Welcome to a new series I've titled 'Ask A Montessori Teacher'. I often have questions that I would like to ask someone who is Montessori trained. Sometimes I feel like I need reassurance, sometimes I need new ideas and suggestions or just someone else's point of view. Do you ever feel like that? The person I go to for Montessori parenting questions is Meghan Hicks. She is a parent to two boys who she has raised in a Montessori way since birth. Meghan has run toddler groups, homeschooling groups, she now works with individuals and families and lectures internationally. She... Read more →

How we talk to our children is so important. But it's also difficult because often we are rushed, pushed, tired, under pressure and we don't always have a moment to pause before we react. This is true for me and on many occasions I've used negative language around toilet learning like "oh no...", "accident", and "mess". There is some feeling that negative language and possibly shaming about toilet learning behaviour can result in anxiety, constipation and toileting regression (like "holding on"). While we don't need to be thrilled about their behaviour, we can use a positive or neutral tone, and... Read more →

You can see Montessori in almost every area of our home. I want to provide, as much as I can, an overall picture of what our home looks like room by room. Every space changes, it develops as the children get older however most of these spaces are the same from when our toddler was around 18 months to present at 26 months. Our home is far from perfect but it is a process of observing our children and making changes to meet their needs. Kitchen (above) - kitchen helper so that my toddler can reach the kitchen sink and... Read more →

Otto has been using this little basin on the bath since February. I wanted to give you an update because it is still working wonderfully for us. We are living in a small house and the bathroom has no space for a hand-washing table or for a step high enough for Otto to reach the basin. We already have his potty in the walkway. The basin on the bath almost takes up no space. The negatives including the mirror which is really unclear, the child can see themselves in it but not at all clearly. My husband moves the basin... Read more →

I believe that a good play mat promotes play. It promotes freedom of movement, it promotes concentration and it promotes creativity. In a world where we are bombarded with messages about baby swings, bouncers and baby seats, I'm here to share with you the benefits of a play mat and lots of free, uninterrupted floor time. I view the play mat a little like a Montessori teacher would view the work rug. Only for an infant or young toddler the space is larger. The play mat marks out the child's area "this area is mine" and it provides a safe... Read more →

Let's talk about travel potties. Are they a necessity? I could not be happier with our current travel potty. It has been am-az-ing. Earlier this week we flew to Copenhagen with Otto (23 months), without any potty/toileting accidents. No wet pants. Using the toilet or potty was my biggest concern for our summer travel. But I shouldn't have worried. I understand that a big part of this process is physiology, Otto is physically able to hold on or wait to use the potty. He will not use a public toilet and he won't pee standing up outside, on the grass... Read more →

Real Montessori Toilet Learning Spaces

I'm still thinking about toilet learning. Getting the toilet learning space right is important, but all families do it differently. What I feel is most important is an accessible and stable potty. Although many Montessori families use the real toilet, with support or a step, from the start. Here are a few real Montessori toilet learning spaces that I love: Above - this is a large bathroom, but it is so well organsied, functional and even beautiful! Everything is at the child's height. Love to have the hand washing facilities so close by. Everything the child needs to use the... Read more →

a. / b. / c. / d. (UK links) If your toddler stands on a step stool can they reach the running water but not the tap? If so, a tap turner or tap extender may help. At our kitchen sink Otto washes his dishes, washes his hands, has some water play, fills his water pitcher, gets a drink, fills his watering can. He's up at the sink multiple times a day. With the use of the kitchen helper, he could reach the water once the tap is turned on but he couldn't reach the tap. Previously I'd only seen... Read more →

Otto is now completely nappy free at 22 months. Over the last week, we've moved from nappies at night to one hundred percent in underwear. He was wearing a nappy at night but I found that he was dry almost all of the time. I started offering him the potty first thing in the morning and now he goes there himself as soon as he wakes so we stopped using nappies completely. So far no night time accidents. Otis (now 8yrs) was also completely nappy free at 22 months. How is it done? I followed the Montessori method of toilet... Read more →

Otis has been growing mushrooms (and beans) it's - been fascinating to observe the mushroom's entire life cycle. This is a gorgeous poetry book that we have been enjoying. I Am The Seed That Grew The Tree. I noticed this really simple craft at Otto's Forest School class and wanted to make them with the older boys. It's best done with willow which is a little more pliable. But ours worked out well (mostly!), we are calling ours Christmas stars and have them in a jar on our window sill. We love using open-and-close baskets (a basket with containers that... Read more →

"Independence when they're ready for it, not just when they're big enough."- Little Products I love this quote because as parents we know that size matters, we want our children to be independent and capable around the home but our homes are made for adults! We have adult size furniture, adult size counters and, cupboards, taps and, toilets. We can do a lot to change this, we design and order child-size furniture, we have stools so they can reach counters. We can also use extenders so that children can reach taps and light switches. Until now, there hasn't been a... 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 →

It's time for us to start thinking about toilet learning (why am I so excited?)! Unfortunately, we don't have any of Otis' old potties or pants (or puddle pads) so we are starting from scratch. Which is a little fun, there are lots of potties available now, perhaps too many, so we are looking at all the eco friendly ones. How fun it is to have a completely compostable potty? From potties to training pants, here are the eco friendly options we are thinking about! 1. Beco Potty - Made from waste plant material and are biodegradable. I am not... Read more →

Today I'm going to challenge traditional thinking about baby change areas, or just prove how offbeat my thinking is. I like having the infant change area on the floor! It's safer for the child and makes the transition for the child to self-dressing that little bit easier. There are two main barriers to having the infant's change area on the floor; it's important to keep some creams, wipes etc out of the reach of the child and many parents have physical restrictions that prevent them from being able to comfortably change a baby on the floor (usually back or knee... Read more →

How we Montessori, The Full Montessori, The Montessori Motherload, Sew Liberated, Bread and Roses, The Prepared Environment at How we Montessori, Eltern vom Mars, Three Oaks, OPRF Life, Midwest Montessori. Using a potty isn't necessarily a part of the Montessori approach to toilet learning. It may work to make the toilet more accessible by using steps or other adaptions. If you are interested in toilet learning the Montessori way I recommend Toilet Awareness and Toilet Leaning - The Montessori Approach. I also recommend articles at Aid to Life and Michael Olaf. Read more →