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October 2018
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December 2018

I'm not great with mess. I do everything I can to avoid it. But if you have a toddler it is inevitable. The key for me is to know what is true mess and what is the child's work or play and to contain the mess as much as I can. It is important to me not to view mess as a negative and not to use negative words or negative body language around it. It is also really important to make cleaning up a part of the activity and always prepare for it. Here are a few ways we... Read more →

Mushrooms and the entire Fungi Kingdom are really fascinating. Not a plant, not an animal! The Fungi Kingdom is often over looked for the more popular Animal and Plant Kingdoms but can be just as interesting to children. I love that there are so many Montessori materials about Mushrooms and Fungi that I can find materials for my children's age groups and materials that I know will interest them! Here are a few materials that we are using and that we are loving: Mushrooms: How to Identify and Gather Wild Mushrooms and Other Fungi. This is by far the most... Read more →

Otis has been growing mushrooms (and beans) it's - been fascinating to observe the mushroom's entire life cycle. This is a gorgeous poetry book that we have been enjoying. I Am The Seed That Grew The Tree. I noticed this really simple craft at Otto's Forest School class and wanted to make them with the older boys. It's best done with willow which is a little more pliable. But ours worked out well (mostly!), we are calling ours Christmas stars and have them in a jar on our window sill. We love using open-and-close baskets (a basket with containers that... Read more →

Otto is really enjoying lots of posting, pushing, threading, and 'in' and 'out' activities. These activities are easy to make using household items or a few easy-to-find toys. Above is a container that I put a hole in the lid and some paper straws cut in half. This is an activity that he loves and is probably his favourite right now. It takes a bit of practice but the idea is the child using coordination and concentration inserts the straws into the lid of the container. The hole is only just larger than the straws so it requires the child... Read more →

Montessori Nature Ideas - for home and school.

Today was Otto's first day at his toddler Forest School class. I am feeling very inspired by the activities there and the open natural learning spaces. Look forward to a few Forest School posts soon. So today I'm sharing a few ideas that I've bookmarked for creating a connection with nature in our indoor spaces. Above labeling and displaying items collected from a nature walk. I'm going to start to do this and using scientific names. Make your classroom come alive! I've never thought of growing sweet potatoes like this! I love life cycle models but nothing beats the real... Read more →

Many schools run parent information nights or Montessori parenting classes but sometimes these can be hard to get to or hard to find, especially if you have little ones or if your children don't attend a Montessori school. There are a lot of Montessori at Home e-courses available (I recommend this one) but I want to share with you this list of free courses. I haven't done all of these personally but I know and trust all of the organisations and the people behind them. All of these are online and are completely free. Education for Peace at Montessori St... Read more →

Above: Sensitive Period for Movement Otto is now 14 months old and I'm wondering what are the areas he is in the Sensitive Period for? Sometimes it's really obvious such as his need for movement, but other times if we are not watching and observing carefully it's easy to miss the important sensitive time for learning, like for toilet awareness. "They go through a very specific and well-defined periods of interest in certain areas of their development. For example there is a period of intense absorption with order, another for language, and another for learning to walk. During each of... Read more →

It's been a long time since I've written an Ikea post! We know Ikea has a lot of products suitable for a Montessori home. They have children's furniture, art supplies and so much more. Here are a few new, and new-to-me things I'm currently loving at Ikea! PLEJA Wire Basket - we have a couple of these baskets, they are so useful as medium size caddies around the home. I like them for nappy change areas, art supplies and children's gardening supplies. LUSTIGT Arts and Craft Storage Caddy - I love that the bottom tray can fit A4 size paper,... Read more →

While visiting Isle of Wight over the weekend I found this gorgeous book, If I Were A Whale. It has all the things I love in children's books, it is rhyming, has beautiful realistic illustrations, it's factual and it's just wonderful. It is perfect for toddlers, the language is simple but it is also educational, it actually tells you a little about each kind of whale. It's the best board book I've found about whales, we really love it. Another new board book that we've been reading is A Picnic with Monet, it's from the Mini Masters Series. It's not... Read more →

How was your week? I am really looking forward to the weekend. Today Caspar (11yrs) had a drama performance and Otis (7yrs) had his Judo grading. Otis has brought his violin home to practice over the weekend (I don't know if I love this or not). This week I also started a baby massage course and I am loving it, it's so much more involved and detailed than I had expected. Here are a few Montessori and related articles that I've enjoyed this week: My children love fingerplays and I feel they are so important for toddlers. Fingerplays for Autumn... Read more →

Otto has started to do this really funny thing, he is picking all sorts of things up and putting them in the bin. Sometimes it's rubbish but sometimes it's Otis' school work and sometimes it's his own toys. I am sure he is in a transporting schema. Montessori talks about sensitive periods and I see schemas as being very similar. A schema is a pattern of behaviour that some children regularly display to help them make sense of their world. Children explore schemas differently but we can help our children by noticing and acknowledging when they are in a schema.... Read more →

a.pen/notebook / b. / c. / d. / e. / f. / g. / h. / i. Over the weekend we ordered our Christmas gifts for our children's teachers. This year we are buying for nine teachers including class teachers, teacher assistants, sports teachers and head of school. That's a lot! We usually give all of our teachers the same or similar items, we stick to a theme. I have learnt that small gifts are better, they are easier for the child to give and easier for the teacher who may be receiving thirty or so gifts in one day.... Read more →

We rotate our toys and materials for two reasons: We only want a few materials out at a time, so the child isn't overwhelmed, so they can look after their materials and maintain order. In any one area I've found 9-12 materials about right for an infant/toddler. We want to keep the child interested in their toys and materials. Often if the child isn't using a toy we can put it away for a couple of weeks and then get it out again and the child may have a renewed interest in it. It also prolongs the life of our... Read more →

"There is something intrinsically inviting and soothing about the form of kokedama, through the juxtaposition of its controlled and wild aspects. It is a manifestation of wabi-sabi, or the Japanse art of finding beauty in imperfection." - Hanging Kokedama. Kokedama = moss ball. It is a Japanese form of bonsai. The plant is potted in a ball of bonsai soil and peat moss, then wrapped in moss. The moss is tied to keep the plant and soil together. I love indoor gardening and feel it's important to share our passions and our knowledge with our children. I find the concept... Read more →

Today I want to share some the new materials that Otto is using at 13 - 14 months old. He has only recently mastered materials like the peg board and the ring slide (so fun to watch!). Others like the ball push he could easily do months ago but now he is really enjoying the repetition and is using it more than ever. The trike is a fairly new addition (a hand-me-down from Otis). These puzzles are such a must for me, I love how they have real images, they are also great for language development. I wouldn't ordinarily buy... Read more →