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Montessori

Montessori Extras Themed Activities

Activities, books, & ideas for Apples/Fall unit study

By Anitra

This post may contain affiliate links.  Please see disclosure policy for more information.

With the first day of Fall approaching on Friday, September 22nd, I am gearing up to begin a two week unit study of Fall and apples with my classroom.  Although here in sunny Southern California, it is far from feeling or looking like Fall.  The hotter Summer temperatures have slowly started to subside, and we’ve seen cooler temperatures this week, but we are from fro Fall weather.  Even though the Southern California weather is not fall friendly, I still am excited to start our Fall and apple unit study.

For the next two weeks; starting Monday; I will teach the young children in my class about how our environment changes for Fall, different leaves, the parts of an apple, how apples grow, and the different types of apples.  We will have apple tasting, and vote for our favorite apples, examine the insides of an apple, make leaf rubbings, and an apple blossom tree…just to name a few!

 

 

There are many books out there that could go with the study of Fall and apples, but I have chosen to share with you my favorite three books.  I have used each of these books over the years, and have found that these cover many of the topics and areas that I teach rather well.

 

Top 3 favorite books for Fall and apple unit

 

 

A Day at the Apple Orchard

 

By: Megan Faulkner & Adam Krawesky

A Day at the Apple Orchard follows a group of children through the apple orchard.  They pick apples, taste them, and make juice & cider.  The book also describes the life cycle of an apple blossom tree, and shows the growth through the different seasons.  This book is great when teaching how apples grow, the proper way to pick apples, and things that can be made from apples. It also discusses why it is important to protect apple blossom trees for continued blossoms.

 

We’re Going on a Leaf Hunt

By: Steve Metzger

We’re Going on a Leaf Hunt is a twist on the classic We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.  The children go on a hunt over the mountain, through the forest, around the waterfall, and across the lake.  Along the way, they find red oak leaves, hickory leaves, birch leaves, and maple leaves; until they encounter an unwanted guest!  This book teaches about different leaves, and is fun and entertaining!

 

Apples for Everyone

By: Jill Esbaum

Apples for Everyone has beautiful pictures that detail how apples grow, the different kinds of apples, talks about Johnny Appleseed, and discusses the history of apple trees.  This National Geographic Kids book has colorful and amazing photography that makes this book a favorite of mine.

 

 

I can’t wait to start our unit study of Fall and apples.  I have so many science, fine motor, art, language, and math activities planned for the next two weeks!

 

Want to follow along as we learn about Fall and apples?  Interested to see how our unit study unfolds?   Be sure to follow me on Instagram or Twitter for pictures of all of our activities and fun!!  I hope to see you there!

 

Anitra

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Classroom Content Montessori Extras

What is all the hype about? A detailed look inside a traditional Montessori classroom

By Anitra

You’ve probably heard about all the hype and craze surrounding Montessori and Montessori schools. Anything and everything from the teaching method,the classroom environment, child led activities, and Montessori materials.  But what does all that mean?  The Montessori method is a very unique, very distinct, very individualized learning environment with a proven way of teaching young children.

 

The materials, along with the carefully prepared environment, is what makes Montessori, Montessori.  There are various areas and activities of a traditional Montessori classroom.  This is what sets a Montessori primary (preschool) classroom apart from other preschool classrooms. Many people have heard of Montessori, but haven’t had the opportunity to actually see inside or visit a classroom.  Please be aware that there are many different Montessori run schools, each individually owned and operated; so unfortunately not every Montessori school classroom will be set up or run exactly the same.  With that being said; I try to keep a traditional Montessori classroom.

 

Curious to learn and find out more…?   The pictures are from my actual classroom that I currently teach in.  The shelves are child sized, with age appropriate, enticing materials.  The common item you will notice in most Montessori classrooms and materials is wood.  The use of natural wood for the shelves and materials, along with neutral wall colors, is meant to soothe the senses and and the attract the children to the beauty of the room.  Montessori classrooms differ from other preschool classrooms in that they are calming, peaceful, and uncluttered.

 

 

LANGUAGE AREA

 

“Language lies at the root of that transformation of the environment that we call civilization.” -Maria Montessori The Absorbent Mind, pg. 98

The Language Area is composed of phonetic sound recognition, three letter phonetic word building, four letter and more phonetic word building, and blends & phonograms.  The three letter words make up the Pink Level, the four letters and more make up the Blue Level, the phonemes and hard & soft letters make up the Green Level.

