Today I want to share this little work area for Otto (2 years 11 months). As he turns three next month this area will soon start changing as I make it more suitable for a preschooler. This is how it looks today. Most of the materials here are Montessori aligned. You've seen many of them before but here are a few new trays/activities close up. Musical Instrument Tray - Alto Saxophone - This is an idea from our Montessori toddler class that I couldn't resist making at home. I've used a language card, model saxophone, a photograph image of a... Read more →


Converge = come from different directions and meet at one place, to move towards one single point. Convergent thinking = bringing our thoughts together to find one correct answer. Is a left brain process that may be logical, precise, systematic and ordered. Diverge = depart and go forward in different direction/s. Divergent thinking = generate creative ideas by exploring many possible solutions. Uses left and right brain thinking. May be more free-flowing, less ordered, non-linear, and more spontaneous. Supports out-of-the-box thinking. I have been finding that in society, in our homes and schools there is a lot of value placed... Read more →


I've been feeling inspired by Reggio style children's self-portraits. The Montessori and Reggio Approach have a lot in common. Both are child-led approaches that respect and trust the child. "Right at the heart of the Reggio Approach is the very powerful image adults have of children. Every child is seen as strong, confident and competent. Strong children have their own ideas, express opinions, make independent choices and are able to play and work well with others. This powerful image of the child needs adults who listen to children and trust them to make responsible decisions. In the Reggio Approach listening... Read more →


What do you look for when choosing a good alphabet book? It's most important that the book is engaging, attractive to the child so they will want to read it and so they will interact with it! Calling to the child, sparking an interest, igniting a desire, these all come first for me. Things to remember when choosing an alphabet book from a Montessori point of view include: age appropriateness - this is particularly important when looking at the objects on each page. lower case letters - in Montessori we teach lower case before upper case letters. phonics-based - we... Read more →


Do you have a two to three year old who is showing an interest in letters and reading, and you don't know what to do next? Here are a few ideas. From around two to three years we focus on phonological awareness and this comes before teaching the child letters or reading. Phonological awareness includes identifying and manipulating units of oral language such as words, syllables, speech sounds (phonemes), onset and rime. Activities regarding phonological awareness do not necessarily have any written words in them, it is about the sounds that the words make, not about the letters we use... Read more →


One of the things that sets Montessori apart from other early childhood approaches is precision. At Forest School the toddlers love pouring and scooping in the mud kitchen but the water slops around everywhere (which is a fantastic sensory experience). But in Montessori, we focus on refining the senses, fine motor skills, accuracy and precision. My toddler is fantastic with pouring a drink from a dispenser, tap or pitcher but I've noticed at our Montessori toddler class that he either doesn't understand how to use a funnel OR he is enjoying seeing the water overflow everywhere when using a funnel.... Read more →


Toddlers are naturally curious. We can use this curiosity to teach the child about the world around them. One way we can do this is through language development. We can provide the child with real and scientific names of things, like species or type names of flowers, birds or dogs. We can connect learning to things that have meaning to the child like sharing books and stories about their favourite pastimes or animals or vehicles. We can also teach them the parts of things that the child is familiar with, for example their body parts and anatomy, the anatomy of... Read more →


Next month Otto turns three!! As he is super excited about his birthday I want to make sure we have some wonderful gifts for him. He is the youngest of three children (all with similar interests) and already has lots of toys so choosing gifts for him has not been easy. Here are five things we've picked out. Personalised Children's Cook Books - I adore this concept. Each book is a recipe book but can also be read like a storybook. You can personalise the name and appearance (skin/hair/eye colour) of the child and the adult helper (typically mum/dad/grandparents but... Read more →


Many of us are spending a lot of time at home right now. I know there is one thing that will keep my toddler very busy and learning at home every day of the week. That is art and creating! I've been reading and learning about children's art spaces in Montessori and also in Reggio environments. While this art area is uniquely ours I wanted to share it with you. This art space is on our back deck, it's an almost seamless indoor/outdoor environment. The deck is covered and is suitable for working in all year round. Our art environment:... Read more →


While at this age I don't feel it's important for the child to be able to write their name, it becomes more and more important that they can recognise their name. "Our names are a crucial part of who we are. They give us a sense of identity, attachment and belonging. Right from the earliest moments of our lives we hear our names over and over most often being spoken by the people that we love. Using marks to write their own names is one of the first pieces of writing that many children try to do - saying in... Read more →


I've been reading In The Spirit of The Studio: Learning From The Atelier Of Reggio Emilia (a fantastic Reggio book) and art is on my mind. This week I've refreshed our art area and introduced an awesome easel. Otto is almost three so I feel the need to add some more interesting elements especially in the area of mark making. So I've sought the perspective of other Montessori parents and teachers. Here are a few Montessori art shelves I've found interesting in homes and schools. This is in the home of a 4 and a 11 year old. They have... Read more →


Earlier in the year I featured our little toddler snack area but I didn't show the whole kitchen. Today I want to share all the areas of our kitchen that our toddler uses. Above is our toddler/children's fridge, drink station and baking table. I want you to know that all Montessori homes look different. Do what works for you, I hope you find some ideas here. The key areas for me include access to fresh and healthy food, water, and, practical life tools like food prep tools and cleaning tools. The two main themes are independence and safety. Otto's weaning... Read more →


Nature journaling with a toddler? Is it possible? It is possible and it can be a lot of fun too! It's nice to make a few observations while out in nature especially if we visit the same spot regularly. We can make observations about the big things like the wind or the raging waves, or about the small things like a tiny crab claw found in the rockpool. Here are three ways we enjoy nature journaling with our two year old. Mark Marking/Drawing We take a journal or notepad and some pencils for mark making and free drawing. I don't... Read more →


In today's society, we are inundated with 'fast' toys. Fast toys are so prevalent in mass-market retailers it's easy to forget that we have other options. Fast toys are busy toys that are often cheaply made and of poor quality. They do a lot and may even hold the child's attention but for a short period of time. Slow toys are made from quality materials, may be handmade, they do very little but require the child to use their skills and imagination to use them and they are made to last. Tumi Ishi definitely fall into the slow toys category.... Read more →


Someone needs to write a Montessori/Ikea blog as it feels like you can almost create an entire Montessori home using products from Ikea! I recently visited Ikea and found so many new and interesting children's products. Here are a few that I love for a Montessori home. MΓ…LA Portable Drawing Case - This is new at our Ikea store this week and I love it. It's suitable for my toddler and for my older children. It comes empty but it is a great travel case for paper and pencils and other craft materials. It's good for taking around the house,... Read more →