1. Oh Happy Day - featuring this wall paper wall map, 2. Wallpaper Mural Ideas, 3. HGTV, 4. Geosafari Wonder World Wall Map Set, 5. Children's Illustrated World Map and 6. Decowall World Map Wall Stickers. Caspar's previous Cycle Two classroom in Canberra has a huge world wall map. I love it and think it is such a good idea in the Cycle Two Classroom (6-9 years). Since seeing this bedroom in Oh Happy Day I've really wanted a world wall map for our home too. I found a lovely map on sale and put it up in the boys'... Read more →

I am on the hunt for really good lunch box ideas. Things like our favourite carrot and zucchini slice (that we also made today), something we can bake and use for snacks and for school lunch boxes throughout the week. I am loving the lunch box ideas at Weelicious so I trawled through the website and found some Vegetarian Baked Samosas. Even though Otis made ours they still turned out just like the pictures. We used sweet potato in place of the russet potato and garlic paste replaced the garlic powder. They have a little turmeric and cumin in them... Read more →

During the school holidays I always have a couple of act activities planned. I put away the materials until just the right moment - when there is a rainy day or a rest day or just when the boys are getting bored or restless. I like to ensure that the boys are challenged, that they are learning and are exposed to new experiences. Foam Printing is a really good activity, it can get messy but it's safe, easy, interesting and suitable for young children. I think the results are pretty fabulous too! This is the easiest form of printing we... Read more →

A treasure hunt - we look around the house to find items that match the phonogram in this case 'ch'. Chocolate milk, cheese, chair (from Otis' dollhouse), chalk, chicks, chicken, cheetah and chimpanzee. 'I Spy' is a good game to play also. We have a basket of items that match the phonograms Otis is currently learning. He can pull the items out of the basket and form the words. Otis is using the Movable Alphabet and Phonogram Alphabet side by side. Montessori three part cards have been a big part of Otis' language work at home (three part 'sh' cards... Read more →

It's been on my mind for a while. I had been making Otis' school lunches for him and I felt really bad about it. I honestly just wasn't organised enough. I often made his lunch late at night, baking at the last minute to fill the lunch box. Argh not ideal. It's not really about being organised it's about priorities, knowing what is important and just finding the time to make it happen. So why is it important they do it themselves? I recently read this article by Dr Angeline Lillard (Professor of Psychology and author of this book). Dr... Read more →

1. Primary Shapes Template Set, 2. Geometric Stencils, 3. Montessori Shapes (a plastic version of the Montessori Metal Insets), 4. Child's First Stencil Set, 5. Animal Shapes Puzzles, 6. Kindergarten Stencils. Using stencils is a really good way to help the child's developing hand control. Otis started by using simple shape stencils (circle, square, triangle) and he moved on to more complex stencils of animals, vehicles and other shapes. Otis currently uses the Geometric Stencils and the Kindergarten Stencils. In the Montessori classroom children of this age are often using metal insets for developing hand control and for learning the... Read more →

Otis has always enjoyed puzzles and working with his hands. When he turned four we started using Ravensburger Puzzles. They have such a wide selection of puzzles that are life like and many of them are really beautiful. Child.com.au recently asked if we would like to try some of their Ravensburger Puzzles and of course we jumped at the chance. All of these puzzles are suggested for 4+ years and I have found their age recommendations spot on. Above is the Tropical Friends Puzzle (60 pieces) which I love for the colour, the child's attraction to the natural environment including... Read more →

I found out about this Montessori concept years ago (thanks to Eve) but it wasn't until this week that I printed this calendar and introduced it to my children. La poutres du temps - the time beam is an excellent, concrete way of introducing a child (or a classroom) to the concept of days, months and years. It is a linear calendar. Our calendar is three meters long and the entire year is presented horizontally along the wall (we have ours in a passage way). The child can see the entire year in front of them! It is a great... Read more →

We tried milling our own flour a couple of weeks ago. Today we decided to make it easier and put the grain mill at the kids low kitchen prep table. For these hand crank devices it's much easier for Otis if he can stand on the floor, he has more leverage. This is a really valuable experience teaching children where food comes from. We are using organic spelt grain and it makes flour really quickly. I've been looking around for an affordable mill and in the end decided on this one. We are going to continue to make our own... Read more →

Montessori language materials are presented to the child in a carefully orchestrated sequence. Metal Insets (for hand control), Sandpaper Letters and the Movable Alphabet are all part of this sequence and the process cannot be hurried and stages cannot be skipped. Montessori sees the child as an active learner, a motivated doer and that children have the power to educate and teach themselves. Young children with good phonetic awareness are often ready (and wanting) to make words before their hand is ready for the pencil control required for writing. The Movable Alphabet is for the composition of words, the goal... Read more →

There is so much focus in Montessori on fine motor skills I think at times we as parents overlook the importance of gross motor skills, the development and coordination of those large, gross motor muscles and movements. In the classroom gross motor movements would include movement around the room (moving tables and chairs, walking), lifting and pouring, practical life activities like window washing or table scrubbing, walking the line. Otis' class has a lovely playground but also free play equipment such as climbing frames and balancing boards. Maria Montessori knew how integral movement is to intellectual development. "Mental development must... Read more →

I recently found this really fun idea. I was looking around for Montessori, nature, sensory, play inspiration. What I love about this idea is that the child is working in a natural setting and using real items. It challenges the child to look closely at their natural environment, using all of their senses. This idea is something that will work in almost any natural setting, today we used it in our yard but would work just as well on a nature walk, in the woods, at the beach or park. This idea comes from The Sensory Trust which is fantastic... Read more →

How do I decide which activities to present to my children? How do I decide which activities and materials to put on their shelves or what toys to buy? There are so many things that I consider! What is the family currently working on? Are there any family projects such as gardening or baking that we can all get involved with. Are we choosing new plants for the garden? Are we planning a holiday? We can start to research and explore these areas. Do I have anything new or interesting that I would like to try - incorporating the children... Read more →

One thing I love about Montessori is that it really has no limits. A young child even as young as four is encouraged to learn and to delve deeper into a topic until their thirst for knowledge has been temporarily satisfied. The resources aren't limited by age. The child can just keep on going. I also love that Montessori is so child led, interest based. While there are times when I completely independently introduce the children to a topic most of their activities, their interests just flow, they evolve from one step, from one area to another. Flowing from one... Read more →

When Otis was younger he collected sticks and stones. We had a pile of sticks just inside our front door where Otis would meticulously place each new find. When he would find something extra special perhaps a pinecone or seedpod he would carefully put them in a nature basket. Nature baskets some times over-flow. Some times we have specimens we want to set up in a display, a nature discovery area, a nature table! My boys love the beach and our nature table is now consumed with items from the ocean. A large conch shell, some star fish and a... Read more →