Friday, February 23, 2018

This Montessori Moment

{Montessori moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Color and Pattern

Some of the children have been experimenting with color, patterns and shapes in the classroom.  Maria Montessori spoke about the sensitive period for development and refinement of perception through touch, smell, taste, hearing and sight.  This happens from birth through 4 1/2.  The sensorial materials such as the pink tower, broad stair, color tablets and  the geometric cabinet are a great way to develop this sensitivity. Children learn about color and shading by using the color tablets.

Engaging in art activities extends and refines what we learn from using the sensorial materials.
We learned about symmetry and color by painting hearts in different ways.  The children have also been experimenting with color by mixing primary colors  with eye droppers and mixing colors with plasticine.  In addition to learning about primary and secondary colors, these activities are a great way to promote fine motor development. They have been using their newly mixed colors to make temporary designs on a black canvas.

Posted By~Ms. Melanie

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

The Last few Months at Oxford Street

Apple Finger Painting
 It's hard to believe we are into February already.  The last few months have flown by and I have been quiet in this space.  I am not going to say I am sorry for being absent from here.    I've come to learn, that we live in a world where all we do, is say we are sorry.  Sorry for so many things.  I am not sorry that I am busy teaching in my classroom or that I choose to spend my evenings with my children (one is in his final year of high school and getting ready to leave us).  I started Maple Tree when he was two and in two months he will be eighteen.  My life is shifting as it should and I am getting ready for the next transition.  A smaller family, empty nest and making a choice to slow down.  I don't want to be in front of a screen all the time and I don't want to live with regrets.  There is lots of self reflection in my life these days and one of the things I have reflected on is this blog.  Melanie and I have made a plan to update this space two maybe three times a week.  We will each be responsible for one post each a week and I may post a Montessori Moment on Fridays if time permits.  That feels like a great compromise for me and really she should write her thoughts on her classroom as I should on my classroom.  So here, is a breakdown on what we did in the fall.

We've done a lot a work on Part's of the Apple with Nomenclature cards and labeling the parts of an apple.  This work expanded at our Art table and we set up a space for the children to enjoy a sensory experience with finger paint.  I loved how this project unfolded and how each child's versions was so
Sewing Acorns with Cardboard and Yarn
very different from the next one someone else painted.  Sensory work whether it's painting or working with Pink Tower, Red Rods, Geometric Solids, etc is so very important.  It is extremely calming. comforting and grounding for children.  Paint is just a wonderful extension  of our Montessori Materials.

We set up Early Sewing work on our Art shelf.  The children who have mastered the Stitching block and moved on to this work. We do a lot of sewing in our classroom.  I am a sewer and I think this is a very important part of Practical Life work that all children need to know how to do.  I've had children come to school with a hole in their sock only to go to the shelf and get the materials to sew it up and put it back on their foot.  There is such a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment knowing you can do that for yourself.  Maria Montessori once said, “The essence of independence is to be able to do something for one's self.” “The child can develop fully by means of experience in his environment. We call such experiences 'work'.”  This is just one of the many great examples of independence at work. 
 We did an artist study of Van Gogh in the fall.  I set up a vase of Sunflowers with a sample idea next to the easel.  The results were lovely.  It was wonderful to watch that unfold and see the children paint their own versions.


With our second year students we dove into the botany cabinet.  We took some time to really look at all the leaf shapes in the botany cabinet and then see if we could find matches for them in our outside experiences during playground times and nature walks.

Some of the second year children have been nature journaling through pencil work and water colour paint and pressing leaves in their journals.

We also took some time to set up pin pushing work using the shapes from the botany cabinet.  Many of our children made leaf books.  Pin Pushing work is fantastic, as it really helps children who struggle with a weak pincher grasp to develop that more and strengthen the hand. It was optional to write the names in their leaf books and many children chose to do that.  

Cutting, Glueing and Printing are such important pieces of work and children really love to cut paper and use glue.  

