Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas Presents

Along with big girl legos, games, Veggie Tale videos and musical instruments I decided to get Humphrey and Magoo each a "work". This was such a hit with Magoo--she was a little overwhelmed with the new stuff that she did not know what to do with. Upon opening Baby Doll Washing, she quickly unpacked and ran with the pitcher to a sink. We could see the relief wash over her face, that she knew what to do with this gift.

This is going to be one clean baby doll!

Allowing the girls to work with water is a little stressful for their Papa, so this is something to do at home when Mama is available to monitor. It's set up in the kitchen and there is a ladder up to the sink, so both girls can be pretty independent. Good thing we have a tile floor. I envision this moving out to the deck once warm weather returns.

Below is a picture of how it is set up...I put this together myself resourcing Montessori N Such and clearance shelves at local stores.

Some people allow their children to just wash any doll, and that is fine if it works for you. I am choosing that this is just for washing, therefore setting up the perimeters for the girls--allowing the washing to occur when desired and setting them up for success and not setting them up to frustrate me by washing other dolls not appropriate for soap and water.

Humphrey also received a work for Christmas, although she can do both. I bought this one straight out of Montessori N Such. I received cloth napkins for Christmas and Humphrey is having a good time washing them.

We have a good friend that makes homemade soap, so I cut a bar in half for her to wash with. Besides napkins, I'm not sure what she will be washing...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Making Lasagna

Once I had the meat browned and various ingredients mixed, I set up an assembly line in the kitchen and invited my three year old to help make 2 lasagnas.  It's all about preparing the environment.   First, I gave Humphrey a cutting board her wavy chopper and three cleaned mini zucchinis.  While she was chopping away, I placed all of the other toppings in bowls in the proper order of layering for our tasty lasagna.  Meat sauce, noodles, cottage cheese, zucchini, and various shredded cheeses. An added bonus was my three year old snacking on zucchini at 9:45 a.m.--who could argue?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Montessori for the Homeless?

I had an amazing morning once again visiting the Montessori Classroom at the Center for the Homeless--a local shelter.  While this is part of my job, every time I go visit I think, "This is part of my job!".  This classroom is the only such classroom in the country--true Montessori for children in need of a place to feel safe, to be loved, to be respected, and to belong.  I think Maria would be excited at this venture, after all what children did she work with when it all began?  "The least of these my brothers" comes to mind when I think of this classroom.  Unfortunately, over the past decade it seems that Montessori has evolved in a type of education for the elite--not the outcasts.

Upon entering the classroom this morning, I was greeted by 4 of the 5 children in attendance (4 children we absent due to extenuating circumstances).  The only reason I was not greeted by the fifth was that she was completely engrossed in her work.  I was greeted with handshakes and "Good Morning Ms. Julie", and "Welcome to our classroom, may I show you around?".  Once the 5 year old, third year student got me a chair to sit in, she arranged a low table next to me and offered me a drink.  The next thing I witnessed put a huge grin on my face and made me so happy that I was where I was at that moment--I would not have traded it for anything.  She arranged for a friend to walk carefully, while ringing a bell.  The third year child walked slowly, carrying a tray with a tea pot of hot water, a mug, a sugar bowl, spoon, and container with teas and hot chocolate for me to choose from.  *the child ringing the bell was to alert other children that hot water was being carried and to stand back.  Have you ever been served something like this by a five year old childWould you expect this from a child that has spent part of her young life living in a homeless shelter?   I encourage others to go and visit the classroom, the other children are eager to offer you a warm beverage on a cold snowy morning (I could only drink so much).

Montessori offers children a Prepared Environment, completely set up for them by the adultThe children learn to respect the classroom environment, their peers, the materials that they get to work with and the world.  Children work with the materials in the classroom--they are exposed to beautiful items, breakable things, cooking opportunities, methods of grace and courtesy, learning how to take care of the environment (from putting their chosen work away, to cleaning up after spills, to recycling), and academics!

One more story from my visit this morning.  A six year boy that has been a member of the class since last week, was playing a xylophone.  He asked the teacher to sit near him and help.  Her first response was, well I will gladly sit by you, but this is not really something you need help with (but he had a plan).  After playing a bit he wanted her to sing along with his music.  She politely explained that she did not know the song.  He instructed her to get a pencil and paper and that she could write down all the notes to help her.  He then continued on for quite some time and was thrilled for some one-on-one time and to "record" his music.  Once again, this is a child that lives with his mother at a homeless shelter--

These children deserve "The Best of the Best"--I am so happy that they can be offered it when other things in their young lives don't always seem to make sense.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Humphrey: transferring pom poms 1-1  Montessori in the home
Materials Needed:

 1 tray
 2 melamine bowls
 6 large pom poms

Crossing the mid-line

Montessori Conversations

I am starting this blog as a place to write down my Montessori reflections as an administrator, educator and parent.  I enjoy perusing Montessori blogs to get new ideas for classroom materials, as well as finding topics for staff meetings & newsletters, and as a platform for personal/professional renewal.

Children featured on this page will be referred to as Humphrey & Magoo, my two daughters.  I enjoy incorporating Montessori into our everyday home life as well as observing them at school.

I have hopes that this adventure will renew me throughout 2011.

Merry Christmas to all!