About Us

an everyday story reggio and montessori inspired living and learning About Us

Project-based & Reggio inspired Living & Learning

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Hi, thanks for stopping by. I’m Kate, mummy to two amazing little people (Jack and Sarah) and wife to my teenage sweetheart.

I am a former high school teacher. Now, inspired by the Reggio Emilia Approach and Project-based Homeschooling, I am homeschooling our two children.

An Everyday Family

My family and I live in Canberra, Australia. Even though Canberra is our nation’s capital, it is not a big city as you would expect, but rather has a peaceful country feel with bushland, vineyards, rolling hills and mountains. My husband and I have two amazing children, Jack who was born in 2009 and Sarah who was born in 2011.

Meet Jack

‘Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid’  - Albert Einstein

an everyday story About Us

This is Jack. He is 4 years old. He is bright and articulate and has oh-so-much energy. He loves music; especially playing the drums. He is inquisitive, determined, can be quite a bit stubborn and has the biggest belly-laugh you can imagine. He is intense and has strong emotions but there is also such potential for this intensity; such drive to know and understand. Jack has Cerebral Palsy. It mainly affects his balance, perceptive awareness, core muscles and lower limbs. Cerebral Palsy is something Jack has; it does not define him. I admire his determination, resilience and strength.

Meet Sarah

An Everyday Story About Us About UsThis is Sarah. She is 2 years old. She is cheeky and loves exploring all manner of things. She is independent and content although loves being close to me. She adores animals and loves being out in nature. She is a very active girl; you won’t find her sitting still for long. She definitely keeps us on our toes.

And me…

me and baby girl About Us

This is me. I taught high school for nine years before choosing to finish paid-work and be with our children. I was originally a Japanese language teacher although moved into Special Needs and ESL/Literacy as this area interested me and the need was greater. When Jack was about 6 months old, my husband and I started talking about how we wanted to raise our children. We talked a lot about family values, things that were important to us, things we wanted to instil in our children and education. We talked A LOT about education.

On homeschooling

It was not long after that I stumbled upon The Reggio Emilia Approach. It was perfect. Child-led investigations, open, free spaces to play, a deep connection with nature and an emphasis on exploring and creating. I read and read and READ. I read everything I could find on Reggio and child-directed learning.

It was then that I came across Lori Pickert and her truly inspiring approach called Project-Based Homeschooling: Mentoring Self-Directed Learners; an approach which incorporates Reggio principles of extended child-led investigations and takes it into the home and beyond the preschool years.

My husband and I have since decided that we would home-educate our two children; primarily using Reggio principles of child-led investigations and Lori Pickert’s Project-based approach.

An Everyday Story is the story of our two children and our lives. It is the story of our experiences through childhood, home-education, and Cerebral Palsy.

It is also the story of my life. My love of photography, my desire to be (but not quite there yet) creative in the kitchen and the garden, the joy I get from sewing and the peace I feel when I am out in the Aussie bush.

 I am Kate and this is my world.

……

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53 thoughts on “About Us

  1. Have just read your wonderful blog, and feel an innate sense of peace from your experiences…this is what learning is really all about. Thank you!

  2. I’m just stopping by for the first time and love your playroom! What a joy for you and your children. They sure are lucky! I’m looking forward to reading more about your journey! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Just discovered your blog via Let the children’s play facebook page. I to have a 2009 baby and a 2011 baby (boy girl) and we are doing a mix of montessori, Waldforf and reggio inspired home activities. I love the look of your blog it’s so calming and relaxing. Looking forward to reading more

    • Hi Cerys, thanks for coming by. I just popped over to your blog and I’m interested in the 30 day play challenge you are doing. Looks like a lot of fun and a good way to remind yourself to play everyday.

  4. Hi there,
    I’m finding your blog so inspiring- thank you! I’m also excited that you are finding all these wonderful things to do in Canberra (we have just moved here from Brisbane with my 4 and 2 year old). I would be very interested in knowing what reggio-inspired playgroup you have found- I have been searching! I have many questions for you!
    Cheers, Jess

    • Hi Jess, lovely to meet you. Canberra is a wonderful place to live. We use to live in Brissie too and Canberra has such a nice relaxed, outdoor feel to it. We go to Blue Gum Community School in Hackett. There is a pretty long waiting list but we love it and so I would definitely recommend putting you name down. Jack’s going off to preschool in Term 3 so there may be some places available.

