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howwemontessori
Sydney, Australia
Recent Activity
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We love to use play dough. We always have a play dough tray on our art shelves but our tray is often cluttered, full of cookie cutters, rolling pins, and other random items. Sometimes my child spends more time looking in the tray than playing with the play dough. So I was considering what a play dough tray looks like in Montessori environments. I've only seen play dough trays in Montessori toddler classrooms (18months-3yrs). The play dough trays I've seen present the play dough with only one tool, usually some kind of stamper or cutter. Presenting the play dough with... Continue reading
Posted 14 hours ago at how we montessori
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We traveled to the Gold Coast this long weekend. It's our first time flying since COVID hit last year. I flew alone with Otto (3yrs) and Otto also spent a lot of time watching his brothers' sporting events. So before leaving home I put together eight activities to take with us. These activities are generally open-ended activities that promote concentration and calm, that are also quiet and clean. The activities I prepared include: Colour-blast - we also love Water Wow. Colour-blast uses a special marker that only works on the paper provided. Water Wow is also fantastic as the water... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at how we montessori
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If you don't have a lot of space in your home, a cleaning caddy may be a good way to store some of your children's cleaning supplies. A cleaning caddy keeps everything together and it's easy to move around the home. Often I hear from parents concerned about the cost of Montessori. So I set myself the challenge of creating a Children's Cleaning Caddy for under $10. I took my time looking around our local stores and I found a lot of great materials like a small dustpan for $1 and an art caddy for $3, but I couldn't get... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at how we montessori
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Teeth brushing can be a battle in our home. My three-year-old Otto loves to brush his teeth but he resists fiercely when I try to have a look in his mouth and when I try to follow up with adult brushing. At three years we allow him to lead the process, but there is no way to get around that we still need to brush his teeth. We haven't conquered this, but as dental hygiene is so important I still want to discuss our overall approach. How do you approach teeth brushing in your home in a respectful and peaceful... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at how we montessori
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Have you considered introducing a handsaw to your home or classroom woodworking area? Introducing a saw into a Montessori or other child-led environment requires careful forethought and planning. Montessori parents who have already introduced their children to real knives in the kitchen may find it easier to introduce a saw in the woodworking area as the principles are similar. Our focus is on supervision, preparing the environment, and scaffolding skills. Benefits from using a saw with children include: allows the child to cut different lengths of wood and having greater creative control over their work. can provide a sense of... Continue reading
Posted Jun 7, 2021 at how we montessori
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1. / 2. / 3. / 4. / 5. / 6. / 7. I feel strongly about providing children with the opportunity to draw, scribble and make marks. Before we start I want to note there are a lot of reasons to provide crayons and pencils before markers. Crayons and pencils provide more feedback to the child, they may be easier to clean off surfaces and they are by far more eco-friendly. But as our children age, we may find ourselves introducing markers into our classrooms and homes. Many children love using markers, the colours are often super bright and... Continue reading
Posted Jun 4, 2021 at how we montessori
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Today I'm sharing some important points about the Prepared Environment by Meghan Hicks. Meghan is Montessori trained 0-18, she has worked in various Montessori schools, homeschools her two sons, tutors students privately, and is a Montessori teacher trainer/lecturer. Meghan has vast experience in Montessori homes and schools and this article is as equally relevant to teachers and guides in the classroom as it is to parents in the home. I hope you find it useful! _________________________________________________ There are six principles to preparing the environment for the child, and they are all met through the exercises of practical life. Freedom Our... Continue reading
Posted Jun 2, 2021 at how we montessori
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Today I'm excited to share a Montessori make-over for these play/work shelves. What would you do to make this space more functional and engaging for a two-year-old? What would you change? These shelves are in the living area of a Paddington (NSW, AU) terrace. This is home to Nadia (2yrs), Theodore (6yrs), and their parents. This is a multi-purpose living area used as a play space and music area with a piano and guitar just out of view. There isn't enough room here for a children's table and chairs as it would take up most of the available floor space.... Continue reading
Posted May 31, 2021 at how we montessori
