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February 2019
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April 2019

When we talk about children playing outdoors we often refer to the use of gross motor skills. But there is no reason children can't use their fine motors skills outdoors too. I have found that some children can concentrate better outside, the fresh air and open space can be calming. Every week our Forest School toddler class has an open ended craft activity. They aren't the usual craft activities. They are always nature based and they always require the use of fine motor skills. Is there a better combination?? Often Otto will skip the craft activity preferring to play in... Read more →

One of the most important things we can do as Montessori parents is to follow our children. This means following and meeting their unique and individual developmental needs. It means following their interests, their skill level and working to their time line. It's why we can't provide a comprehensive list of toys of materials you can use at any one age. However, we can gain ideas and inspiration from other parents and families. It's why blogs are so useful, we can take a peek into each other's homes and see what others are using. Here is a list of toys... Read more →

I love indoor gardening, I cannot get enough of it. But I know not all parents share my enthusiasm. Growing plants indoors can provide wonderful learning opportunties for children. Children can get close to nature no matter the weather, they can observe up close the wonders of plant life. Growing herbs gives the child the opportunity to grow their own food and learn about about real food, real flavours. It also allows the child to reap and harvest frequently. "The most pleasant work for children is not sowing but reaping, a work, we all know, that is no less exacting... Read more →

We travel and eat out a lot. It's important that children feel a part of the process and aren't continuously distracted or placated throughout travel, or in waiting rooms or at a sibling's sporting events. However I have three children and recognise there are times when a few distractions can help. Next month we are travelling to France with a group for my husband's work. I am filled with anxiety about how Otto will handle the journey and multiple events. While we will do our best to meet both his needs and my husband's work committments, I have put together... Read more →

The entryway is an important part of a Montessori home environment. It's an area that can serve us and our toddler well if it is thought out and organised. Why do we need a toddler entryway? Promotes order and independence. Allows the child to easily look after and put away their belongings. For the parent it is easier to find the child's shoes and coats, especially useful when you need them in a rush. Empowers the child to participate in self dressing as much as possible. Provides adequate and dedicated space for dressing including putting on shoes and coats, with... Read more →

I hope that it doesn't need saying that there is more to Montessori than toys and materials and that a Montessori home can be created on any budget. But it would be amiss of me not to share or discuss some of our new finds or favourite materials. I had seen this stacker before but it wasn't until I saw a similar one at Honeybee toys that I thought how wonderful it would be for Otto. We love this new toy so much I'm naming it our toy of the year! It is a large toy so it may be... Read more →

The Montessori Toddler Entryway

Otto's area in our entryway isn't working well, the hooks keep on falling down (being pulled down) and it's always messy. Entryways are so important as often they are the first place we see when we enter our homes. They are designed to help us to be more organised. Toddler entryway spaces need to be functional but is it possible for them to be beautiful too? Here are a few toddler entryways that I am admiring. Pictured above, this is wonderfully organised and has just the right amount of space for the amount of belongings. The step would also be... Read more →

It's wonderful when a child, especially a toddler, can do their chosen activity independently from start to finish. I recently wrote a little about the snack containers we have been using. Otto (18 months) can open them independently but cannot close them. It's not so much of an issue as sometimes he will use all of the contents or I am close enough to close the containers for him. But it really bugged me. There must be a better solution, there must be airtight containers that toddlers can use independently? I searched and I found that a lot of people... Read more →

I know the weekend is almost over but perhaps you would still like some interesting articles to read? Here are a few articles and things that I've enjoyed this week: This hasn't happened to us... yet!! Poopocalypse: The Downside of Montessori at Cincinnati Moms Blog. 10 Things Montessori Isn't at Today's Catholic Homeschooling. Montessori vs Waldorf - A Review of Two Alternative Educational Philosophies at Frugal for Luxury, this parent has had children in Waldorf, Montessori and then mainstream schooling. This space is so lovely - On Michels Free Play Shelf at MontiMinis. Spring Fingerplays at Whole Family Rhythms. There... Read more →

This morning Otto was sitting on the floor trying to put his pants on. He kept on pushing both of his legs into the one pant leg. Then he would kick and scream and throw himself on the floor and it would start all over again. I sat down next to him, trying to work out how to best to help him. I held out the second pant leg and tried to guide his leg into it. But Otto didn't want the help and he started kicking me. Oh, it's such a vicious circle, how to help someone that doesn't... Read more →

Above pictured are some of the recent language baskets and trays I've used with Otto (18 months). My approach with Otto is slightly different to what I used with Otis. I've made sure that all of Otto's language materials are relevant to him and our family. The animals are animals that he has seen, the vehicles have been seen in our community, the workers are those that Otto knows, the flowers and herbs are from our very own garden. There are no Australian animals, no African or Arctic animals, we will introduce these later, once they become relevant to him.... Read more →

Have you been looking for an audio player for your toddler? Something that is screen free, with a volume limiter and something that is really robust? We've been using the hörbert and I've been receiving a lot of requests for more affordable options. These audio players (pictured above) meet my requirements but many use new technology and are not necessarily budget friendly. However, they allow a very young toddler to safely and independently navigate audio files like meditation, songs, music and audio books. hörbert - we love the hörbert, it goes with us everywhere. I love the timber frame and... Read more →

One of the main concerns parents have about children accessing their own snack is their ability or lack of ability to self regulate, that the child will eat everything that is available at once. My advice is to start small, perhaps one banana and one orange and allow the child to choose. At eighteen months Otto now has more food options available to him and although it comes slowly, he only snacks when he's hungry and only eats a small selection of what is available. But how do we manage it? Portion control helps. I only put out what I... Read more →

Montessori Toddler Kitchen and Cooking Ideas

Today I'm sharing some new kitchen spaces and a few Montessori cooking ideas. I hope you enjoy!! Above is a breakfast set up! Everything the child needs for breakfast ready to go into the bowl. A no-bake sweet treat made in a Montessori toddler classroom, click through for the recipe. I love it when we focus on what children can do, rather than what they can't. I think this toddler kitchen has it all!!! Does your toddler really need their own kitchen? Perhaps a few shelves are enough!! I can't tell you how much I love this space! I find... Read more →

There is a lot to love about Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar, but have you ever wished for a more accurate version? Where there is a 'chrysalis' not a 'cocoon', where the caterpillar eats only plants and not cake and ice cream? Perhaps even where we can use words like 'pupa'? We've been loving Caterpillar to Butterfly by the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Caterpillar to Butterfly is not complicated, it is very simple for a young child to follow, it's real, natural and accurate! Nature is so very, very beautiful. On a similar theme... one... Read more →