      Any questions, then ask away! Hope you love it here as much as we do.

  5. Pingback: Breathe! | An Everyday Story

  6. Welcome back Kate ! I had been wondering how your beautiful family were going after your move. Looking forward to keeping in touch and sharing in the passion for our children. Your new environment looks like a treasure trove of learning and play! We too started in Montessori and now are too far from a centre so we have started at a Reggio prep. I love how the mix of the two can blend easily and bring some lovely environments and materials to explore! All the best!

  7. Hi Kate!
    I’m enjoying your beautiful blog – it’s so exciting to find others who are finding the intersection of Reggio-inspired and Montessori-inspired ideas in the home! Thank you for the inspiration – I look forward to following your process!

    • Thank you. I really like meeting other parents who have a child with special needs, particularly when they are then also interested in Montessori. Jack is still young; we have a lot of learning and growing ahead of us, and so it is nice to meet others with older children to be inspired by and learn from.

  8. So excited to find your blog! I have many similar interests, as well as two children about the same age. Looking forward to learning a lot from you on the other side of the world.

  9. I’m a momma to two year old twin boys. I just stumbled across your blog and I’m just so glad you’re sharing your journey. As preschool approaches next year I’ve been doing more thinking about what I want for their experience. One of my boys has cerebral palsy, and sometimes I’m just so hung up on the draw backs of what the school system would plan for him. I’m still unsure, but you’re example of thoughtful home schooling is very inspiring. Thank you. I’ll be keeping up!

    • Hi Rachel, lovely to meet you. I can completely empathise with your thoughts about preschool. Jack’s at preschool two days a week at the moment and I agonised over this for a long time before he started. He is really thriving there though and I am glad we made the decision to send him. It would be lovely to get to know you a little better, I always love meeting people who are on a similar path.

      • Thank you! As I read more about the Montessori method I’ve noticed how many different ways it can be applied for each experience. I like the idea of supplementing pre-school with activities at home, but I wonder if the two would become at odds with eachother. My son, Reese, has really high-tone in all his limbs but from what we can tell at the moment, his intellect wasn’t effected. I think it’s a testament to Montessori that it only seems to apply more to Reese, rather than to exclude him.
        I like that you mix Reggio with Montessori to do what works best for your family. I’m all about finding creative and personal solutions right now. I keep revisiting your blog. It’s such a resource.

        • Thanks Rachel. This is one of the wonderful things about Montessori, that we follow the child and do our best to offer them an environment in which they can thrive and be successful. Jack has the opposite to Reese; he has low muscle tone in his legs and core muscles. So far it would seem that Jack’s intellect hasn’t been affected either. His preschool is a small community based Reggio-inspired preschool. We chose this one because we thought they would best meet his needs and support his independence. Ultimately we intend to homeschool but at the moment, preschool is doing wonders for his confidence and social development.

  10. Pingback: The day we stopped carrying Jack | An Everyday Story

  11. This is brilliant! I’ve just spent the past two hours browsing all that you have here, and am so excited that I will get a chance to follow you along in your story! Thank-you for sharing! All that you present here feels both personal and organized. I’ve read a lot about the Montessori Method… and a little on Waldorf… but very little on Reggio, except a brief introduction in my first Education class. Seeing how you use Emilia Reggio’s method and incorporate Montessori methods, well you’ve inspired me! Thank-you, so much.

    I’m just starting to gain a vision for what I’m doing with my life and you have helped me so much.

    O- and I’m a young lady planning to be a pre-k or first grade teacher someday… or do something of that sort when I’m older. Smiles!!**

    -Valerie

    • Lovely to meet you Valerie, and thank you so much for what you said. I find Reggio to be so inspiring and my children really respond well to it with curiosity and enthusiasm. I hope you get a chance to work with small children someday. They are truly amazing.

