Tips and tools on making printable materials

My friend Jane from TheLaminatrix is a total expert in cutting, printing, laminating, and everything else pertaining to turning printables into ready-made materials. I often get asked about tools recommendations for printing and laminating my digital cards so I thought it would be interesting for you to learn what Jane has to say about it.

For those of you who do not know me, please let me introduce myself. I am Jane Albery, former teacher with a major in Language Arts. Now I’m a homeschooling/afterschooling mother of two who also owns an Etsy shop offering Montessori inspired finished materials as well as printables on

I often get asked about tools I use to make my materials. I have received quite a few messages from teachers and parents telling me they admire the quality of the cards they received and would love to be able to take advantage of purchasing less expensive printables and making their own materials. So I decided to write a post about my favorites and share them with you along with affiliate Amazon links. I buy most of my supplies on Amazon since I have Prime memberships, and it has been great because it allows me to be able to try just about anything and return it if I am not 100% satisfied with the results. And trust me, I have returned a lot! Below are the pictures of my best tried and true laminating pouches, laminator, paper trimmer, corner rounder, and printer along with the Amazon links. I will post a short description under every picture.

I actually wrote a review on Amazon about this item, so I will not repeat myself as you can read it following the link. Purchased it a little over a year ago and had no problems since.

Prior to that I thought Fellowes Saturn 3i 95 was doing a good job. But the plastic construction of it couldn’t handle my load and started smelling funny and making loud scary noises. I only had it for 3 or 4 months when it started happening. But if you laminate occasionally it may very well work for you. Here’s the link to it on Amazon and as you will find out it has rather glowing reviews -

 I buy these in bulk now at 200 sheets, which ends up being about 12 cents a pouch. They come in two 100 sheet boxes with a feeding sleeve aka carrier. You do not have to use it, but I do as my industrial type laminator is capable of taking the thickness of cardstock, 5 mil laminating pouch, and the carrier. The results are gorgeous glossy finish without a single scratch or blemish.

Now if you read the reviews on Amazon, they do not seem so hot. But a lot of those have to do with people not being able to install it or some other technical nonsense that has nothing to do with the actual performance and quality of print. I had an HP printer before, it had duplex print capability and lots of other cool features. BUT! When I printed side by side, especially darker images, there really was no comparison. I do also buy my refills on eBay. All four toners are about $150 and they last me over 6 months. And I print a lot! In fact I just printed device statistics and it shows I’ve printed about 2500 sheets. What?

This was my 3rd paper trimmer and it’s a keeper! I initially ordered the 18” one and quickly realized I didn’t need it to be this long, so exchanged it for 12 1/2” and have been very pleased. It has automatic paper clamp, which holds whatever you are cutting in place rather well. Not so much for laminated sheets, as those are slippery, but since I precut all my paper and cardstock, it has proven itself to be irreplaceable. No Fiskars trimmer was ever able to cut with this German precision.

I’ve tried gazillion corner rounders and this one is by far my favorite! As with all corner rounders, they will dull over time and there’s now way to sharpen them. At least I don’t know how to. So when I buy these I get two at a time. It has a little storage compartment for your clippings, so they don’t fly all over the place and you can actually use your hand, rather than your thumb to punch corners, which is a lot easier on your wrist. I also like having 3, 5, and
8 mm options. It is not available on Prime as it’s shipped from Japan, but the wait is totally worth it.

So there you have it, TheLaminatrix tricks of the trade. Let me know what you think and if you use the same or different tools. I am definitely curious to see what others use and am always open to suggestions. And like I said, with my Prime membership, I really have no problem exploring other options.

I am wishing you the best in the new school year. Have fun learning and teaching.

Yours truly,

Montessori guide for developing language at home

A lot of you ask me about how Montessori method can be implemented at home. Today I want to tell you about a wonderful resource that will help you in developing language skills of your toddler at home.

I can understand how you may feel when you see photos of beautiful spaces and videos of Montessori environments you also want to be able to set such spaces, give your child the best and understand fully how Montessori method works. When I first entered a Montessori classroom I wasn't trained Montessori teacher and to be honest I knew just a little about Montessori. I was fascinated! I observed several days and I had so many questions. Now there is a lot of information on the internet. There are a lot of wonderful sites where teachers and parents share their knowledge and experience. But there are not that much that give basic knowledge about Montessori lessons. I always value knowledge over information because information is cheap and knowledge is what is precious.  That's why I want to tell you about this wonderful book. It is such a helper for parents! I think everyone who uses Montessori at home needs it.

