International Peace Day 


International Peace Day

The work of Montessori Peace Education is not reserved to one day. Instead, we labour against the norm. 

Against a culture that often promotes hatred, fear and anger. 

Against a world that highlights our differences as unacceptable. 

Instead we share the kindness. 

The Grace. 

The Courtesy. 

And we do it with the most important, influential member of our society. 

The Child. 

#sharethejoy #desmundtutu

Sunday Book Club: They All Saw a Cat 

“The cat walked through the world with its whiskers, ears, and claws. . .”


 

They All Saw a Cat is an fantastic new release about how different animals see the world. From a bird’s eye view to a skunk’s view of a black and white world, each animal sees the cat differently. 

So beautiful, fun and educational. There is also a deeper message. We each see the world slightly differently. But it is the same beautiful world. We can embrace our differences and be mindful of everyone’s unique view. 

Autumn: Materials, nature study and slowing down


September is always such a busy time. Back to school, work, extra curricular activities. The weather changes and we notice a change in our home too. 

We try to be more mindful, and take things slowly. It’s a challenge, but it means so much to the boys. It’s the small things that make the most difference. We change our rhythm, when the mornings are still dark at the sound of the alarm clock. We add in candles and quiet sitting on the couch together as the house darkens at the end of the day. We make more time to go slowly, gently and to be mindful that even though the days are a little colder and a little shorter, it is still important to be outside. 

If you have been following along on Instagram you will have seen our nature study adventures. We are using this book because it is so perfect for Montessori families both homeschooling and otherwise. 

I stumbled across Calli at Sparrow and Lilies and her absolutely excellent companion Nature Study to this book. We needed something to ground us. To focus us in a gentle way while opening up the world of nature study to us. This is perfect. And better still, it’s free. 

Quentin returned to school for his 3rd (already!) year of Casa. We make a point not to have the classic Montessori materials in our home space as he uses those all week at school. However, we have added some materials to his space that reference the change of seasons. 


This layered seasons puzzle is still popular one year after getting it. I love that it has the control of error on the side so the child can check their work independently. 


Quentin has used our Seasons mat and Sun every day when he gets home from school. He loves examining the subtle changes in the different seasons and singing the months of the year song. It is a beautiful material that takes time and care to use. I think this grounds him after a long day. 

Autumn happens slowly in our part of the world. We don’t have the drop in temperature at night and frosty mornings that the rest of Canada does. It makes it a littler harder to admit that summer is gone. 

I have a post in the works for our favourite Autumn themed books and would love you to share any that are your favourites. 

Sunday Book Club: Nature Journalling


We love being submersed in nature. There are so many beautiful experiences to offer to a child, by simply being out in nature. 

Collecting treasures from our trips as well as memories came naturally and with that came the need for a place to store everything. 


Nature journalling can be as simple or elaborate as you’d like. We chose the simpler side and I enlisted some help. 



This book came highly recommended and I’m so glad we got it. It is gorgeous, takes us through every stage and sets the bar high for our future journalling to strive to. 
The pages are beautiful enough for both Quentin and I to just flip through and discuss. From flowers to animals to landscapes we have poured over its pages. 

My hope is that Quentin may decide to use this independently as he gets older and it will certainly hold out for him if he does.  

Sunday Book Club: Best Montessori back to School Books

Hello September. For those of us in the Northren hemisphere we gathering school supplies and retrieving lost lunch boxes. 

Montessori back to school has similarities with mainstream education. The first few days are spent getting to know the ground rules and making new friends. However, there are some important differences. 

Grace and Courtesy lessons are introduced the first day of school. What’s expected of the child is modelled with role play lessons not written down on a chalkboard. Real life examples are used and the children take part actively instead of sitting in their desks listening to the rules. 

If this is your child’s first time going to school it can be a little intimidating and so I’ve compiled our favourite books to help prepare little ones as the head off. 



A little Peace is one of our favorite Peace Education books. It is perfect for the first weeks of school and anytime after that. It’s photographs show children all around the world sharing a smile, lending a hand, and spreading peace. It focuses on an important Grace and Couresty lesson. That peace can happy easily, by offering those around you the simplest of jestures. 
The Invisible Boy puts the reader in the shoes of Brian. A small shy boy who is kind and has a gift for drawing but is picked last for teams, whispered about at the lunch table and wishes the floor would swallow him up. The illustrations are beautiful and I love that there are discussion prompts in the end pages. This is a great book to open up conversations with a child about friendship and respect for others. 