 

The Pink Level also covers word families, picture to

word matching, and easy phonetic sentences.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Blue Level also covers beginning & ending

consonant blends, and complex phonetic words

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Green Level also covers silent “e”, double vowel consonants, phonemes, and hard & soft letters

 

I also have opposites, parts of speech, sentence building & writing, and even antonyms & synonyms.

 

 

MATH AREA

 

“The results we obtain with our little ones contrast oddly with the fact that mathematics is so often held to be a scourge rather than a pleasure in school programmes.”-Maria Montessori The Absorbent Mind, pg. 170

The Math Area is composed of number recognition up to ten, mastering the teens & tens, and working on numbers up to one hundred.  This area also covers simple addition, subtraction, multiplication, and even division.  More complex works include place value, the clock, and fractions.

 

Number recognition from one to twenty, with various materials & activities to master these skills

 

Simple addition, the tens work, & the hundred board all round out the Math Area

 

 

Telling Time, Place Value & Fractions are the

more advanced Math activities

 

 

 

SENSORIAL AREA

 

“And if we look at the sensorial apparatus which is able to evoke such deep concentration…helps also to the development of the mathematical mind.”-Maria Montessori The Absorbent Mind, pg. 170

The Sensorial Area is composed of activities that engage the senses of the children.  There are activities for smell, taste, and hearing; and various materials that promote sight and touch.

 

Sensorial materials to manipulate sizes, color,

touch and hearing

 

Complex materials that introduce geometric shapes, as well as tasting & smelling materials

 

 

 

CULTURAL/GEOGRAPHY AREA

 

“…the child’s mind can acquire culture at a much earlier age than generally supposed, taking in knowledge is by certain kinds of activity which involve movement.”-Maria Montessori The Absorbent Mind, pg. 157

The Cultural and Geography Areas is the area of a Montessori classroom that frequently changes.  It is an area where new activities can be added on a weekly or monthly basis.  These areas are composed of science, botany (plants), zoology (animals), geography, and art.  This is by far one of the busiest areas of a Montessori classroom.

 

 

Study of continents, seasons land, air & water                                  Botany, zoology, & insect puzzles and magnets

 

 

Geography Maps

 

 

PRACTICAL LIFE AREA

 

“Activities here build on the child’s natural interest and help him develop good work habits, concentration, eye-hand coordination, a lengthened attention span and control of his body.”-Maria Montessori The Sense of Childhood, pg. 1

The Practical Life Area is another area of a Montessori classroom that changes frequently.  The Practical Life Area has many components to it that make it the most important area of a Montessori classroom.  Since children learn basic working, concentration, and eye-hand coordination skills, it is the prerequisite to all of the other areas in a Montessori classroom.  Activities could include spooning, using a ladle, pouring, scooping, and cutting.  This is by far the busiest area of a Montessori classroom.

 

Other activities include food preparation work,

and using tongs & tweezers

There are also washing activities, bubble making,

table setting, and water activities

 

 

 

All of the areas in a Montessori classroom contribute to the development of the whole child.  As stated before, not every Montessori classroom will be furnished and set-up exactly the same.  In quality, true to Montessori schools and classrooms, you will see similar setups and materials.  One of my favorite areas is the Practical Life Area, I like to come up with fun water work activities, food preparation works, and washing activities.  I like to add variety, and add activities that promote the individual needs of the children currently in my classroom.

 

 

 

Now can you see what all the hype is about?!  Trust me, the pictures just give you a small glimpse of what a Montessori environment looks like.  Can you imagine how wonderful it is to see the children actively working in a Montessori classroom…it’s PRICELESS!!

 

Anitra

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Back 2 School Montessori Extras

10 back to school or homeschool activities to give your child a leg up on learning

By Anitra

This post may contain affiliate links.  Please see the disclosure policy for more information.

 

Whether your child is going back to public school, preschool, or it is time to get back to your homeschooling routine, it means that it is time for your child to buckle down and get back to the academics.  In most cases, the time your child spends at school or preschool is not enough for them to them to master, learn, and even practice many skills necessary for their academic success. Phonetic letter sound recognition, number recognition, the ability to communicate effectively & use problem solving skills, and fine motor skills are all important aspects that are customary for children to know and master.

 

 

 

 

 

I have parents all the time asking me if there is something that they could be working with at home with their child.  I normally tell them to have their child read (if they are a reader), and advise them of a few resources for them to possibly purchase and/or add to their home.  As a teacher, I do not have just one academic area that I find is important over another one.  In my opinion, they are all equally important, and play an important part in the development of the whole child.  It is important to incorporate all aspects of a child’s development, as well as finding ways to promote fine motor, cognitive skills, and critical thinking skills.  Trust me, no teacher would be disappointed to have a class of well rounded students!!