There is such a thing as Montessori teacher albums. Teachers write them during the training. There are separate albums for every area of learning, for example, practical life album, sensorial album, language album etc. The album consists of presentations of different materials, works and lessons. Every work and material in a Montessori classroom have a special way of presenting it. Teachers write albums to remember all presentations better and to have all of them in one place. So when you need to refresh your knowledge you just open the album and look how the work is presented. Parents at home often want to know how to work with some Montessori materials or what is the best way to present some activities to children. But there is no such thing as albums for parents. Though there is a difference between teaching in a classroom and at home it would be very helpful for parents to look at such album to understand the general pattern of working with materials, presenting them, to learn about the aims of various works etc. But you can not just go and buy the teacher's album because most often they are handwritten and they are rarely sold. 

Why have I started all this talk about albums? Because this book reminds me of them! But it is even more, even cooler, it has not only presentations of materials but the actual printable materials and super helpful articles that answer the question you often have while teaching at home! And even more! Yes, it is that cool! Now I want to tell you about it in all the details.

The authors of the ebook are four wonderful women that leave in different parts of the world. Isabel is from Germany, Yuliya is from the Netherlands, Amruta is from India, and Vanessa is from the USA. What they have in common is all of them are wonderful mothers and all of them love the Montessori method. They use it at home daily with their children. They live in different places and it works wonderfully for all of them. I think it is very interesting to hear about their experience at home and they definitely have a lot to tell you! They are all bloggers and can read about their daily lives using the Montessori approach.

The activities presented in the ebook are intended for children between the ages of 2-4 years old. However, a preschool aged child may still enjoy many of these activities.

The ebook consists of 12 chapters:
  1.  Precursors to reading and writing
  2.  The role of the caregiver
  3.  Reading and storytelling
  4.  Around the home and outdoors
  5.  Pre-reading activities
  6.  Pre-writing skills
  7.  Crossing the midline
  8.  Sound games
  9.  Mystery bag and treasure baskets
  10.  Rhyme and song
  11.  Montessori 3-period lesson
  12.  Teaching a second language
Every chapter includes descriptions of different lessons, a list of materials that you will need, detailed instruction of how to present these lessons, and their benefits. All these accompanied with beautiful pictures from the real life, ideas, and materials in use. I am just scrolling the ebook while I write it and I don't know how to even describe how wonderful is it. I like it so much!

The cool thing that it doesn't have unnecessary text just to fill the ebook. Every page is useful. You open it, you read it, you use it.

That's interesting! 

I want a copy of the book!

The ebook covers all the core elements that are important for toddler language development. It talks about all areas of language in toddler life. 

The ebook includes a huge bundle of language printables that include:
  • Fruits and vegetables matching cards
  • Animal life cycles matching cards
  • Go together matching cards
  • Around the house/kitchen/yard matching cards
  • Go together
  • Opposites
  • Clothing labels
  • I spy mats
  • ABC cards
  • CVC word cards
  • CVC silly book
  • Nursery rhyme cards
  • Prewriting skills printable activities
  • Fruits/vegetables/herbs 3-part cards
  • Life cycles 3-part cards corresponding to Safari LTD Life Cycle Toobs
  • Around the house/kitchen/yard 3-part cards

So the ebook includes language lessons and also printable cards that correspond these lessons. I need to say that the printable cards are absolutely gorgeous! They contain beautiful and realistic images.

The pack also includes printables in Spanish!

The ebook also has the wonderful additional materials that you can print as little helpers and reminders, such as:
  • a short Montessori method FAQ  that answers questions using Maria Montessori own quotes
  • a checklist of miniature objects for language works, mystery bag, and treasure basket. This is really helpful because little objects are very needed. They work wonderfully for language lessons and I often see questions like "What objects can I use for letter J" or other letters. So you can just print the checklist and collect your own big set. I think everyone needs such a set of miniature objects
  • possible order of introducing letters 
  • phonetic sounds for language objects
  • a list of Montessori language lessons
  • developmental check list for a toddler that gives a general idea of developmental milestones
  • a list of Montessori language materials for ages 2-5
  • a list of recommended books for a toddler 
  • a list of useful books for you to read
  • a list of favourite blogs and resources
I can totally recommend this book to anyone who uses the Montessori method at home.
It is a really wonderful find 

Regular Price: $24.50

Promo price: $11.50

Bonuses and promo price available until July 26, 2017

BONUS: There is even more! If you buy the book during the launch you will also receive several printable freebies that are worth over $25!  Freebies will include: Bird Science Bundle, Honey Bee Science Bundle, Story of Diwali, and a Hibernation Unit.
In a nutshell:
What is this ebook?
It is a guide for parents for developing child's language skills at home. 
This is the ebook + a big pack of printable materials

Who is this ebook for?
  • Parents that use the Montessori method at home 
  • Parents that don't use the Montessori method at home. The lessons and printables will still work wonderfully for you
  • Homeschoolers
  • Toddler teachers because it has a huge pack of cards that you will be able to use daily
What is the ideal age for this ebook?

