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 →

Montessori Nature Ideas - for home and school.

Today was Otto's first day at his toddler Forest School class. I am feeling very inspired by the activities there and the open natural learning spaces. Look forward to a few Forest School posts soon. So today I'm sharing a few ideas that I've bookmarked for creating a connection with nature in our indoor spaces. Above labeling and displaying items collected from a nature walk. I'm going to start to do this and using scientific names. Make your classroom come alive! I've never thought of growing sweet potatoes like this! I love life cycle models but nothing beats the real... Read more →

I'm a fan of RMTL so today I thought I would share our week... in objects. Clear cosmetic containers on the nature table - we love our window blocks (similar here) but MontiMinis recently shared an easy and affordable alternative! They use clear cosmetic containers, the containers have a lid so if you want little ones to handle it you could secure it with clear tape. It's a great way of protecting, sorting and displaying small or fragile items and still allow young children to handle them. They would also look lovely on the light table! Apple and acorn puzzles.... Read more →

How was your week? Our week was full, I feel that we are enjoying the busyness. Everyone is working hard at school and after school and everyone has their chosen interests they are following. I feel like the balance is good. Here are a few articles and links and things that I've been enjoying this week: Some parents are choosing this Montessori school because of its diversity - How a diverse Indianapolis Montessori school quadrupled its applications in two years at Chalkbeat. Also, who knew there were some 500 publically funded Montessori schools across the United States? We know that... Read more →

Autumn Nature Tables to Love!

Today we swapped over some of our Summer books to make way for our Autumn books. The days are becoming shorter, darker and cooler. We are slowly adding Autumn items and materials to our nature table. I call it a nature table although it is also, very much a seasonal table. I love the warm colours and the glow of Autumn nature tables. Below I'm sharing some nature tables that have given me ideas and inspiration. Many of these are in Australia - if you are thinking the dates don't add up. Most of these are Waldorf inspired. To make... Read more →

Have you tried nature journalling with children? It can be frustrating when our expectations aren't in check. I'm here to say let go, keep it simple and allow your children the freedom to use their nature journal as they like. Why? What are the benefits to the child? Allows the child to slow down, breathe, relax, refocus, it can calm a busy mind. Encourages observation - observing the big picture to the small detail. Use senses such as sight, sound, smell and touch. Helps to create a connection to the natural environment. Can assist in self-expression. Promotes creativity. "Many people... Read more →

I love nature tables but often they are seen as nothing more than a beautiful display. I want our nature tables to be more than beautiful, I want them to present real learning opportunities. Learning opportunities that are child led, that connect us to nature and allow the child to explore the natural world around them! To start we always bring something from the outside, inside. We love to use flowers from our garden, we have so many you can't notice that we've picked any. Like most children, Otis also collects rocks and bits and pieces while out walking or... Read more →

Are your children collectors? My children have collected different things over the years. As toddlers, my children loved collecting rocks and sticks. I put a basket by the front door so they had a place to put them all. One of the things I have learnt as a parent is that we need to allow children to become who they are. They might have weird interests or not fit into our aesthetics but that's them. We need to support our children, to follow the child and this includes what ever they need to collect. Caspar has a collection of old... Read more →

Have you made mushroom spore prints before? It is incredibly easy to do and suitable for children of all ages. For a young child, it can be an activity to make pretty prints. An older child can closely examine the prints to identify the type of mushroom and put the spores under the microscope. I've seen this done online but I was still surprised on how clear and detailed the prints turned out! Also, I wasn't sure if fresh 'supermarket' mushrooms would work, but they do, perfectly! I've heard that button mushrooms don't drop spores like this. Here we used... Read more →

My children love activities that involve natural materials. Where there is something for them to hold, feel, touch. Where there is something that is interesting, with fascinating little details. Today I am featuring some Montessori Shell Activities that I know you will love. Above and below is a shell sorting activity that I presented to Otis this week. The child sorts the shells (into the large jars) into Univalve or Bivalve. The Shell Poster (left in top picture) is from Montessori Materials and the Univalve/Bivalve sheet is from Montessori for Everyone. Cleaning a large shell - Brosser un gros coquillage... Read more →

Otis and I have been working on our spring nature table. It's fluid and it changes daily! The process has been child led, I've made plenty of suggestions but Otis has put the table together. Spring is fantastic for learning about life cycles of plants and animals. Spring is full of colour and life and I think our nature table reflects that. The nature table provides the perfect opportunity to bring learning from outside to inside! We are doing lots of learning about birds, feathers, nests, butterflies, bees and flowers. "The wind told the grasses, and the grasses told the... Read more →

Today I wanted to show you some nature tables designed for the Montessori (home and school) environment. The change in seasons is always a good time to refresh the nature table. While our nature table isn't always season specific, I'm always looking for new ideas! Above Making an Autumn Nature Table at Grow Grow Grow! For the home environment, I love the idea of using the season themed colour tablets. A poem on the chalk board is a lovely idea! A nature table at Helensville Montessori. Insects in resin are always a nice touch. I think there is also an... Read more →

"To the educator, the child who goes for a walk is an explorer... All children should be able to go on walks like this, guided by what appeals to them." - Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind. Walking is an exercise in physical and mental stimulation. We know Maria Montessori believed in daily nature walks, in all weather and in all seasons. Nature walks must allow the child the opportunity to explore what is around them at their own pace. To move from one interest to the next. Nature walks allow the child to absorb the natural environment with all of... 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 →

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 →