Our Montessori Shelves: 4.5 years old


Freshly cleaned shelves and rotated materials. Such an inviting space and a great way to start the weekend.
Top left – right:

  • Children of the World atlas
  • Heartfelt Emotional Intelligence doll (later placed on shelves)
  • Little Passports suitcase and Big Ben 
  • Montessori Continents Globe

Middle left – right:

  • Musical instruments figures & cards
  • Montessori Blue Series Language cards
  • Moveable Alphabet 
  • Composition book


Bottom left – right:

  • Diatonic Bells & felt notes with mat
  • Montessori clock work (hours & half hours)
  • Montessori Large Number Cards
  • DIY Montessori Stamp Game


Top left – right:

  • DIY light box 
  • Walking the line bell
  • Nature Tray
  • Nature Study samples 

Middle left – right:

  • Seasons puzzle
  • Parts of a Pumpkin puzzle
  • Animals of the world tokens
  • Heartfelt Emotional Intelligence doll

Bottom left – right:

  • Knitting fork & wool
  • Parts of a Pumpkin 3 Part Cards
  • World Landmarks figures & cards 
  • Orchestra toy

They are ready and waiting for a small boy. Enjoy your weekend. 

Our Montessori Life: A snapshot

While Quentin polishes his wooden barn, some of the animals get a temporary display. 

With Montessori, the emphasis is always placed on realistic good quality. Our Schleich animals have held up for 3 years and look just as good as the day we purchased them. 

You can see all of our toy farm posts over on our Instagram feed, or search “Farm” here in our search window. 


We first started collecting animals for the farm when Quentin was 15 months and you can read about our first Montessori toddler activities with them here.

If you are looking to introduce animal figures into your Montessori at home space, look for quality and realism. Collecting them over time means that you don’t need to put a lot of money into them upfront and they will hold your child’s interest for years. 

Montessori Nature Study: Field Trip

We are studying rocks, minerals and fossils this month as part of Nature Study found here

We decided to go and find some big rocks. 


We are lucky enough to live in a place where we can easily find them. The caution sign is not to be taken lightly. He’s standing in the edge of a 60 meter (200 foot) drop. 


Getting out and exploring is so much more fulfilling for a child than simply looking at images in books or on media. We took our time, brought a picnic lunch and enjoyed this rare sunny November day. 


Adventuring doesn’t have to be difficult. A bag with snacks, a blanket, pencils and a notebook are all you need. Instead of the same old trip to the park see where else adventure might lie close by. 

If you have a favourite destination, big or small let us know. We’d love to feature your story. 

Our Montessori Nature Study: Trees – Driftwood

For the month of October we are studying trees. We live in a perfect spot to do this. Lately we have been observing the differences in bark, counting tree rings and classifying leaves. 

Quentin was feeling unwell today so I thought we could do something a little different while keeping with our theme. We went in search of some big drift wood. 


And when I say big, I really do mean it. 


Standing on the root system of a giant tree, he surveys the world around him. The picture is deceiving. I had to lift him up and he is standing higher than I am. 


We also used my Olloclip to get some macro shots of the tree. We observed what the salt water had done to the wood. 

If Nature Study is something you’d like to take up, try starting small and simple. Nature can be found in both rural and urban areas. Pick a topic that is easily accessible to you, get some complementary materials and allow yourself and your child some uninterrupted observation time. 

You never know what you might find. 

Our Montessori Day at 4yrs old. 

Quentin and I are off together on Wednesdays. I thought it might be nice to capture our day in pictures. 

We don’t keep to a schedule. Like school he is free to choose his own activities. We also have limited academic focused materials in the home. True learning is holistic, and like and authentic Montessori environment, there is so much more to experience than just the academics. 

Instead it is more of a gentle rhythm that guides our day. 

And so here it is:


8:00am 

We are finished breakfast, gotten everyone else out the door, and have tidied up. I set up an art invitation. Quentin rarely chooses Art independently. Providing a prepared invitation while keeping Art free form can give the reluctant artist a chance to explore new things. 

In Montessori, Art at this age should never focus on the product. Only the process.


9:00am

Quentin chooses a Nature Study walk next. We head upstairs to get dressed and pack. At 4 he chooses his own clothes and dresses himself completely independently. Sometimes his socks or underwear get stuck, but for the most part it’s all him. Then it’s teeth brushed, hair combed and face washed. Having a Care of Self space in the bathroom mean these tasks (with the exception of toothbrushing) are also independently completed.

9:20am

Quentin escaped “preemie-hood” almost scot free. His lungs still need extra help everyday. 

9:30am

We arrive at our selected spot for the day. We live in an extremely eco-diverse region of Canada. We are lucky enough to have so many different nature choices around us. 

Today, Quentin chose the rainforest. Our Nature Study is child led. We stay as long as he wants to, stopping to observe something when interested. 


