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November 2017
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January 2018

The Christmas and holiday period can be very busy and overwhelming for little ones. This is especially true if you travel or have lots of visitors or guests staying. It's often best to be upfront with family and friends about your expectations on how you would like your baby to be handled and cared for. Here are a few things we'd like to say... Dear Family, We love spending time with you. It's been a while since we have seen you so we would like to give you some guidance on holding, playing with and caring for our baby. We... Read more →

These large bells are hard to find in Australia... except at Christmas time. I hope you had a lovely day! Earlier in the year I almost ordered the bell from overseas, I just couldn't find one locally. I removed this bell from one of our old Christmas decorations, put some (Christmas) ribbon through the loop and here it is, a Montessori bell on a ribbon! Otto approaches his bell gently and slowly with an open hand. Otis used to really hit his with a closed fist. So different! So what is the Montessori bell on a ribbon? It's simply a... Read more →

Today Otis and I made these cute little Christmas tree meringues as gifts for our friends and neighbours, and perhaps a few for the Christmas table too. The idea came from our favourite macaron shop Marché du Macaron, although we made ours much smaller, almost bite size. As it should be when baking with children, they turned out perfectly imperfect. The recipe is really simple, we used Margaret Fulton's (Australian cooking icon) recipe using only three large egg whites and 1 cup of caster sugar. While the egg whites and sugar were being whisked in the electric mixer we put... Read more →

Otto in the hug-a-bub Organic Ring Sling c/o Fertile Mind. My first mothers group consisted of ten to twelve mothers who had babies within a month of each other. Besides the timing of our baby's birth, we had very little in common. We met weekly and later fortnightly for over a year. I never really fitted in. I parented differently, I was on the outer of much of the conversation. I recently spoke to a friend who said she didn't fit in with her mothers group either. Her baby often cried through the gatherings, she felt like the other mothers... Read more →

When Otis found some holographic cardstock in his paper stash, he wanted to make a mobile for Otto. The Octahedron and Dancers Mobiles have been Otto's favourites so far and it is in part due to the nice shiny, metallic paper. While ours is not as elegant as the Dancers, nor as complicated to balance, Otis loved making it, Otto loves using it and I have to believe that it's somewhat age and developmentally appropriate for Otto. We used this holographic card (Australia) but similar can be found here. Otis used holographic card, stencils, pencil, scissors, glue, tape, fishing line... Read more →

Why choose passive toys? Passive toys are toys or materials that do nothing unless the child initiates play, the child must use them, manipulate them for them to work. There is no 'on' switch. Passive toys require the child to use them and therefore can spark the child's curiosity, ignite the child's imagination, encourage the child to ask questions, explore and be an active learner. The child can play with them, manipulate them and come to understand them. We want toys that the young child can explore, we want toys that make sense and don't act in a random or... Read more →

"I am a firm believer in the Montessori method, but I do recognize its collision with reality at times. My experience is that the reality is not that following the Montessori method would result in a self-centered child. Rather, it is extremely difficult for parents to truly carry out the Montessori methods. The deep respect for the child that Maria Montessori promoted is very challenging to implement in a daily life with young children, especially when parents are overwhelmed with balancing work and home. I fail constantly and it pains me greatly. The introspection and humility required in a Montessori... Read more →

I am always on the look out for fresh Montessori inspiration. Here are a few rooms I'm loving, all with lots of ideas for a Montessori home. Above at nomilktoday_kitmontessori. Cleaning materials on low hooks in a way that is aesthetically pleasing! Love this bedroom. Low shelves and a few simple puzzles and toys. This is a classroom but most of the concepts could be applied at home. Low book display and storage, low hanging art work, interesting work for the child. Large display for forward facing books. This is from the same family with an inspiring and fun space,... Read more →

Around here this week, this is just a snapshot of some of the materials Otto is currently using at three months! He constantly has his fingers in his mouth and is chewing on his hands. After finding Otto gnawing on the Skwish, I ordered what is known as a Montessori Teething Ball or the Perfect Pacifier. I ordered ours from here (Australia). I need to pass it to Otto but he can independently hold it, bring it to his mouth or throw it away. Montessorians prefer it as it is easily manipulated by the child, it provides relief (from the... Read more →

Do you feel the pull to get your children outdoors more? My children spend time outdoors but often it is at my request or during organized activities. I want to create a culture, a family norm where we have regular, unstructured play outdoors that is entirely child led. There's No Such Thing As Bad Weather: A Scandinavian Mom's Secrets for Raising Healthy, Resilient and Confident Kids (from Friluftsliv to Hygge) has been life-changing for me. I listened to it as an audiobook (mostly while doing those school runs). It's written by a parent, not by a parenting expert, and it's... Read more →

Do you have any magnetic letters at home? Magnetic letters on our fridge really helped my children to casually practice the spelling of their name and other short words. Using magnetic letters at home is a great way for the child to practice their literacy skills without duplicating or replicating work done at school. I like having them available simply for the child to play or tinker with when they like! If your child is going to a Montessori school or if you are following Montessori at home, I recommend starting with lower case letters. I love to follow the... Read more →

I want to share with you this cute mobile that Otto has been using and absolutely loving. We've used it hanging on the play gym and now over the movement area. The child can bat at or pull on the ring to make the wooden bells (or chimes) ring. The sound is lovely although Otto, like most children I'm sure, gets a little vigorous and swishes them around. He also tries really hard to put the ring in his mouth, he's definitely teething. Like most tactile mobiles this is good for developing concentration, coordination, arm and core strength, visual tracking... Read more →

I believe the best 'Montessori' activities for Christmas including baking Christmas treats (always Gingerbread!) and making gifts by hand. We LOVE Christmas themed playdough and Christmas puzzles! Here are a few other ideas to bring some Christmas to your Montessori shelves at home, homeschool or school! Above toddler language cards at Montessori and Me. What's different Christmas cards by Maria Schavez. Christmas Mystery Bag by Maria Schavez. Maria has lots of Montessori inspired Christmas ideas! Initial sound work, free printables and lots of other Christmas ideas at Montessori Nature. Christmas themed Knobless Cylinder work. I know some teachers use extension... Read more →

If resources or location weren't an issue, what would be in your Montessori Nursery? It's not a tough question for me as it's something that I've thought about many times. I might be a bit obsessed but I'm sure I'm not the only one! I don't know if it's a positive or a negative, but with our move, I get to start our Montessori nursery all over again. We are taking some toys and materials but it's too expensive and unrealistic to ship Otto's current furniture. So I've been daydreaming. It will be much easier being able to shop in... Read more →

When Otis was little I loved lists like this. Not because I felt like I needed to do all of the activities suggested, but because it gave me some simple ideas to try at home. I hope you find this list just as useful. This is a no pressure list, you might find it more suitable for your child at two months or three or four months. The age is a guide only, work at your child's pace and always meet them where they are at. Here are ten things you can do at home with your Montessori baby at... Read more →