It’s been a quiet few weeks for us here. We, like the vast majority of the world are together, safe at home, watching and waiting to see what will come. But it is also Spring.
Spring for our family has so much to celebrate. The end of the rainy season, our wedding anniversary, and Quentin’s birthday. It’s a time we look forward and make plans and that’s all changed a little bit with this new “normal” around the world.
So, to capture some of the feelings we and our children may be experiencing, I wanted to showcase this beautiful new book sent over from Grey Stone Kids.
It’s a beautiful, simple and easily relatable story of a parent tree, covered in seeds who are small and silent but will one day be big trees of their own.
It touches on the feelings of worry we as parents and caregivers have about the children we love. Will they be okay? Am I protecting them enough, and above all, maybe I could keep them little for just a little bit longer.
It shows us that we can care for them and love them and even fuss needlessly over them, but one day they will grow up and that our confidence in them and their abilities will be one of the defining factors in their own self confidence.
“Stay Little Seed” releases on April 7 just as gardens are warming and trees are waking up here.
This new book has quickly become a favourite. We have paired it with our nature based crafts, baking and slow living days curled up next to the fire under a cosy blanket.
Of course we love Carson Ellis artwork and this new book is no exception. The muted tones are perfect for Winter Solstice.
It tells a simple story of the history of the Winter Solstice, one that is easy for the youngest for readers to understand. It also connects the traditions of the past, with the traditions found in other celebrations like Christmas.
There are so few good Yule books out there for kids and we couldn’t be more please with this one. I’ll post our December bookshelf in its entirety on our Instagram page, later this week.
The seasons are changing here. Autumn is definitely fleeting and Winter has crept in. It is the perfect time for family and friends and reflection.
This new book Birdsong from Greystone Books is a beautiful story of a child that moves to their new home with their mother and meets their new neighbour, an elderly woman who loves nature and art as much as they do.
It highlights each season beginning with their arrival at the new house and how things are different.
We loved how the complexity of the intergenerational friendship is highlighted but in a gentle way focusing on how the child must navigate this and ultimately finds a connection with their elderly neighbour in art.
We absolutely love this book and were thrilled that it made the Globe and Mail’s “100 Books of 2019”! If you are looking for a beautiful “own voices” story this will definitely be a favourite for years to come.
Colour mixing is such an easy and inexpensive art activity for children of all ages and can easily be done by the youngest child.
As with all Montessori compatible activities, art should always be child led and about the process not the product especial in the years between 0-6.
For a toddler colour mixing can simply be a transferring work. Above, Quentin at 18 months carefully transferring blue food colour tinted water from one small jar to another with a long pipette. This strengthens fine motor control and concentration. He loved sucking up the water in the pipette and carefully squeezing it out into the other container. Sometimes we would adjust the amount of blue or yellow dye to affect the shade of green that would inevitably be made from his mixing but this was for the most part involuntary by him. He was simply absorbing what was happening.
For the 3-6 age group, an easy to carry tray with the primary colours and a slotted dish, a bowl to dump used water and a sponge for clean up make colour mixing exciting. Children at this age love to experiment with each of the primary colours and it’s still very much about the process here. In the classroom we talk about their favourite colour, what happens when you mix blue with red, red and yellow, yellow and blue, but for the most part they are experimenting and absorbing the experience of those experiments.
By the time the child reaches Elementary, multiple mediums such as paper to spray invite a child to continue their experiments. Small spray bottles and containers (the exact same ones from when he was 18 months), help a child keep their work contained and orderly.
A colour wheel is clearly understood by this point and the child can follow it to achieve the desired colour or make their own.
It is always fascinating to see the social and neurological development at each stage. At 7.5 years old, he commented on the imaginary tastes of his colours such as “root beer” above, and mint tea in a previous combination. It’s still amazing to see him quiet himself as he did in his toddler days and focus on the task at hand.
There are endless colour mixing ideas on Pinterest and around social media. If you haven’t tried it with your little one here’s some things to keep in mind:
Keep it simple and age appropriate. Trying to explain the why and how of everything to a toddler won’t make it enjoyable
Be prepared for spills. Sponges, bowls, towels and play clothes help make this successful for the youngest child
Follow the child. Let them truly experiment with colour. If all they make is green over and over that’s ok.
“If the idea of the universe is presented to the child in the right way, it will do more for him than just arouse his interest, for it will create in him admiration and wonder, a feeling loftier than any interest and far more satisfying.”
