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 →


There are lots of good reasons to include items from nature in our art trays. Nature items have different textures and smells and provide a different experience to using paper or other stationary items. Using items from nature also: demonstrates resourcefulness - using what is readily available in the environment promotes creativity and out of the box thinking promotes learning about seasons and seasonality - what resources are available and when respects our natural environment leads to further exploration and new ideas/discoveries in using nature in art Here are eight nature based trays we've used recently. Drawing on Paperbark -... 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 →


Do you have a child that needs to throw? I find having at least one throwing activity out essential during inside or 'stay at home days'. The last couple of days here have been very stormy, with hazardous winds so outside play has been limited. Bean bags are an obvious choice for throwing. We like to use bean bags for: throwing in or to a target such as in hoops or in buckets, or even a circle drawn with chalk onto the driveway outside. throwing at a vertical target such as a spot on the wall, marked out with painters... Read more →


Image Credit: The Post Oak School I hope you've had a good weekend. My children are on school holidays so even though it's Sunday night we are all still very relaxed. Here are a few links and things that I've been enjoying this week. 10 Ideas for Setting up a Montessori Space at Home for Your Toddler at The Post Oak School. This is a really good article, the images they've used are perfect! "Setting up a Montessori-inspired play space can be simple, without the need to buy anything! A Montessori environment is designed to encourage independence and concentration." How... Read more →


As I've show pictures of my toddler drawing and tightly grasping a pencil, I've been asked a lot about pencil grip. For a child in the first plane of development, especially in the child under three I would never correct pencil grip. Another one I'm asked about is how the child holds their scissors, unless it is a safety issue don't fix them. Role model and work along side them, surround them by peers of all ages (who can also role model), give clear and precise demonstrations but don't fix them, they are learning from the experience, and will learn... Read more →