Sunday Book Club: Montessori Peace Education

This is education, understood as a help to life; an education from birth, which feeds a peaceful revolution and unites all in a common aim, attracting them as to a single centre…This is the bright new hope for mankind.” – Maria Montessori

Montessori Peace Education is at the forefront of my approach to the pedagogy and so when I was asked on our Instagram account last weekend to host a theme on another site, Peace Education is what I chose.

These are some of the materials use at home and in my Montessori 3-6 classroom. It is a simple exercise kept in a basket or tray that children can choose freely in the same way they would choose any other work.

The Emotions and Mindfulness cards are from Diamond Montessori and can be found here.

They are 3 Part Cards so there is an accompanying set of solo picture cards and also a set of solo word cards to match. They can be used with even the youngest of toddlers by simply exploring the different faces each child is making and we love that there is a wide range of ethnic diversity in them.

Our Love Light house. Both in my classroom and at home we use the concept of a love light, an internal light that can either shine brightly from each person or can be extinguished with nothing more than a little hot air. The concept comes from this book and we adapt many activities found in it to suit our needs.

This little dish was a gift from a dear Montessori friend and teacher. It is a beautiful pottery piece made by a local First Nations artist. We keep it in our Peace Tray and we fill it with freshly ground lavender when Quentin wants to. Sitting with it on a work mat a child can choose to smell the sweet and calming smell.

This book is a new addition and couldn’t have arrived at a better time. We have been anxiously awaiting it as it is absolutely perfect for a 3-6 year old child to actively engage with.

The pictures are simple and so is the text but the message is a powerful one.

Each of these activities and many many more are so easy to take the time to do with children. The sense of calm they can invoke in a child is remarkable and will help a child with so many important social emotional aspects.

Book Club Year End: Best Non Fiction 2016

We absolutely adore good quality non fiction books in this house. Ones that are gathered carefully and mindfully have the opportunity to last for years. 

This year was an excellent one for children’s books both fiction and non fiction and it was hard to narrow down our top choices, but nevertheless, here they are:

Atlas of Oddities has loads of interesting facts such as Metallica was the first band to play live on Antarctica. The modern clean pictures that accompany the facts are perfect for us. With so much detail, yet easily laid out, this book will last us years. 
Shackleton’ Journey is excellent and geared towards the 6-12 Second Plane, but it also suits one particular four year old boy who loves penguins. A story of the epic journey in detail, the drawings open up deeper conversations, and give an opportunity to expand learning. 
Insect Emporium is the perfect addition to anyone’s Nature Table. The drawings are gorgeous and there is just enough info to intrigue a 3-6 year old without overwhelming them. It is a must for insect lovers both adult and child alike. 
Hello Atlas holds the illustrations of on of our favourite artists Kenard Pak. This is our absolute favourite non fiction this year. This book focuses on the language differences of peoples and cultures around the world. However it is in that focus that the reader learns just how similar we all are and that really all it takes is just a friendly hello to a stranger. An extremely important message going into 2017. 
If you are looking for Montessori friendly non fiction books here are some hints:

  • Realistic, science based and age appropriate are paramount features 
  • Beauty like anything else in the Montessori environment is important. Choose books that are beautifully laid out. 
  • Awe and Wonder are some of the most important words in the Montessori world. Choose books that invoke both awe and wonder not just in the child, but in yourself. 

Our favourite Montessori friendly books to give 

We love giving books. They are such a simple gift but the benefits last a child their lifetime. 

There are some absolutely fantastic non fiction books out there for children. 

Here are some of our favourites. 


Animalium by Katie Scott  Gorgeous illustrations and facts, the animals are classified into the kingdoms. This book is stunning. Each image could be framed to go on the wall. It’s great for 3-6 Montessori children and it’s essential for 6-9 Montessori children. 

Maps by Aleksandra Mizielinska Perfect for a a geography lover. So much information on countries around the world including landmarks, peoples and animals. An ideal book for 3-6 year old geography lovers or anyone wanting to bring the study of the world into their homes. 
Nature Anatomy by Julia Rothman Our absolute favourite and go to book for our Nature Study Wednesdays and any time we want to look something up. If you had to choose only one off this list, this would be it. 
Natural World a Compendium by Amanda Wood This one was new to us this year and we couldn’t be more thrilled. So much information on the different animal kingdoms, biomes and everything else you would want to know. This is an amazing book and we love looking at it, but it’s full use won’t be realized until the 6-9 age range. However, it is a book that will definitely hold its value for us and I like that it has the ability to stay on our book shelf for years to come. 
Body: An amazing tour of human anatomy This book was Anthony’s. It’s been in our house for 12 years. It is excellent for close up detail of all internal and external human anatomy. We love that it has see through film pages that overlap to see seperate systems and organs. 
Books are so easy to give. If you want to give a Montessori friendly non fiction book here are the most important guidelines:

  • Good quality. A child should be able to return again and again
  • Reality and scientific based. The information should be current, scientifically backed and non biased

If you have favourites not listed here please let us know. We would love to feature them 

Sunday Book Club: The introduction of chapter books

I don’t think there is anything more lovely in all the world then laying under a tree, submersed in a book. 

My childhood was almost entirely made up of reading while laying in a field, sitting in a tree or hiding under warm blankets.

We filled Anthony’s childhood bookshelf with the classics. Roald Dahl, Jules Verne, J.M Barrie, and I have fond memories sitting on the edge of his bed sharing them before he drifted off. 


Now it’s Quentin’s turn. We just purchased this vintage copy of “The Jungle Books” for him. It’s pages are screaming to be breathed in. That “old book” smell gets me every time. 

We have read to Quentin everyday since before he was born. We have a huge love of good quality picture books, but there’s always a pause when it comes to chapter books. Is the child ready? Will it hold their attention? 

Here’s what we did. 

Follow the Child

If your child finds it hard to sit through a picture book story, it’s not time for chapter books yet. If they sit through two or three at a time, they are most likely ready.
Start slowly

We moved to longer stories like these first. Stories that had a few pictures, but mostly words on every page. We started at night and replaced the picture book that we read as part of our nighttime routine. 
Keep your child’s interests and age in mind

If your child has a phobia of water “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” might not be a good starting point. If your child loves horses “Black Beauty” might not be good either because there is a death of a horse in it. Think about the books you read as a child. They may be perfect for you to pass down to your own child. 

Try a few different books with your child to find one that works well. We leave them out, where Quentin can see them. The covers spark his interest and keep him engaged with the idea. Sometimes it’s only a few pages we get through, sometimes multiple chapters. We don’t have a set limit of reading time or pages a day. This helps keep everyone enjoying the story. 

Research library lists or book lists online. There is so much information out there and so many great books waiting to be picked up by the next generation. 

Do you have a favourite classic? 

Leave a message in the comments. We are always on the look out for great books. 

Sunday Book Club: A Kid’s Herb Book

The middle of the summer has found us spending lots of time outside. We have lots of great cookbooks for the boys, but what we were lacking was a book we could really get into about herbs and plant uses around the home. 

From fresh basil on pizza, to lavender mist on pillows before we go to sleep, we use plants a lot. So I was really excited when I came across this book. 


A Kid’s Herb Book for children of all ages by Lesley Tierra
Recipes that kids can help make range from Chamomile Tea for calming children, to Elderberry Syrup to relieve colds. We really enjoyed learning about the different uses for things growing right outside in our own backyard. 

Summer is such a great time to get out and explore things. To try something different. This is definitely a book for anyone looking to try some new uses for the herbs they find in their area. Either at the grocery store or your own back yard.