– Maria Montessori
The beginnings of the Montessori Elementary startwith the Great Lessons. Quentin’s thirst for knowledge led him into these lessons long before he reached the Montessori Lower Elementary 6-9 year old classroom. You can see him hereusing the Waseca Biome Cosmic Story Mat for the first half of the First Great Lesson which he absolutely loves to this day. And so when Waseca Biomes contacted us to let us know they had graciously slipped their new Solar System Mat into the mail for us, we were thrilled.
It’s a massive multi step material. As with any of the Waseca materials, it comes with a well laid out Guide to Presentations. This gives step by step instructions for the teacher to use. It also comes with so much more!
As with all Waseca Biomes materials the paper materials that accompany the vinyl mat and wooden discs are beautiful, filled with information for all different levels of learning and perfectly fit on a Montessori work mat.
Sixty six fact file cards come with this set. So many more than we could fit into these photos! They have information from the objects in the solar system to concepts like orbits. The lessons that can stem from these cards are adaptive and can almost be limitless. There is also a three level fact finding game set much like with the other Waseca mats. Quentin enjoys moving the space station, meteor and other objects around the mat, researching new ideas and much much more.
The paper materials come in a storage box similar to the Tree of Life Mat. Easy to pack everything up and put it back on the shelf when the lesson is over.
We are so in love with this set! It is perfect for our space loving child in my classroom, my students have loved aspects of this work as well.
You can find it here on the Waseca Biomes website!
It’s been a weekend full of sunshine and the promise of Spring here. And so I was thrilled to pull some gorgeous new language materials out of the postbox this weekend!
If you follow us on Instagram you’ll know that we love following beautiful, hard working creative small businesses and Hobbs Farm is one of our absolute favourites.
It’s even more wonderful that they are Canadian and they can be purchased here in Canada! I’m going to frame these beautiful alphabet cards to use as art in my 3-6 Montessori classroom’s Language area.
Often we recognize bullying as loud, in your face, and clearly mean. But this isn’t always the case. Far too often relational aggression is at play with the consequences being just as harmful for the target.
This book is perfect for reading at home or with students in the classroom. The watercolour illustrations compliment the story without taking over. The text is clear, easy to understand and empathize with for children beginning at 6 years of age.
It focuses on the emotions felt by the target and the importance of a child listening to their body. It also touches on the importance of a target seeking help from a trusted caregiver and the important role the caregiver plays in ending the bullying.
Books like this are perhaps difficult for an adult to read to a child, but children will often enjoy listening to them and love forming discussion groups about the topics portrayed in the pages. These are often the easiest way to reach out to children on both sides of bullying. The conversations that can be built on after reading these kinds of books hold within them a value that will last a lifetime.
Listed in the end pages of this book are some excellent American organizations, global websites, and recommended readings for adults and children that all focus on relational aggression.
During this upcoming week of Anti-Bullying we will continue to showcase books and activities that focus on empathy, acceptance and friendship.
If you have a particular favourite resource please share it in the comments. We would love to feature it here or on our social media.
February in Canada holds Valentine’s Day, Family Day and also Anti-Bullying Day. So many opportunities to continue conversations with children about empathy and continue our work in Peace Education.
We’ve written about some of these titles before but today we wanted to focus on one we discovered by chance at our local library.
This book was a delightful surprise. It is absolutely perfect for the 3-6 year old crowd.
It’s simple text hides big conversation starters.
We love the diversity within its pages and its powerful message.
It’s the perfect sharing book for a group of children in a classroom or just simply with our own children at home. It explains that we are who we are, it’s ok to be who you are and that the feelings we feel are also what other people feel. This is an important first step in fostering empathy with young children.
What books are you sharing with children in this month of love and kindness?
When this book was featured to be released I knew we simply had to have it. So much so that when I found it wasn’t going to released here for a while I ordered it from overseas.
We are big Shirley Hughes fans and I can remember being read her books as a child. This one didn’t disappoint.
The end pages say it all. Her beautiful realistic artwork and simple yet rich text grab the reader right away. This book has the perfect mix of interesting ideas to make, as well as some lovely stories and poems.
We used to make these simple paper lanterns when I was very young.
As with all Shirley Hughes books they have a distinct British feel with simplicity at the heart of the text. This book can easily be lovingly tucked away each year, ready to bring out the next year to awaiting little ones.
We hope you are enjoying a peaceful and restful weekend.