Let's Try Something New - Unbound Learners Circle Time

Want to try something that's fun and easy to do with your young child? Otto (3yrs) and I have been using Unbound Learners Circle Time and have found it to be a wonderful and enriching experience. Otto isn't currently attending preschool. During the week he attends a Forest School session and a Playgroup. We try to loosely follow Montessori scope and sequence as I haven't found a Montessori online curriculum that suits us. We still do a ton of Montessori work and Circle Time is a nice way to start the day, it takes the pressure off me for a... Read more →


Susan Stephenson would have to be the most prolific writer of Montessori parenting and homeschooling books in modern times. As a young parent, I craved her words of wisdom in the Michael Olaf catalogs. Now Susan has at least eight books in publication including the latest Aid to Life, Montessori Beyond the Classroom. Susan has AMI diplomas for 0-3, 3-6, and 6-12. She has a Degree in Philosophy from San Francisco State University and a Master's Degree in Education from Loyola University in Baltimore. In the past fifty years, Susan has worked in various roles in Montessori education in thirty-two... Read more →


Do your children have toys or materials in their bedrooms? I was recently told that Montessori bedrooms do not have toys in them so I thought I would explore this idea further. 🤔 In Montessori from the Start Polk Lillard and Lillard Jessen suggest that for an infant Montessori bedroom parents consider four main areas including areas for sleeping, changing, feeding, and for activity. Polk Lillard and Lillard Jensen go on to suggest parents create a bedroom that encourages concentration and that furthers self-formation "into complete human beings capable of independence, coordinated movement, language and will". For a child in... Read more →


We have stayed home this week. My nine-year-old has been unwell and unable to go to school, I could feel he was down and getting more frustrated as the days went on. Sport is his release but this week he hasn't left the house. I wanted to try a large-scale art activity to help him relax and unwind. "Creating art also helps children wire their brains to regulate stress. Art gives them the tools to learn how to calm themselves down. Tactile cognitive processing occurs when children create art; the neural networks in their brains fire up and signal their... Read more →


It's almost been a year since I first shared our snack shelves so it feels like a good time to give an update. It makes sense to show you the children's fridge at the same time to see all the food the children have access to. Both of these areas are used by my three and nine-year-old. The food here is for snacks, morning and afternoon tea, and often we will use food from here to make lunch too. The snack shelves also contain cereal and the fridge has milk which the children will use for breakfast. These areas don't... Read more →


Last weekend I attended a felting workshop to make a Waldorf/Steiner birthday placemat and birthday crown. I loved the process (and outcome) so much I couldn't wait to try felting again. I wanted to make an ocean/beach theme play mat for Otto (3yrs) like the ones I'd seen on Etsy (here and here). There is something powerful about making toys and playthings by hand. They are made with love and intention and made specific to the child. The child can see the time and effort that goes into it. It can also show the child how we can work with... Read more →


Montessori parents understand the importance of risk-taking in the development of the child. However, often we need help in navigating risk in the home as the child ages. What kinds of risk should we be exposing the child to, and at what age? My children are 3, 9, and 13-years-old. Their risk profiles are all significantly different. Risk is something that is frequently on my mind as I allow Otto (3yrs) to climb higher and higher in the climbing tree at Centennial Park, after recently catching him mid-fall from a significant height. Or allowing Otis (9yrs) who already walks to... Read more →


Do your children willingly and enthusiastically clean up spills and breakages at home or do they need a little prompting? To encourage our young children to clean up spills and breakages at home we start with good role modeling and continue will a lot of patience and a few child-size tools. We consider: Good role modeling - clean up our own spills slowly and precisely if the child is observing. Starting young - once the child can walk confidently, they can swat down and swipe up a spill, from around 18 months many children will be able to wipe up... Read more →


Life has changed for everyone in the last twelve months. We've all been isolated in one way or another. In Sydney, we've had lockdowns and closed state borders separating us from loved ones. Some of our toddler and preschooler classes have been canceled and others are running with restrictions. When attending a class it's been relatively easy for us to follow new requirements (check-in, hand sanitiser, social distancing) but it's been harder to navigate playdates where they are no rules. In the Montessori classic The Joyful Child, author Susan Stephenson tells us that "Gregariousness (being with others)" is a child's... Read more →


In the days since Christmas, we've been writing "Thank you" notes to friends and family. "Thank you" notes require the children to stop and consider what they are thankful for, to show gratitude for the things they have received. Writing thank you notes is more than an exercise of language and writing, it is an exercise of thoughtfulness and reflection. ""Thank you" notes should be a regular part of a child's life from as early as possible." - Susan Mayclin Stephenson - Child of the World: Montessori, Global Education for Age 3-12+. "Children need little urging to draw or write... Read more →


Do your children enjoy listening to podcasts? I love to play a podcast on those days when we are home all day, on days when things are a little quiet. Podcasts can be a great option for quiet time or even just for a little a break. I want to keep this discussion real, my three-year-old doesn't always sit through an entire episode. Sometimes he will sit perfectly still, other times he will move around and play while listening and other times he will walk right out the room. All of these podcasts are fun, light-hearted, educational, and really enjoyable.... Read more →


Have you thought about playing cooperative board games with your children? With the school holidays coming up I know my children will be spending more time together so I've got out a few of our favourite cooperative board games. I only discovered cooperative games while reading about Montessori in the home. Why are they recommended? Why do Montessori parents choose cooperative board games, especially for younger children? "Results showed that cooperative behavior increased and aggression decreased during cooperative games; conversely, competitive games were followed by increases in aggressive behavior and decreases in cooperative behavior. Similar effects were also found during... Read more →


When Otto turned three in September I knew we needed to make a few changes to his bedroom. We want the room to fit the child so we needed to size up with a few things. We swapped out: A small table and chair --> larger table and stool Low infant shelves --> higher shelves Small bookshelf --> greater capacity bookshelf The other significant change we made was to remove learning material like puzzles and only keep open-ended toys in this space. As Otto is now preschool age we've decided to keep most of his learning materials on his shelves... Read more →


I don't talk a lot about gross motor skill development at home. My children develop many of their gross motor skills through the work (and play) they do outside of the home including on nature walks, exploring, riding bikes and scooters, sports and climbing trees. However the children are now spending more time at home and we wanted some outdoor play equipment that would meet their needs individual needs for movement. We wanted something that the children wouldn't tire of easily and that could be used all year round. Trampolining it was! Our trampoline as pictured was designed by play... Read more →


I love Montessori Continent Boxes. As Otto (3yrs) isn't attending a Montessori preschool this year I want to set up some Continent Boxes at home. Continent Boxes are nice materials to have at home as you can personalise the contents and make them relevant to your family. The Montessori Continent Boxes are as much about Culture as they are about Geography. We show the child the physical location of the continent through maps and the globe. We share the culture of the people through photographs, models and artefacts. In a classroom, the Continent Boxes are likely to be complete. We... Read more →