Thought I'd show you all what was on the shelves during our first week (I haven't photographed everything).
I did try to keep things light on and simple since my aim for this week was to ensure an enjoyable transition into working back in the school room (we've been using the kitchen table for some time) moving to an afternoon time slot (whilst the baby naps) and then using the Montessori approach. Even looking at those points alone it was always going to be a huge week without even adding in any materials to work on.
As we entered the room for the first time (I had kept the door locked for over a week whilst I prepared the space so it was very exciting for them) I could see that they were both itiching to go grab something off the shelves and just get to it, especially K, she loves being in there and was so eager.
I wanted to spend some time talking about what we should have as the do's and don't's of the room, wihtout a list of rules a mile long. Technically these really are just standard household rules but in the room they will always be enforced 100% of the time by all of us. So after a discussion we came up with:
- Inside voices at all times
- Manners at all times with everyone, not just me
- Using a workmat to designate space (I haven't been able to find any I'm happy with so at the moment they are using towels.)
- Choosing another work activity quietly if someone is using something you wanted to use
- Waiting patiently if you need my assistance and I am busy (or moving on to something different)
That's it really! We talked about them everyday when we first entered the room and they have been great, both trying really very hard, being polite to each other and not stepping on the towels, which considering the room is only small isn't that easy.
We will revisit the 'rules' once a week for now as we transition into some type of circle time for the beginning of our work cycle in the room.
Anyway I've rambled enough here's some photo's. Some of these photo's aren't very good, the lighting in that room isn't the best, I really can't wait until we get our new school room all finished.
I made these 3 part Australian State Cards, they are only black and a little boring so I may remake them in colour.
Sandpaper letters and the salt tray.
Blends, this download is from Montessori For Everyone as a transition between the pink and blue series. B, I think will be somewhere around the end of his blue series work but I am going to have him go through the blue series just to be sure. I haven't quite finished preparing everything (all of that laminating and cutting is time consuming) so this little transitional download was easy to add in.
Nut, bolt and washer practical life.
My Map Book was on the geography shelves, so of course they both spent plenty of time working on maps.
B working on a Map of our house, yard and the street area.
Paper pin pushing with letter printouts. I believe these are normally done with standard push pins to ensure the pincer grip, but I didn't have any on hand when I found a piece of packing foam that was perfect for this activity. K is using an embossing tool and letter templates that I found here>>> She loved his work, in fact so did B I always knew he would have the patience for it but I was very surprised (and very happy) to see K complete this activity in full more than once.
Sandpaper sensory match, neither of them enjoyed this activity and both of them said it was too hard. This really showed how neither of them have had much of this type of sensory work. This was left on the shelf, hopefully they will come back to it. I probably need a better way of presenting the work also, if anyone has any tips please share. :)
Simple math addition (they both had their own work at appropriate levels). This was the first time K completed anything written like this, using math symbols and the like, she did very well.
Piggy Bank Math, a friend made this a while ago for me, it was too easy for B but he enjoyed it none the less. You choose two coins, add them together to get an amount, find the amount on the playmat and cover it with a token. This can also be played with 2 people.
Another Montessori For Everyone free download - Where Things Come From.
From Kelly's Kindergarten, this simple activity using a magnifying glass to match pictures.
Children's ABC's of geography book that I picked up from a book sale for $2.50.
A very simple activity but I knew that K would love this. The tray actually held meatballs and a sauce sachet, it's perfect for these little pom poms. Once she sorted the pom poms with the tweezers, she then counted them and placed the correct numeral card next to the row of pom poms.
K loved this activity and completed it daily. If anyone has any ideas for extensions on this (as she is well and truly past the counting to 5 stage) type of work I'd love to hear them.
Well looking back on the first week I'd say all in all it was a success. I definitely need to extend on the work and challenge the kids more but I will add that in slowly at one piece of work every other day or so. I'm happy for us to continue along slowly for the next few weeks and just enjoy the freedom and the 'fun' of spending a few hours every day in the room.
I so can't wait get some real Montessori materials but wow, what on earth do you invest in first!!!!!