 

The activities I chose for the list are ones that can be used in a variety of ways and incorporated for use at home as extra support, for your homeschool, or in a classroom to enhance your curriculum.  I have direct knowledge and have used many of these items from the list in various ways either in my classroom or as an addition to my curriculum.

 

 

10 Activities that can used as extra support for your child’s academic learning

 

Add & Subtract Abacus

The Add & Subtract Abacus is for three to six year olds.  It comes with a wooden base and the double-sided wooden boards.  The colorful beads make it easy to distinguish between each of the numbers.  This work is a way to explore numbers, colors, patterns, addition, and subtraction!  It is very multi-functional.

     Self-Correcting Alphabet Letter Puzzles

The Self-Correcting Alphabet Puzzles are for four to six year olds.  The wooden puzzle pieces have a colorful object for the corresponding letter sound on one side, and letters from A to Z on the other side.  The interlocking pieces make it easy for young children to self correct and promotes independence and success!

Alphabet Puzzle Cards

The Alphabet Puzzle Cards are for four to six year olds.  The interlocking alphabet cards come in a great wooden box for easy storage.  The self correcting interlocking pieces insures that the puzzles are solved and matched correctly!  These puzzle cards promote independence and

Wooden Letter Alphabet Magnets

The Wooden Letter Alphabet Magnets are for three to six year olds.  There are fifty two magnetic upper and lower case letters, that can be used for spelling, stenciling, matching upper and lower case, and for building words!  These letter magnets are great for all kinds of language ideas!

Self-Correcting Number Puzzles

The Self-Correcting Number Puzzles are for four to six year olds.  The wooden puzzle pieces have colorful, objects on one side, and numbers from one to twenty on the other side.  The interlocking pieces make it easy for young children to self correct and promotes independence and success!
World Map Floor Puzzle – 33 Pieces

The World Map Floor Puzzle is for six plus years old.  Although, we a little assistance, I don’t see why a four or a five year old couldn’t be successful with this puzzle.  The puzzle pieces are made with an easy, clean surface.  This puzzle map is perfect for introducing and learning about the continents of the world.

Turn & Tell Wooden Clock

The Turn & Tell Wooden Clock is for four to seven year olds.  The wooden base and large numbers make it easy for your child to be introduced to and practice telling time.  It has clickable hands to help mark off the minutes, it details hour, minute, half past, and quarter past.  There are also 13 double-sided time cards for practice as well!  This all-in-one clock is perfect for learning to tell time.

U.S.A. (United States) Map Floor Puzzle – 51 Pieces

The U.S.A. Map Floor Puzzle is also for six plus years old.  I believe that with a bit of assistance, a four or five year old would be able to do this puzzle in its entirety.  The extra thick puzzle pieces make this puzzle durable. This puzzle is great for introducing, learning, and studying all 50 States!

Magnetic Wooden Numbers

The Magnetic Wooden Numbers are for three to five year olds.  It comes with enough numbers to count from zero to twenty, and it includes five number signs as well!  These magnetic numbers can be used to introduce counting, number recognition, and simple addition & subtraction!

See & Spell Learning Toy

The See & Spell is for children four to six years old.  You can use the letters to spell the three and four letter puzzle words, spell other words, or use the letters as a stencil.  The cardboard puzzle boards and pieces are built for long lasting durability.  This is a spelling and fine motor activity wrapped into one!

 

 

Adding one or many of these activities to your child’s daily teachings will put your child on the right path to mastering many of the necessary skills needed for their future learning.  The activities are adaptable and allow for use in a classroom or homeschool environment, or just as a supplement at home for your child.

 

Anitra

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Favorite Book Friday's

Joseph Had a Little Overcoat

By Anitra

This post may contain affiliate links.  Please see the disclosure policy for more information.

 

Favorite Book Fridays Series Post #5

Favorite Book Fridays is back again!

Looking for a favorite book to call your own?  Well, look no further!  This weekly series was created to assist you and hopefully your child in finding YOUR favorite book.  I don’t know about you, but this weekly series is a highlight of my week!

 

Each week, I find myself searching through my collection of books to find books that you may not be familiar with or that may not be as mainstream as other books by other authors.  One of my goals of this weekly series is to hopefully introduce you to a book that is new to you and your child and to promote a love of reading that will last into adulthood. This series is dear to me, as it really delves into my love of books, and the diversity and variety of books that are available out there for young children.  I am ecstatic to bring you this series every week, and I hope that you are enjoying this weekly series as much as I am!

