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October 2016
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December 2016

My children have only one week left before the school holidays start. So it is the perfect time for us to start thinking about homemade Christmas gifts. Here is a collection of some of our favourite homemade gifts! We love and use all of these gifts and with help and supervision (and perhaps a bit of clean up) they are all suitable to be made by children 2-5 years. Making homemade gifts teaches our children something store bought gifts can't. It teaches them that their thoughts, time and efforts are important. That we can use our hands and a few... Read more →

Have you found the perfect set of children's cutlery? One of my most frequently asked questions is where to find children's and toddler cutlery sets, with a knife. All of these sets above have a spoon, knife, and fork. Some of these can be used from weaning. I recommend, where possible to check the dimensions of the products and compare those to utensils your child is already using or compare them to an adult sized utensil. 1. Children's Hammered Flatware Set - For 3-6 years at For Small Hands. 2. Fabler - Three Piece Flatware Set - Ikea. 3. Oneida... Read more →

We've had a couple of difficult weeks around here so it's nice to share a few good articles and links with you. I hope you enjoy! This is a really practical post Knives, peelers and more for children - and how we use them from the beginning at Eltern vom Mars. Have you seen the gorgeous postcards in the Botanicum and Animalium series. Postcards are a fantastic idea and would look lovely framed on a child's wall. This is a really good read, Montessori Monday series written by Lindsey, a Montessori teacher at Swiss Lark. This is the best resource... Read more →

Here are a few activities from around our home today. This is one of our Christmas traditions - making Beeswax Candles. These are so easy for children to make. We've used the coloured wax from Luxmi (similar wax is available here in the US). Loving this puzzle! These are Australian native birds and the puzzle is much harder than it looks. (Birds from other regions are also available). Chop, chopping. (This is a cute Mouse Cheese Board from Oxfam). Growing seeds. Otis is giving them a spray! A lovely turtle themed sand tray. We always have a sand tray out!... Read more →

When looking for Christmas gift ideas it's easy to think all the good toys come from overseas. These gift ideas do not include Montessori materials but they are suitable for the Montessori child and they are all made by Australian companies. I have tried to include as many small businesses and handmade goods as possible while also highlighting some of our favourite Australian products! Many of these stores ship overseas too. 1. Little backpacks perfect for independent Montessori children by Bagbini (international shipping available). 2. Playdough and accessories at Happy Hands Happy Heart (we love this playdough, the texture and... Read more →

Today I'm sharing a few pictures of Otis helping with the washing. Both of my children know how to use the washing machine and Otis loves to help in the laundry. My message to other parents is to get out the way, allow your children to help where they can and encourage their participation! By helping around the home children learn life skills, they develop and strengthen their coordination and fine motor skills, they learn that they are valued, that they can make a real contribution! If Otis wants to help with the washing I take the time to put... Read more →

About three months ago I started enforcing (strongly encouraging) the boys to have an hour of reading before bed. I found playing before bed made them restless and they were needing so much time to calm down and relax. While we often use guided meditation and reading, an hour of reading before bed just made sense. Caspar is fine, he reads almost a book a day from his school library (he is currently reading crime and spy books). Otis is still very much a beginner reader and therefore likes for me to read to him. Often he only needs one... Read more →

I receive so many questions and comments about Montessori daycare, I know it's a topic that is very important to many of you. When I first arrived in Brisbane the staff from Indooroopilly Montessori Children's House (IMCH) invited me over for a tour. I honestly had not seen a daycare centre like this before. It is gorgeous and the attention to detail is amazing - from a Montessori perspective and a childcare perspective. So recently I asked if I could take another tour and capture some images to share with you. I've taken lots of images from whole room pictures... Read more →

I have started looking around for Christmas gifts for my chlildren. I came across this awesome junior labyrinth (for Otis 5yrs) and it got me thinking about other, similar toys. I am sure these are great for building concentration, developing hand-eye coordination, and visual perception. They would also be fun to use with family or friends. Many of these would be well suited to a Montessori environment, gross motor area or toddler area! I love this quote from MontessoriReStore. "The labyrinth is an ancient symbol that relates to wholeness. It combines the imagery of the circle and the spiral into... Read more →

I recently mentioned that I have been reading Dharma Parenting. I really want to share a little more about this approach as it was completely new to me and I have found it so compelling. The book is called Dharma Parenting: Understand Your Child's Brilliant Brain for Greater Happiness, Health, Success, and Fulfillment by Robert Keith Wallace and Frederick Travis. I initially read the kindle version but it turned out to be a book that I really enjoy having as a hard copy and being able to underline and highlight sections. I've highlighted a lot! 'Dharma' refers to a way... Read more →

I recently completed the Triple P Parenting Online course. You can read my first post about Triple P here. The last four modules of the course include; Dealing with disobedience Preventing problems by planning ahead Making shopping fun Raising confident, capable kids. The last three modules were the highlight of the course and are about being positive and proactive. The last module of Raising confident, capable kids really resonated with me. I also want to share my experience as to normalise parenting courses. Parenting and staying on top our techniques or methods can be difficult, it's completely ok to seek... Read more →

Yesterday I visited a Montessori daycare centre (pictured above). This centre is really well regarded and I took lots of pictures, so I hope to bring you a tour next week. I'm actually really excited, I've never featured a Montessori daycare centre before and I think you will love it! You know we adore the Nature Anatomy book. Today we received the new release Food Anatomy. It is fantastic, it has so much detail about food, it is packed full of information. If you have a vegetarian and/or sensitive child, I would have a look at it first as there... Read more →

I was recently introduced to Kelly from Bagbini. Kelly is a Montessori Educator and a Montessori parent based in Brisbane, Australia. She has designed a gorgeous range of backpacks that are perfect for the young Montessori child. The backpacks are lovely and have so many features that I really want to share with you! The Bagbini Uno backpacks were designed to be comfortable, durable and easy for children to use independently. Some of the key features include; Lightweight. Sized for children 1 to 6 years. The fabric is a durable and comfortable canvas. The straps are adjustable, soft, and comfortable.... Read more →

There have been many articles written on the topic so I thought it would be nice to address it here too. Most Montessori parents would agree that pretend play is important. It may be a critical part of the child's development. Role play, acting out scenarios, it's a way for children to process their experiences, process their thoughts and develop a whole range of social skills, coping strategies, creativity and important critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Through pretend play Otis develops characters, storylines, and plots both simple and complex. Pretend play often involves dress up, dolls, and toys. While these... Read more →

Often we just want our kids to stop whining and complaining. But there are times when we really need to listen to them. We need to listen to what they are complaining about. What are they upset about? What barriers are in their way, what is frustrating them, what is preventing them from doing what they are trying to do? Complaining can be their way of communicating that they have a problem. Whining or complaining is often grating and we can dismiss it too easily. But is there a pattern, is there something we can do to remove the problem,... Read more →