Thursday, September 21, 2017

Sensitive Period for Order

What is a Sensitive Period?

Maria Montessori believed that children pass through phases in which at certain stags throughout their development they have a predisposition or sensitivity to learning a specific skill. These stages are called sensitive periods.


This past week we had the opportunity to witness a sensitive period for order.  This child spent a long time string blocks on a lace and arranging them.  He was quiet and completely absorbed in this activity.  It was a beautiful moment to observe his time with the material and appreciate that he is indeed in a sensitive period for order.

Dr. Montessori tells us that the sensitive period for order begins at birth, peaks during early toddlerhood, and generally lasts until around age five. The sensitive period for order is characterized by an inner need for consistency and repetition, the child in this sensitive period craves routines and predictability. 

It is important as a Montessori teacher to watch for these Sensitive Periods for learning and act on them when they present themselves.   

Friday, May 26, 2017

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, May 15, 2017

Mother's Day Making and Giving

 We made some Relaxing Foot Soak for our Mom's for Mother's Day this year.  It was an easy project for the children to do and working with the Essential Oils made our classroom smell heavenly!  I think it is important to celebrate Mother's.  Our children were very excited not only to make their gift for their mom but also to give it.

I number of years ago, I found a recipe on the internet from Martha Stewart for Mom's to be Foot Soak.  I love this recipe.  It works beautifully, it requires very few ingredients and smells so uplifting.  In the past we have used different Essential Oils like lavender with lemon.  This year I stuck to spearmint and lemon for oils and we added grated lemon zest for extra smell and sensory experience.  It definitely kicked it up a notch!

To package up the foot soak we used 8oz coffee bags.  These were the perfect package option for this gift.  The children used a funnel to measure the foot soak into the bag.  Coffee bags were purchased locally and were very cost effective.
 The children made beautiful cards at the art table last week and we attached them to the coffee bags.  We relabeled this as RELAXING FOOT SOAK and made labels up for the coffee bags with the ingredients listed.  Such a great and easy project!  Happy Mother's Day!


Ingredients List
Epsom Salts
Kosher Salt
Corn Starch
Baking Soda
Lemon Essential Oil
Spearmint Essential Oil
Lemon Zest

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Giving Tree


I am  finally catching my breath and feeling that shift to a slower pace.  I so look forward to shifting gears this time of the year.  I took a few days to decompress and cook and deck out parts of my house.  It's been a really nice change.
Last Saturday in that crazy snow storm we loaded up the Van with the donations for the SPCA and our family that we sponsored and I delivered those gifts.  It was the last of the things I needed to do before starting my break.  Even in a storm I was happy to do it.  It felt extra Christmasy driving around in that snow.

We first dropped off all the gifts to our family.  It was anonymous so it was a relief to find them not home.  Our intention was to surprise them and I didn't want this to be awkward for them.  We left huge boxes of gifts for them and their children on their front porch and over $850.00 dollars in gift cards in their mailbox. I personally know these gifts were received as my source said the Dad was wiping away tears as he talked of the kindness they found in their mailbox and on their front porch!  Wow, that felt amazing!  Amazing to be apart of such ca fantastic community of parents and children at Maple Tree.  I asked and everyone gave and gave from the heart.  Please know it made such a difference for this family.
SPCA Donation
Lastly, I drove to the SPCA.  This was our first year for giving there and it was such a good call.  Just days prior we had heard on the news that they were overwhelmed with animals being dropped off in dire conditions and they were struggling to keep up with the needs and demands.  You can see by the photo that we delivered a lot of good!  The staff at the shelter were so overwhelmed by this large donation.  Please keep the SPCA in your thoughts through out the year.  they always have need.  You can foster such kindness and empathy in your children by even just taking the time to visit and love up and pet the kittens, cats and bunnies at the shelter.  Everything helps. Thank you to all our wonderful families!


 This past month, the children have been making non stop.  It's a good time to shift gears a little bit in the classroom as the children are a bit restless and excited about the coming holiday.  We like to highlight our giving project by making lots of ornaments with our children for the tree that then go home to their christmas tree.  We had some really great projects this year!
Snowman Ornament
 We used a combination of clay and salt dough for these ornaments.  Clay at Oxford Street and Salt dough at Quinpool.  These were the sweetest ornaments and I would go so far as to say my favourite this year.  The sensory experience lent itself to quiet focused pockets of concentration with the children from pressing out the clay/dough to painting.  We will do these again.

String Star Ornament
We also made some string stars.  I cut out alot of white stars from foam board.  It was worth it.  This project exceeded my expectations and the children loved the color.  Such a simple project of just wrapping and winding yarn around stars.

