Category Archives: Tomoko

Foto Friday: Squeezing Orange Juice

2 year old E. squeezes the oranges for freshly squeezed orange juice.  Yum!

Toddler Orange Squeezing DSC04107 toddler squeezing orange juice DSC04109 DSC04110


Filed under 2 years +, Food/Feeding, Foto Friday, Independence, Tomoko

Foto Friday – A New Family Member


Ema would like to introduce her sister Maya.  Congratulations Tomoko!

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Filed under 0-3 Months, 2 years +, Foto Friday, Tomoko

Prepare the Environment for Your Toddler’s Independence

By Tomoko

My daughter is already 22 months old and I’m realizing it’s so much work to prepare her environment at home. I’m not trying to make a perfect environment for her. I make minimum effort otherwise I will be a stressed, fussy mom leaving my every day’s house work behind.

There are some points I always follow in order to make a Montessori environment for her independence and development.

1.      Follow your child’s orderly sense

Children in this age group are nourished and made secure by the order of things. Therefore, we need to prepare an environment for the child that demonstrates order and structure in action. Experiences of order assist her in developing her will. “What, when, and where” provide the opportunities for these expectations and the structure and opportunity for limits and discipline. We want to make it clear to the child in her daily life: what to expect, when to expect it, and where to expect it.

2.      Share your work at home with your child

When you are cleaning, washing dishes, folding clothes etc…. please share your work with your child as long as she is interested so the child feels that she is involved and she is no longer a baby who needs somebody’s help. Children need to experience work in collaboration with adults for it to have an educational purpose.  Once the child has started her work, encourage her to complete her work.  The child needs to repeat the process for perfection. Once the child feels that she is capable, she gains self-confidence and self-esteem. Eventually, the child learns concentration, patience, logical sequence, responsibility and independence through work.

3.      Organize her environment

Let your child know where her belongings are to help your child develop her orderly sense. All her belongings have to be accessible for her. Toddlers can dress themselves. If she wet her shirt, just ask her to bring a clean shirt and dress herself. Ask her to put her dirty shirt in the laundry basket. When you are going out, the child can go get her jacket and hat and put her shoes on by herself. You just need to tell her directions and help her to do it by herself.

If your child has art materials like drawing and gluing, let the child know where the paper is so she doesn’t need to ask parents to get more paper.

4.      Follow the child’s routine

The child needs consistency of schedule and routines for the child to understand what is expected of her. (Schedule of mealtimes, naps, activity, and sleep) This can assist her orderly sense. It is beneficial that parents read to your child every night before bed.

5.      Let your child prepare her snack

Yes, your child will make a mess. But everybody loves this activity. If you feed your child apples, bananas, avocados or mandarin oranges, just prepare a set of food materials (a tray, chopping board, butter knife, apron, tongs, small dishes, etc.) Let the child peel the food and slice it. Once she slices it, use the tongs to move the food to the dish)

If she spills, encourage her to wipe it up by herself. If an adult cleans it for her, she doesn’t care when she spills or drops her food. The child needs to be aware that there is cause and effect.  If she spills, she needs to wipe it. The child experiences the logical consequence of order. The awareness of herself and her environment is the purpose of accomplishing a task.

e slicing avocados

For children to develop confidence in their own abilities, they have to be helped to care for themselves independently just as soon as they are able. Try not to look at efficiency or speed, the focus is on process and on the repetition and practice that are required to work toward perfection in all processes.


Filed under 12-18 Months, 18-24 Months, 2 years +, Food/Feeding, Independence, Tomoko

Setting Limits

by Tomoko

When my daughter was still an infant, I could never imagine that she would ever become a child with the “terrible twos” since she was a happy and gentle child.  When she became around 15 months, she started to have a strong “will” and show aggressiveness. I was so shocked when she tried to hit me, talk back to me and refuse to do anything.  I guess it is a typical stage for her age.  She is struggling to express herself when she does not yet have the words and wants to assert her independence.

I always deal with this stage in my toddler classroom but it’s so hard for me when it’s my own child because I tend to get more emotional. I try to be calm and not to get upset. I try to explain what she did and that makes me feel sad. Building a reasoning mind is important for this stage.  When your child doesn’t want to do something you ask, please explain why it’s important to do it.  Here are some tips  that may help when you encounter difficult situations with your child.

“The child needs to move freely within the environment so that he may gain independence. Although the child is still young, she requires clear and consistent limits.”

