Monday, February 28, 2011

Montessori Education Week

Celebrate Montessori Education Week February 27 -- March 5.

The United Montessori Schools of Indiana and our local schools have this commercial playing on our local NBC affiliate.

A great web site to inspire ideas for celebrating this week within your school is at Montessori Opportunities

Please share ideas that your family or class are doing to promote or reflect on Montessori Education.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Parts of the Horse

The Montessori science curriculum for ages three through six is based on zoology, botany, and physical science. The major works offered are the zoology and botany puzzles. For zoology there are puzzles representing reptiles, birds, amphibians, fish and mammals, the botany puzzles traditionally include the tree, leaf and flower.

The multiple purposes of these puzzles are: learning simple puzzle skills, learning the appropriate names for the parts of these things (for example the parts of the flower are; stem, corolla, stamen, pistil,and calyx). Following mastery of parts, children often move on to tracing the parts and coloring them to match the puzzle or tracing the pieces on colored paper and pin-pricking it out to glue onto paper in order to replicate the puzzle (show below with the Horse). Once a child has accomplished this, they move on to creating Parts of the ______books, and when appropriate reading labels for the parts, and finally reading definition booklets. These works are not accomplished in a short time. These steps evolve over the three years spent in an early childhood classroom, in conjunction with all of the other great skills & knowledge obtained.

I have the version of puzzles from Montessori Services at school. Children used them for eight years and they and now used primarily in our training program. When looking for puzzles for our home, I decided on this type of puzzle, but decided to spend less money and ordered them through the Montessori Deals Store on Ebay. The girls love these puzzles and Humphrey recently made this representation of the Horse.

How we made it...

I did trace the puzzle pieces for her, as they are more difficult than metal insets.

Using a giant thumbtack as her pin-pricker and felted mat, Humphrey methodically punches holes close together on the outline and then tears along the perforated line. Once all the pieces are done, we glued them onto a piece of paper and talked about the parts.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Birthday Celebration--Montessori Style

I love the Montessori birthday celebration! This is a day to celebrate the life of the child and how they have developed over the years. We invite parents in for our birthday celebration and I am eagerly awaiting being on the parent side of this occasion this spring when Humphrey turns 4. I have been on the teacher side for several years and doing this celebration for each family.

All of the children gather on the classroom line; a low table is placed in the middle; upon the table is a yellow candle to represent the sun; a sandpaper or continent globe is chosen by the child.

First we read, On The Day You Were Born, by Debra Fraizer. This is a beautiful book, it's extra special to insert the birthday child's name with each page.

Now it's time for the child to walk around the sun, carrying the globe, one rotation for each year of their life. During each rotation, the teacher is talking about things the child was doing during this year. For example, when you were 1-- you were beginning to walk and eat new foods...when you were 3 you came to our class...
Following the birthday walk the class sings Tom Chapin's version of Happy Birthday

We also invite families to donate a book or piece of artwork to the class to celebrate their child--nonfiction books are the best and many families choose a book from their ethnic/cultural background or tie it into a topic the class is learning about that given year.