Theory & Practise

Play is the work of the child

"Play Is The Work of the Child” Maria Montessori

Research shows that 75% of brain development occurs after birth, most of it in the early years.

Early experiences and relationships are vital as they both stimulate and influence the development of your child's brain.
These experiences influence the development of motor skills, language, socialisation, emotional well-being, creativity, problem solving and learning ability.

Play, both structured and unstructured, has a vital role in this.

Children get the most enjoyment out of an activity (or toy) when it matches their developmental needs and interests.

If you’re considering showing your child a new activity or teaching them a new skill or buying a toy a handy way of evaluating its suitability is to use the Goldilocks Principle ‘not to hard, not too easy, just right’.

When an activity is too hard or too easy the child becomes either bored or frustrated and neither is ideal for the child.

Hold back the praise

Tasks that are just right result in the child experiencing great pleasure and satisfaction with their efforts.

The joy comes from within and they don’t need praise, sometimes praise can take away some of the joy of achievement from the child.
I know it’s hard to hold back as praise is entrenched in our culture (that’s an article for another day), wherever possible in place of praise remark on the effort, the involvement, the joy.

We all make mistakes

Of course as adults it’s impossible to get it right every time and sometimes we introduce an activity that we soon see is too hard.
When that happens, do what you can to salvage the situation, put it away and make a mental note to reintroduce it again later.
It’s important to remove things the child can’t do as if they just fiddle around with it when the time is right the task will have lost its appeal.

The child may be attracted by the colours or textures so you can introduce these in a different, developmentally appropriate, form.


It's helpful to go through your child's toys on a regular basis to check that they are still appropriate. 
Also, you don’t need to put everything out at once.

If they’re not using something put it away for a while and bring it out again in a couple of weeks.

Take your lead from the child by stepping back and observing their skills and interests, especially those things they’re desperate to 'help' with or to do by themselves.

Tailor the job

A word of caution here, it’s important to tailor the job to your child’s developmental skills so your little one is likely, with a little practise and effort, to experience success and build a sense of competence.
It’s important to look at tasks with the knowledge of an adult and not be too swayed by enthusiasm.

Some tasks or toys may be way to complex for your little one even when they are very keen.
They may however be ready for part of the task.
Think carefully about the steps involved and make a judgement based on your knowledge of both the child and the task.

Look objectively and observe

By looking objectively and observing which toys are used and which ones are not, at which activities they most enjoy and which they don't, you will begin to get a deeper understand their interests, skills and developmental stages. If you have a good understanding of the Sensitive Periods that too will help.

This valuable knowledge will help you to plan positive, meaningful activities and life will be more fun for everyone!

Enjoy these wonderful early years where each day the miracle of developing life unfolds before you. 

Get answers to your most pressing questions with a free 30 minute Montessori Essentials Consult.

You set the agenda and ask the questions.
Together we unpack what’s bothering you most and I’ll show you how to implement more Montessori into your family life.

It’s free, online, it lasts 30 minutes and it’ll be incredibly helpful

A beginners guide to a gentle, more holistic approach to child rearing

The choices we make for our young children lay the foundation for all that is to follow.
Such choices deserve our deepest consideration.

Like any good foundation the foundation on which you base your parenting should be strong and supported by good, credible information.

Guiding principles, agreed by both parents which underpin daily decisions, provide security through consistency.

There is a maze of parenting information to be navigated and lots of people offer any number of quick fixes.

Instead of quick fixes I advocate a thoughtful, practical approach to parenting inspired by the philosophy of Maria Montessori. 

Montessori parenting seeks to take a gentle, respectful, holistic approach based on understanding the developmental needs of the child.

As well as a unifying theory having a Montessori-inspired approach is wonderfully practical, it builds resilience and when the principles are followed, results in greater harmony for parents and children alike.

Understanding your child's ever-changing needs and creating a home which supports parents and children alike is a constant work-in-progress. 

A set of guiding principles act as a compass to guide you on your journey.

(Little) Kids in the Kitchen

 Kids love working in the kitchen and for that to be successful it's important to prepare ahead. 

Here are four basic steps to lay the foundation for success.

  1. A learning tower in the kitchen to provide safe access to kitchen benches for easy involvement in the preparation of food.
  2. A step to allow access to the hand-basin. A hand-towel at the right height.
  3. Child safe kitchen utensils (lots available on the net) and a child sized chopping board, plus a clear designated place to work.
  4. A child sized table and chair or a Tripp Trapp chair (google it, they're fantastic) so the child can comfortably use the dining table.

Now you are ready to get started, be sure you choose tasks which are suitable for the developmental level of your child.

Enjoy your time together passing on your skills.

Making changes to be a better parent is not easy, but it's much easier with support.

Become an even better parent

The warm days of Summer are coming to an end and most of us are firmly back in our daily routines.

Often, during a break we get time to think about our lives and the changes we wish to make yet when the break is over and we once again face the day to day reality it's so easy to slip back into old patterns and we realise change isn't always easy.

Having a clear goal, a practical plan and appropriate ongoing support greatly increases the chances of success.

If you would like to make some changes, I can help you.

I have more than 30 years of experience working with young children and their families, experience assisting parents create and implement practical plans to achieve their parenting goals, helping good parents become even better. 

I can help you too.

Paulene Richardson