I want to share with you some notes that I have made as I have been reading about Montessori, toddlers and books. All families I know treasure books. Every parent I know reads to their child/ren. So what's so different about the Montessori approach? Have the child hold and handle books from an early age. If the child is sitting in your lap have them hold the book or turn the pages. Ensure the child knows and understands where books are kept and is able to put them back after use. Demonstrate how to turn the pages carefully from the... Read more →

Otis uses a knife every single day. Without fail. Many times a day. He's definitely at the "me do it" stage. He has access to all of his knives now. To begin with I kept most of them out of his reach but over time as his skill level increased and he has acted responsibly we have kept his knives in his kitchen cupboard. Now he chooses which knife he would like to use or it's likely he picks up the first one he sees. But of course, it wasn't always like that. . Otis was introduced to a knife... Read more →

1. Transferring peas with a spoon, 2. Transferring beans with fish bone tweezers, 3. Transferring beans with jugs, 4. Transferring water with a sponge, 5. Transferring water with a dropper, 6. Transferring water with a baster. Education is a natural process carried out by the human individual, and is acquired not by listening to words, but by experiences in the environment. - Maria Montessori Pitchers, spoons, tongs, tweezers, chop sticks, sponges, basters, droppers, water, beans, peas - all easy to find materials. I love transferring activities because the level of engagement is high. Otis may only do the activity or... Read more →

I have never taken Otis to a Child and Maternal Health Nurse. He came home from hospital the same day he was born. A nurse visited two days later to check on and weigh him. That was the last time he was weighed. If I were concerned about an area of his development obviously I would seek professional advice, but so far so good. After being a huge worrier with Caspar (my first child) looking at percentiles and reading where he 'should be' I know it doesn't help at all. I think the only time I started to feel concerned... Read more →

A short post about an activity I introduced to Otis (and Caspar) today. For an older child (such as Caspar) I would take the batteries out completely but I know Otis will get there eventually. I think they like it because the result is the light, that they can make the torch work. It's a nice reward. It's also a nice introduction to how things work, that the energy source is the battery, without the battery the torch won't work. A great hands on approach to learning. I first saw this activity in The Making of Great Little People. In... Read more →

Do your children have equal shelf space? Otis and his materials are slowly taking over the study. Otis had his first hair cut and tried sewing cards for the first time. I realised that Otis does 'get' colour matching after all. Open and close activities are great for this age group. Vanilla extract and food colouring containers, little pencil cases or purses with zips are perfect for this. Read more →

Before I had children I dreamt of days like this. I longed for the everyday moments. Sure I don't care much for the washing and cleaning but it's made so much easier with a little one happily playing nearby. I am blessed for the normalcy that is now back in our lives. I am grateful for uneventfulness, appreciative of the everyday. It's Friday night here, I hope you have a lovely weekend. Read more →

I thought I would show you this transferring water activity Otis used today. I've written before how Montessori teaches gentleness, this is another activity which brings out the best in Otis. He needs concentration, care and patience to transfer the (coloured) water. This is an easy activity to put together and when the child is older the dropper has so many more uses. When we have an activity like this on our shelves we don't keep the water in it. Just the bowls and dropper are kept on the tray. If Otis wants to do the activity he will come... Read more →

I know that I cannot really 'make' my children do anything. It's up to them to decide what they do and I just hope that I'm raising them well enough that they make the right decisions. Just as I cannot make them eat I cannot make them learn. It's why I feel it's so important we consider the materials we make available and the activities we present. It's why Montessori classrooms have so many shelves. It's why in Montessori each child is doing their own work. It's why Otis walks into the study, picks up a tray, takes it to... Read more →

With two children at home on a cold wintery day it was nice to be surrounded by colour and creativity. I surprised the boys with these colour pegs. It's an activity suitable for both age groups. Great for the pincer grip, fine motor skills and colour recognition. , Stamping with transport stamps. . . Threading to make paper straw necklaces. . . Nature printing which worked beautifully. . And Otis had fun painting with the rollers. . . I hope your Monday was as colourful and carefree as ours. . Read more →

These Sensory Bean Bags are based on the same idea as the Fabric Box. My thinking was that bean bags would be more versatile and with some weight to them be more appealing to my children. . I made them using fabric from around the house, scraps and old or torn clothing and linens. Unfortunately I couldn't find silk or wool but it would be nice to add them to this collection. Each fabric and therefore each bean bag has a distinctly different texture so the selection of fabrics here is important. . . Otis preferred to match them visually... Read more →

Why do we promote independence? I promote independence because I want my children to get 'that' feeling. That feeling of self accomplishment, that boost of ego, the sense that they are capable. I feel sometimes in my home I am a little tokenistic in promoting independence. Often I give my children tasks just to keep them busy or out of the way. No more so than in the kitchen. Often I find myself taking over their tasks just to get the work done, to get the cake in the oven or dinner on the table. Recently I have started preparing... Read more →

The best thing about learning at home is the flexibility. It's easy for us to go from looking to cutting, cooking and eating. Today we took a basket of root vegetables into the study to give us some time to sit, relax and comfortably explore. This is also a wonderful language lesson as I gave him, and he repeated, the name of each vegetable. Then into the kitchen to make vegetable chips. Tossed in olive oil with seasoning and baked until brown and crispy. A tasty and nutritious snack and a wonderful learning experience. Read more →

I was going to write about Caspar being a reluctant reader (and writer) but I think I'll leave that for another day. My last post received some comments about pencil grip and I think it's a topic and a discussion that needs it's own post. Ever since Caspar began holding a pencil I've been concerned about his grip. He used to hold a pencil, crayon or marker by wrapping his entire hand around it and moving his whole arm to make a mark. I wrote about my concerns in this post when he was three. As I discovered triangular crayons... Read more →