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

I have spent the past few days in Queensland with my Montessori Mum doing some research into intergenerational care and also working in collaboration with an amazing team of Montessori educators who are dedicated to transforming the way they document children's learning. I can't express how privileged I feel to be able to embark on these enlightening professional journeys, and the fact that I have my mum by my side as my colleague, my mentor and my best friend means the world to me. Travelling and working with mum also ensures that there are plenty of giggles along the way! And after a very cold few weeks back in Adelaide I must say that the sunshine didn't hurt either! Nothing like setting up the laptop at the beach front to get some sunshine sparking our creative flow!
#mymontessorimum #montessori #montessoriconsulting #montessoriagedcare

Relationships are the key that unlocks so much for a child. Today my Montessori mum and I are exploring an environment that builds special relationships by connecting children with their elders by operating an aged care facility and a child care on the same grounds with lots of interaction throughout each day. This type of intergenerational engagement is something we are eager to establish in our own environments so we can't wait to see such an embedded application in action.
Our elders carry with them such wisdom, experience and compassion that children can benefit from while reciprocating with their own contributions of care, curiosity and unconditional acceptance!
I know that my own grandparents were such a powerful and special influence on my early years - I can't imagine who I'd be without them and I was particularly privileged that in the last 2 years my Grandad became one of my best friends (and I'm still adjusting to his absence while carrying his influence forward). My own "intergenerational" interactions were formative as a child and as an adult they continued to challenge my assumptions and offer me a broader perspective on the world. We're not all lucky enough to have such close or ongoing access to our own grandparents, so we are eager to connect children with elders who can still have that positive impact that will carry our history into our future and ensure more joy, companionship and comfort for both ends of the age spectrum in the present!
#montessori #petergray #montessoriagedcare #mymontessorichild

I've been surrounded by Montessori for 29 years, teaching everyday in a Montessori classroom for 13 of them, and I'm still regularly surprised by the innovative uses of materials that children come up with! This construction took some initial inspiration from an extension card but the little learner went far beyond that as he designed his own pattern and engineered solutions to various challenges that emerged. It's an adaptation of the materials that stays true to their authentic purpose of encouraging visual and tactile discrimination of dimension and sequencing. #mymontessoripreschool #mymontessorichild #montessorisensorial

During the Happiness and Its Causes Conference, the Dalai Lama appeared via live video link and he spoke these wise words, which formed part of his overall message of hope, of compassion, and of a future where the whole world is intertwined. His belief is that education is the key to prepare us for that future. There is much darkness in the world right now but we must choose to not only look for the light that already exists but also to create more of it, especially through the way we guide our children.
#happinessanditscauses2018 #dalailama #hope

Books are definitely my weakness - especially when the authors are in the room and happy to sign a copy! I do see the irony that the top one is all about willpower when I have none of that in relation to buying books!!! But I definitely view books not as an expense but as an investment! #mylibrary #bookstagram #positivepsychology #happinessanditscauses2018

To help children flourish we need passionate people equipped with the tools to inspire resilience, growth and joy. That's what I found today at the Happiness and Its Causes Conference!
There were so many highlights and uplifting speakers but I was particularly delighted when I stumbled across a kindred spirit who has developed an incredible and innovative treasure chest of tools to help children understand, respect and regulate their emotions to experience higher levels of well-being.
Alice Peel, co-founder of Grow Your Mind, has worked alongside Kristina Freeman to develop engaging, empowering resources that present vital principles and practices of Positive Psychology to young children at home and at school. Alice and I not only share a belief in the transformative power of positive psychology, and the importance of introducing it in the early years, but we are also connected by Montessori - Alice's children attended a Montessori centre and it turns out she's ordered from Montessori Child! I was delighted to meet Alice and her authentic passion shone through in the way she spoke about the Grow Your Mind journey, especially its generous social enterprise projects to support schools and families in need.
I was captivated by the quality of their materials and deeply inspired by the depth of the message they express. I have already invested in a set for my classroom (and a Home Kit to show the families at preschool as I truly believe this is an invaluable resource for parents). I hope to stay connected to Grow Your Mind, as I think it holds so much positive potential, so you will surely hear more from me as time goes on but to go straight to the source - and more importantly to order your own resources - you can visit www.growyourmind.life
#happinessanditscauses2018 #positivepsychology #positiveeducation #growyourmind

I'm currently in Sydney for the "Happiness and Its Causes" positive psychology and well-being conference. I'm accompanied by my wonderful Montessori mum and my lovely niece. The conference begins tomorrow but to set the mood today we went in search of well-being. We found it in the views we savoured, the sunshine we soaked in as we read books in the park, the knowledge we absorbed as we walked through the museum and the simplicity we revisited as we kicked up the autumn leaves with each step we took on the way home. These were the ways we fuelled our souls today but we look forward to the conference tomorrow where we will learn about other ways to find and foster meaning, well-being, satisfaction and happiness not only for ourselves but for others.
#mymontessorifamily #positivepsychology #happinessanditscauses #findinghappiness

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

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