As our children get older our home environments get more diverse. Often Montessori infant environments look really similar but as the child gets older we tailor the environment to their individual needs and preferences. Today I'm looking at some of our home environments for Otis at five years! Above work shelves and a little reading corner. Work shelves (earlier in the year). A Writing Station. Spring Nature Table. Home reference library. Art shelves updated. At five years we gave Otis access to a little baking area, he can put his electric skillet here and bake using the toaster oven. It... Read more →

About Dogs / Animals Under Our Feet / About the Ocean / About Bugs / Endangered Animals Do you have a learner reader at home? Otis is still learning to read. He will read independently at school but at home, he is sometimes hesitant and on most occasions, he will ask for me to read to him. Elaine recently recommended this series of books and I ordered them immediately, they have been fantastic! I hadn't seen any books from this series before and never would have found them on my own so a huge thank you to Elaine for looking... Read more →

Today I am sharing some really simple geography and cultural work we have been enjoying at home. Above and below Montessori Flag Map Work c/o Montessori Shop. You can also see in the background our Continents Globe which we have used for years. Montessori children first learn the continents then later the countries! Australasia Puzzle Map c/o Montessori Shop with handmade labels. The labels add a language component which is important for the child who is learning to read and write. Identifying individual flags using a Children's Atlas. This is a memory game but we've always used it as a... Read more →

My boys love playing with Magnetic Tiles. They are an open-ended construction toy that really gets the children thinking. Today I want to look at the educational benefits of Magnetic Tiles. Are they the ultimate educational toy? Magnetic Tiles come in various colours in the shape of squares and triangles. They have magnets and attract on all side. Our Magnetic Tiles are translucent and work beautifully on the light table. They are also simple to store in a basket or tray on the children's shelves. They are really well sized for the child's hands (recommended for 3yrs+) and offer hands-on... Read more →

"I can feel it but I can't see it", "I wonder what its eyes look like", "What does it look like in here?", "Why does it feel furry?", "I can't wait to put this under the microscope". What I love most about using a digital microscope is that you can set it up on a nature table or exploration area and leave it for the children to use independently. As the image is on the screen it's really easy to show the children and it's easy to point out specific features. I really appreciate that we are able to connect... Read more →

It was a public holiday here today (Australia Day), so I have just a short post to share. Above Otis is taking a closer look at a beetle he found (we still don't know what kind of beetle it is). Language work and nature study. Movable Alphabet here. Working with three part cards, not something we do a lot but 'ch' is also his current speech pathology sound. He also used the 'or' cards. Using building challenge cards with our Flockmen. The cards are a lovely extension idea I couldn't wait for the boys to try! Read more →

"The first essential for the child's development is concentration. It lays the whole basis for his character and social behaviour. He must find out how to concentrate, and for this he needs things to concentrate upon. This shows the importance of his surroundings." - Maria Montessori. The Absorbent Mind. Maria Montessori writes that the essential thing is for a task to arouse such an interest that it engages the child's whole personality, that we must provide "motives for activity" so well adapted to the child's interests that they provoke his deep attention. The school holidays can be difficult for some... Read more →

Do you have a reference library at home? Perhaps a few reference books for the children to use? The new year is a great time to restock, refresh or tidy up the children's books. I believe children still need the skills of research using physical books, using an index and such. While there is a place for internet searches, I don't want my children to run to google every time they have a question. Many reference books are also really beautiful and inspiring just to read, or flip through. I find it hard not to order too many reference books,... Read more →

The boys' room and the gorgeous afternoon light. We found the cutest Japanese florist in West End who wraps his plants like this. Couldn't resist. Studying the legs of a beetle. Loving this microscope choice, it's super easy to focus and everyone can see the same image. Nature box - so many found treasures. The Ikea Children's Knife. It's small with a grippy handle, designed for the child's hand. It feels a little chunky so it's easy for the child to hold and to control. It is recommended for children 8 years + however I would happily give it to... Read more →

Our long school holidays have started and we are all feeling relaxed and calm. Not only has school finished but we also have a long break from extracurricular activities and speech pathology!! I've started paying a little more attention to our home spaces. Along with rotating materials to create our Writing Station, we have also rotated the materials on the boys' shelves. Caspar (9yrs) is having trouble with fractions so I have reintroduced some fractions materials (he has also been using the fractions circle). We have lots of materials for the light table (our Magnetic Tiles are c/o, We... Read more →

Tomorrow is the last day of the school year and my children will be on their long summer break. I really want to maintain Otis' writing skills and noticed that some materials in his art area weren't being used. It's really important that we observe our children, take out materials that are not being used and bring in materials that spark an interest and are developmentally appropriate. Otis had two art shelves so I moved all the materials he was using onto one shelf (mainly paints and wood work) and removed the materials he wasn't using. I cleared the other... Read more →

Today I'm sharing a delicious Hazelnut Brownie recipe. It's perfect for this time of year, it can be wrapped and given as gifts and the kids love making it! We are also using some fair trade products from Oxfam! First I want to share a little about Oxfam. Oxfam represents 143 fair trade partners in 47 countries around the world, Oxfam’s shops provide fair and ethical products online and across 13 stores in Australia. If one in four Australians purchased $10 worth of goods with Oxfam, consumers would contribute more than $57 million towards the fight against poverty! By choosing... Read more →

Here are a few activities from around our home today. This is one of our Christmas traditions - making Beeswax Candles. These are so easy for children to make. We've used the coloured wax from Luxmi (similar wax is available here in the US). Loving this puzzle! These are Australian native birds and the puzzle is much harder than it looks. (Birds from other regions are also available). Chop, chopping. (This is a cute Mouse Cheese Board from Oxfam). Growing seeds. Otis is giving them a spray! A lovely turtle themed sand tray. We always have a sand tray out!... Read more →

Today I'm sharing a few pictures of Otis helping with the washing. Both of my children know how to use the washing machine and Otis loves to help in the laundry. My message to other parents is to get out the way, allow your children to help where they can and encourage their participation! By helping around the home children learn life skills, they develop and strengthen their coordination and fine motor skills, they learn that they are valued, that they can make a real contribution! If Otis wants to help with the washing I take the time to put... Read more →

There have been many articles written on the topic so I thought it would be nice to address it here too. Most Montessori parents would agree that pretend play is important. It may be a critical part of the child's development. Role play, acting out scenarios, it's a way for children to process their experiences, process their thoughts and develop a whole range of social skills, coping strategies, creativity and important critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Through pretend play Otis develops characters, storylines, and plots both simple and complex. Pretend play often involves dress up, dolls, and toys. While these... Read more →