Me on the Map (this is more geography but is a great introduction for young children) Somewhere in the World Right Now Preschoolers to Elementary: Flags of the World Children of the World: How we Live, Learn and Play in Poems, Drawings and Photographs Children... Read more →

Today I interview my seven year old son about Montessori. He started Montessori in the parent toddler class and is now in Cycle Two, Montessori Elementary. How was school today? What work did you do? School was great. I did an SRA book, I did an hour of it. I also did some French games. Some division with the division board. That's all I can remember. What does a typical day at school look like? We do all sorts of things. Like normally I will do a bead chain. On Tuesdays we have French. Wednesday we have sport. Music is... Read more →

I hope you had a lovely weekend. I spent the weekend reading and at the plant nursery, now it's back to reality! Did you know that Maria Montessori's birthday is next week, it's on Monday 31 August (she was born in 1870). Our schools have always held a celebration and it's nice for the children to recognise this day. Caspar has Maria Montessori: a biography for and by children and I think it's an excellent resource for children to remind them about who Maria Montessori was. This is a wonderful article at The Shitastrophy - Why We Chose Montessori. Alyson... Read more →

Our block area is less organised and frequently less tidy than the other areas in our home. The boys always want to leave our their creations and we are fortunate to have this space where they can do so. The most popular blocks are our large unit blocks. We store them in baskets as they are mostly used outside, using baskets is the only way to facilitate this. We also rotate our smaller blocks. Many of our smaller blocks such as magnetic blocks are often stored upstairs. At the moment we have interconnecting blocks out here (in the white basket... Read more →

I love browsing design and architecture blogs. What could be better than the combination of design and Montessori? I am loving these schools! 1. Trinity Montessori School via Nichol Construction Team. 2. Brooklyn Heights Montessori School via Eurostruct Construction. 3. Fayetteville Montessori Elementary School by Marion Blackwell Architect via Architectural Record. 4. The Montessori Flatiron. 5. Marin Montessori School via Pfau Long Architecture via Yamamar Design. Read more →

I completely lost my photographs for today's post so I will have to publish it another day. These things happen! So this post is a quick one. Facebook provides a list of suggested reading and I thought I would share with you the top six blogs they suggest I follow. Most of these are personal or family blogs which are really lovely, most about toddlers to preschoolers. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I do! 1. Minuscule Infini, 2. Eltern vom Mars, 3. Planting Peas, 4. Montessori en Casa, 5. Montessori per noi. 6. The Montessori Notebook. Read more →

There are lots of ways children can play and experiment with colour. Paint or coloured water are the obvious choices. In our home acrylic or poster paint with primary colours aways ends up brown before any other lesson is learnt. Water colour paints are wonderful to learn about mixing and blending colours. Montessori Schools of course would use a Colour Mixing tray similar to this. At home we have used coloured bottles, colour paddles. Here are a few resources we are currently using for mixing primary colours. Otis has almost mastered this so I am sure we will be exploring... Read more →

The Brisbane Botanic Gardens at Mt Coot-tha are on our way home from school. It is the perfect place to drop in on or to visit as we did yesterday, on the weekend. I am so in love with this place, it's magical. We haven't explored as much of Brisbane as I would have liked. I do so much solo parenting and tend to stick within my comfort zone. However, I'm committed, we must explore more! This is inside the Tropical Dome - I insist we go here every time we visit the gardens. This picture is from the Fern... Read more →

One of my favourite transferring tools would have to be our mini tongs. They are small and are almost like tweezers. I suggest a child could use them possibly by eighteen months and definitely by two years. The transferring work a child may be interested in will change and I've found Otis at four still enjoys transferring work if it involves sorting. My only concern is some of these activities are not suitable for children who are putting items in their mouths and I would only present them under full and total supervision. I like to think many of these... Read more →

In this week's What's on Our Shelves we are looking in the kitchen. I've shown a few pictures of this environment before and it needs to be said that while most of the materials here stay the same, today these shelves are well stocked with snacks, which is not always the case. The children have access to fresh snacks (yoghurt, cheese, vegetables, dips/hommus, homemade muffins or banana bread) in the refrigerator and have more fresh fruit on our kitchen bench. So most of the snacks in here are pantry type snacks; dried fruit, nuts, crackers and a few vegetable chips.... Read more →