Jack goes to Montessori School is my absolute favorite back to school Montessori book. There are many books about a kindergarten day or a preschool day but sadly very few about what a Montessori 3-6 child experiences in their school day. How goodbyes are said, how to roll out a mat, what the classroom looks like and what materials are used are all featured. This book should be read by every Montessori family and should be in every Montessori schools lending library. 

Giving children ample time to process the transition to school is important. Giving them a head start on the Grace and Courtesy lessons will go a long way to helping them feel connected and at home in the classroom. 

Sunday Book Club: Awesome nature resource books for school

The weather has changed. There is a crispness in the air suddenly. Talks of school (whether at home or away) have been circulating in our friend circles. With that, the conversation ultimately turns to books. Old ones we pull out of storage and dust off, and new ones that we have passed in book store windows or online that have sparked our interest. 

I am always looking for nature resource books. These books are my greatest love both in my 3-6 classroom and at home. They often have the best quality illustrations, can be used by even the youngest child, and the good ones will keep a child turning the pages for hours. 



Amazing Animal Journeys by Jason Cockroft
Such a beautiful resource of animals that migrate around the world. 


Quentin thought it was hilarious that this book almost matched the Montessori colours for the globe. The beautiful illustrations and simple but interesting text are what drew me in. An excellent book to add to an animal life cycle study or biome study. 


Natural World by Amanda Wood
This book should be on every shelf, in every school, everywhere. It has been celebrated in good book circles around the world and I was lucky enough to find it at our tiny library. This will be one that we purchase for Quentin’s Montessori home space. 


It’s attention to detail is superb. It carefully uses coloured tabs to classify subjects into 3 areas. The introduction page speaks for itself. 


We have been using it with our August nature study of a pond, but it will have far more applications in the months and even years to come. This book will last us long after Quentin has left the 3-6 classroom. It is suitable for a child 3-12 years. 


Quentin loves that it has included penguins.

Are you looking for good quality resource books to fill your learning space? Ones with beautiful illustrations or photos mixed with the right amount of information will keep them coming back for years to com. 

Summer Road Trip Part 2: Our travel activities 


Summer road trips are such amazing opportunities for adventure and learning. But they can also be stressful. Hot and long, both parents and children soon find themselves tired and irritable. To avoid this we plan our trips carefully and think about how we can minimize the stress. We also think about safety. 

Our road speeds in Canada vary, but they are usually set around 100 kilometres an hour. That means everything in the car is travelling at 100kms an hour. Loose objects in the car can become dangerous weapons even at much slower speeds. Plastics shatter as easily as glass and books hit as hard as boulders. So when packing things for Quentin to do in the car, we always put safety first. 

Our number one pick is the small iPod Suffle with volume limiting, child sized headphones. We put lots of his favourite music and some audio books on there. It is small, compact and easy to use. Quentin will often only do this on long trips. He is content to sit and listen. 


“Busy Books” are another favourite. Sewing, matching games and felt dress up figures. This one was made for us as a gift. 

A small soft covered Moleskine note book and our Lyra Ferby pencils are another favourite. He can draw, or just make notes. 

He keeps everything including some water in a water bottle in the little backpack shown here. The pack keeps his things contained, in a soft shell and he takes each out one at a time to work. 

We also talk. About what we see, the things we are going to do etc. 

Even with activities, small children still need to stretch their legs. So we make sure to plan stops. Things that will enrich our trip, give Quentin an opportunity to run around and just have some fun. We Follow the Child. Quentin can usually go 1.5-2 hours in the car without stopping. If your child needs more frequent stops, respect that by giving their little bodies what they need. 


For Quentin it’s penguins. If we are near our closest aquarium (which we almost never are) we always stop. 


Then there’s the hotels. They must have a pool, for night time cooling off before bed. When we get there, we make sure it’s a big comfy bed for him to lay out on. A bed he gets all to himself. We let him bounce, make forts and just, well, just be a kid.