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Inspire, Engage, Delight!  Tools, toys and treasures for children inspired by the Montessori philosophy.

We've been building bots today! Using our Clip Circuit kit we created an 'Intelligent Rover' - a battery powered vehicle that uses a sensor to detect obstacles and automatically changes course to avoid them. The process was complex, and took a long period of concentration and fine-tuning, and by the end of it we were so proud of our engineering team for their persistence and problem-solving. The joy of watching our Rover come to life before our eyes was wonderful! #mymontessoripreschool #montessorichild #mymontessorichild #montessoristem #montessoriscience

Combining measurement and mathematics with fine motor work!
The child uses the syringe to measure 5ml increments of liquid into the 3-dimensional vessels (cube, cylinder and so on). The child records how many repetitions they need to fill the vessel, then uses a calculator to multiply the number of repetitions times 5 to find the volume of the vessel.
We used our View-Thru Geometric Solids from our online store but it could be achieved with jars or containers from home.
The fellow in these photos was 4 at the time of the task, I'd recommend the full sequence for ages 4 plus, but younger children can still use the syringe to observe and experiment with measuring volume (but they might not record and calculate).
#mymontessoripreschool #montessoristem #montessorimaths #stemearlychildhood #earlychildhoodstem

Winter has just arrived (down here in the Southern Hemisphere!) so we've been doing some weather science in the classroom! Water, a jar, shaving cream and some blue watercolour paint (or food colouring) are all that you need to start learning about rain! The water in the jar represents the atmosphere, with the layer of shaving cream acting as the cloud. As the liquid colour is squeezed onto the top of the "cloud" it becomes heavier until eventually the cloud bursts and the "rain" starts to fall down. A really simple first exploration of weather patterns - and an almost hypnotic visual attraction to watch! #mymontessoripreschool #montessoriscience #montessoristem #stemeducation

"We especially need imagination in science. It is not all mathematics, nor all logic, but it is somewhat beauty and poetry."
Dr Maria Montessori

I love this quote and the way that it invokes the magic, creative leaps and artistry that are inherent in the process of experimentation, inquiry and discovery!
We've been talking STEM a lot within our teaching team lately. There are so many ways to introduce science, and its magic, to young children. Over the next few weeks we will share some of our favourite 'Simple STEM' experiences - tasks that are not overly complicated (and don't require elaborate materials or an adult with particular expertise) but that inspire children to get hands-on with the wonderful worlds of science, technology, engineering and maths!
#montessori #montessoriquotes #montessoristem #stemeducation #stemearlychildhood

Here are some things that I love...
I love that earlier this week my husband gave me 'The Little Book of Feminist Saints' for my birthday. I appreciate that he values and celebrates my feminism! It means a lot that when I 'bang the feminist drum' (as others have called it) he reaches for the speaker and turns the dial up to 11 rather than covering his ears.

I love that when only 100 inspirational women were chosen for this book, from the rich pool of incredible historical and contemporary figures, they made sure to include Dr Maria Montessori.

And I love my mum. She isn't in the book, but she is the most significant influence in my life and the feminist hero who proves to me, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that women are a force to be reckoned with who can survive anything life throws at them and achieve anything they set their minds to.
#happybirthdaymum
#mymontessorimum #montessorimum #feministicons #mariamontessorifeminist

Lest we forget the spirit and the sacrifices of the Anzacs.
My own Montessori preschool happens to be next door to our local RSL, so we have a yearly tradition of the children making Anzac biscuits and delivering them to our neighbours. This year I couldn't personally participate in that process with them, as I'm currently on a placement at another centre as part of my university studies, but I thank my colleagues at Jescott for continuing the tradition in my absence and I enjoyed exploring the message and meaning of Anzac Day with a new group of little friends.
#montessoriforpeace #educationforpeace #anzacday

My weekend was spent with my 94 year old Grandad - a remarkable person with a heart of gold, almost a century worth of wisdom, and a cheeky sense of quick-witted humour. He inspires me so much, and reminds me how important our elders are in guiding us, supporting us and presenting something we can aspire to. #montessori #mymontessorichild #mymontessorigrandad

"The hand is the instrument of intelligence."
Dr Maria Montessori
#mymontessorichild #montessori #montessorinumeracy

Getting ready to enjoy a nice warm cuppa on a rainy afternoon, courtesy of Jan from ACASA (Australian Childcare Alliance - South Australia) who generously surprised me with this gift after my presentation this morning about applying Positive Psychology principles in early childhood to ensure that individuals and services can grow from 'Functioning to Flourishing'. It was an absolute privilege and pleasure to share my passion for Positive Psychology and I hope the attendees walked away feeling empowered by some practical tools to apply in their own lives! Thanks to the attendees for their incredible energy! #positivepsychology #mindfulnessmatters #flourish

Dr Montessori viewed children as a "hope and promise for mankind" and believed that education could be a tool for promoting peace by nurturing peaceful citizens from their earliest days. I imagine she would be immensely proud to see the courageous teenagers who have orchestrated the March for our Lives campaign. Those young people, and the hundreds of thousands of people who turned out to support the cause, are taking steps towards a more peaceful society. #educationforpeace #montessori #montessoripeace

One of the challenges of education is finding the right balance of academic vs intellectual knowledge. Academic knowledge constitutes the "facts and figures" - the quantifiable information that can be easily tested, as it has "right or wrong" answers. Intellectual knowledge is more about processes than products - the intellectual skills, tools and dispositions that facilitate an individual's planning, problem-solving, designing, creating and critical thinking. Both of these matter and need to coexist, but in what measures? Schools too often put "academic knowledge" at the very centre of the curriculum - the "facts" are the foundation of everything that happens in the classroom and teachers have to hope that the intellectual skills will be developed along the way almost as an incidental byproduct of acquiring that academic content. Yet it rarely works that way, because a narrow curriculum focusing on specific content with predetermined intended outcomes does not inspire (or even allow for!) the kind of innovative and self-direction thinking necessary for developing those intellectual abilities. So what if we turned it the other way around - making intellectual processes the core of the curriculum, and the aim of education, and then making it the teacher's role to find the right moments within that to link the child'a exploration with particular content or information. I believe Montessori achieves that balance - making the process the core of what we do, while still making information accessible to the child within that intellectually activating environment. #futureschools #intellectualdevelopment #montessori #montessorichild

Well this just makes me so happy! I can't count how many times I've watched Sir Ken Robinson's videos and interviews online, so it was incredibly special to hear him speaking in person today. He was eloquent, impassioned and motivational - with his trademark charm and wit punctuating every poignant message! Was an honour to have a brief chat as he signed copies of his books - including his latest one that speaks directly to parents about what to look for in schools. I started reading "You, Your Child and School: Navigate Your Way to the Best Education" whilst in the line for the signing and already I can see what an amazing resource it will be for parents (and for schools who are trying to help parents understand the importance of pedagogical progressions they might be implementing!)
#futureschools #sirkenrobinson #kenrobinson #theelement

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