Otto is almost 18 months old and it feels like a good time to revisit some of our Montessori home spaces. I'll explain how they work and how we troubleshoot. Our spaces are fluid, always changing. I hope these posts will give you a few ideas for your home environment. At almost eighteen months Otto can: Put on/take off socks independently - only loose socks, not socks that are tight. Wool socks are great. Put on/take off boots independently - only his rain boots and not always on the right feet. He can also take them off. Put on/take off... Read more →

This month Otto will be eighteen months old. At the same age, both Caspar and Otis started at the local Montessori School attending a Parent-Toddler Class. Our first Montessori Parent-Toddler Class was life-changing, for the first time I could see and connect with a genuine Montessori environment, Montessori teachers and parents. I feel disappointed that Otto will not have the same experience. So what can you do if you can't get to a Montessori Parent-Toddler Class? Here are a few things I'll be doing: Don't replicate a Montessori classroom at home. It would be easy to think if we can't... Read more →

Charity Shops and Dollar Stores are good places to find Montessori basics like practical life materials. We already have a lot of materials at home so I'm not looking for many new things but I love it when I find something that is unique or individual. I also love it when I see something that I really want and I know that it will only cost a dollar (or a pound). (I still think in dollars even though we use pounds here.) Above, I've found a few wooden trays like this in charity shops. This one was £2, it has... Read more →

I really wanted to write this post as this is may be the smallest house we will live in as a family. There are a few things unique about our current situation. We are living overseas for two years, so we don't have a lot of our things with us and our accommodation is temporary, we can't make any changes to our house. But there might be others in a similar situation or some of these ideas might apply to others renting or living in small spaces. It is so important for us to remember that bigger isn't better, we... Read more →

I'm currently reading Barefoot and Balanced by Angela J. Hanscom. It's about how unrestricted outdoor play makes for strong, confident and capable children. It's an excellent book for parents and teachers. One reviewer said "This book is a must read for anyone interested in helping children develop the way they were created to develop. I am a different parent because of this book. I will be making different educational choices for my children because of this book." Wow! It's also perfectly in line with the Montessori way of thinking - "Children are naturally curious and seek out opportunities to make... Read more →

There are a lot of lists around about Montessori food activities for toddlers, so I wanted to share the activities that we actually did in our home today. It might look like a lot but these are activities that we do throughout the day organically, they aren't put on the shelf in life practical life trays. Some of these activities Otto (17 months) will do in his snack area (pictured above) and some at the kitchen counter, it depends on what we are doing at the time. Anyway, I hope you find this snapshot useful! Picking Herbs - this is... Read more →

What are the first threading/lacing materials you use at home or in your classroom? Perhaps threading beads? With Otis we used pasta (penne) and cotton reels but with Otto, I noted that it was easier if the items where much thinner. Otto's first threading activity was using the wood pieces pictured above. 1. Wooden Disks - completely natural, handmade by a small business. I love the texture too. If you had a drill this could be a DIY. 2. Oversized Buttons - later these will be useful for colour and language work. These also stack so could be used like... Read more →

Finding just the 'right' activity for your child can be difficult. I love to make activities and baskets from items found in the home, toddlers love to explore what is around them. Charity shops, Gumtree and Facebook can be good sources but it's sometimes a risk. Blogs and stores can help based on your child's age but there are times you never know if it's going to be a success until you present it to your child. Sometimes I feel age almost shouldn't be considered but rather skill level and interest. One of the key things I look for is... Read more →

I was delighted to recently read that Dyson had made a vacuum cleaner for children that actually works! "The replica design features real working suction, realistic sounds, bright colours, twist and turn action just like the real thing! There is also a removable dustbin at the back to empty the debris." - The Daily Mail (November 2018). Otto is obsessed with our adult's Dyson vacuum. Vacuuming can be difficult because he always wants to use the vacuum. So I brought him a little dust buster. He loves and uses the dust buster but it still didn't compare to the vacuum.... Read more →

When children are in the sensitive period for naming things they can benefit from being given the real, technical or scientific names of things. Rather than 'dog', we can tell the child this is a 'Dalmatian', or rather than 'flower' we can say 'Daffodil'. It can help satisfy the child's hunger for knowledge, challenge their language skills and set them up for a lifetime of scientific curiosity. This is something I'm not always good at. Often I need to look up the names of trees, plants, flowers and, birds in our garden, or search to see what type of dog... Read more →

This is one of the most inspirational, affordable, easy and space saving ideas I've seen. When it comes to the Montessori bathroom we often see parents use step stools for the children to access the basin or they provide a care of self-station with a low basin, perhaps a tub in a low table. Our bathroom is tiny and at 17 months I can't leave Otto's side when he is on the high step stool. He loves playing with water and will spend a lot of time brushing his teeth and washing his hands, I don't want to stop him... Read more →

Since the Winter Solstice I've felt a change. The days are slowly getting longer. Until you've experienced it, it is hard to imagine the cold and the darkness of a European winter. This winter I've often picked the boys up from school in the dark (complete darkness at 4pm) and we've been to Forest School when it's only 0.5°C. In the spirit of sharing here is what has got us through (so far!). Kids Coughs and Colds - what's in my toolkit: Warming and Aromatic Chest Rub - my older boys love this just when they can feel the sniffles... Read more →