Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Montessori Monday

(on Tuesday) :)

I'm so glad Nicole thought to host a Montessori carnival! We've been doing Practical Life work for quite some time now, but with our new classroom in check we've recently begun using our Montessori materials, too. This will be a fun way to share what we're both learning.

I feel compelled to point out that while I've done lots of research and reading on the Montessori method, I have just begun Montessori teacher training. That said, you will undoubtedly find flaws and errors in my lessons. Thankfully, my darling son is a gracious guinea pig while I find my Montessori footing. :) I have many, many resources I refer to - see my sidebar for a list of books I recommend.

At James' age (2.9), Practical Life is the area of focus. It just so happens this is my *favorite* of the Montessori subjects and I really enjoy putting this work together.

Pouring "Ice" (clear plastic crystals):
James does really well with pouring. Unfortunately by the end of the week I found these crystals scattered around his playroom on two occasions. That's what happens when mommy takes a shower. Silly mommy.

Matching Nuts & Bolts:
James worked on this several times this week. He can match the sizes perfectly, but is still working on the concept of twisting on and off.

Marble Transfer:
This was a big hit. James was really focused whenever he did this work, which was often. Another great way to improve those fine motor skills.

Nut Sorting/Matching:
I think this is considered Practical Life. In some books sorting is listed under PL and in others it's listed under math. Ah well. Until I know for sure, I'm just going to throw it in with our PL lessons. Anyway, see how cute and inviting this tray is? The squirrel, the nice wooden bowls displaying the magic that is my new laminator? Think James was impressed with all this? Nope. He did sort the nuts once, spent some time looking at the pictures, but that was it. Boo.

Scooping Letter Pasta:
James worked on this a few times, but it was left untouched later in the week. Normally he likes spooning, but in this case he was more interested in the letters. :)

I've also introduced a few Sensorial materials recently...
James LOVES the cylinders (both knobbed and knobless). But I made a rookie mistake and put out on our shelves all 3 of our knobbed cylinder blocks (don't have the 4th one yet) for him to use... without giving a proper presentation of all of them first. I presented the first block and just assumed he'd be able to manipulate the others as well. Nope. Silly me to forget Dr. Montessori was a genius when she designed these materials and that each and every one has a separate purpose. So, before he got too attached to all of them, I removed all but the first block. He's quite content learning this set for now. Phew! Montessori crisis averted!

We spend a lot of time working with the knobless cylinders - they're so colorful and interesting. (note: this won't be the first time you get a sense of me longing to have been exposed to such lovely things when I was little - re-living my childhood vicariously through my son? Just a tad.) ;) I really enjoy watching James go to town on these cylinders. I have extension cards, but I'll hold off on them for now. He's doing quite well with them on his own.

You can click here to read about my attempt at presenting the Pink Tower to James. I'm SO bummed he has zero interest in it. Well, that's not altogether true... today he knocked it over on accident and was forced to take notice of it.

With regard to these posts, I just want to point out that while our Practical Life work will vary week to week, it won't be long before you see some repeats with the actual Montessori materials. The main reason for this is that these materials are meant to be presented over a period of time and in stages so that the child can really master the work (lesson learned after the aforementioned cylinder faux-pas) Also, the materials are crazy expensive, and as a result I don't really have a ton of variety here. Sigh... if only my Hubs were good at woodworking - he could make so many of the materials for us. :)

I found James "reading" Dr. Montessori's The Absorbent Mind. He finds my books around house and loves to pretend to read them. And I love that he chose this book to read. :)


Debbie said...

I don't know enough about Montessori to do the carnival, but I'm glad you're doing it! I like the fish and marble tray. I used to have a fish like that and also an octopus and sea turtle--they got yucky from being used in the tub so long. I need to find some more. Your squirrel and nut tray does look appealing. My little one is the same--I get together an activity I'm sure she'll enjoy, and then she doesn't. When she does like something, I'm absolutely thrilled!

Angela said...

I love what you are doing. I have not looked into Montessori much. We do a lot of montesorri type activities. Where are you doing your studies?
Isn't it funny when they try to read books that most adults find difficult to read? just the other day Christopher was trying to read one of my Husbands Choice Theory books.

Unknown said...

AWESOME! I want to play at your house! I love Montessori activities. I will be watching this carnival for more ideas. Thanks!

Susan-Chasing Marcus said...

Oh my Mari-Ann, I always read your posts and am so inspired. Did you check out what we did this past week? We did scooping things, tonging things and sorting pompoms. Sophie had a great time! I can not wait to put together some more things for her this week. I already have planned to do the marbles on the suction cup things.

Anonymous said...

oo very fun! I love all of your Montessori materials!

Leptir (NataĊĦa) said...

James is sooo cute with "adult" book in his hands :-)

Great activities. Thanks for inspiration :-)

Evenspor said...

I know what you mean about the materials. I think half the reason I am so attracted to Montessori is because *I* want to play with the materials.

Elise said...

So many great activities Mari-Ann. I really like the matching nuts and bolts activity and can imagine Blake getting into that when he is a little older. Your nut sorting/matching tray is gorgeous. What a beautiful tray to work with.

The photo of James reading The Absorbent Mind, made me chuckle.

Your quantifying owl activity is such a stunning looking resource. James is so clever to be adding and subtracting the owls. When he gets to work with such inspiring resources that are home made I am not surprised that his brilliance shines through.

Theresa Mezo said...

I absolutely love your marble activity, I'd love to have all of the Montessori materials that you have, is there a specific company that you buy from? I can't seem to find anything around my area that suits my needs :(

Counting Coconuts said...

Thanks for your comments!!
I believe I sent each of you an email, but Theresa, in case others are wondering the same question I'm posting my response here. :)
The authentic materials (the cylinders, the pink tower) were purchased at a few places: Montessori n Such, Montessori Outlet, and Alison's Montessori. The beauty of the practical life stuff is that is can be created with everyday things you have around the house - toy cups & spoons, condiment dishes, craft bowls and materials, food items such as pasta, beans, rice. You're only limited to what your creative mind can come up with. :) I do a lot my PL shopping in thrift stores, at garage sales, and recently pet stores! Basically anywhere I go my eye is always wandering in search of PL materials. The trays are hard to come by here, but I would guess you could find them at Target or some type of kitchen store. I ordered some of my trays from Oriental Trading. Hope that helps!

Quixotic said...

Great post - GG loves sorting and mathcing, when I'm trying to keep her entertained at a cafe, we sort and match all the little sugar, coffee, Equal etc. packets - keeps her engrossed til her babycino comes!! :oP

Jen said...

Great job, Mari-Ann, as always you come up with amazing activities for James. Is there no limit to your creativity?! :)
I remember once when I left Aiden alone (but safe) to go take a shower... he had taken every book off our bookcase, pulled out all of the pots and pans and eaten some cat food. All this is 15 minutes.

Gidget Girl Reading said...

what great montessori fun! :)

looks like he has had lots of fun!

Counting Coconuts said...

Ha! Oh yes, Jen, my creativity is veeerrry limited! :)

Becky said...

I love matching the nuts and bolts. What I love so much is that they are real tools that will have a real life application. Thanks for the idea!



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