Essential Montessori back to school gear: Thank you to our favourites

   
 With the new school year just underway for us I wanted to take a moment to share our essentials for this year. 
One of the core Montessori values is independence in the child. Beauty and quality of materials are also important. So when I’m shopping for school items for Quentin, I keep those things in mind. 

Here are our essentials:

  
A compact reusable lunch container. We are Studio Ghibli fans  and so this Totoro Lunch Box was perfect. A good thing for parents to make sure they know is, where and how their child’s lunch will be stored. Our school as great little fridges right in the classroom. However they need to accommodate 20 lunches. Bento box style lunches can pack lots of healthy food into a small space. 

  
Little feet are still forming. Children should go barefoot whenever possible to help their feet grow strong and in their natural shape. A full school day is a long time for a small child’s foot to be in traditional shoes. Soft soled shoes for indoors provide protection but allow the foot to move properly. 

These are from Great Scotts Baby Moccs a locally owned shop of handmade leather soft soled shoes. Quentin and I saw them and immediately knew they would be perfect. 

  I fell in love with this messenger bag the moment I saw it. 
Messenger bags are great for preschoolers. They are much easier to put on than a backpack. 

Sierra from Fox and Rebel made and shipped this bag in record time. It is as gorgeous in real life. The arrow patterned fabric lining the inside is a perfect contrast to the simple outside. It comes with the three pins. 

One of my favourite things about Montessori school is that the materials are usually supplied. Quentin doesn’t have a list of “must buy” school supplies. Just these three things are all he needs to get out the door in the mornings. 

And then something very special arrived in the mail. 

  
Marie-Claire the genius behind So Awesome Wallet Cards sent her latest deck. These are perfect for the car trip to school. They are practically indestructible, safe for use from birth and have amazing details and features. They help keep everyone feeling their best as they set off each morning. 

Thank you to all the wonderful artists and makers who make our school mornings so much more bearable. We really couldn’t do it without you. 

Life Unexpected: My interview with Baan Dek

  
It’s funny how life happens sometimes. For me there are weeks even months of predictably, and then I find myself unexpectedly sitting in the Edmonton airport waiting for my flight home and I check my email. 

Baan Dek Montessori the makers of the world renowned Montessorium apps and the Montessori Work books approached me to do an interview. 

The last weeks have been a collaboration between us on top of the busy start to the school year.

I’m extremely honoured to have been asked by them. Their kind words and the words of other schools and families who have spoken out about how much the blog or our consultations have made a difference to them reminded me that you never really know how many lives you touch. 

It’s a good lesson for us all. 

Here’s the link if you’re curious:

Baan Dek Montessori

Summer: An Update 

The other day, we had our first morning where the wind definitely had an Autumn chill. It was light but it was there. And so, with school just over a week away I thought I’d share some of my favourite Summer moments we’ve had. 
 
Creating under the big Maple tree in our front yard. I think of all the mornings we’ve spent there drawing painting and reading will be my favourite memories of this Summer. 
  
Nature Journaling. We pack his bag and go. He collects small samples to bring back for our Nature Tray and records the rest. This has been a good way to channel his writing practice. 

  
Practical Life. It never really stops. He will sit and sew and we’ll talk. Sometimes about everything and sometimes about nothing. 

  Bike riding together. Their bond has strengthened while they’ve been off together. This was Anthony’s Birthday.  

 

And finally, because within every Montessori child lies a teacher, there was work. He would pull something off his shelves, set it up carefully and then call the cat over. 

Here Huxley, see a nineteen is really just a 10 plus a 9. 

His new school bag hangs from his dressing chair and his new school shoes should arrive tomorrow. And we are ready. Ready to get back to it. He asks daily if it’s a school day. It will be good to start the next school year and watch him grow, but it has been a very nice summer. 

What we’re reading: Fave’s at 3

  

I could just live in the Children’s section of a good bookstore. I could nestle down amongst some comfy pillows and just hope that the shop owner would simply forget about me. 

When we look for books for Quentin, the themes of Montessori whisper in our ears. Excellent quality, realistic images, and above all else beautiful. 

Reading is a part of our everyday. We don’t set aside a strict time and a limit. It is not a chore. It is a joy. We read with Quentin because we love to, not because we have to. 

These are his favourites that have stood the test of times this last year and going into 3. 

  

If You Hold a Seed. A heartwarming story about a boy and his wish. Quentin loves that it goes through the seasons. The layered paper art is stunning and I just had to go to YouTube to find the video of how Elly MacKay made her gorgeous pages. 

  

Walk This World. This is such a fun book. Each page is a different country, and there are lots of paper windows to open on each page. Quentin loves finding the hidden story behind the windows. If your child loves geography like Quentin does, this is the book for you. 

 

African Animals ABC. Ant bear, bush baby, crocodile and dassie. A feast to roll off your tongue as much as to look at. We have always loved Barefoot Books. This is Quentin’s favourite of their publishing line. There are many educational facts at the back that accompany the rhyming text. The style of art is so interiguing and the richness of the colours is what draws you in. 

  

If You Find a Rock. A beautiful poem about not only the rocks around you, but also the places in nature you find them. A wonderful addition to the shelf of any child who loves nature. I have used this book in my classroom before venturing out on nature walks as well. 

  

 

Julia, Child. “Baffled and befuddled, mindless and muddled, adults sometimes forget what they know.” How so very true. Quentin loves the story of a child who grew to love cooking and helped adults “overcome their feelings of never-enoughness.” 

  

Home. This is a new one for us, but it has quickly become a favourite of Quentin’s. Beautifully simple pictures and a good straight forward story has made this a favourite. Quentin loves the fact that the homes are from all over the world. Definitely another good one for a geography enthusiast.

Both Buddha at Bedtime and Nightlights are essential in our house for bringing calm. From virtues to peaceful self affirmations, these books do it all and in a gentle way. 

  

And finally an unexpected late entry. In fact, we didn’t own this until late this afternoon. I was looking for another title to give as a gift and this one caught my eye. It absolutely floored me with its artwork. The layout and text are just breathtaking. Here are some examples.

  

  

I showed it to Quentin and he immediately loved it. Facts accompany each drawing. For lovers of animals, geography, and art, Amazing Animals. If I could only get one, this would be it.   

And so there it is. His bookshelf at 3. If you are looking to start a Montessori child’s bookshelf think beauty instead of “cute”. Trying to bring it all together at once may be daunting. Each of these books cost under $20US and were collected slowly one by one. 

That’s the beautiy of a collection. It starts to take shape over time. As does a child’s love of reading.