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Today I'm sharing four art activities that we've tried this week. I often share activities using commonly found household objects or items from nature, however, these activities all require specific art materials. All of these activities help to develop fine motor skills. I would recommend them generally from 3.5 years+. Wikki Stix Modelling - we love to use Wikki Stix (AU here) and presenting them on a tray helps to keep them all together and saves the table from getting all waxy. I also like to present them with scissors so my child can cut them to size. As much... Continue reading
Posted May 27, 2021 at how we montessori
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We wanted to upgrade Otto's (3yrs) bed to a full single-size bed. His previous bed served us well, the Montessori floor bed in this room was made specifically to fit into a small nook in his UK bedroom. His bedroom here in Australia is much larger but I still wanted a bed low to the ground. A mattress direct on the floor can work wonderfully especially for those in the infant or early toddler stages, but lots of families like to have their children's beds just off the ground for ventilation or to avoid spiders and bugs, and I also... Continue reading
Posted May 25, 2021 at how we montessori
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Yesterday my three-year-old spent an hour hammering nails into a large piece of balsa wood, and today he made the simple creations pictured above with nails and glue, so woodworking is very much on my mind. Our woodworking setup isn't working as well as it could. I'm looking for a better way of storing our tools and displaying materials like nails and other add ons. The ideas I'm featuring here aren't all project-type ideas (think process, not product) but they are ideas on activities and tools to introduce to Preschool and PreK students and ways to display or manage their... Continue reading
Posted May 21, 2021 at how we montessori
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Today I'm sharing a few of our new practical life trays that are for older three-year-olds to four-year-olds. Otto pictured here is 3yrs and 8months (44 weeks) and these are all new to him, I would not have introduced them sooner as they require a bit of strength and coordination, but you know your child best. A couple of weeks ago I introduced filling the pepper mill and my child loved not only filling but using the pepper mill. So I've expanded on this mill/grinding type of activity. I hope you find some of these ideas useful! This Spice Mill... Continue reading
Posted May 19, 2021 at how we montessori
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Many activities in art or sewing rely on the child being able to tie a knot, or rely on an adult being available to tie the knots. At Forest School we often make nature mobiles or garlands which needs lots of knots. Sewing buttons, embroidery work, beading also requires knots and my three year old gets frustrated when he needs help to complete the work. Rope is also a fun loose parts material that can be used in construction, block building or building forts. I decided to present knot tying (as above) as an independent, isolated activity. This is to... Continue reading
Posted May 17, 2021 at how we montessori
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Libraries and bookstores are two of my favourite places. Very rarely does our library have children's new release books available so I love to visit our local bookstore and see what is in. Often I bring home books that were not on my list because I've found something different or I've taken the recommendations of the bookstore staff! This morning we visited our local Harry Hartog Bookstore, then took our books and some lunch to the park. Want to see what books we chose? This book is SO good!! Whose Bones: An Animal Guessing Game, Board Book by Gabrielle Balkan... Continue reading
Posted May 14, 2021 at how we montessori
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I recently noticed an activity on Itty Bitty Love (Anne, a Montessori teacher's blog) where her students clicked Carabiners together to make a chain as an activity to develop fine motor skills. I thought it was a fabulous idea and most of all, I knew my three-year-old would love it. Carabiners are simple snap hooks that you can find at camping, hiking, sports, local hardware stores or perhaps even in your garage. Ours are coloured but you can also find them inexpensively in plain colours too. They also come in different sizes. I presented Otto (43 months) with three different... Continue reading
Posted May 12, 2021 at how we montessori
I recently visited Kickstarter to back Earthtiles new Kickstarter project - Earthtiles Colours! If you are not familiar with Earthtiles they are wooden magnetic tiles for children, previously they were only available in one natural colour. If the Kickstarter campaign is funded the new set will have 100 tiles in five colours and shapes. They are made with sustainably sourced wood and painted with child-safe colours. But Kickstarter is all or nothing, and this project needs your support with only three days to go. By backing this project we can get fresh colours and new shapes of Earthtiles at a... Continue reading
Posted May 10, 2021 at how we montessori
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We've had a crazy week with the children suffering injury and illness, so today I wanted to share something really bright and cheerful. What could be more cheerful than Montessori home art areas? These areas are doable, practical and also beautiful. In some of these areas you can see specifically what activities are presented, what art materials are used, and the little features that make a difference. All of these areas are impeccably organised. I hope you enjoy! Wow, this family has used Magna-Tiles in the windows to create some wonderful coloured light. I can see large post-it note on... Continue reading
