Sunday Book Club: Autumn favourites 

As October ushers itself in today I thought I would share one of our favourite Autumnal books. 


Goodbye Summer Hello Autumn is the perfect story for a 3-6 child of a girl exploring her neighbourhood, taking in all the sights and sounds of the seasons changing. 

Today we chose to pack it into Quentin’s backpack and head out in search of our own changing seasons. 


All of a sudden we find ourselves back in jeans and layers. Walking through the forest on the way down to the Pacific Ocean, the air was cool and we noticed many of the leaves had already started to fall. 

We love taking books with us outdoors! Such an easy way to expand on the story. 

Happy October everyone!

Sunday Book Club: Community Gardens


We spent this glorious Autumn day in our Community Garden. We met good friends, cooked pizza in the cob oven and sipped tea from the carafe. 

Our community garden changes so much with each season, and so it’s nice to slow down and really take in all that it provides for our family. 


It is a place we gather to grow food sure, but it’s much much more. It offers endless Practical Life and Sensorial explorations for a child. The sights, sounds, tastes, smells and textures are limitless. 


It offers our family not only a chance to grow affordable food, but also meet like minded people from our diverse small community. It’s a gathering place for the community and our children get to meet so many different people that they perhaps wouldn’t cross paths with during our day. 


Most importantly Quentin gets to run free. It is a big, secure area with so many things to take in and he gets complete free range here. Jumping from rocks, splashing in the creek, just having fun. 


This book is the perfect companion to veteran gardeners or also those just starting out. 

It is wonderfully diverse in its characters and tells a simple story of build a garden in an unexpected place in the city. 


It is accompanied by interesting facts and helpful tips for starting a little green space and attracting wildlife whether in an urban or rural area. 

If a garden isn’t quite possible for you this year, why not check out a farmers market near you and show your child all the awe and wonder of growing things. 

September Nature Study: Forest Floor

September is settling in nicely around here. We find ourselves wearing long sleeves and pants all of a sudden. 

Our September Nature Study is perfect for the cooler days and slower family rhythms. 

We have been using these gorgeous materials from Tanglewood Hollow to compliment our study. They are perfect with just enough information as well as being portable so we can actually take them out on hikes with us. 


Our time is the rainforest has proven to be exactly what we need. Giving us some time to energize ourselves after the first busy weeks back at school. Looking for different types of ferns, lichen and mushrooms has been a fascinating treasure hunt. 

A note of caution: We have poisonous mushrooms here and therefore we never touch them unless with a trained guide. We would recommend you do the same. 


We have also been talking about the importance of rotting logs. There are some beautiful examples of this where we live. New life growing from old and the continuation of the biome. 


There is so much see in the forest in Autumn. If you have yet to start a Nature Study, why not try a walk in the woods. 

Montessori and plastic animals: A lifetime of learning

It’s no secret we love Schleich animals. Our Montessori Grammar Farm has grown from its humble beginnings and remains one of our most used open ended toys we have. 


We first wrote about our use of Schleich figurines here. At 13 months (corrected age because he is a preemie) Quentin used a small selection of animals familiar to him for vocabulary work, and exploration. People often ask us to clarify the use of plastic over wood, especially when the Montessori pedagogy is known for its use of natural materials. 

The answer is a simple one. Reality based material trumps natural material every time. It is far more important for a child to see that a cow has four hooved feet that are distinctly different from a pigs cloven feet than for every material to be made of a natural material. 

It is also extremely important to note that the Montessori pedagogy advocates for real world experiences for children. So although having all the African animals is very sweet looking on your shelves, your young child will have no concept of how tall a giraffe really is, or the size difference between a gorilla and a chimpanzee unless they have had a chance to see these animals in real life. It’s for this reason that we chose North American farm animals as the animals we first introduced to Quentin. And as it turns out (five years later) these and his Forest animals are the only ones he’s ever needed models of. 


We wrote this post two years ago as his farm had expanded and the animals he originally had were still holding up. 


This is his farm today. 


He has used it in many Montessori language works such as “Nouns in the Environment” “Logical Adverbs” and simply just word building with the Moveable Alphabet. 


And of course, most importantly he uses it to play. The animals pictured are the same ones he used when he was 13 months. This is the reason we choose Schleich. Because they look as new as they did 5 years ago. 

Opened ended play is an overlooked piece of Montessori because many confuse it with fantasy play which is not condoned in Montessori. Imaginative, child led reality based play is very much encouraged. So his horses definitely don’t fly, or talk (because those are untrue concepts perpetuated by adults to children) they most definitely, nibble hay, gallop quickly, prance slowly and fall into the category of Mammal. 

This kind of play helps a child understand their world and gives an adult endless opportunities to open up age appropriate conversations with kids. Everything from vocabulary building in toddlers to life cycles for preschoolers to “A day in the life of a farmer” sequencing for elementary kids. 


So while I go back to driving the tractor up to the orchard to harvest the ripe apples, consider adding animal figurines in a purposeful way to your child’s environment. Think about the ways you can open your child’s eyes to the beauty of the animal world and it may surprise you what you learn together. 

Sunday Book Club: Fall Leaves

I love a good Autumnal picture book. 


Fall Leaves by Loretta Holland and Ella MacKay
This has been one of our favourites for a while and it’s always a little bittersweet for me pulling it out of storage. It means that Summer has gone. 

So, on this our Canadian Thanksgiving, I thought instead of feeling wistful, I would share it with you and welcome in Autumn. 

Elly MacKay’s paper dioramas are stunning as always. What we love about this book is that the text is simple but pared well with more detailed information such as the migration of geese, weather patterns and the shortening daylight. 


A good book for costing up under a blanket with.