Composting is one of those things - just like healthy eating, physical activity and recycling, it is one of those things where we need to set a really good example. Where a lesson just isn't good enough. These are things we need to live and children need to experience through everyday life. It is about doing, making it a habit and a part of the way we live. We had a break from composting when we moved but in our new home we are using the same system as before. We love the Bokashi system as it is so easy,... Read more →

If you are looking for gift ideas for a child consider giving them a cook book! Cooking with kids and encouraging them to participate in the kitchen is wonderful. However a cook book can foster a whole new level of independence. Children from quite a young age can take the lead in cooking and use a pictorial cook book. Once a child can read - wow, the opportunities really open up. Caspar (8 yrs) can read almost anything, he could read an adult's cook book however a kid's cook book is a great thing, he can follow the instructions and... Read more →

Over the weekend the world experienced tragic events that have touched us all. My thoughts are with those who have been impacted directly. On Saturday we went to a children's drop in art centre. We are slowly exploring this city. The art centre was the most fabulous place (with the most fabulous art teachers!). I loved to observe how the teachers interact with the children. They really guide the children through their art processes without ever taking over, being overbearing or interrupting. Caspar made his own chess board with pieces made from plasticine. I never would have thought of this... Read more →

We recently stayed overnight at Grandma's house. It was a wonderful opportunity for the boys to spend some time with their Grandparents. So what can you do when you don't have any Montessori materials? Oh so much! Otis wasn't able to stand on Grandma's chairs (no learning tower here) so he sat on a high stool to reach the kitchen bench. He used one of Grandma's everyday serrated knives to make an entire salad. Grandma was so afraid he would cut himself that she couldn't watch. But (as I explained) there was no risk, he can competently use a knife... Read more →

Four trays for my four year old. He loves anything plant, leaf, garden, flower related. This is a flower press tray. If I'm in the garden I might snip a few flowers for him or we might pick some together. There is a lot of fine motor movement required here and we love pressed flowers. Otis loves puzzles right now. He loves these Ravensburger puzzles (they are perfect in skill level and are rated 4+), they typically take at least two sessions or two days for him to complete which is why I love presenting them in a tray. He... Read more →

Do you feel inspired when in nature with your child? Taking a nature walk is such a fantastic activity to do with a child, it's free and the learning opportunities are endless. The Montessori theory is that as soon as the child can walk we should allow them to do so as much as possible. It's freedom of movement. Once the child starts walking all Montessori parents are encouraged to take them on nature walks. For a very young child this could be down the driveway. As the child gets older and more capable the nature walks can get longer.... Read more →

Teach me about my body. Kids just seem to soak up information about their own bodies. From which foods are healthy, blood and their circulatory system to their bones and skeleton. We have the first discoveries book The Body which is fantastic for little ones to get a grasp of these topics. Today I wanted to look at some of the fun materials about the human skeleton that are suitable for toddlers and preschoolers. Australia: 1. Skeleton Floor Puzzle - 15 Pieces (currently on sale 20% discount only $47.99), 2. Tuzzles Skeleton Puzzle, 3, Melissa and Doug Human Body Magnetic... Read more →

Cooking with children is something I have always enjoyed and found really natural. However I know some children are not so interested and I know some parents find it too time consuming and messy. Here are my top ten tips for enjoying cooking with kids. Be flexible and casual. Never force or bribe a child to cook. We want them to be engaged and enthusiastic. It's ok to encourage "would you like to pick something out of this recipe book to cook", "do you want to bake banana bread, it's going to be very yummy" but also accept it if... Read more →

Previously I have interviewed Caspar my seven year old about school and Montessori. I thought it would be fun to interview Otis. It has been much more insightful than I had expected! On Friday after school I asked Otis some questions. How was school today? What work did you do? Good. I did metal insets and I had a lesson on something that is really tricky. You need a blindfold and the pink tower and you have to do this (with hand actions) and it’s really tricky work. Me: Did you build the pink tower with the blindfold on? Yes,... Read more →

You know that I recently read and loved The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I also wrote about protecting the child's sense of order and how Montessori really supports the theory of less is more, everything in it's place. Since writing this article I have been asked about the children's wardrobe more than anything. It appears many parents are struggling with cupboards overflowing with children's clothing that not only are difficult to manage but are also difficult for the child to use. It's easy for us in some respects because the children's wardrobe has always been pretty minimal. But... Read more →

I made a terrific discovery this week. It was by chance that I came across this product and I cannot believe that I haven't seen it before. Why didn't you tell me? Wikki Stix - the best thing ever! Over the period of a few days our Wikki Stix have remained on our art table. It doesn't dry out and it is completely reusable. It's flexible yet can be cut with scissors. It is non-toxic and is made in the USA. Totally usable and fun for children of all ages. Both boys really surprised me with how much and with... Read more →

I've been looking into ways to teach Otis ordinal numbers. When using the calendar it's clear he needs help in this area. Although we have tried lots of incidental use I felt that he really needed a formal lesson where I can lay it all in front of him. We started using these duck cards. They go all the way up to twelfth but today we started with first to third, then up to tenth. This was really just an introductory lesson. To start to become familiar with the use of these terms. I really wanted him to grasp the... Read more →

Today we tried some taste testing and it was so much fun I thought I would share it with you here. This is almost a five minute Montessori activity, it's really easy to set up with just a few pieces of fruit and a blindfold. With this blindfold taste test we only used foods the boys like. Otis had no idea what he was about to eat. He uses his sense of taste to determine which food he had been given. Here we used raspberry, strawberry, watermelon and banana. The boys then swapped around except Caspar already knew which foods... Read more →

This week I have rotated in a few of our favourite puzzles. The butterfly lifecycle puzzle is perfect to celebrate spring. Our garden is now full of bees and butterflies. This butterfly puzzle takes on a new meaning now that Otis is in the early stages of reading and he begins to identify the parts of the butterfly. We've also rotated in our lovely apple puzzle. I love Otis' initiative as he does the puzzle directly on the table. We've been using the new So Awesome Emotions Cards and below have used the extension activity of drawing the emotion. Really... Read more →

When a school or educational system claims to 'educate the whole child', what exactly does this mean? It sounds like a good thing right? It's quite a well used term that is being used increasingly but many would say it's something Montessori schools have been doing for over a century. Sadly it doesn't seem to be a mainstream approach. "It is an approach that values the human spirit and the development of the whole child—physical, social, emotional, cognitive. Dr Montessori studied not only the physical development of children, but also their intellectual and social development. She conceived and evolved the... Read more →