  12. Nice to meet you kate:) My name is Hande. I’m a science teacher in Turkey & I’m in a master program about “science education” in Hacettepe University. I had seaching for ideas about observing & found your blog. Your “finding-art-in-nature-starry-night” is an amazing example for “observing” :) and jack is an excellent little observer:) I will tell this example all of my collagues. Thank you for sharing:)
    With love:)

    (sorry for my english-it’s not so good:))

  13. The blog looks great & you have some wionderful posts. I suppose your job is made a little easier in that regard with such amazing subjects. Anyway, I am a little disappointed. Why am I only discovering you now? I mustn’t be paying attention. Well I am a man & that’s what we do, right? Get dsctracted. Well I look forward to interacting & networking with you more.
    Cheers :)

  14. Hi Kate,

    I live in Canberra and am mum to two awesome little people ages three and one. I’m just starting to think about educational models and am digging into lots of reading and research myself. Happy to find you as I’m on the BG wait list and am also looking at other schools in the area. I would love to chat more and hear about your research and experiences in this area! And I’ll of course keep reading your past posts as I find a minute here and there!

    Jenn

  15. Thanks for using the Blue House Internationl as Reggio link. We are so pleased to be an inspiration to others.
    Blue House International, Singapore

  16. Hi Kate, I’m an avid follower of your blog and have about a million pages bookmarked for ideas for when our bub is a little older (he’s only 6 weeks at the moment). Thank you for letting us see snippets of your life and inspiring me to provide a wonderful childhood and nurture the creativity of my boy :)

    I was just wondering if you might do a “day in the life” post sometime? There are so many elements of what I see in your life that I’d like to incorporate into ours, but wondering how you fit it all in and what your days look like.

    In the meantime, I’m going to start reading through the books you recommended the other day.

    Thanks again

    • Hi Sally. So lovely to meet you. I think I will do a ‘day in the life’ post. Jack has finished preschool now and so we need a new family rhythm. It’s a good excuse for me to get my thoughts down. Is there anything in particular you are interested in?

      We started a little late with Jack but Sarah has been exploring Reggio and Montessori type activities since she was born. At 6 weeks old we had a wall mirror for her and a high contrast mobile for her to interact with. I think we might have also had a few hanging bells and some soft interestingly textured fabrics like wool, feathers, silk that sort of thing to explore. Also a lot of free unswaddled time to explore and daydream; just content in her thoughts, uninterrupted. I learnt a lot from Janet Lansbury about infant care and we tried to apply many of these principles with Sarah. She is very inspiring. I know you will like what she has to say :D

      • Hi Kate,

        Thanks for the recommendation about Janet Lansbury, I just went through the rabbithole on her blog following link after link :) I’ve also ordered the two books you recommended, which should arrive soon. Unfortunately our local library didn’t have any of the others you listed, but they do have some Montessori books, so I will start there for now.

        Thanks also for the ideas on how to start now, I’d been building some sensory basket, but the mirror and mobile are great ideas.

        In regards to the day in the life, the new page you added on setting up a Reggio activity filled in some of the gaps for me on how to take an inquiry through to an activity, so I guess now I’m interested in seeing the flow of activities throughout the day/week. For example, how much time is allocated to planned activities vs unstructured play. I’m also wondering whether you get a chance to make time for your own interests/hobbies. You seem to achieve so much, I wonder where you get the time!

        Thanks for taking the time to reply :)

        Sal

        • Hi Sal, glad you like Janet Lansbury’s site. I too get caught in there reading post after post. We are having a little bit of challenging behaviour at the moment with Jack not sharing with Sarah and so I just recently found myself on there reading posts about sibling rivalry :)

          I am fortunate that Jack and Sarah have quiet time everyday where they sleep for 1 1/2 – 2hrs so I get to catch up on a lot of cleaning and pottering about doing my own thing. And then I have time in the evening to hang out with my husband and do little projects of my own.

          Our week for the most part is organised but unstructured if that makes sense. So we might spend Monday afternoons at the park or Thursday mornings in the bush out the back but then the kids are free to do what interests them within that time.

          I am planning on putting something together about our daily/weekly rhythm especially now that Jack has finished preschool and we have the week to ourselves.