 

Title: Joseph Had a Little Overcoat

Author: Simms Taback

Illustrator: Simms Taback

 

I came across this book in my early years of teaching.  It has an older, classic feel to it, but nonetheless, it has a catchy, lively story and eye-catching illustrations.  It has a great, practical lesson at the end, which I think is important for children to learn.  The story is about finding a way to be happy with what you have.  This book is a winner of the Caldecott Medal and the National Jewish Book Award for Children’s Picture Book.

 

Joseph Had a Little Overcoat

 

Joseph Had a Little Overcoat is a story about a Jewish farmer that has an overcoat.  His overchttps://chroniclesofamomtessorian.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=1155&action=editoat get old and worn, and he decided to make something else out of it.  He continues to remake things from his overcoat; a jacket, a vest, a scarf, a neck tie, a handkerchief until  he ends up with just a button.  In the end, he loses his button; but concludes that “you can always make something out of nothing.”  The illustrations are very colorful and vibrant with the use of watercolors, collage, and die cut  imagery.  It is a method that is similar to that of the illustrations of Eric Carle and Leo Lionni.

 

I love the moral at the end of the story.  It is something that I feel everyone; children and adults, should learn.  It’s not always about what you have, it’s about making the most of what you have and finding a way to make something out of nothing!  This is something that can be used for various aspects of daily life, and I think that it is brilliant that it is taught in a book for young children!

 

Enjoy and Happy Reading!

Anitra

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Back 2 School Montessori Extras

Back 2 School-The 4 Best Lunch Box Containers for Young Children

By Anitra

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see the disclosure policy for more information.

 

It is Back to School time! The early mornings, trying to get everyone out of the house on time, and making lunches.  Back to School means making and packing lunches. Whether you make and pack them at night or in the morning, it is still a chore to complete.  Making and packing lunches means endless amounts of zip loc baggies, tupperware containers, aluminum foil, ice packs and thermoses.  All the makings of a disaster for a teacher…let me explain.  In most, if not all, preschool (3 to 6 year old) classrooms in California, there can be a maximum of twenty four children and two teachers.  A ration of twelve to one.  If every child brings their lunch; all twenty four of them; that means that there are twenty four lunches that we have to help open.  Sounds crazy, right?  Well, that’s my point!  I work in a private preschool, and at least eighty percent of the children in my classroom bring a lunch from home.

 

It is very difficult to work and teach at a school who’s philosophy is based on the independence of the children, when parents do not promote independence for their child when considering the containers and baggies they put in their lunches.  For example, I understand that placing sandwiches in zip loc baggies are convenient and cheap, but most parents do not take into consideration how difficult it is for young children to open the baggies on their own.  It is actually pretty difficult for them.  On the other side, using tupperware containers are not any easier, as they tend to have very difficult lids that are not necessarily child friendly and easy to open for small hands.  Even though aluminum foil and thermoses help keep food warm in instances when there is not a way to re warm food, but they tend to be equally as difficult for young children to open themselves.

 

I have noticed throughout the years that the above listed ways to pack a child’s lunch are not practical for young children who need to learn to open things themselves.  It is customary in my classroom, and in many Montessori classrooms, that children be able to at least try to open their containers and such at lunch time.  In most cases, many of the children are very eager and willing to open their own things, and do not want the help of the teachers.  They are building on their ability to be naturally independent and self sufficient.  It is an important part of the Montessori philosophy to promote their inner ability to be natural learners.

With that in mind, I have come up with a list of lunch containers that are ideal in promoting the independence of your child at lunch time, which in turn leads to being independent at other feeding times as well!  The below list are of items that children have had in my classroom over the past one to two years, and are, in my opinion, the best “child centered” products for promoting independent little learners!

 

4 Best Child Centered Lunch Containers

(Items listed are listed in no particular order)

 

 

1. Bentgo Kids Childrens Lunch Box

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bentgo Kids container is a popular one.  It has two easy to open snap tabs, and the multiple compartments allows you to provide a variety of lunch choices for your child.  It also comes in more colors for your child to choose from.  They are durable & leak proof; and the inner tray is microwave and dishwasher safe.  The outside has rubber coated edges for maximum durability, and it even comes with a free downloadable eCookbook!

