Saturday, October 31, 2009

Our Journey Into Montessori: Part 3


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.

Shoelace tying.

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.

Sound cylinders.

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!!!!!


Heidi said...

Ah the investment! Truly the hardest decision!

For the counting thing, you can do something with sandpaper numbers and matching items in nature (I did acorns in September), or there are mittens and cotton balls (snowballs) for winter. Pots and flowers. Put the number on the pot and add the correct number of flowers. Those are all adaptable/extensions of the spindle box. I don't own a spindle box, I just use the adaptations.

If she has mastered 1-10 then she is likely ready to move into the heirarchy of numbers with the Golden Beads. Those might be a good place to start your purchasing because both of your kids will be working with them. In fact, they may be working in the same place for a little while since your older son didn't have a Montessori preschool experience.

The basic first steps is to learn the names for unit, ten, hundred, and thousand, and then there is lots of practice in making numbers with the Golden beads and then it moves into operations w/o carrying/borrowing. They do everything on the golden beads before moving onto other things so they are definitely a non replaceable piece of equipment.

The other math thing you could go into is the teens and tens boards and the hundreds board.

Technically the sequence goes beginning counting (what you are doing now) and then into advanced counting (the teens, tens, & hundreds) and heirarchy work with the golden beads similtaneously. The second two is at least a full year of material to work with to the level of mastery needed.

I have probably completely confused you! Hopefully this is somewhat helpful! DH and I have worked up a nice outline of math sequencing that I should share on my blog one of these days!

Wendy Hawksley said...

I like those rules!

Hm, did you make the shoelace tying card yourself, or find it somewhere? I have been trying to teach Gavin how to tie his shoes, and something like this might help!

Lori said...

So glad you're enjoying the free downloads!

Kylie said...

Thanks Heidi,I think it is the tweezers that she loved....thanks for your input on math stuff very much appreciated. I would love to see your math sequencing on your blog too.

Wendy, that is from a cheapy junk store. It is actually a foam puzzle but the puzzle part is terrible so we just use the lacing component.

Lori, thank you. :)

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