22-24 months, Books, Family life, Nature, Practical Life

Planting a Rainbow — then arranging it

Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert & Flower Arranging Toddler Montessori Work

A few months ago, I posted about one of Jasper’s favourite books, and I’d like to try to do that more often, both as memory device for myself and as a resource for others. I often take lists from other bloggers to the library – it’s a great way to sift through the mountain of material and find the really good stuff.

These days as the sun sets and the tub drains, Jasper’s been choosing Lois Ehlert’s “Planting A Rainbow” over and over again.

It’s an over-sized board book (the publishers call it “lap size”), with big, beautiful pictures, a fun series of flaps in the centre and a great story about a flower garden. The story travels through each season, making it appropriate year-round, but I think part of its magic on these humid, July days is the way it reflects the rainbow-filled jungle growing just outside our door.

One of my favourite things about it is the language — it’s rich, realistic and detailed. For that child hungry to know the name of everything, there is a fun list of flower’s names on every page, from aster to zinnia.

This gorgeous book also inspires some wonderful practical life work: flower arranging — a quiet and beautiful toddler activity.

flower arranging

Above is the work as it is presented in a toddler classroom (age 14 months to 3 years) at Bannockburn School, progressing from right to left from putting on the apron to choosing a doily from the basket to place under the finished arrangement. (I should note, because you’ll likely notice: there aren’t any flowers — when class is in session, a bud or two would be in water in the blueish vessel in the white bucket).


And here is the tray presented in a home setting. At 7:30AM, moments after Jasper brought a spray of fleabane inside, with a quick photo taken midway through on an iPhone.

P.S. I also love this more involved work inspired by the same book: planting a rainbow of spring bulbs!

18 months, Family life, Montessori philosophy

My bright and honest truth

Recently I read this honest and heart-breaking post from Beth at Our Montessori Life, who “came clean” about her life working outside the home and sending her son to (non-Montessori) daycare.

The woman who has it “all,” the perfect “work-life balance” — we’ve heard it all and it’s a topic that is often used for click-bait and even to stir up judgement and dissension between women, but the truth is, not one of us has it all.

Some of us have worked out a balance, some of us are on the path to finding it, and some of us are in the middle of a big mess hoping to find a way out. We’re all doing our best.

What I want from the Montessori method is a peaceful and respectful way for my family to share space and for my son to learn to engage with the world around him. What I don’t want is another mommy war.

The clamor of voices heard in the comments on Beth’s post make it clear to me that there are many women in the same boat, and many women who don’t want whatever it is they choose for themselves and their family to be a dark and terrible secret.

So, inspired by Beth, here’s our bright and honest truth: Jasper goes to (non-Montessori) daycare and he loves it and we love it.

There isn’t currently a Montessori toddler program in our area. This home daycare set up is affordable, flexible and healthy for all involved. It broadens our community and it supports another woman (and mother) in doing what works for her family.

It’s win-win-win — for Jasper, us, and the daycare provider.

Where does your family find the balance?

The photo of Jasper finding his balance was taken by his wonderful and warm daycare provider.