Posted May 7, 2021 at how we montessori
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I know not everyone has access to a Toy Library, but today I want to share our most recent finds from our local Toy Library. Our Toy Library operates from our Council run Library however to borrow you need a seperate membership card and pay a small fee. We visit the library almost every week and we have found some wonderful toys! Here are seven toys that we currently have on loan. I've included links to some of the items in case you want to see more detail. Hopefully this will give you ideas of toys that might appeal to... Continue reading
Posted May 5, 2021 at how we montessori
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One of the most important things Montessori has taught me is not to limit the child due to their age, but rather follow their interests and ability. I've also learnt that no matter what we are teaching the child, there is a natural progression, we start with one skill and keep on adding as long as the child's interest and ability keep up. In keeping up with Otto's (43 months) woodworking we've recently introduced a hand drill. Everywhere I read said wait until the child is four before introducing a hand drill, but as he's had so much exposure to... Continue reading
Posted May 3, 2021 at how we montessori
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My children love Sushi but when we make it at home Otto (3yrs) will play with and eat all of the rice. So I was thinking, why not make Onigiri. Onigiri are Japanese rice balls traditionally made in a triangular shape and wrapped with Nori. We've taken a slightly different approach and used children's rice moulds. Some Japanese parents use these moulds to make decorative rice balls for school lunchboxes. Onigiri can be left plain or have toppings or fillings. For now we've decided to keep our Onigiri plain. I presented Otto with various rice moulds, just cooked (warm) Sushi... Continue reading
Posted Apr 30, 2021 at how we montessori
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Children can be so industrious! Young children in the three to six years age range are really motivated to work, to be actively helping and doing. It may seem usual to those outside the Montessori world but at this age we can teach children to sew on buttons. Sewing on buttons is typically introduced from 3.5 years. When my older two children were in Montessori classrooms they would regularly bring home little pieces of fabric with buttons attached. When introducing this activity to my three year old (43 months) we started with burlap on an embroidery hoop. We used large... Continue reading
Posted Apr 28, 2021 at how we montessori
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Children's bedrooms in Montessori homes are all about warmth, comfort, supporting developing autonomy and independence. Today I want to share eight Montessori bedrooms that I've recently discovered. This is Miss J's room and she has lots of beautiful Montessori inspired spaces here, including some work shelves, food prep area and dressing area. The little chair looks super comfortable and the low bed allows for freedom of movement. The neutrals in here are lovely! This is Hunter's room. I love this peek into his play/work area too. This room looks super comfortable with lots of room for moving around. I love... Continue reading
Posted Apr 27, 2021 at how we montessori
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"Many cultures around the world stop for tea. It is a time to slow down, talk with one another, and renew the spirit. For children it can be a time to teach life skills, manners and socialization." "There is such pride for children to get to host a guest, serve food that they have prepared and then be trusted to carry the beautiful, fragile teacup. Shared social experiences follow. Children learn to chat and make polite conversation. They feel the empowerment of saying, please, thank you and may I get you some more? The children feel affirmed!" - Spring Tea:... Continue reading
Posted Apr 23, 2021 at how we montessori
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I'm never at a loss to find new practical life activities. I look around our home and think of all the things my three-year-old still has to learn! How about learning to fill the pepper mill or using a combination lock? Here are four new practical life activities we've been trying this week. Filling a Pepper Mill - dry pouring with a funnel, including opening and closing the mill. The funnel is interesting to use, if you pour in too much or too quickly in it will get blocked, the child needs to pour the peppercorns slowly and smoothly. We... Continue reading
Posted Apr 21, 2021 at how we montessori
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What are your children making today? It's a cold day and we are having friends over for dinner. So I was thinking of making homemade pizza. What goes best with homemade pizza? It has to be homemade garlic bread! I enlisted my three-year-old to help. Garlic bread doesn't need a recipe but I wanted to show you our steps. Just to say, we can, if we have the time, we can include our young children in the making and baking but also we can include them in hosting, in demonstrating hospitality towards our guests. Otto (3yrs) couldn't do this all... Continue reading
Posted Apr 19, 2021 at how we montessori