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empower VERB Make (someone) stronger and more confident, especially in controlling their life and claiming their rights. For many Montessori families, practical life in the kitchen is a significant part of the child's day. We want the child to feel comfortable, confident, and, empowered in the kitchen but how do we make it work? Make the child feel welcome. Ensure the child knows they are welcome to help at (almost) any time and make it meaningful. I like to think there is always something a toddler can do. If they can't help for example you are in a rush then... Read more →

We all want our children to be connected to nature but are we doing enough to make it happen? Only this year our family has started to enjoy pond dipping. Pond dipping is more than a fun family activity, it's an activity that allows children to experience first-hand their local ecosystems and gives them skills and knowledge that books and screens cannot. Pond dipping can be enjoyed by the whole family, toddlers to adults. For children who don't enjoy free play outside it can work well as it gives them a purpose, something to do. It's fun too as the... Read more →

Did you hear this week the Montessori Centenary Child's Garden won Gold at the 2019 RHS Chelsea Flower Show? It's such fabulous news!! "Celebrating the pioneering vision for Early Years education introduced in Britain by Maria Montessori in 1919, garden designer, Jody Lidgard’s, first Chelsea Flower Show Space To Grow garden reflects the very principles at the heart of a Montessori approach to education. Child-led and future-driven, the garden was designed to provide a Montessori classroom space to nurture children, teaching them about the natural world alongside the modern technology that is the future of horticulture." - Montessori St Nicholas.... Read more →

I've been feeling overwhelmed. Yesterday my older children had their school sports day. Today Otis left for camp. We are travelling over the weekend and next week Caspar has his school camp. My husband is currently working a lot and I'm struggling to stay on top of things. Montessori parents can give the impression that they can and should do it all, organised home, tidy bedrooms, planned trays and activities. Today I want to share my overwhelm but also a few really good quotes from Montessori authors. "We are all human and there are great demands today on all parents.... Read more →

My children love to use the light table, it's easy to see how it is educational for preschool or primary students but what about for toddlers? The light table is wonderful for toddlers as it provides: an inviting space to learn, it has a warm glow, it's inviting especially in a dark corner or on a dark rainy cold day/week/month. the opportunity to explore familiar items in a different way. Items like feathers and leaves look different when backlit. for the exploration of shape, light, reflections, silhouettes, colour theory. hands-on learning opportunities, some fine motor work. open-ended free play that... Read more →

"Some objects are rapidly mass-produced by press or machine and are exactly alike. Others are made slowly by hand, and each is different from the other. The value of handmade objects is that each carries the individual imprint of the artist who created it." - Maria Montessori, The Child in the Family. There are so many reasons to love handmade! Etsy is my favourite source of handmade materials. There is so much knowledge and skill within the Etsy Montessori community. I love all of these items. We have 1-4 put aside for Otto for when he is ready, but all... Read more →

Today I thought it would be fun to share some of Otto's art experiences. We started the morning with painting outside. I put the cover on our water table and it's perfect for Otto to paint on. We have some acrylic A3 sheets, paint, toddler paint brushes, pinecones, wool, paint pots and spoons (for spooning out the paint). Otto also picked up and used some sticks and feathers. Spooning out the paint was his favourite part, perhaps this is the transporting schema. The acrylic sheets are fantastic for finger painting. We usually have playdough on our art shelves but I've... Read more →

This morning I took a couple of pictures of Otto cooking eggs. At 20 months he is able to crack the eggs into a bowl, I will fish out any eggshells, he can add some herbs and pour the egg onto the hot plate. He can stir the eggs but needs help spooning the eggs in to a bowl before he sets the table and eats the eggs. There is no need for him to be a bystander and watch me cook. We tidy up together. We will make pancakes on the hotplate once he is able to flip with... Read more →

A mop is one of the many practical life materials we have in our home. Otto loves mopping as he enjoys splashing around with water. Mopping is such valuable work, the child uses their whole body and the satisfaction at the end is priceless. Above Otto is using the mini Vileda mop and bucket set. I love the bucket but I wish the mop head was thicker. We put just a few inches of water into the bucket with a touch of cleaner (we use a KINN floor wash as we enjoy the natural lavender) so our floor isn't swamped.... Read more →

Have you read the New York Times "Making Playgrounds a Little More Dangerous"? It made my heart sing, I'm feeling a little over our local playgrounds which increasingly look like the plastic "safer" versions of the playgrounds in this article. We've stopped going to the playground altogether and chose to go to our local Nature Reserve instead. It's been hard to convince some of our friends, especially when they prefer the indoor playground variety. While indoor playgrounds are much cleaner/drier/warmer/safer, the nature reserve has so much to offer our children. Here are a few reasons why we prefer the Nature... Read more →

When I found out that Lovevery made Toddler Play Kits I almost flipped out. Like a crazy person, I went through all their play kits to see what amazing products they had to offer. When our first Toddler Play Kit arrived: The Realist (for 19, 20, 21 months) I was so impressed. The products are not only perfect for this age group they are of fantastic quality. Our Toddler Play Kit, The Realist is c/o Lovevery. Lovevery is absolutely my favourite and preferred Montessori subscription service for babies and toddlers. Each and every product is designed and made by Lovevery.... Read more →

My children's Forest School experiences have had a profound effect on me. It's difficult not to appreciate how the children thrive in such a minimal, natural environment. No shelves lined with materials, nature is the prepared environment. Learning with sticks, bugs, worms, rain and, mud! Wet and dirty. Windswept and sunkissed. While inside our home is Montessori outside it's starting to look a little different. We have found inspiration for our outdoor environment in Forest Schools. What Forest School ideas have we applied to our home environment? Art and Crafts. There are an endless amount of crafts we can do... Read more →

There are a lot of toddler puzzles around but it can be difficult to find puzzles with realistic images. The child at this age is trying to make sense of the world so we want to provide materials that reflect the world that we live in. We want our puzzles to reflect reality. I love photographic images but I also enjoy realistic style illustration. Two piece puzzles can assist with the child's developing visual discrimination, dexterity, coordination and, concentration. Self-correcting puzzles are fantastic in a Montessori environment (home or school) as they have an inbuilt control of error. I have... Read more →

Today was a public holiday so I've just written a short post sharing some of the materials Otto has on his bedroom shelves. I like to have a few materials in his room for him to use before and after bedtime. The wonderful part of having a floor bed is that when he wakes he can turn on his own music, read a book or play with some toys. Also when he is getting sleepy he can play with his toys and slowly make his way to bed. We don't rotate the materials or books in Otto's bedroom as often... Read more →

Have you tried any baster or pipette activities with your toddler? Many toddlers enjoy water play so this is a lovely way to allow them to experiment with water while developing coordination, strength and a few fine and gross motor skills. These types of activities provide an opportunity for the refinement of movement, repetition and concentration. Pictured above and below, Otto finds the baster easiest to use. He enjoying squirting the water in and out of the baster and making bubbles. At 19 months Otto is really experimenting, he isn't doing a lot of transferring work. You can see there... Read more →