Pinecone Weaving
 We also pulled out an oldy but goodie project from our archives.  Pinecone weaving is a standard piece of work on our art shelf this time of the year.
 We also had crayon sharpening out for weeks on our practical life shelf in hopes of collecting enough crayon bits for out melted glass ball project.   There was endless amounts of sharpening going on and the children were very curious about what we would used all the shaving for!
 The children scooped crayon shavings into the glass balls and then a teacher held them while the child used the hairdryer to heat up the crayon.  They were beautiful!  There was also lots of talk about how the heat was melting the crayon and it was moving and sticking to the glass ball.
Crayon Glass Ball Ornament

Wooden Santa
We also, made these super cute Santa ornaments.  We had a parent cut the wooden disks for us and they we had the children help with drilling out the holes.  So much fun.  The children painted on the faces.  This was an easy project and quick.  Everyone was able to make one.
Popcorn and Cranberries
There was lots of cranberry stringing going on and Crayon rubbing work and Water colour Painting as well.  We did our best to tuck as much into the time we had as we could with the children.  
Snowflake Rubbings

 I love this time of the year for all the making that happens.  The children produce such beautiful pieces and take such pride in their work!
Water Colour Painting


Friday, December 9, 2016

Talking about Remembrance

Ms. Lynn's Dad

We never really know how much the children absorb when we talk about an idea or event until it presents itself to us.  This past month we had two children that Remembrance day made a big impact on.  One of our children drew pictures and the other one acted out a moment with her parents doing her own version of circle time where she told her parents ,"children, I am going to show you something very precious and special to me." She was pretending to unwrap the photo of Ms. Lynn's Dad.  This little girl then went on to talk about his medals and what he did in the war.  It was very sweet to hear about this and clearly this story made a big impression on this little girl.  

The following is from Ms. Lynn.

This past month I had a wonderful experience discussing Remembrance Day with some of the children.  I took the opportunity to share a loved one, my father, who served in WWII.  I showed them a photo of my father dressed wearing his 11 medals.  The children were so interested to hear that my father played a very important role in the medical division, and helped many injured soldiers.  It brought tears to my eyes when one of the children came to school the next day, and so proudly told me that he had drawn a picture at home of my father and his medals.  Your children are beautiful individuals, and bring joy into my heart!
Ms. Lynn's Dad



Tissue Paper Poppies

Friday, November 4, 2016

Montessori Moment

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.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

In the Garden

 It's been a busy fall season so far.  We've settle our classrooms and been doing lots of work focusing on our outside classroom.   This is a particularly love;y time of the year to teach the children about plant life cycles and seeds.  I especially love doing seed collecting with the children.  I am always really fascinated by the children and their natural curiosity with their outside world.  I've been longing to do some work outside in the garden and when we planted our garden space four years ago I dreamed about how we would use it as a natural extension of our inside classrooms.

This spring we planted alot of things that would go to seed.  I wanted to be able to teach the children about what happens to the plant at the end of it's life cycle and why things are yellow and going to seed.  I talked about how our garden is getting ready to go to sleep for the winter and what we can do to help that along.  
Sunflower Seed heads 
 Before the tropical storm I went out and harvested the Sunflower seed heads to dry on my dehydrator.  We will be taking these apart at a work station with tweezers as part of our seed collecting work.
 Melanie was able to just pop outside with her group and explore the garden and my group hopped on the bus to visit the garden at our Quinpool Campus.  Both groups were able to harvest some of the last veggies and flowers from the garden.  we picked alot of tiny yummy carrots and looked at the seeds inside a bean pod and tomato plant.

 We also looked at flowers in the garden and how some of them have left seeds behind to grow new flowers for next year like the day lilies.
Lily Seed pod with tiny black seeds in Michelle's hand.

Harvesting Carrots 

We tasted nasturtiums and talked about how some people really enjoy those in their salad as they have a peppery taste.

All through our garden walk and exploration we also collected.  not just seeds and seed pods but different clippings of plants and leaves so that we could do some comparing with the botany cabinet.

Both Melanie and I took this opportunity to do some nature journaling with our second year children.  Her children worked in their project books to record their work and my group are making nature journals. I want to have a space where children can continue to draw and record their observations of their natural environment.


Nature Journaling (Tomato plant)

Nature Table Collection
 We have worked really hard this year to inspire the children by keeping a nature table in our classrooms.  The children are able to spend quiet time at these tables exploring what is there with a magnify glass and their hands.  I love how this space works in our classrooms and how drawn the children are to it.  I know it will be a quieter space come winter and that is ok.  But for right now, it is a lush space with all that is left of our growing season and for that I feel immensely happy and grateful for all that Mother Nature gives us.
Classroom Nature Table

Parts of the Leaf

Parts of the Leaf

Parts of an Apple