  17. Hi Kate,
    I just stumbled across your blog. I am also in Canberra and was lucky enough for our children to attend the lovely bluegum preschool a couple of years ago. As an early childhood educator I began pondering the Reggio philosophy and how it related to my own cultural context as a young teacher mnay years ago in Victoria. The changes in my own life over time (the biggest being becoming a parent) have ensured my Journey is always ongoing. I look forward to following your blog and seeing the wonderings and thinking of somebody else living in a similar context.
    Simone

    • Hi Simone. Jack really did love his time at Bluegum. I am so happy to have met you and hope that you pop by and comment often so we can get to know each other. We haven’t been in Canberra very long and so I just love meeting similar people. xx

  18. Hi Kate,
    Your blog is truly lovely! I am an EC teacher also in Canberra and after a few years teaching have moved to a school which embraces play, discovery and of course children :0)
    I always love to find inspiring blogs to get ideas from!
    I also have 2 very curious little boys, my eldest starts preschool this year and I am so excited for him :0)
    I look forward to reading your blog! Thanks for sharing
    Sarah

    • Hi Sarah, lovely to meet you. Your little boy must be about the same age as Jack. How wonderful for you, and the children, that you are able to work in such an inspiring place. I’m truly looking forward to getting to know you better :)

  19. Hi Sarah, I just came to your blog and enjoyed reading it. I’ve a boy aged 3.5 born in the same year as Jack. I inspired by your writing and blog of your beautiful children and the principles of educating them. Looking forward to reading more of your stories :-)

  20. Lovely blog. I just found it and I like it very much. I have two children – boy and girl (6 and 4). They are in Montessori Nursery and School. I like your Reggio type activities. They are new for me. Thanks for sharing.

  21. I discovered your blog a couple of weeks ago and have been reading it since. We have a four-year-old that sounds pretty much like your son! This is super interesting and close to how we have wanted to raise our children so will be back a lot, I’m sure! Our older son is now four and younger is 8 months and I’m staying at home with them for at least 1,5 more years – plenty of time for all kinds of activities. Climate-wise very different from you though, we live in Finland and there’s still snow on the ground :)

    • Lovely to meet you Riikka :) The weather here is starting to cool down, the leaves are turning colour and winter is definitely on it’s way. Things are supposed to be warming up though over your side :) I have a friend in Canada and she still has snow falling! That’s a long winter.

      Hope you do pop back again and say hi. :)

  22. Hi Kate,
    I am always interested in blogs about real people using the Reggio approach. I am an Early Childhood Educator and I work as a team with a teacher in a Kindergarten class at a school in Northern Ontario, Canada. Our province has recently rethought the approach used in Kindergarten and has rewritten the curriculum with Reggio/inquiry based environment. My coworker and I will enjoy following along with your story and hope that it will inspire us in our work!

  23. I love receiving your blog via email each week, your pictures are beautiful and inspiring. Do you mind sharing which camera you use? Thanks :)

  24. Hi Kate, I didn’t know where to post this, but Instagram didn’t feel right. After seeing Jack’s drumming video I went in search of his age as he has quite advanced rhythm. I was shocked to read that he is a child with CP. I work with special needs children and would never have guessed. He is an amazing little boy. It’s not hard to see that the environment and love you have given to him contributes to that awesomeness.

    • Thank you so much Beth. He is quite a remarkable little boy. He is really the reason we have followed the path we have. He challenges me everyday with his deep interests. His drumming has actually had profound therapeutic benefits for him. The strength he has developed in his upper body and his improvements in coordination have really been astonishing. He inspires me everyday.

  25. Hello,
    I really enjoy reading your blog and find it very inspiring and motivating. Your ideas are amazing!
    I see your boy using wooden blocks a lot. He is so creative. I mean both of your kiddos are! My question is: how do you encourage a child (my son is 23 months) to build with blocks. I love wooden blocks and know how beneficial they are and we were given loads of them ( his grandparents kept his dad’s set for him!). Isaac just doesn’t seem to be interested until I sit with him and I build and then he knocks it. Do you think this is the way of doing it? They are on display at all times with free access. I’d be very grateful for any tips from you or your readers.
    Kind regards,
    Karina

Thanks for coming by.