Monday, January 30, 2012

Montessori Monday: Magnets and Letters!

 A new collection of Magnetic and Non-Magnetic for our house, gathered by the girls.  It's got a little Valentine's theme with the box and the cookie cutter!

Why do I teach them cursive in this world of print, computers, and type?  Dr. Montessori found that cursive had gentle curved lines are a natural extension of the hand.  I tend to be a little 'old school' about Dr. Montessori's writings at my home, and lead my children by her old lectures.  Plus, there are far less letter and sound reversals (b,d,p,q,g) when the child learns the sounds with cursive first, or alongside print letters.  I have found the transition to print very easy for my girls, since they were so very interested in letter formation by the time they had a good amount of time with cursive.  Give it a shot!
"Must one begin with strokes? The logical answer is “No.” These require too much effort on the part of the child to make them. If he is to begin with the stroke, it should be the easiest thing to execute. But, if we note carefully, a straight stroke is the most difficult to make. Only an accomplished writer can fill out a page with regular strokes, whereas a person who is only moderately proficient can cover a page with presentable writing."
(Dr. Maria Montessori, 'The Discovery of the Child', Clio Press Ltd, 193)

Care of Environment:  Polishing and watering our Peace Lily and our budding Amaryllis.  They simply CANNOT wait for this plant to flower, because they know to expect the Part of Flower puzzle, cards, and booklets to come out.  Our Flower Puzzle is this exact flower!  During a New England January, flowers are few and far between.

Shared with: 
 Montessori Monday 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

More Than Just The 5 Senses

"Aesthetic and moral education are also closely connected with the training of the senses. By multiplying sense experiences and developing the ability to evaluate the smallest differences in various stimuli, ones sensibilities are refined and ones pleasures increased. Beauty is found in harmony, not in discord; and harmony implies affinities, but these require a refinement of the sense if they are to be perceived. The beautiful harmonies of nature and of art escape those whose senses are dull. " 
~ Maria Montessori, Discovery of the Child

The sensorial materials were created to increase the child’s ability to observe, compare, discriminate, differentiate, reason, decide, solve problems, and appreciate our world.  All of the materials provide the child with a cognitive system where the child can get a basis for order and logic and learn to sort their information as they explore life with an absorbent mind. 
Children, teachers, and parents all over the world appreciate the beauty and precision that Montessori used in designing the sensorial materials.  The materials are auto-educational, meaning they can be used with no teacher/adult interactions allowing the child to work independently and successfully. 
There are ten senses that are introduced in the sensorial materials:
1.    Visual Discrimination

a)    of Size- Exploration of short/tall, thick/thin, big/small and grading of sizes
knobless cylinders, discrimination of size
b)   of Color- Matching, Grading and Identifying the primary, secondary, and tertiary colors

color tablets, discrimination of color
c)    of Form- Working with shapes, and a basic knowledge of geometry

binomial cube
2.    Auditory- Isolation and exploration of hearing

sound cylinders, auditory discrimination
3.    Tactile- Matching, Grading, and Identifying the different feelings of touch
"it feels soft, fluttery"
4.    Stereognostic- Trying to picture what something is without looking at it, smelling it, or hearing it

stereognostic bag
5.    Baric- Matching, Grading, and Identifying differences in weight
exploring with heavy and light baskets, age 18 months
6.    Thermic- Matching, Grading, and Identifying differences in temperature
"My feet are warm, my snow is cold!"

7.  Olfactory-  matching, grading, sorting scents
working with smelling cylinders

8.    Gustatory- Matching, Grading, Identifying, Trying and Testing differences in taste
baking and tasting
9.    Sense of Self- The ways in which the Montessori environment helps to build self-knowledge, self-confidence, and self-respect in a child.

10.  Sense of Wonder- The ways in which the Montessori environment helps to provide the child with the means to explore the world and the beauty and joy of life.
"who lived in this shell?"

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Montessori Monday: Colors, Cursive & Magnets

This week we actually got a lot of work time in.  I forgot how nice it is to work when no one is sick!  Even with afternoons booked with appointments and errands, we spent many evenings with the materials.  

Peanut does this work every day.  She loves that binomial cube!  For a view of the lesson, check this older post-  A Look At The Binomial Cube

I brought some of my work home this week.  I needed to make new Botany Cabinet Cards, so I took the cabinet home to trace my own.  I did find another option at Montessori Print Shop, that matched our school's Neinhuis cabinet.  Bean and Pumpkin were busy making sure all the cards when back in order.

LISTEN, Mom!  It MATCHES!!!!!  She's using the Sound Cylinders, finding matches.