11:00am

We have come out of the forest and into the grocery store for lunch necessities. Small carts and lots of patience from adults help a child contribute to the family food prep. 


12:00pm

Back at home, and groceries put away, he decides on a hot sandwich to have with his fruit and veggies. A real child sized kitchen is essential in the Montessori Home environment. This is were Practical Life began all those years ago. Now, he stands quietly concentrating. He knows the skillet is hot and requires his attention. 


12:30pm

His reading is really picking up. He can read most CVC words and is beginning to work on phonograms. He chooses to come to his work space after lunch and get out his current reader. 


1:00pm

Self directed rest. He rarely makes it past 1pm. 

I find him in bed holding our current chapter book. “I’m ready for my rest Mama.” He is asleep before I finish reading 2 chapters. He usually naps 2-2.5 hours. 

1:00-3:00

This is my time to do what I need to. Dishes some days, cleaning or laundry others. This Wednesday afternoon was unexpectedly sunny and warm, and it couldn’t have felt more like Autumn. 

So I took advantage of the rare moment and took my book and a cup of tea out to the front deck to bask in all the golden warmth of the afternoon sun. 

Parenthood can feel like a whirlwind. Self care is what we teach our children but we often forget how important it is for us. 


3:30pm

Up from his nap and a tummy full of snack, he goes to his work space and freely chooses work. The light has changed. This room gets the afternoon sun and it’s interesting to observe Quentin in this space. In the quiet blue light of the morning, his work is slow, and simple. In the afternoon light, it changes completely into quick paced and purposeful. He works quickly laying out materials, finishing, and getting out the next thing. 


Next he chooses the DIY Stamp Game we made together over the Spring Break. This is a long work requiring lots of steps. Montessori allows a child to choose work when they feel called by it. To ask him to complete the Stamp game at 9am would have led to disaster. Him choosing to do it at 3:30pm when he is alert and in the right mind space leads to complete success and the positive experience to come back to it again another day. 

4:00pm

Anthony returns from school and my husband returns home shortly after. Quentin will often continue in his work space, choosing different activities or come up to the kitchen and help prepare dinner. 

After dinner there are walks in the neighbourhood if it’s nice out or playing together as a family if it’s not. Then the bedtime routine of bath and story and he’s asleep by 9pm.

Our days rush by all too quickly it seems. Stopping to capture them is something I need to do much more often. 

Practical Life: Kitchen tools at 4 years old

“Any child who is self-sufficient, who can tie his shoes, dress or undress himself, reflects in his joy and sense of achievement the image of human dignity, which is derived from a sense of independence.”  – Maria Montessori

Quentin has been prepping food and since he was 17 months old.


At 4 he is fairly self sufficient. 

We have recently added cooking with heat as seen here in this post. Having child sized real tools is crucial, but so is trusting your child. He now uses a regular kitchen knife. It is sharp enough to cut through carrots and other hard vegetables. His electric skillet (we use this one) gets hot enough to actually cook things quickly. This is not carelessness on our part. It happened slowly, with small steps mastered first and of course there is always adult supervision. 

The items pictured above are his most used food prep tools. The small grater is perfect because it has many attachments so he can use it as a grater, zester, juicer etc. 

His small rolling pin is the perfect weight for his still tiny hands and he has become pretty good at rolling out pastry. 

The kitchen is such an integral part of the home. It’s where families come together. If your child has yet to try some food prep, start slowly. Observe them to find their interest. Being in the kitchen is a wonderful way to connect to each other. 

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: 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. 

Sunday Book Club: Best Summer Exploration Books

With Autumn and Back to School looming just around the corner, we are compelled to spend as much time as we can outside. 

I love picture books that ask children to think outside the box. To be open minded, to try something new. All of these books do that. From finding wild in unexpected places, to bears trying new things. From finding an unlikely new friend to looking at the ordinary in an extraordinary way. 

These books invite a child to look at the world with awe and wonder. Two big, important words in the Montessori world. 

As an after note: “Explorers of the Wild” is written in the first person. Think hard about which of the Explorers it is. That is the genius of this book. We are more alike than different. 
Book info:

Summer Activities: Pond Exploration 

Quentin and I are finally off on holidays together. I had wanted to find a little nature project he might enjoy. 

We are lucky enough to have the Pacific on our doorstep, but we also have a few fresh water spots around. I found this fantastic nature study and wanted to try it with Quentin. August is about pond exploration. 


An inexpensive net, a clear plastic container for observation and a notepad for recording and you’re set. It’s easy for a young child to scoop the water, and examine their finds. 


Montessori always advocates for reality based experiences before abstract ones. Being able to go and actually see the ecosystem of the pond helped solidify concepts for him. 

He compares his findings to the reference book. 

It was a lovely way to spend a morning and as we carefully put the contents of the tub back, he made plans to return.