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January 2019
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March 2019

I'm currently reading Barefoot and Balanced by Angela J. Hanscom. It's about how unrestricted outdoor play makes for strong, confident and capable children. It's an excellent book for parents and teachers. One reviewer said "This book is a must read for anyone interested in helping children develop the way they were created to develop. I am a different parent because of this book. I will be making different educational choices for my children because of this book." Wow! It's also perfectly in line with the Montessori way of thinking - "Children are naturally curious and seek out opportunities to make... Read more →

There are a lot of lists around about Montessori food activities for toddlers, so I wanted to share the activities that we actually did in our home today. It might look like a lot but these are activities that we do throughout the day organically, they aren't put on the shelf in life practical life trays. Some of these activities Otto (17 months) will do in his snack area (pictured above) and some at the kitchen counter, it depends on what we are doing at the time. Anyway, I hope you find this snapshot useful! Picking Herbs - this is... Read more →

Have you seen the new Kitchen Helper at Sprout? It allows young children to safely and independently reach the kitchen counter or sink. One thing I love about the Sprout team is that they do a huge amount of consultation. When designing their Montessori (and Montessori inspired) furniture, they work with Montessori teachers and parents and work and work until the design passes all the tests and meets all the requirements. Which why I think you'll like this design. There are a couple of other reasons why I'll always have a really good look at Sprout furniture. It's made by... Read more →

I know a lot of Australians live closer to a Kmart than they do to an Ikea. So when I recently discovered one of their awesome matching games, I really wanted to share it with you. But more than that, I realised that you could do so much to create a Montessori home with one trip to Kmart! Children's Table and Chair Set White - great for a snack table, art area, work table, almost anything! Remember that you can cut down the legs of almost any wooden furniture to make it fit a younger child/toddler. Activity Gym - for... Read more →

Beautiful Ways to Store and Display Waldorf Play Silks

Although more Waldorf than Montessori, play silks are wonderful for open-ended play. They provide a lovely sensory experience, are so colourful and are just too beautiful to put away in a basket. Why not display them, keeping them crease free and easily accessible to the children? Here are a few ways to store and display play silks that I am loving. Above on wooden hooks, right next to the Waldorf play stand. The play silks at Little Acorns to Mighty Oaks always catch my attention. It looks like the play silks are hanging over a string or rope, but what... Read more →

What are the first threading/lacing materials you use at home or in your classroom? Perhaps threading beads? With Otis we used pasta (penne) and cotton reels but with Otto, I noted that it was easier if the items where much thinner. Otto's first threading activity was using the wood pieces pictured above. 1. Wooden Disks - completely natural, handmade by a small business. I love the texture too. If you had a drill this could be a DIY. 2. Oversized Buttons - later these will be useful for colour and language work. These also stack so could be used like... Read more →

A month or so ago we moved Otto (17 months) into Otis' old room. Otis (7yrs) doesn't like sleeping alone and I always found it difficult at bedtime if I was busy with Otto. So now Caspar (11yrs) and Otis are sharing a room. Otto's new room is much larger. We haven't made many changes. Most of the furniture is the same. Above we've created a little reading nook. Previously Otis had his fossils and rocks/minerals on the wall unit but now we have some Schleich animals. We might even change it over to some of Otto's favourite Siku vehicles.... Read more →

Finding just the 'right' activity for your child can be difficult. I love to make activities and baskets from items found in the home, toddlers love to explore what is around them. Charity shops, Gumtree and Facebook can be good sources but it's sometimes a risk. Blogs and stores can help based on your child's age but there are times you never know if it's going to be a success until you present it to your child. Sometimes I feel age almost shouldn't be considered but rather skill level and interest. One of the key things I look for is... Read more →

I was delighted to recently read that Dyson had made a vacuum cleaner for children that actually works! "The replica design features real working suction, realistic sounds, bright colours, twist and turn action just like the real thing! There is also a removable dustbin at the back to empty the debris." - The Daily Mail (November 2018). Otto is obsessed with our adult's Dyson vacuum. Vacuuming can be difficult because he always wants to use the vacuum. So I brought him a little dust buster. He loves and uses the dust buster but it still didn't compare to the vacuum.... Read more →

When children are in the sensitive period for naming things they can benefit from being given the real, technical or scientific names of things. Rather than 'dog', we can tell the child this is a 'Dalmatian', or rather than 'flower' we can say 'Daffodil'. It can help satisfy the child's hunger for knowledge, challenge their language skills and set them up for a lifetime of scientific curiosity. This is something I'm not always good at. Often I need to look up the names of trees, plants, flowers and, birds in our garden, or search to see what type of dog... Read more →

This is one of the most inspirational, affordable, easy and space saving ideas I've seen. When it comes to the Montessori bathroom we often see parents use step stools for the children to access the basin or they provide a care of self-station with a low basin, perhaps a tub in a low table. Our bathroom is tiny and at 17 months I can't leave Otto's side when he is on the high step stool. He loves playing with water and will spend a lot of time brushing his teeth and washing his hands, I don't want to stop him... Read more →

PERFECT Montessori Baby Spaces!!

I've been helping a local family set up their Montessori baby room (just giving some gentle guidance). I found it easier to show them with pictures rather than tell them with words about the Montessori aspects of the room. It makes sense when you can see what the room might look like. My general advice was: Stay flexible - once the baby is born you may want to change things around. A baby play space doesn't have to be in the bedroom - it might work well to have a play space (movement mat/mirror/mobiles/shelving) in a living area. Use what... Read more →

Since the Winter Solstice I've felt a change. The days are slowly getting longer. Until you've experienced it, it is hard to imagine the cold and the darkness of a European winter. This winter I've often picked the boys up from school in the dark (complete darkness at 4pm) and we've been to Forest School when it's only 0.5°C. In the spirit of sharing here is what has got us through (so far!). Kids Coughs and Colds - what's in my toolkit: Warming and Aromatic Chest Rub - my older boys love this just when they can feel the sniffles... Read more →

Ikea has a wonderful way of bringing colour and a little cheerfulness into our homes. Here are a few new things I'm loving at Ikea, which may suit a Montessori home or classroom. They have heaps of new trays, a few new baskets and lots of accessories for the bathroom: KRYDDNEJLIKA children's apron - this isn't toddler sized but perhaps for a preschooler (length is 20" or 51cm). The print is lovely!! KNALLGUL coloured/decorative tape UTVÄNDIG natural tray - with handles, is 16"x16" (40x40cm), this has so many uses, for work or for a display. This oval tray is really... Read more →

How was your week? We are in the middle of toilet learning with Otto (no daytime nappies!) so we've been spending a lot of time at home. Here are a few sources of Montessori inspiration that I've been enjoying this week. The above furniture is all by minimoi - isn't it lovely!! It's also practical. The first wardrobe (top left) is nice and compact and see the care of self station/basin has wheels. There are so many good ideas here. This is a Kickstarter project I can get behind - Montessori Cookbook: Pepper and Parsley in the Kitchen. The first... Read more →