 

2. Lunchbots Stainless Steel Lunch Container

The Lunchbots lunch container is also a popular choice.  It has an easy to open lid, and similar to the Bentgo box, it has multiple compartments to allow for a variety of food choices for your child.  The durable stainless steel is built for long term usage.  It is dishwasher safe, and also comes in a trio; with two different varieties for the trio box!

 

3. OmieBox Bento Lunch Box

The OmieBox lunch box comes with a kid thermos that is insulated.  It opens easy, as does the lunch box itself with a snap lid.  It also has multiple compartments to provide a variety of food choices as well.  The leak proof, double walled, air insulated lunch box can be used for hot or cold foods, and the insulated thermos will keep food hot for up to four hours!

 

 

4. Zojirushi Mr. Bento Lunch Jar

The Zojirushi Mr. Bento lunch jar is by far the most convenient one for keeping foods hot.  It comes with four smaller insulated containers with lids, that are easily stored inside the jar.  It can keep food hot (or cold) for up to six hours!  It is vacuum insulated stainless steel, with microwavable food bowls.  The bowls come in different sizes, and the jar itself comes in a variety of colors. It even comes with a convenient carrying bag!

 

All of the lunch containers will provide opportunities for your child to practice their fine motor skills.  It also gives them an opportunity to be independent.  Any activities that aid in your child being self sufficient and independent will in the long run lead to them being confident and autonomous in the future, and on in to adulthood.  Come on, now who doesn’t want their young child to be more independent?!

 

Looking for more Back 2 School posts?  All through the month of August I will be bringing you posts giving you Back 2 School tips! Enjoy!

Anitra

 

 

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Favorite Book Friday's

Edward the Emu

By Anitra

This post may contain affiliate links.  Please see the disclosure policy for more information.

Favorite Book Fridays Series Post #4

 

Favorite Book Fridays is becoming one of my favorite topics to write about!  I am having a great time sharing my favorite books with everyone, and I am getting great feedback on the books that have been featured on the weekly series.  This weeks choice is a good one as well; it will not disappoint!  I read this book earlier this week in my classroom as a part of our study of Australasia (the continent of Australia, the island of New Zealand, and Papau New Guinea).  We learned about the animals of Australasia.

 

A change in your regularly scheduled programming…

This weeks Favorite Book Friday will feature two books!  That’s right, every once in awhile I will feature two books on Favorite Book Fridays!  The two books featured are books that have a part 2 or a “to be continued” book that follows the first book.  I am excited to share with you the first of the two book features.  I hope you enjoy them both as much as I do!

 

Title: Edward the Emu

Author: Sheena Knowles

Illustrator: Rod Clement

 

I first stumbled upon this book back when I first started teaching, over 17 years ago.  The story itself is about accepting who you are, and being comfortable who you are.  I especially enjoy the clever, rhyming text that is catchy and fun.  The pictures are some of the favorites in all of the hundreds of books I own.  They are drawn with such character, details, and with vivid colors.

Edward the Emu

Edward is an Emu that lives in a zoo.  He gets bored being an emu, so he decides to go and be other animals in the zoo.  He becomes a seal for a day, a lion for a day, and a snake for a day.  Then he finds that the emus are what most people come to the zoo to see, and decides that he should be an emu again.  But, when he gets back to his den he notices that he’s been replaced…by another emu!  Edward the Emu has a good life lesson on confidence and self esteem, and reminds you to love yourself, just the way we are!

 

But wait…there’s more!

 

And if Edward the Emu wasn’t great enough…there is Edwina the Emu!!!  Edwina is the emu that was brought in to take Edward’s place once he went missing in the zoo. The story is just as well written as Edward the Emu, with the same rhyming, catchy text and the amazing illustrations.  I think that the illustrations in both books are magnificent!

 

Title: Edwina the Emu

Author: Sheena Knowles

Illustrator: Rod Clement

 

 

Edwina the Emu

 

Edwina and Edward enjoy the zoo, and one day Edwina announces that she has laid ten eggs!  They decide that Edward will stay home and sit on the eggs while Edwina goes out to find a job.  She tries being a ballerina, a chimney sweeper, and a waitress, but to no avail.  After not being good at any of the jobs, sh then she figures out what her job should be…a mother!

 

Both of these books will surely have you wanting more.  They both are great additions to any classroom, teacher, home school, or child library!  I hope that you enjoy them both as much as I do.

 

Until next week, Happy Reading!

Anitra

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Practical Life Product Reviews

Color Mixing Activity-a Montessori Services product review

By Anitra

I received a free product from Montessori Services valued under $50 to provide an honest review of this product.  All opinions expressed are my own.  This post may contain affiliate links, please see disclosure policy for more information.