The ebook is for 2-4 years old but preschoolers may also find many activities interesting

What is the price?
Regular price is $25.50 but during launch July 19-26 you can buy it for $11.50

What is the size of the ebook?
This ebook is over 200 pages and includes 50 pages of content (activities and theory) and 150 pages of amazing printables and resource guides (checklists).

How should I use the ebook?
You can just read it and use the lesson right away. I would recommend printing everything, the whole ebook, and the printables. Put the book in a separate binder. Store the printables as you prefer. This would be your language album at home. Everytime you change your language shelves, put new materials on them, or present new work to your child you can open it and look how you can present this lesson.

Oh, one more thing!

During July 19-26 you can get the previous amazing ebook from this series also with discounted price.
You can buy Montessori Inspiration at home - Practical Life for $8.50 only! 

And, you can grab a pack of 2 of these ebooks for $20 HERE!

Have a wonderful Montessori at home ;)

A tour of the Montessori 0-3 environment at Montessori Doma

Everyday I read a lot about the Montessori method. I browse the internet and share all my finds on my Facebook page. I see so many beautiful Montessori places! 

Why do I like sharing with you my Montessori finds? I get inspired and I want to inspire you also! I think it is interesting to observe how Montessori classrooms look in different parts of the world. The classrooms have similar core materials but all of them are very unique. Looking at them gives me ideas for improvements. I find design decisions and material variations that I can implement in my work.

Recently I saw one place and I was so eager to have a deeper look at it. This was Montessori doma. I contacted the owner and got acquainted with wonderful Mojca. She turned out to be the sweetest person. She is so kind and lovely! I asked her to make a virtual tour of her place for my readers and she was so eager to show it. Yei!


Mojca is from Slovenia. She is a mother of two girls (9 and 7 years old), Montessori assistant 0-3 and at the end of 3-6 training. She is a founder of Montessori doma – it means Montessori at home (blogwebshop, and academy for parents) Now she is preparing her first online course for the parents who want to implement Montessori at home. How cool is that?! I think sharing knowledge is so important because by teaching others you learn and understand things better yourself.

Montessori is very young in Slovenia. First Montessori preschool was established in 2002. Mojca found out about Montessori when she got her second child in 2010. It resonated with her immediately. By the way, the same situation was with me. It is such an incredible feeling when you feel that you found something you were looking for. She wanted to know more about the approach so she started reading the books, contacted the local preschool for attending the parent-toddler class with her girls. She even enrolled in the Montessori long term class for Montessori teachers 0-3. Firstly she started as a mother who wanted to raise her girls the best possible way and she found that Montessori is the best fit for her family. Now she is doing this as her main occupation.

She started to write the blog first. Her blog was the first  Montessori blog in Slovenia. There were not that many information for parents available and they were grateful for the information she provided., Also she decided to open a store with Montessori appropriate materials and items to help parents find them. I think this is one of the reasons we all are doing Montessori.

Running parent-infant and parent-toddler classes is her big passion. She has been doing this for 7 years now and the last year she has got a place to rent. She sees so many transformations happening in her class with the parents and the children. The parents become much more secure in their role as parents, they trust their children more and on the other hand, children become more independent, more engaged in their work as they were before. This is what makes her driving and keep doing her work. 

So let's look at her fabulous class! I am so excited! I want to tell you more about every element so you have a deeper understanding of what is inside the classroom.

The photos are from the space that was prepared for 0-3. Twice a week she transforms the place to serve only for the babies. She removes high furniture and all the materials for 1-3 and adds only the ones for the babies.

The space is 40m2.  I love it when the classroom has big windows. They are not always available because not all of us are lucky to find such place but you only look at it. Big windows fill the class with such amount of natural and warm light. Light plays a special role in forming a calm and beautiful space also. 

The classroom is not full of bright colours but does it make it look worse? No, not at all. This combination of wooden furniture, calm colours, green flowers and some colour elements form all together beautiful and inviting environment.

Furniture is mostly from Ikea. She reworked some pieces so they are costumed to the children and the purpose.

This little table and chair can be used from abut 6 months. They help a child to form independence from the day they start to sit.They are just the appropriate size for children. A child should be able to touch and feel the floor with his feet. It helps them to feel safer. 

Glass walls are my seconds love after windows. They add some kind of elegance to the whole space.
Here you can see practical life and food preparation area. 