For example, when the child is asked “Would you like to have a cucumber or carrot?” If the child chooses carrots, she needs to try it. “Would you like to go to the potty by yourself or do you want me to take you there?” If the child doesn’t want to go, you will take the child.  If your child doesn’t want to hold your hand on the street, “Would you like to hold my hand or would you like to sit in the stroller?”

  •  The limits need to be consistent so the child gets a clear idea.
  • We always need to be clear why we are doing that for the child.
  • Giving real options allows the child to experience logical consequences.  For instance if you were to say “If you don’t put your shoes on now, I will go shopping without you, but realistically you can’t go out without your child.”  A real option would be to say, “We need to go out now.  You can put your shoes on or I will put them on for you.”
  • Set the limit in the relationship for the child and the other children’s safety.
  • If you know the child will answer “No” don’t ask the question. For example, “Would you like to go to the washroom after drawing?” The child might say “No” so provide specific direction instead such as “Go to the washroom after drawing.”
  • If the child is not playing with the blocks properly, then distract or entice the child with another activity.  Prepare an alternative such as, “Let’s do this puzzle.  We’ll put your blocks away.”
  • Always acknowledge positive and good behavior of the child. “You put your toys away all by yourself. You did it.”
  • Limit the use of negative words. For example, instead of saying “Don’t run. Don’t touch,” say “Walk quietly in the house.” “That is dangerous, so use this instead.” State the affirmative of what the child can do.
  • Become the role model for the child.

The child’s liberty should have as its limit interests of the group to which he belongs. Its form should consist in what we call good breeding and behaviour. We should therefore prevent a child from doing anything which may offend or hurt others, or which is impolite or unbecoming. But everything else, every act that can be useful in any way whatever, may be expressed. It should not only be permitted but it should also be observed by the teacher.  This is essential.  From his scientific training, a teacher should acquire not only an ability but also an interest in observing natural phenomena. In our system he should be much more passive than active, and his passivity should be compounded of an anxious scientific curiously and a respect for the phenomena which he wishes to observe. It is imperative that a teacher understand and appreciate his position as an observer.”  Discovery of the Child by Maria Montessori

Don’t forget to enter to win the Five Pack of Toys from Beginning Montessori by commenting on our blog or our facebook page with something you’d like us to write about in future posts.  Entries must be submitted by Saturday, August 24 11:59PM PST.  (Contest has now closed)


Filed under 12-18 Months, 18-24 Months, 2 years +, Discipline, Tomoko


Tell us a bit about yourself

Hi, I’m Tomoko Tatsuki. I was born and raised in Japan. I moved to Vancouver in 2007. Jamie and I got married and we welcomed our daughter E. to our lives in January 2012 and our daughter M. in February 2014. After my maternity leave, I went back to work in a Montessori school in Burnaby. I worked in a toddler class until my current maternity leave. We live in East Vancouver.


How were you introduced to Montessori and what led you to pursue your training?

I have been working with children since I graduated from a university. I used to teach English to children. I was so amazed by children how quick they can learn things. Children have so much potential in many ways. I became interested in the child’s development so I studied  Early Childhood Education in Japan and when I was studying ECE, I learned about Montessori and I loved it. After becoming a preschool teacher, I decided to take AMI Montessori training in BC.   In 2009 I completed my Casa training and I continue to take Assistants to Infancy course and worked as a directress at the same time. I took both trainings because I took ECE ages from 0-6 in Japan. I thought why not in Canada. If you teach 3-6, it would be beneficial for you to understand 0-3 as well.

How did the Assistants to Infancy training impact your life?

The AtoI course was a totally different education experience from what  I’ve had. That course changed the way I look at my life and also children.  I started to think how our every single approach impacts a child’s development. When I buy or make toys or product for babies and infants, I tend to think about whether they are purposeful or not.   I became more aware of how to interact with children. I felt I was already prepared when I got pregnant. I had my daughter in the ambulance because my contractions came too quickly. I couldn’t have done that without my knowledge from A to I course.  After my daughter was born, I tried to make as many materials as I could for her. I was able to know what material she needs in each stage of her developmental and found out what her needs are for her development. Luckily, she was a good sleeper and an easy going baby, so I managed to make many Montessori materials.

What has been helpful to you as you implement Montessori at home with your children?

Understanding the Human Being” by Dr. Silvana Montanaro, “The Secret of Childhood” Maria Montessori, “ Montessori From The Start” by Paula Polk Lilllard and Lynn Lillard Jessen

Last words?

“Whoever touches the life of the child touches the most sensitive point of a whole which has roots in the most distant past and climbs toward the infinite future.”
-Maria Montessori

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