Welcome to 'A Montessori Home'.
With so many of our friends and family living in far-off lands, I hope that this blog might help our loved-ones get to know our gorgeous Finlay as he grows up. I also hope that these posts may provide inspiration, provoke thought and conversation about creating beautiful Montessori environments for infants and toddlers at home. I'm always happy to hear your comments, thoughts and suggestions. Feel free to pop in now and then to see what we're up to!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Baking up a storm

Baking has been on my mind a lot recently.  How best to present it, which recipe to use, where to find the perfect bakers hat pattern, how to make it work in a classroom setting...

Big changes are afoot for us next year - I'm returning to the classroom!  After a year of happily opening our home to some wonderful toddlers, the time has come for me to get back to my roots and share my days with the 'older' children in a 3-6 class.  It will be a brand new, one-classroom school and I'm so excited to set it up and pour all of my passion for Montessori into making it as authentic, beautiful and peaceful as possible.

Finlay will be attending with me during the mornings, which I think will be the biggest challenge I'll be facing.  He will only just be two and I will have to be very aware of preparing the environment to try and meet his needs (and one other 2-year-old) as well as the older children in the class.

And so I keep thinking back to baking.  And scrubbing tables.  And chopping bananas, polishing wood, and all the many beautiful Practical Life activities that will engage our littlest ones (as well as the bigger children) in purposeful activity and help prepare them for all the other work they will encounter during their years here.

Part of my strategy is to perfect this baking routine so that not only will I feel confident to include it as daily practice in our class, but also that Finlay will be so familiar with the process that there will be less novelty involved and *hopefully* will allow me to present it to other children without him having to have his hands in the dough!

Here's a little snippet to share:

I love standing back and observing the focus that comes when he feels a deep purpose behind an activity.  This is important work.  He can have a positive impact on the world around him.  He can decide exactly how much dough to place in each muffin cup. He can learn from his own mishaps (you have no idea how hard it was to stand back when I thought that dough dangling down was going to fall on the floor...).  He can enjoy the fruits of his labour - literally.  Rich experiences lead to rich vocabulary (this is the first time he ever said "oven"!).  So many benefits from a seemingly simple activity.

If only we could include our children in all of our daily activities in such an unhurried, open-hearted way.  I certainly fall short of this many times every day.  There's my new year's resolution, right there!

Christmas is just around the corner and I'll be signing off for at least a few weeks as the season gets crazier.  I do wish you and your families such a wonderful holiday season and a new year that is full of even more love and happiness than the last.

I'll be back next year to share the mad beginnings of my newest adventure!


  1. So great that you're opening a classroom ! Your talents are too big for one child, you need to share it with others.
    Please send pictures of the environment !

  2. Just too cute. Really.
    I love how he changes his mind many time as where he is going to put the dough, and don't look at you to know what to do with it. He just follows his own mind. Lovely!

    What were you baking? Bread?

    Have a great holiday time too! And most of all, good luck on your next endeavor!!! :) Can't wait to see it unfold.

  3. Hadrien, that's too sweet, thank you. I wish I could read your blog! Must get me some French lessons.... I would love to hear how little Noam has changed your lives - I bet he's the apple of your eye :)
    I will definitely share photos when I get into the space in January. There is so much work to do, but it's very exciting to be starting with a clean slate and we have a beautiful outdoor area to work with too. Could it really be 6 years since we finished the training in India??

    Neptune, I know, that amazes me too... so much confidence coming out of such a little person! I just prepared the first three rolls and left the rest to him. I wasn't expecting him to fill all the muffin cups but he was very diligent about making sure there was some in each space!
    Yes, this was bread (though the dough was definitely a bit dry... we'll add more liquid next time), but I'd like to experiment with muffins, biscuits and cakes too.
    Thank you for your well wishes, I'm excited to see it all unfold too! :)

  4. Congratulations and good luck on this next phase for you and Finlay, Cathy! I hope it's enriching and fulfilling for both of you - I know it will be for the children who have the benefit of your guidance in the classroom. I look forward to following your journey as I ponder a potential return myself in the next year or two :)

  5. Congratulations on the new classroom. I am looking forward to seeing and hearing all about your adventures.

  6. This is brilliant, I love your willpower in holding back! I bake bread with my daughter and her friend (the same age as Finlay) and they are very calm and serious when doing this task. And love to eat the bread afterwards. As you say when the task is familiar they won't be "into the dough" etc!
    Congratulations on your new venture and be sure to keep us updated. Lucky kids.

  7. Wow, Cathy...what a beautiful moment captured forever...
    I think that Finlay is the luckiest boy in the world to have a mummy like you! Heartfelt wishes for the upcoming year in your new classroom. Can't wait to see and hear more...

  8. Hi Cathy,

    I noticed that you haven't updated for a while. I just want to say that I find your blog, along with How We Montessori, incredibly practical, extremely useful, and forever inspiring. I live in the US, am AMI trained in elementary education, and am mama to my 1 1/2 year old daughter. I love the Montessori method but I come to road blocks or struggling points, times where I just need a pick me up! Your blog serves as a gentle reminder to me.

    Thank you,

  9. Thank you, Alli. There are times when I wonder if I'll ever get back to blogging but comments like this really give me the inspiration to continue.

    I agree, it is wonderful to have such a strong philosophical background before becoming a parent, but nothing can quite prepare you for the day-to-day challenges! My only advice would be to trust your instincts and be kind to yourself.

    It has been a crazy few months setting up our new classroom and helping Finlay to adjust to such a huge change in his life. We are now into our second week with the children attending. So much to share! I must take my camera to school and show it off soon :)

  10. Lovely. Cooking ("making") with my toddler is one of my most favourite things to do. And you are so right when you say it is difficult to stand back sometimes and not interfere in their very important work and concentration. It is both a pleasure to watch and a challenge to watch.