Mid process, work time :)

Bean working on the letter Mm in cursive!  Sandpaper, chalkboard, then paper.  She  is extremely interested in cursive writing, so she got the cursive lowercase sandpaper letters for Christmas.  She's busy using the sand tray and practicing on the chalkboard.  She really wants to get practiced with her signature (her name in cursive)!

Using the Primary Colors to create a color wheel.  

We did SO much work opperation an eye dropper this fall.  It pays off when you get to make your own color wheel!  This printable can be found at Mama Jenn, for free.  My own girls, and all of my school classroom adore this activity.  

Sorting and journals with Magnetic/Non-Magnetic.

Exploring with the magnets.  Wow, they are all stuck!!!!  We love the book, Mickey's Magnets to go along with this experiment.

Look at the tongue!  Concentration with cutting.

Bean's favorite color grading extension on the color box.

Pumpkin grades the color box.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Montessori At Home! & Montessori Print Shop Materials Bundle Giveaway!

This giveaway is now closed, the links below are still working.  Thanks for your interest :)

This week, I'm very excited to be hosting a giveaway from Montessori At Home! and Montessori Print Shop. PLUS, Montessori At Home! Is giving these two winners the latest edition of the Montessori At Home! eBook. This giveaway is the perfect pairing for families and schools!    

There will be TWO winners who get the Montessori At Home! Materials Bundle, full of amazing printables for Montessori.  We actually have the bundle and use it a TON.  It is so very useful, a great collection for parents and teachers.

Bean works with her sentences (Montessori At Home!  means we work in PJs!)

The Montessori At Home! Materials Bundle includes 21 printable files that compliment the Montessori At Home! eBook. The MAH Materials Bundle includes materials from most areas covered in the eBook, and will get you off to a great start learning what your child is most interested in. Combine the MAH Materials Bundle with the 40+ Free Montessori materials that Montessori Print Shop offers and you’re off to a terrific start using Montessori at home with your children.
The value of the 21 printable files in the Montessori At Home! Materials Bundle is $60.49 (if purchased individually). The Bundle is now available for $19.99, but it is FREE to the TWO winners of this Giveaway!
This Montessori At Home! Materials Bundle can be sent world-wide. The winners are required to supply Montessori Print Shop with a valid email and shipping address in order to have their prize processed through the automated online system. All information is kept confidential and a download link will be sent to the email address of each winner.

The BEST part is that any entry here gets you a free download of the Mom Bloggers Talk Montessori E-Book!  That's right....every person who enters this giveaway gets a free link. Some of my ideas are in there!

Follow the link below after entering with a comment. The link will work for two weeks after this giveaway closes:  

And that's not all!!!  If you'd like to order the Montessori At Home!  eBook, follow the link below for a special discount just for us!  I highly recommend it to anyone interested, it's the new edition!

How to enter:  Simply leave a comment on this post.  Please include your email address so that if you are the winner, you can be contacted for the download.  The winners will be notified on Monday, January 16th 2012, when this giveaway closes.  
Good Luck!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Montessori, Taken Outside

I have been doing a lot of observing lately, trying to figure out what makes my three little girls who they are, to get a good picture of what they want from their time here at home. So far, it looks like a lot of sensorial, practical life, math, language, and nature.  

Our New England late Fall and Early Winter has been very mild, so we are spending amazing amounts of time outside. This is where I'm learning a lot from them.

The first thing I'm learning is this (and I should've known!):  they do not need play equipment.  Right before the twins were born, we moved to a new neighborhood, and as fast as the houses went up, play sets when up.  We joined in without thinking.  It barely gets touched, but here's what does......natural items.  They join together in an effort to move large piles of rocks, from one end of the yard to another.  They moved rocks yesterday for an hour straight, and them put them all back like good little Montessorians.  I kept myself busy outside, so they didn't rely on me for entertainment (I read a book).  I watched one of my three-year-olds  carry tiny pebbles inside clam shells, while the others were pretending to cook mud,- transfer them from one play dump truck to the other.  She pushed that little truck all around that day, long enough for me to finish a whole chapter.  Then, she decided to let them go down the least they used the playset :)

My work now is to provide more natural items in our yard.  That should be easy, since we LOVE to collect things on nature walks!

Collecting, sorting, and transferring pebbles outside.  This is their spontaneous playing, nothing I made!

Nature's best tool, an old stick.

Pumpkin experiments with wheels on an incline.  "Bye, pebbles!"
Girls love trucks, too.  This one is carrying precious cargo, pebbles.

For more images of outdoor natural playscapes, see a Pinterest board I created called Outdoor Spaces.