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howwemontessori
Sydney, Australia
Recent Activity
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Today we spent a lot of time in the kitchen so I thought it would be a good opportunity to share some practical life work. Above Otto is using an electric juicer. This is super efficient compared to a manual juicer. The child needs strength to hold the orange and press down. When pressure is applied to the juicer it rotates to juice the fruit. It's also faster than using a manual juicer, Otto can easily juice a bag full of oranges. The pouring part is a little tricky. Remember to have a small sponge nearby. A tasty treat and... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at how we montessori
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Are you looking for ways to involve your child in grocery and food shopping? One of the things we've tried recently is using a visual shopping list. We get most of our groceries delivered but during the week we need a couple of short trips for fresh fruit and bread. I looked around for a printable that would work for us. I couldn't find one that was perfect for us so I made our own. I went to our grocery store's online site and saved the images of our most frequent mid-week purchases. I put them together into a list... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at how we montessori
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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... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at how we montessori
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Does your child love role play or pretend play? My three-year-old went through an intense phase where he would play supermarkets all day (thanks to the cash register he received for Xmas), then later he played Doctors and now he plays Handyman. He will play alone but he will often ask me or his siblings to join in. This role play is valuable play and it's not something that needs adult intervention. It's deeply engaging play, I've seen my child immersed in this play for 30-40 minutes chatting away to himself while pretending to serve a customer. As time has... Continue reading
Posted Feb 17, 2021 at how we montessori
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Recently while visiting friends I noticed my three-year-old using some first words puzzles. He worked on them with focus and completed the whole box of puzzles repeatedly. The puzzles are simple cvc (consonant, vowel, consonant) cardboard puzzles with a word and a corresponding picture. They are self-correcting - so the child can't go wrong in putting them together - perfect for the 3-4 year age group. I started to look for something similar and I found the Big Box of Little Word Puzzles. I like these as the images are photographic and interesting. The letter pieces can be interchanged from... Continue reading
Posted Feb 16, 2021 at how we montessori
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Liquid watercolours and clay are my two favourite art mediums. We've been trying a few Waldorf inspired arts and crafts with watercolours, clay and more. Some of them have two steps so I recommend them for children aged three years+. Here are a few of the activities we've tried this week. Wet-on-wet watercolour painting - includes liquid watercolours in primary colours, watercolour paper (soaked in water) and a sponge to remove excess water. The child applies one colour at a time, blending the edges of each colour. This is a Waldorf inspired activity, Sarah has a good guide here. We... Continue reading
Posted Feb 12, 2021 at how we montessori
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We like to provide our children with a wide range of drawing materials. Recently we've been exploring beginner graphite pencils. Graphite pencils can be soft and smooth providing the child with a lovely drawing experience. Until recently I didn't know there were so many beginner graphite pencils to choose from. I selected four to try with my preschooler. After observing my child draw with all four pencils I found the qualities to look in beginner graphite pencils include: soft - easy to leave a mark, provides good feedback, smooth strong - leads won't break short - the shorter the pencil... Continue reading
Posted Feb 10, 2021 at how we montessori
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Toddlers can peel - HWM I get most of my Montessori at home ideas from activities I've seen in Montessori classrooms. I've learnt how to put together trays, which tools to use, and how to present the work. It's also useful to observe children in the classroom and see how they respond to the work. But what if you can't get to a Montessori classroom, perhaps watching videos or images online is the next best thing. Today I'm sharing peeling (with a vegetable peeler) work. Not all of these examples are from classrooms, many are from Montessori homes. Adventures in... Continue reading
Posted Feb 8, 2021 at how we montessori
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My two older children went back to school this week leaving Otto (3 years) at home with me. We started the week at Bush School. As much as possible I give Otto the option to or not to wear shoes at Bush School, he loves walking on a balancing tree and climbing trees barefoot. Does anyone have children like this, or are they ok climbing with shoes on? Otto is using the WEDGiTS Building Blocks (from our Toy Library). I've seen them around, even in Montessori toddler classrooms but I hadn't used them myself. They can be stacked and used... Continue reading
Posted Feb 5, 2021 at how we montessori
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Today I want to share with you a little basket I've put together for Otto (3yrs) about Cicadas. Otto is fascinated by the Cicada shells frequently found at his Bush School class. I didn't know a lot about Cicadas so I started researching. They are SO interesting! I wanted to share some of this knowledge with Otto so I put together an interest basket. Have you used basket like this before? They can be used to spark an interest or to further develop an interest. The idea is to observe the child and follow what captures the child's attention and... Continue reading
Posted Feb 3, 2021 at how we montessori
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Are you looking for new practical life trays or perhaps a cute child size chair for your reading area? Ikea has a wonderful range of children's furniture and many items that are suitable for practical life activities in Montessori homes and classrooms. Here are a few things that are new to Ikea that I'm loving: STRANDMON Children's armchair, dotted turquoise - we have this chair in the grey. It's a good size for toddlers and preschoolers. This new dotty design is so fun! BERGIG Book display with storage - BERGIG is a new children's storage range, I like this unit... Continue reading
Posted Feb 2, 2021 at how we montessori
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Our family loves to read poetry. We read all kinds of poetry. I like to have at least one poetry basket out for my three-year-old. We also have poetry books, we like to perform or recite poetry on our family fun nights and occasionally we will write poetry. The theme for our next Friday Family Fun Night is Michael Rosen, my children love his writing. You will know Michael Rosen from We're Going on a Bear Hunt. He has also written books for older children and for adults. Our favourite Michael Rosen poetry book is A Great Big Cuddle: Poems... Continue reading