Over the years, I have ordered various Montessori materials and supplies from Montessori Services for my classroom. They have a great selection of products for your classroom, and if you are a parent interested in implementing Montessori materials and Methods at home, For Small Hands has great products as well.  They have a large selection of Montessori materials and products, from the traditional areas of a Montessori classroom; like Practical Life, Language, and Math; to supplemental products such as books, music & movement and art.   I have in the past constructed a color mixing activity as a Practical Life work in my classroom, so I was more than excited when I received the Color Mixing Activity Set from Montessori Services!

 

The Work:

Color Mixing Activity Item # Y30The Color Mixing Activity Set Item# Y30

Includes: (everything is pictured below)

(Photo courtesy of Montessori Services, used by permission)

 

 

Set Up and Steps:

The setup:

Using the Presentation Suggestions, I prepared the work as instructed.  I filled the clear glass bottles with water up to the neck of the bottle.  I added a few drops of red, blue, and yellow food coloring into each glass bottle, put the caps on, and shook up.  Next, I set up the tray as instructed; following the Presentation Suggestions.

 

 

After I gave the initial lesson to the children in circle time, it was then available for them to use.  During the initial lesson, I reviewed how to use an eye dropper.  Here is one of my older friends completing the Color Mixing Activity step by step.

 

Get an apron.  I prefer to provide aprons for the children in my class to use when they do water works.  It is a personal preference, and it not mandatory.

 

Next, here she is using the eye dropper to mix red and yellow.  Using the tiny spoon, she mixed up both colors and got orange.

 

 

Next up, she used the eye droppers to mix red and blue together, getting purple.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lastly, she used the eyedroppers to mix yellow and blue, getting green

 

       

 

 

 

 

 

 

The fourth small bowl is used for experimenting.  She chose to make purple again, since it is her favorite color!

 

 

 

 

 The Clean Up:

Pour all of the contents from each of the small glass bowls into the larger glass bowl.

 

 

Use the sponge to wipe out each of the small glass bowls, and the tray, if needed.

 

 

Pour out contents of the larger glass bowl.  Using the sponge, wipe it clean.  The work is complete!

 

                   

 

This work was so fun!  I had fun introducing it, and the children had a blast using it.  It was SO popular, I had to limit the number of times they could do it today.  I had quite a few friends cry that they were not able to do this work today, as we ran out of time during Montessori Work Time!  I really liked how EVERYTHING that I needed came with the work.  I didn’t have to purchase anything else to go with it; (I already had the aprons), and the convenience of that is a huge time and money saver.  The work is durable, and I like that most of the items used in the work are glass.  If you’ve been following my other posts, you know how much of a fan I am of using glass in my classroom.  This complete Color Mixing Activity is a good work for use in a classroom, home school, or for a parent looking to incorporate Montessori materials in their home!

I hope that you enjoy this work as much as my class and I did!

Anitra

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Back 2 School Montessori Extras

5 Tips to Ensure Your Child Success in Preschool

By Anitra

It is definitely that time of year again…the start of another school year.  The time of year when children start to leave my classroom, and I start to get new children…It is a sad time of the year to see many of the children leave who have been with me for two, sometimes three years; but it is also an exciting time where you are anxious to get to know and love your new little friends!  It may sound cheesy, but I hold a special place in my heart for the children that have been in my classroom over the years.  I keep in contact with quite a few of their parents as well; as they have become my friends and I ask about their children often!

Parents choose to put their children in preschool for many reasons.  The reasons can range anywhere from building their social skills, to develop growth in language skills, to promoting growth in maturity.  The same came be said for why parents choose Montessori as well; and for more specific reasons.  The reasons why parents choose to put their children in a Montessori school are because it is an environment that promotes self care, care for others, independence, and communication skills.  The Montessori environment is a structured, yet loving place where children enjoy being a part of a community, take pride in their independence, and are involved in their learning.

It is the job of the Montessori teacher to teach, guide, and encourage the growth in the whole child.  The whole child is independent, is a natural learner, and is willing to take on care of themselves, the environment, and their peers.  Although the Montessori teacher is there to assist in developing the growth of the whole child, the parents are just as important to this process.  There are things that parents can do to prepare their children for entry into a Montessori classroom.