We looked at Georgia O'Keefe in October  and Poppy Art Ideas showed up at the art table and in our practical life shelves in the classroom.  From tearing paper into tiny pieces to making poppies, to Pin pushing them out from paper to sewing them into pins with buttons.  We found many ways to appreciate poppies and talk about Georgia O'Keefe.

Poppy Button Sewing
Poppy Pin Pushing Work

Extension work with Natural Geometric Shapes

Van Gogh Self Portrait Work
When we looked at Van Gogh's Sunflowers we also set up an independent work space so that children could explore the idea of making a self portrait.

Namaste ~ End of Yoga class

Some of you may or may not know but in September I started my 200 hr Yoga Teacher Certification and in June I will be finished with that credential.  I Did my Radiant Child Yoga Teacher certification back in the fall of 2011.  I was personally practicing yoga long before that.  I can truly say that having yoga as part of ours days at Maple Tree has been a wonderful addition to our program.  Every day I witness the benefits of children connecting to their breath and movement.  Right now, my work around this is about the teachings and how they relate to every day life.  I am learning so much right now and by extension your children are learning so much right now.  Kindness, Strength, Softness, Breath and Movement.  What to do when they just want to collapse in tears and how  to channel that energy in a positive way.  Yoga has been a gift not only to me this year but also to my children.

Van Gogh Starry Night

 I so loved this large group project.  Kathy Barbro, Art Projects for Kids is a wonderful site that has for sale large Pdf available to all kinds of paintings.  You print them out in 8x11 size sheets and put them together like a puzzle to make a large master piece.  We used Soft Pastels on this project and I sealed it with Hair Spray when it was finished.    It was a calming, community based activity that we had going on for several days in our classroom that the children could come and go from.  Many would tuck into their usual Montessori work and during transition from one thing to another they would pause and stop and settle in and add their mark to the project.
This pastel master piece made it's way into school as a gift for me.  This little boy was clearly taken with Starry Night so much that he promptly went home and drew his own version.  I love that his Mom, let him go for it with oil pastels!  I actually think I need to frame it.  Right now it sits in my office on the wall next to another smaller picture done in marker of Starry Night by another friend.  These are such wonderful gifts and in them if I look closely enough, teachings from my children.  Oh the gifts we receive each and every day.  We are lucky for certain.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

This Montessori Moment

{Montessori moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

An Update on our Quinpool Classroom Activities...

 We have been very busy!

The first  part of our year was very busy.  Because in Montessori we follow the interests of the children there were lots of different things going on in our classroom.  The following is a brief summary of how we spent the first part of our school year.

Practical Life

The children have been practising pouring using pitchers teapots, funnels etc.  They have also been using tools such as scissors, tongs,  hammer and nails and screwdrivers.  Children have also been enjoying weaving activities and sorting activities.  In our classroom everybody helps with setting the tables, sweeping, vacuuming, scrubbing tables, and dusting.   These activities seem to give the children real ownership in the classroom.

Sensorial Activities

The children have spent a great deal of time exploring and creating with our sensorial materials.  The children have been particularly interested in the red rods and have been building some interesting structures and patterns with them.  We have also been spending a great deal of time using a set of hand bells.  We have been  exploring the sounds that the bells make.  We play “repeat after me” with the bells and we have even formed a “hand bell choir” and learned some simple songs like row row row your boat and Jingle Bells.  These materials help the children notice and appreciate differences in  shape, size, color,  and sound.  Using these materials in many different ways help the children develop  language, math, art and music skills.

Language Activities

This year there has been a real enthuasium for language activities.  Children have been learning the sounds that the letters make and then have been building three letter phonetic words with the moveable alphabet.  We have been using games and songs to practice these skills.

 Math Activities

We have been counting, learning numerals, and adding.  We play many games that help practice these early math concepts.

Painting Sunflowers

We did a study of Vincent Van Gogh.  We explored painting still life, landscapes and self portraits.    Some of the children have also been very engaged in sewing.

Exploring Landscape painting
 Posted by: Ms. Melanie
Self Portraits