Posted Feb 1, 2021 at how we montessori
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This year I want to bring you more relatable home tours, ideas for smaller spaces, and ideas that suit a wide range of budgets. Today I want to share some really practical and creative ideas for Montessori wardrobes. All of these ideas are low to no cost, many require the use of materials that are second hand or that are repurposed! This is a wonderful example! The wardrobe is height adjustable. The parents have some clothes up high for them to reach and will lower the branches when their child is old enough to dress themselves. "This is how I... Continue reading
Posted Jan 28, 2021 at how we montessori
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The new school year is almost here so it feels like a good time to share some lunch box tips for Montessori families and those attending Montessori schools. Please know that we are not perfect, these are things that we strive towards: allow the child to participate in the making and packing of lunches - young children can slice vegetables or peel eggs or simply put the ingredients into their lunch box. Montessori from the Start recommends children from five years start to prepare their own lunch. This allows the child to have some input into and ownership over their... Continue reading
Posted Jan 26, 2021 at how we montessori
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Are you looking for a few new art activities to try at home? I suggest most of these activities for children from around three years however some like the nature clay collage would be suitable or adaptable for toddlers. All of the materials the child needs are presented on the tray. I use melamine trays (similar) as they are super easy to wipe clean and will contain spills. Some of these trays contain two-step activities. It doesn't matter if the child doesn't follow the steps however they provide a good opportunity for the child to learn to follow steps and... Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2021 at how we montessori
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We've been reading Busy Little Hands Activities for Preschoolers: Food Play by Amy Palanjian. Amy has a refreshing approach to food and this is reflected in Food Play. I love the article on Yummy Toddler Food about the importance of exposure "We can expose kids to a wide variety of foods by eating it ourselves, by having them be involved in the preparation of it, by taking them to the grocery store. We can expose them to a lot of foods without putting that insane pressure on ourselves.". The conversation about the five internal drives to eat (hunger, togetherness, curiosity,... Continue reading
Posted Jan 20, 2021 at how we montessori
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Do you have a good toy library near you? We've recently discovered our local toy library and it is fantastic. Our local 'toy and games library' is located within our public library which makes it super accessible (easy to find, central location, easy parking, good opening hours, safe) however, there is a membership fee and a separate borrowing card. We can borrow up to eight toys at once, which we've found is more than enough. Our toy library caters to children from 6 months to 12 years of age. We've found all the toys to be high quality, in good... Continue reading
Posted Jan 18, 2021 at how we montessori
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In the last couple of weeks, we've been trying out two new children's kitchen and chef knives. Of course, I want to share them with you! I've also included in this review two children's knives that are made by small Australian businesses. So if you are in Australia, I've got you covered. All these photos were taken in one day so this will also give you a good idea of how we use children's knives in our home. For a review of Children's Kitchen and Chef knives worldwide (EU & US) read here. "Arranging the cooking and dining areas for... Continue reading
Posted Jan 15, 2021 at how we montessori
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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... Continue reading
Posted Jan 13, 2021 at how we montessori
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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... Continue reading
Posted Jan 12, 2021 at how we montessori
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At the start of the New Year, the entryway feels like a good place to start with a refresh and a tidy-up! The entryway can be a key area in maintaining order and organisation of things like hats, coats and shoes, which otherwise might be a stressor. The entryway can be an important part of a smooth transition from the comfort of the home to the outside world. I've always found the more organised we are the smoother the transition. Children who are organised may feel calmer and more confident when leaving the home. I also want to acknowledge the... Continue reading
Posted Jan 8, 2021 at how we montessori
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I love the idea of creating something new using what we already have at home. It's the ultimate in creating because you have to be resourceful and smart. Today I'm sharing a semi-successful dying project using materials we already have and that is safe to do with children. Have you tried tie-dying with your children? We've tie-dyed before using a kit but the children needed to be extra careful with the dye and wear gloves. Recently at our Bush School class, the children tie-dyed using found items (leaves, wild berries) and mud. The mud is said to be high in... Continue reading
Posted Jan 6, 2021 at how we montessori
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Most of our garden areas are child friendly. We have a few vegetables planted in our front yard and Otto (3yrs) has his own little patch for digging and a pot for strawberries. Recently Otto planted a small herb garden and I could see how much he enjoyed tending to it. Over the last couple of weeks, we decided to provide another gardening area for Otto that was child-centered and entirely his own. Previously his gardening tools were piled up in our garage and this space allows us to have all of his garden tools together and organised. The thing... Continue reading
Posted Jan 4, 2021 at how we montessori
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I'm always interested to see what tools and toys other Montessori families use in their homes. Today I have compiled a list of the top materials ordered by HWM readers through Amazon in the year 2020. Some of these were predictable but there were also a few surprises! This post includes a ton of product links, if that isn't your thing please skip this post. I started writing this as a list of the top five items but for a few categories (like books), I found the list so interesting I just kept on going. The best selling items were... Continue reading
Posted Dec 31, 2020 at how we montessori
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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... Continue reading
Posted Dec 28, 2020 at how we montessori