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December 2018
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February 2019

Today I'm sharing a few of the art activities that we've recently used with Otto (16 months). We have three of these activities/trays out at one time. We have paint (with brushes, textured wands, sponges) and often dot markers to use on the art easel which we keep outside. We also have a large blackboard outside that is fantastic for gross motor skills. All of these activities require close supervision. For art trays at this age I'm looking for activities that use the child's fine motor skills but also that involve lots of different textures and colour or contrast. For... Read more →

When children are using nesting materials they aren't simply playing or building they are experimenting, they are problem-solving, they are developing critical thinking skills!! Nesting materials are so incredibly easy to find and they provide exceptional learning opportunities. We love to use nesting materials as they can help support and develop: dexterity and fine motor skills counting skills gross motor skills - especially in larger materials like the large wooden nesting boxes. awareness of shapes and size grasp and release movements visual and spatial perception / visual discrimination hand-eye coordination opportunities for crossing the midline concentration language - 'pass', 'in',... Read more →

Montessori 'WOW' Spaces

We are in the process of moving our children's bedrooms around and I've been looking for some fresh bedroom inspiration. There is always one thing that hits me when I look at Montessori rooms online and that's space. It's not about minimalism or KonMari, it's a simple, well thought out and ordered design. Above - this is very colourful but it still looks comfortable. This one is all about light. See how the room isn't full. Everything is at the child's level and there is room for the child to grow into the space. This is classic Montessori, so beautiful... Read more →

Image credit: My Arka Design. Montessori Kindergarten, Beijing. Have you ever seen a Montessori space that takes your breath away? I have a few links here that might do just that! I hope you enjoy these Montessori and related articles: A new Montessori school in China - this is breathtakingly beautiful - so fresh and light. Found via Cuteandkids. Michels Nursery at 3.5 Years at MontiMinis - this room is so, absolutely, crazy cute, I adore it!! If you love Montessori spaces you must check it out! The Prepared Environment at Creciendo con Montessori (English here). Louis' new playroom at... Read more →

I've been looking for new ways to connect with my children in the evenings. We often work on a puzzle together (we just finished this one), sometimes only for 15-20 minutes. Sometimes the boys will work on it together when I'm busy with Otto. We don't have many board games with us so I thought we would try the RSPB Guess Who. It is so much fun and like the puzzles, the boys will play nicely together even when I'm not there. What surprised me was how educational it is. I thought I knew animals fairly well but occasionally, I've... Read more →

I recently read some notes from a speech that Susan Mayclin Stephenson gave titled "Montessori, Education for the Future". She spoke about ten skills that are and will be, vital. These ten skills are all fostered and supported in a Montessori environment. These ten skills are so essential, it's really worth sharing them with you today. These skills are all evident from the first few days of life and can be fostered in the home as much as in any school or nido. With a little awareness, we can bring these skills to all of our babies, toddlers and, children.... Read more →

I love the Montessori approach to wall art. Nothing too busy, distracting or overwhelming. Just simple and beautiful. In children's spaces, I like to use images from nature. It's a part of the Montessori approach to expose the child to reality-based imagery but what is most important to me is that the images are inspiring, uplifting, captivating. I want for my children to see the possibilities of the world, to want to explore the earth, its lands, sky and, oceans. When Otis was a toddler we used the Bits of Intelligence cards for wall art. They are lovely, the background... Read more →

Do you have a Tripp Trapp or similar high chair at home? We still had the baby seat attachment on ours and I found Otto trying to climb into it. It was so precarious. I wasn't sure what to do. Do I let him go and see if he can get in it? Do I tell him no and ask him to get down? I watched him try unsuccessfully to get into the high chair (with the baby seat attachment). It reminds me of how dangerous it is when young children climb in and out of their cribs. There is... Read more →

a. / b. / c. / d. / e. / f. / g. / h. / i. / j. / k. / l. / m. / n. / o. / p. / q. / r. / s. Otto loves containers and jars with screw top lids, he will use them repeatedly. We have lots of containers in his open and close tray but I have been thinking about nut/bolt and screw type toys. They are fantastic for developing coordination, concentration and very importantly wrist and hand strength. I've been looking everywhere for a large wooden nut and bolt (f.) that... Read more →

Otto is sixteen months old, so he is quite a young toddler. He is steady on his feet but there are still many things he is doing for the first time like learning to mop the floor or put on his own shoes. He is fiercely indepenent and wants to do everything himself, but of course he doesn't always have the skill, height or strength to do everything and often needs help. How do we balance the child's need for independence and our need to provide assistance? Set the child up for success - think ahead, plan and observe the... Read more →

Autonomy is the quality or state of being self-governing. It is the freedom to determine one's own actions and behaviour. Autonomous children have the ability to self regulate and become self directed. It is the freedom of self-construction. It is the freedom of choice and the ability to act on those choices. It's not only about being independent, for example the child has the ability to pour their own drink, it is that the child can identify they are thirsty then move, pour themselves a drink and consume it, with independent thought and without barriers. The small child knows they... Read more →

I recently ordered Otto some cube puzzles and when they arrived I realised they were way too advanced for him. I couldn't find any that were simpler so I decided to DIY some! These puzzles are really quick and easy to make. They can be customised to the child's favourite shapes, colours and to their skill level. I used 12 untreated wooden blocks, they are 5cm cubed. I looked at a lot of different sized blocks but feel these were the best size. If I was in Brisbane I would have looked at Reverse Garbage which usually have heaps of... Read more →

There are a lot of really good board books for Montessori toddlers. But right now, with Otto at 16 months, there are two series that really stand out for me! If you have a toddler there is a good chance you have one of these books in your home. If you are a new parent or looking for a gift for a toddler, you can't go wrong with these. At this age (0-3 years) the child is trying to make sense of the environment and the life around them. So we offer not only books that are reality based but... Read more →

How was your week? Have your children gone back to school? I love the holidays but it feels good to get back into routine. Here are a few Montessori related articles that I couldn't wait to share: Screen Time and Your Child's Development: A Montessori Perspective at Forest Bluff School, author Paula Lillard Preschlack. "This is key: our children will NOT learn to entertain themselves or calm themselves if their long, boring, or uncomfortable moments are filled with screen time or a digital toy. This is an incredibly important skill, one that comes front and center stage when children feel... Read more →

What are the key components of a Montessori toddler kitchen? I am looking for an environment that: Promotes independence. Supports autonomy. Facilitates healthy eating and skill development. Is easy for the child to keep clean and tidy. Is purposeful and easy to use. Is as simple and uncluttered as possible. Is practical, logical and ordered, where everything has a place and everything has a purpose. Empowers the child. Is warm and inviting. It is important that the space has everything the child needs to complete the task from start to finish. Here is a snapshot of Otto's little kitchen area.... Read more →