On the top shelf you can see from the top and left to right: 
1. Red bin for organic waste, cutting board, and knives; 
2. Big ceramic green bowl with handles is for scrubbing the chairs, tables, and kitchen board; 
3. Tray with 2 cloths, one for wiping the spills and the other for cleaning the table. There is a small sweep and dustpan for the table beside the tray. It is for sweeping the crumbs or for cleaning after beans transferring; 
4. The green basin is for washing the fruits and vegetables. There is a little brush and the pitcher inside. 
5. Towels are for the wiping the floor for any water spills.

Pay attention that Mojca has a hook on the right side of this shelf and on the right side of the sink. This way children can access them easily.

On the left, you can see a child-sized sink. And here is an interesting moment - Mojca's room doesn't have plumbing. But the sink is completely functionating. She really wanted to have a running water in her room so she had to improvise. She wanted the water to be available for children. So she made a DIY portable child-sized sink. Her friend helped her out. She used this tutorialThe sink only provides the cold water and the water pump has a humming sound but the kids are ok with this. Mojca changes the fresh water for every session and empties the used water. 

On top of this shelf, you can see a basket with fruits and a basket with cutters

These are some other food preparation works that are available in the classroom.

There is a corner in the classroom where all the cleaning tools are situated. Again they are on the child's level so they can easily access them. There are different brushes and brooms. 

You can see a huge and amazing ball tracker on the next photo. I like that its size is pretty big so the child can observe it while standing. Then there is a small chest of drawers of the nice mint colour. There are dry towels for the activities of practical life inside. The children can change them by themselves if needed after finishing the activity if the used towels are wet. Also there is a drying rack where children can hang towels and clothes they used for cleaning. I like a lot this practical life element. Also, pay attention to the picture. It is on the child's eye level and it depicts a realistic photo of monkeys.

Other practical life work that you may find interesting is hands washing. I just love this ceramic bowl! It is beautiful and children learn to handle delicate things. Again there is a hook for a towel. Wow, every element of this environment is so well-thought!

Children have a small watering can so they can care for plants.

There is a table with mirror for nose blowing. Mojca stores napkins in this small drawer. It is so exquisite. Mojca has chosen such an appropriate piece of furniture exactly for this work and for this environment. 

Then you can see the fine motor shelf. Every work is in separate basket or tray. Here we have scooping, transferring, bolts twisting and threading material. As you remember we do all the transferring works from left to right (it is indirect preparation for writing). Pay attention at the right amount of beans in the bowl. You should put the amount of beans (or other things you use for transferring) that a child is able to transfer. A child will probably don't have that amount of patience to transfer the whole bowl and we don't want him to stop and leave half in one bowl and half in the other. When I put such work on the sheld i put in the bowl about 10 spoons of beans and then I observe how children work with this amount. This may seem like a tiny thing but the whole Montessori method consists of such small but important details.

Then there is a shelf with various works that will be interesting for children. 

You can see from the top and left to right:
2. Shape sorter from Ikea;
3. Hammering work - box with balls;
4. Small puzzle;
5. Mystery bag.

Then there is a place for musical instruments. I like that every of them has a separate basket rather than stored all together in one. This way a child can work with every instrument independently and concentrate on it.

Then you can see a language shelf. I like then she even put that adult books shelving exactly in this place in the classroom. They somehow belong to the language area of the classroom. Maybe this wasn't her intention but it makes sense for me ;) I like that Mojca uses different baskets. They add life and colours. The shelf looks calm and invinting. The hedgehog painting by the famous illustrator Jelka Reichman suits the space so wonderfully. 

There is also a reading area. There is a cozy reading corner with pillows, arm chair, and basket with books. Have you noticed that there are different blue elements throughout the whole classroom? I think this add the feeling of connection to the whole space and it is pleasing to the eye.

The classroom also has an art area with blackboard and different art works. The red bucket is for cleaning the art board.

On the shelf you can see from the top and left to right: 
1. Stamps; 
2. Crayons; 
3. Glue box; 
4. Protective covers for all the art works.  Children take the everytime they work with art materials and put on the table surface to protect the table; 
5. This basket is for plain papers.

This is an area for the babies. It has a low mirror, sort mat and pillows, stand for mobiles and takane ball.

This is a low shelf with materials for infants that is near.

This turned out to be a very detailed post. But I really like this place and I wanted to show you all its corners. I see that Mojca has put all her heart and soul into it! I am happy to meet such a professional. I want to thank Mojca for such opportunity to visit her space virtually ;)

The other reason for such a detailed description of the elements is to help you create your own spaces. I think it will give ideas for teachers in the classroom and for parents at home. This way you will have a more complex idea of the Montessori 0-3 environment and can go and implement some of this ideas right away.

Please visit Mojca here: 
Online store: (she ships to other countries too)

This is not a sponsored post I just really like this place.