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November 2020
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January 2021

In the days since Christmas, we've been writing "Thank you" notes to friends and family. "Thank you" notes require the children to stop and consider what they are thankful for, to show gratitude for the things they have received. Writing thank you notes is more than an exercise of language and writing, it is an exercise of thoughtfulness and reflection. ""Thank you" notes should be a regular part of a child's life from as early as possible." - Susan Mayclin Stephenson - Child of the World: Montessori, Global Education for Age 3-12+. "Children need little urging to draw or write... Read more →

It's Christmas Eve and our house smells like lovely beeswax and gingerbread. The rain has stopped and my children are all asleep in bed. I hope tomorrow and over the holiday season that you stay safe and that you are able to be with your loved ones. Thank you so much for stopping by and spending a few precious moments here with me. It's been a chaotic and trying year. 2021 offers hope and promise. I'll be back here with just one more post before the New Year. Take care and Merry Christmas. xx Read more →

Today Otis (9yrs), Otto (3yrs), and two friends used Glass and Porcelain Markers to decorate plain white plates. The decorated plates would make lovely gifts for Grandparents or other family members. Our friends will later wrap their plates and give them to their parents as surprise gifts for Christmas. Decorating plates (or bowls, mugs) is a fun group activity as younger (3yrs+) children can participate as much as the older children and it doesn't require a lot of time or set up. Otto enjoys drawing and was really into it. The finished plates were so individual and completely adorable. We... Read more →

Today I want to share some activities and last minute printables we've been using this festive season. Some of these activities we put on our shelves but some (like the I Spy) we will use with our family on Christmas day. The two-piece puzzles or the bingo (#6) also make it to our kitchen table for our three-year-old to play with his siblings. We don't do a lot of themed activity trays but I like using a few to add a festive touch to these last days before Christmas. Personalised Montessori Christmas Placemat - I've made these for our children... Read more →

Play dough is a staple in our home all year round. It holds my three-year-old's attention far longer than any toy. As with many of our activities, I rotate the items on our play dough tray regularly. Perhaps every two weeks I will update the play dough tray but sometimes it happens naturally when the play dough is left out or my child finds his own materials to add to the tray. Play dough has to be the most affordable, effective, and engaging learning material for young children. Using what you have at home it's also super easy to add... Read more →

1. Bunny Peek A Boo / 2.Night & Day / 3. Castle Logix / 4. Trucky 3 / 5. Three Little Piggies / 6. Duplo Matching When I choose games and toys I look at the educational benefit to the child. The problem I have is finding activities that my preschooler is attracted to and will use. We want the child to feely choose their activities, and we want the activities to speak to the child! These types of cognitive development games help to develop skills including: logic reasoning problem-solving persistence concentration matching positioning visual perception order some strategy &... Read more →

Do your children enjoy listening to podcasts? I love to play a podcast on those days when we are home all day, on days when things are a little quiet. Podcasts can be a great option for quiet time or even just for a little a break. I want to keep this discussion real, my three-year-old doesn't always sit through an entire episode. Sometimes he will sit perfectly still, other times he will move around and play while listening and other times he will walk right out the room. All of these podcasts are fun, light-hearted, educational, and really enjoyable.... Read more →

Have you thought about playing cooperative board games with your children? With the school holidays coming up I know my children will be spending more time together so I've got out a few of our favourite cooperative board games. I only discovered cooperative games while reading about Montessori in the home. Why are they recommended? Why do Montessori parents choose cooperative board games, especially for younger children? "Results showed that cooperative behavior increased and aggression decreased during cooperative games; conversely, competitive games were followed by increases in aggressive behavior and decreases in cooperative behavior. Similar effects were also found during... Read more →

When we returned to Australia (from the UK) earlier this year I knew I wanted Otto (now 3 yrs) to attend a Forest School program. I knew of two programs within our general area and mid 2020 we were able to attend our first Australian Bush School! The Bush School is based on the Forest School philosophy but as it is not run in a Forest, the term Bush School is more appropriate. The obvious difference between our UK Forest School and our Australian Bush School is the climate. Our UK Forest School was often freezing and very wet (and... Read more →

Are you looking for Christmas themed snack or food prep ideas? Here are a few snack trays we have used over the last week. Some of these snacks my children will eat straight away and others they will put on a plate and share. All of these are easy to make and have some festive element! Star Cheese on Crackers - my three-year-old loves to use cookie cutters, here we've used Christmas themed cookie cutters to cut shapes out of cheese slices and then put them on to crackers. For variety and colour we've used pink Beetroot Crackers. Grape &... Read more →

Over the weekend I ordered a few stocking fillers from Etsy. Many items if in stock locally are still available for delivery before Christmas. If you are new to Etsy, you can log in or enter your location and you can receive a shipping estimate/date of arrival before you place an order. At this stage in December I'm only shopping from local stores but here are a few fabulous gift ideas that I've added to my Etsy favourites that you might like too. Most of these are educational and suited to Montessori families. Dinosaur Temporary Tattoos (US) - temporary tattoos... Read more →

My most viewed article this year was when we reviewed ten kitchen and chef knives for children 2-12yrs. It can be difficult to determine which knife would suit your child and their stage of development best. I thought it would be useful to show you what knives other Montessori families are using and to see them in action. Here are nine videos of very capable toddlers and preschoolers, chopping and slicing at home and at school. Here the child is using a wood handle spreader to cut celery. Spreaders often make good knives especially in the early years when the... Read more →

Do you have some dress-ups at home or some doll's clothing to use in a language basket? Above we have used doll's shoes to explore "Whose shoes are these?". We look at the shoes and their features to determine who might wear the shoes or where someone might wear the shoes. For example, we might wear flippers to swim in the ocean. For a young child (Otto is three years) they can use this to build language for example learn the names of things, and also to make associations, thinking about what goes together or what community workers might wear.... Read more →

I've been looking for some fun ways to use wool in crafts and activities that promote the development of fine motor skills. Here are seven activities we tried recently. Yarn Sticks - this was much more fun than I had expected! Both my three and nine-year-old loved wrapping the wool tightly around the sticks, these are purely decorative but you could pretend they are wands or add faces for people. I tied the wool to the sticks but we could use glue too. Pasting Wool Worms - this is the activity that my three-year-old spent the most time on, simple... Read more →