Previous month:
June 2019
Next month:
August 2019

In Montessori, we often hear "buy the best art materials you can afford". But what is the best, and what is your budget? Often I am guided by the materials I see in our Montessori classrooms and if I'm not sure I'll ask the teacher. Often teachers have used the materials for many years and with many children, they've seen what works. Our most used toddler drawing materials are paint sticks and oil pastels, but we offer pencils too! Whichever you choose I suggest finding drawing materials that work for you and make them freely accessible to your toddler. Imagine... Read more →

Needs some weekend Montessori inspiration? Here are a few links and things that I've enjoyed this week This site has lots of Montessori DIYs, this DIY Mud Kitchen from an Old Table is cute and fits at the end of a balcony space. This DIY Montessori washstand for Children is lovely too. Simple reminders - 3 Ways to Do Montessori at Home by Rachel Peachey. What Your Child Is Capable Of: from birth to 18 months by Katelynn from Montessori Mother Early Learning Centre in Berlin, this is also in a podcast version, which is fantastic for those who prefer... Read more →

These are really notes-to-self, things that I need to make note of and be more mindful of in my own home. I've been trying to make some changes to our playroom in order to provide more whitespace. "White space is often referred to as negative space. It is the portion of a page left unmarked: margins, gutters, and space between columns, lines of type, graphics, figures, or objects drawn or depicted. The term arises from graphic design practice, where printing processes generally use white paper. White space should not be considered merely "blank" space — it is an important element... Read more →

I recently participated in the How to Use a Floorbook to Engage Infants and Toddlers webinar by Claire Warden at Mindstretchers. I loved some of the ideas so much, I tried them out with Otto. I have used many of Claire's resources before including the Floorbook approach, but always with my older children. The Floorbook approach is much like a project-based approach to learning, still child-led. The Floorbook approach is designed for early childhood learning centres and educators. But I can see how it can be applied, in part, at home. I have included some of my notes and light-bulb... Read more →

Are you looking for a screen-free way to entertain your children? For the last couple of months, we have been trying out the Lunii My Fabulous Storyteller. It's like a child's mp3 player that comes preloaded with stories that are similar to choose your own adventure stories, the child gets to choose the characters and main themes. It's been to France with us, it's been to Cornwall, on various long road trips, in bed on sick days and it's always bedside for night time meditation. We love it! It's an excellent alternative to tablets or phones. It is recommended for... Read more →

There is a lot to love about Plan Toys. When Otto was around 18 months he loved the nesting cylinders and cube, and their new shape puzzles are well aligned with Montessori. In Montessori toddler classes we have used various Plan Toys like the pegging toy and punch and drop ball set. Plan Toys have a lovely range of materials with a built in control of error and also open ended materials like blocks. While I'm not suggesting they replace Montessori materials (nothing will do that) many Plan Toys are found in and suitable for Montessori home environments especially, for... Read more →

My older two children were in Montessori schooling until we left Australia in 2018. When we arrived in the UK Caspar went into Year 5 and Otis went into Year 2, into a mainstream (but private) school. Until this time they had only known Montessori schooling. I had only been a parent at Montessori schools. The change from Montessori schooling to mainstream schooling made me realise that the Montessori approach is gender-neutral and mainstream schooling often isn't. It was a huge shock when I found out that even in Year 2 the boys and girls do different sports and have... Read more →

Real Montessori Toilet Learning Spaces

I'm still thinking about toilet learning. Getting the toilet learning space right is important, but all families do it differently. What I feel is most important is an accessible and stable potty. Although many Montessori families use the real toilet, with support or a step, from the start. Here are a few real Montessori toilet learning spaces that I love: Above - this is a large bathroom, but it is so well organsied, functional and even beautiful! Everything is at the child's height. Love to have the hand washing facilities so close by. Everything the child needs to use the... Read more →

a. / b. / c. / d. (UK links) If your toddler stands on a step stool can they reach the running water but not the tap? If so, a tap turner or tap extender may help. At our kitchen sink Otto washes his dishes, washes his hands, has some water play, fills his water pitcher, gets a drink, fills his watering can. He's up at the sink multiple times a day. With the use of the kitchen helper, he could reach the water once the tap is turned on but he couldn't reach the tap. Previously I'd only seen... Read more →

I'm often inspired by what I observe in Montessori classrooms, especially toddler rooms. So often in these controlled environments we see what the toddler is truly capable of, and it's amazing. Yes, toddlers can bake. They don't need to be our assistants, or sit and watch while we do all the work. We can prepare the environment and assist them. As I've observed in Montessori classrooms and as I have done with my other toddlers, I have put out everything Otto (22 months) needs to bake muffins. All of the ingredients are pre-measured, all he has to do is pour... Read more →

Otto is now completely nappy free at 22 months. Over the last week, we've moved from nappies at night to one hundred percent in underwear. He was wearing a nappy at night but I found that he was dry almost all of the time. I started offering him the potty first thing in the morning and now he goes there himself as soon as he wakes so we stopped using nappies completely. So far no night time accidents. Otis (now 8yrs) was also completely nappy free at 22 months. How is it done? I followed the Montessori method of toilet... Read more →

Image: Inner Sydney Montessori School Isn't the above scene from Inner Sydney Montessori School gorgeous! We recently found out we will be moving to Syndey in January! Here are a few links and things that I've been enjoying this week: Simple Montessori Toddler Art Shelf at Montessori-ish Mom. I am a little obsessed with Montessori and child-sized furniture! Love this little cube chair and table set at Creciendo con Montessori. And the new 'Reverso' Montessori floor bed by Woodly (Italy). A reversible bed which easily convertible from a floor bed into a normal height bed, just by turning it upside... Read more →

Do you know about Paint Sticks? Until last week I hadn't heard of them!! These are paint sticks with real tempera paint, they are not pastels or crayons. Paint sticks are a convenient, quick and easy way to involve children in painting without the mess and preparation of usual paints. Paint sticks may lack the sensory experience of using squishy liquid paint but they are better suited to using inside or while travelling. They are a good idea for playdates or parties when you don't know how the other parents feel about mess, or when you don't have access to... Read more →

Have you read Susan Mayclin Stephenson's new release The Red Corolla: Montessori Cosmic Education? I would absolutely recommend it. It is heavy on the practical, on activities, on setting up the environment and I feel a lot of parents would appreciate that. I'm going to try many of these activities at home. I also recommend this for the school teacher/parent library! It gives a fantastic insight into Montessori training that many are longing for, it includes parts of Susan's lectures and discussion on what is in her (Montessori) albums. It is suitable for those with little or no experience or... Read more →

Beautiful (and real) Montessori Playrooms

I love to see what other families have in their playrooms. I love to see the children's shelves and how they are arranged. Here are a few exceptionally beautiful Montessori playrooms. Montessori playrooms are a modern concept. Maria Montessori did not write about how to set up one in your home. However, many homes now have a playroom, it makes sense that Montessori families would make their playroom as Montessori as possible. In these rooms, I am seeing Montessori materials but also open-ended toys. A few plants, flowers and wobble boards. Soft floor rugs to work on and child-sized tables.... Read more →