At what age do you give your child a camera? Or perhaps you wait for the child to show an interest? I've found that a child as young as three is capable of using basic camera functions including the skills to point and click with some thought and accuracy. We gave Otto a camera for his third birthday. While he loves to use it there are many educational benefits to using a camera at this age. When using a camera the child learns how to capture and document events, places, people, their work and what is going on around them.... Read more →


Are you looking for some fresh magnifying tray or activity ideas for your children? Here are ten that we've tried and enjoyed with my preschooler. Magnifying Glass with Matching Large and Small Cards - as this activity is new to us I've only put out three cards and they are really for observing. Later I will present all the cards and allow the child to match. This is so cute, my preschooler loves looking at the little images with the magnifying glass. Cards found here. Children's Binoculars - with an easy carry bag and a note 'take me on a... Read more →


I noticed Otto loving the geoboard at his Montessori toddler group a couple of weeks ago so I thought it might be time to get ours out of the cupboard. Previously he had been using the toddler geoboard (#2) but perhaps now we could try a larger one like our standard geoboard (#4) or our transparent geoboard (#3) on the light table. At this age the purpose of using the geoboard is for the child to: get to know the material and how it works - for the child to become proficient in using the material so that it can... Read more →


Otto (36 months) is now cutting and using scissors with greater accuracy. To help him further improve his accuracy and also improve his fine motor skills we've introduced a range of cutting strips. I love using cutting strips with images as they also help promote language development and they are much more interesting for the child to use. At this age I like to use cutting strips where there is a bit of a gap between the images as they are easier for the young child to use. Here are some of our current favourites. Construction Vehicles Dogs Cars &... Read more →


It's easy to prepare an activity and put it on your shelves. It's much harder to prepare an activity that meets your child's developmental needs and is also attractive to the child. My toddler doesn't love pasting and he will walk past most pasting trays. I know pasting is a valuable skill so I set out to make some pasting trays that he will actually use and enjoy. I recently watched a video of a Montessori guide who suggested cutting out images for the child to paste from magazines and wrapping paper. My magazines didn't have many useful images but... Read more →


I've been inspired to try some woodwork with Otto since reading Learning Through Woodwork: Introducing Creative Woodwork in the Early Years by Pete Moorhouse. Otto turns three this month so I wasn't sure how to start. Learning Through Woodwork contains good tips for introducing woodwork and it has lots of beautiful photographs of children 3-4 years old working with wood. The author believes that the preschool years starting from three is the ideal time to start woodwork! This feels entirely in line with the Montessori way of thinking. Today I want to share three ways I've introduced woodworking to Otto.... Read more →


We know that toddlers can act crazy, often operating at great speed in unpredictable ways. However, we also know that toddlers are capable of considered and controlled movements, they are capable of being accurate and precise. Toddlers can concentrate and they can determine risk. My toddler loves to jump off steps and stairs. I can see him working out the risk... 'is this too high?' as he decides to jump off the second step rather than the third. Occasionally, he miscalculates and hits the ground a little too awkwardly or too hard, this is good feedback and will assist him... Read more →


Montessori activities don't have to be elaborate or expensive. The quicker and easier they are to put together the better they fit into our every day living. Take clothes washing, an authentic Montessori practical life activity. A couple of buckets, some detergent, water and we are good to go! We use a natural and gentle detergent that is safe for little hands. Making the bubbles is a part of the fun. Wow! My toddler loves all the pouring and splashing. I've prepared this activity outside to give my child freedom to spill and splash a little without adult intervention. Lots... Read more →


When I observe my toddler's block play I see lots of stacking and lining things up, I see the first signs of bridging and making enclosures. He builds ramps and roads. At home he has access to many accessories and he usually chooses cars, or dinosaurs and today I suggested some road signs. Most of all I see he is building towers, cities and often a loose community structure. I love reading about block play and thinking of different ways to enhance the block play experience. I only recently discovered that there are different stages of block play based on... Read more →


There is something comforting and nurturing about making bread with children. The experience of making bread is extra special, it's the kneading, the lovely texture, the rising of the dough, and the warm bread at the end. It's also the surprise, will it rise at all? I keep in mind when making bread with a toddler that the dough can be unpredictable but mostly fixable. Too sticky, we can add some flour. Too dry, add just a touch of water. The child will often spill a little or a lot but we can make it work. What makes this activity... 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 →


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 →


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 →