I get it…it’s hard for parents to come to terms with the children may no longer be “babies” and that they don’t want them to grow up so fast…Trust me, I know how it feels from both sides of the fence; as a mother and as a teacher.  But  PLEASE listen to me when I say, that you are doing your children a HUGE disservice when you do everything for them, linger around the classroom, call the school all day long, and hide out in the parking lot watching to make sure your child is doing ok!!!!! Yes, this actually happens…All. The. Time.  Please understand that if you trusted the school and teachers enough to enroll your child, please trust us enough to let us do the job you are paying us for…Ok, sorry. Rant over.  Some of the tips may seem obvious, while others you may have not even thought of.

 

Here are 5 Tips for Preparing Your Child for Preschool

 

1. Please DON’T stay too long at drop off time.

I understand that you may be nervous if it is your child’s first school experience.  But staying too long makes your child get comfortable with the idea that you will be staying with them all day.  It also makes it difficult for them to want to go explore the classroom and engage with the other children.

DO practice the motto, “short drop off, long pick up”.  Make pick up time a longer, engaging experience.  Trust me, most times when it’s time to go home, they don’t want to go!  It happens all the time.

 

2. Please DON’T leave without saying goodbye.

Of course it is important to practice the motto, “short drop off, long pick up:.  But never just leave without saying goodbye to your child.  It may cause feelings of abandonment, and make them feel as if the school and classroom are not a safe place.  Even if they are crying and sad, still say goodbye to them and leave promptly.

DO give them a hug and even a kiss goodbye, and encourage them to have a fun or good day while at school.  You can also add that you will be back as soon as you’re done at work.

 

3. Please DON’T say goodbye; leave the classroom or playground, and them come back.

This is a very common thing parents do.  It is very disturbing to your child, especially if they have calmed down and are otherwise distracted.  To see you come back, gives them the impression that they are leaving, and once you leave out again, the entire episode starts again…only this time it’s WORSE!

DO remember, once you say goodbye and leave, you mustn’t return…under no circumstances.   It is very hard; not only on your child; but on the teachers who have to find a way to calm and comfort your child.

 

**Number 4 is especially important in a Montessori environment.**

4. Please DON’T enable your child by doing everything for them.

By this, I am referring to self care activities that they can do themselves.  From an early age, please remember that your child is more capable of doing things for themselves than you give them credit for.  All they need is the opportunity.  I have parents ask me all the time, “They pour their own water and milk”.  The answer is yes.  If i didn’t teach them from the first day they start, all I would do all day is pour water and milk! I wouldn’t have a chance to do anything else.  It is not going to hurt them if they are able to do things themselves.

Making her own snack

 

DO provide opportunities for your child to care for themselves.  A few examples are to have them dress themselves, help clean up after they eat, pick out their clothes, feed themselves, serve themselves snack, or let them help you cook.  You’d be amazed at what your child is capable of, if they are given the chance!  Some of these activities can be introduced as early as two years old.

 

 

Helping to make fresh bread

 

Putting on shoes independently

 

5. Please DON’T discuss starting school with your child too much before they actually start.

I have gotten feedback over the years from many parents that informed me that the month before their child started school they were excited to go.  But by the time it was their start date, they would either push back the start date or not enroll at all.  I found that talking about starting school too much actually causes anxiety and has the opposite effect on a child, making them not want to experience going to school.

DO discuss with your child that they will be starting school.  Do so often, but not so often that they lose interest in wanting to go.  Casually mention it here and there to them, and if they start to develop signs of anxiety or nervousness, end the conversation.  You can always try talking to them about it at another time.

 

Following these tips can make your child’s transition (and yours), to a Montessori school an easier one.  By following a few; or all of these tips may even cause a teacher thank you!

So, THANK YOU!!!

Anitra

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Favorite Book Friday's

The Napping House

By Anitra

This post may contain affiliate links.  Please see the disclosure policy for more information.

 

Favorite Book Fridays Series Post #3

 

It’s that time again for Favorite Book Fridays!  Looking for a new favorite book to introduce to your child or the children in your classroom or home school?  I created this weekly series to share with you some of my all time favorite children’s books.  I love books!  I have over one hundred books in my personal collection, and I still add to my collection as often as I can.  Here is post 3 of the weekly series, Favorite Book Fridays.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

 

Title: The Napping House

Author: Audrey Wood

Illustrator: Don Wood

 

This book has actually been one of my favorites for awhile.  I have read other books by this husband and wife duo, and frankly, they put out amazing content and products!  They are also author and illustrators to another one of my favorite children’s books; The Big Hungry BearThe Napping House has a repetitious story line that is fun and silly, and keeps young children intrigued from beginning to end.  The amazing, colorful, and beautiful illustrations are an added bonus that compliments the story very well.

