On Monday evening I was listening to a presentation for parents on Montessori in the home regarding practical life. The talk was aimed at school aged children (ages 3+). A friend sitting next to me whispered "but what can I do with my one year old". Heaps! There are heaps of practical life and other Montessori orientated activities you can do at home with your one year old. Here are some examples of the activities I was doing with Otis at twelve to eighteen months. Please use common sense and safety, some children who are mouthing will not be ready... Read more →

When one of my children acts out it's usually obvious why - their needs aren't being met. They're tired, over-tired, over-stimulated, hungry or frustrated. Some needs are easier to meet. Hunger and sleep are usually easy to deal with. Frustration is a little different. Otis often throws things I think out of frustration. It's his biggest behavioural concern (usually because of the consequence of hurting others). I'm also really tired of saying no. No Otis we don't throw our toys. No Otis, no, no, no. I want to say yes just a little more often. Yes Otis let do some... Read more →

I didn't see his face when it happened. I was out of the room. I heard a loud crash, a breaking noise. He hadn't broken anything since those early weaning glass days. I never allowed him to help clean up, a weaning glass broke into a million sharp pieces. This was pottery, the edges were dull and soft. This time I wanted him to help. . "Did the bowl break?" I left a long pause so he had time to associate my words with the broken pieces on the floor. "Shall we clean it up?". With his dustpan, broom and... Read more →

I love to see a child do something for the first time. Otis has tried cutting before but it hasn't worked so well. Often he would eat the fruit and not see the point of cutting it. He struggled to hold the cutter. Today he got it and he got the point - it's so much fun. He got on a roll and cut his apple into small pieces. Otis has used tongs before but today was able to put it together - slicing then transferring onto a plate. I found peeled apple the easiest. Our bananas and strawberries got... Read more →

I was getting a little frustrated with out kitchen set up. Otis cannot yet use Caspar's drinking station and he cannot open or close the pantry door with one hand while holding something in the other. Otis needed a little addition. This is a small coffee table that works a bit like a snack table. His water jug and glass are kept here unless he takes them to his table for a meal. This is where he gets a drink during the day. This is where I put his tray or snacks. The idea is that he doesn't eat here... Read more →

Otis' toys and materials at 17 months. Most of these I have written about before. We don't frequently buy toys but rather rotate them. 17 months feels like a good time to make an inventory. It's time for me to take stock of the materials Otis has and plan for the future. Eighteen months feels like a turning point and I want to be prepared. 1., 2. and 3. All stackers featured here. Yes, he's still using all of them! 4. Ball tracker. A range of tracking toys are featured here. 5. Imbucare box. 6. Pop up peg toy featured... Read more →

Otis is learning to control his movements. He is learning to touch plants without damaging them. I would often ask Otis not to touch plants as I knew he would pull at them. I needed to turn this behaviour around and give him the opportunity to be gentle. . "They (children) are continuously given the negative message not to move and not to touch anything. As a result they arrive at the logical conclusion that their movement is not good, since it is not accepted, and that everything they do is not good. Indeed, they are often openly told that... Read more →

Do you have a toddler? Are you nodding your head as you look at these pictures? Toddlers really do like to put things away and tidy up. One way we've helped Otis not only to support his independence but to support his sense of self (he sure does like to help others) is to make putting things away really easy. I make sure he knows exactly where things go and everything has a place. Food waste goes in the compost bucket. Rubbish goes in the bin. Each toy has it's place on the shelf. Dirty clothes go in the clothes... Read more →

A couple of extra step stools mean that Otis can now turn on lights. This looks really simple but it took Otis a couple of days to get the courage to reach up so high. Some twill tape tied to door handles that pull open. He can now independently open the doors to our pantry, art centre and storage area (he can only reach as high as the first shelf). Not only can he access his own materials he also has greater control over his environment. This must be empowering. Read more →

"At about a year and a half, the child discovers another fact, and that is that each thing has its own name. This shows that, from all the words he has heard, he has been able to single out the nouns, and esepecially the concrete nouns. What a wonderful new step to have taken! He was aware of being in a world of things, and now each of these is indicated by a special word." - Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind. The best thing about language development is that it happens so naturally. Our children are picking up on what... Read more →

Otis has had plenty of practice watering outside. For inside he uses this watering can with a spout that pours, it doesn't spray. The key to not over-watering is to limit the amount of water in the watering can. I only half fill it for Otis. The water you can see on the floor is where he has missed the pot. Practice makes perfect. Since Otis has started walking we've introduced practical life activities slowly, perhaps one a week. We're in no rush. Now his watering can joins his dustpan and broom in the pantry, all within easy reach. I'd... Read more →

Many refer to the weaning chair as the Montessori substitute for a high chair. Otis eats at his low table and chair for most snacks and lunches but we value his presence at the family table for breakfast and dinner. Rather than confine him to a high chair we've chosen a more independent style of high chair. We've chosen the Stokke Tripp Trapp but chairs like this come in a wide rage of styles and in every price bracket as can see in the post High Chairs for a Montessori Home. A month or so ago I removed the baby... Read more →

I've mentioned it a lot lately - Otis loves to walk. Yes he's still wobbly on his feet but he wants to walk. When I need to pick him up he protests. He's practising so he can master the skill, just like anything else. I'm usually surrounded by other Montessori parents or friends who think in similar ways so it's no issue to slow down to wait for him and it's by no means out of the ordinary. But how things change when we go somewhere like the post office or the supermarket. When he walks he gets looks, smiles... Read more →

I've been looking for some new art for the bedroom walls. Homemade art is the best don't you think? I have heaps of work from Caspar but only a few pieces from Otis. I love art that is bright and bold. Otis loves stickers, not just putting them on paper, he likes to peel them off too. I'm sure this activity is good for his fine motor skills - or something like that. This will look great framed. Read more →