 

The Napping House

The Napping House is a story that tells the tale of a Granny sleeping on a rainy night.  Gradually, many members of the family pile on top of the napping Granny and get cozy.  A child, a dog, a cat, and a mouse are just a few of the characters that pile on top of the napping Granny.  Eventually, the pile of characters gets a tiny character that wakes one member of the family, and sends off a chain reaction!  They then become too much for the bed to handle, and down they all go!  Children love watching the bed get heavier and heavier, as the members of the family keep piling on.  They laugh with delight as they get woken up in such a silly manner.  When morning comes, no one in the house is sleeping anymore.

 

This is a favorite of mine because of the silly nature of it.  “Silly” is a common trait I look for when selecting a book to purchase and add to my children’s book collection.  I look for books that have a good story line, that are silly in nature, and that are not too long.  I also tend to steer clear of children’s books that have a lot of words on each page and those that don’t have a lot of pictures.  The pictures, along with a decent amount of words on each page, is what will keep young children engaged in the book.

I hope that this book becomes one of your favorites too!  Although this book doesn’t have a catchy tune or song to go along with it, the story and the pictures are sure to capture children’s attention, and become a classic that is read time and time again!

 

Enjoy and Happy Reading!

 

Anitra

 

 

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Practical Life

Practical Life Extension: Bubble Making!

By Anitra

For those who are unaware, the Practical Life area of a Montessori classroom is where children do their most learning, communicating, and exploring!  It is an area of the classroom bustling with murmurs, laughs, and on the other side; sheer concentration.  In the Practical Life area, you will find children pouring, spooning, scooping and using tongs and tweezers with dry items.  You will also find children pouring, sponging, ladling, and using a baster and eyedropper to transfer water.  In my classroom, you will also find children engaging in fresh orange juicing, banana slicing, and spreading jam on bread.  It is an area that is always changing, and always the center of all the action…it’s an amazing area, to say the least!

 

 

Over the years, I have added and discarded (to never be heard of again) many Practical Life exercises, that follow the natural development and interests of the children in my classroom.  I have introduced many Practical Life Extensions; that is; an expansion of or a addition to already existing traditional activities.  The Practical Life exercise I will describe is an extension of washing; bubble making.

 

Yes, that’s right, bubble making!  What kid, young or old, do you know that does not like making bubbles, chasing bubbles, catching bubbles…all things BUBBLES!!!  Think about it! This extension is one that I have used in my classroom for years, and quite frankly, it is a fan favorite.

 

Practical Life Extension: Bubble Making

 

All of the materials can be purchased very inexpensively, I constructed this activity and spent less than $10 total!

Materials:

-a bowl

-a whisk

-a sponge

-a towel

-some sort of measuring cup (with a line drawn on it to show water limit)

-an eye dropper with a glass bottle (for the soap) SIDE NOTE: add water to dish soap so that it is not so concentrated

-a washing bin to hold all of the materials

-aprons (optional) I use aprons for all of my water work activities

 

Instructions for bubble making:

 

Step one: Get a red apron

I have aprons in two colors.  Blue aprons are for water work activities, red aprons are for washing exercises.  When water work and washing activities are introduced, it is explained to the class the rules for each apron.

 

 

Step two: Get the bubble making work from the shelf and take it to a table.  Take the towel, sponge, and measuring cup out of the washing bin.  Take the measuring cup to the sink, and fill it with water up to the limit line.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carefully pour the water in the bowl.

 

 

Step three: Add two drops of soap solution. Whisk!

And whisk some more!!!!

 

 

Step four: Pour out bubbles, use towel to dry out bowl, and sponge table if needed.

Step five: Return bubble making work to the shelf. Take off apron and hand it back up.

 

That’s it! Easy as pie, and just as good! Haha!  This is such a favorite work, that I have to limit it to a one time use per morning work time.  The children may do it once a day, and then may not do it again until the next day!  I also have to put a time restriction on the work as well; I have a mini sand timer that it used to limit their time using the work.  The timer starts once the soap solution has been added to the bowl.  If I don’t set limits on this work, I will have ONE child doing this exercise for the entire morning work period!

Bubble making aids in the development of critical thinking skills; by having to recall multiple steps/instructions in order.  It also aids in developing motor skills with using the eyedropper and using twisting wrist motions when using the whisk.

 

Adding something as simple as bubble making to your Practical Life area; whether it be in a classroom, home school, or for your child’s individual usage; can add quite a bit of fun to their day!

Anitra

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