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Practical Life Extensions

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

Back 2 School-Routine and Schedule for Healthy Dental Habits

By Anitra

One or more of the products mentioned in this post were provided for free to facilitate a review.

Back in 2005, I took a break from teaching.  I had been teaching for about 5 years, and felt a tad bit burnt out.  I decided to go back to school, only this time, I went a completely different path; I went to school to become a Dental Assist.  I learned quite a bit, and enjoyed my new found career.  Later that year, I was recommended and hired for a position as a Dental Assistant in a Pediatric Dental Office.  I had lucked out!  I had the best of both worlds; I could still interact with children, and use my new found skills as a Dental Assistant at the same time.  I enjoyed working as a Dental Assistant, but I was never as happy as I was when I had worked in a classroom.  So, long story short; I went back to teaching.  I have been consistently in a classroom ever since…

 

Every February, during National Children’s Dental Health Month, I do a two week unit on dental awareness, dental procedures, proper brushing techniques, and other oral hygiene topics.  I teach them all about their bay teeth; which are lettered from A to T and their adult teeth; which are numbered 1 to 32 (if you have your wisdom teeth).  The most important aspects of the dental awareness themes revolve around proper brushing techniques, how often to brush, flossing, and using mouth rinse.  With Back 2 School quickly approaching, I think that it is a great time for families to develop a oral hygiene routine and schedule.  I know, it’s a pain to have to come up with another routine and schedule with your already busy life.  Well you are in luck!  I will share my oral hygiene routine and schedule that I have developed just for busy families!  It’s the least I can do to make your Back 2 School transition an easy one!

 

Start the school year off on the right path with these

6 tips to develop healthy oral hygiene habits

 

1. Limit the amount of sugar your child eats.

I know, what child doesn’t love candy…or cupcakes..or cake…or ice cream?  I do, and I’m an adult!  It is easy to let your child eat sugary snacks, but in the long run, it is not healthy for their primary (baby) teeth or their permanent (adult) teeth.  As you know, sugar that sits on the teeth can cause decay, which leads to cavities; or as I call them SUGAR BUGS!!!

 

2. Have your child drink lots of water.

Water is important not just to your child’s oral health, but is important to the overall health of their entire body.  When your child is thirsty, try to encourage drinking water as often as possible over sugary beverages such as juice and soda.

 

3. Use toothpaste that has fluoride in it.

Fluoride is a mineral that can help reduce tooth decay.  It helps to harden the enamel on baby and adult teeth.  A pea sized amount of toothpaste containing fluoride should be used for children three years and younger.  Using a mouth rinse that contains fluoride is also an added benefit.

 

4. Model proper brushing techniques.

A good motto to adhere to is 2 minutes, 2 times a day.The ideal brushing technique is to brush the molars (back teeth) on the tops of the teeth (the chewing surface) and make sure to get the inside and outside of them as well. For the front teeth, brushing in circles insures that you are brushing to the gum lines.

 

5. See a Dentist on a regular basis.

It is beneficial to see a Dentist twice a year to get regular cleanings, x-rays, and a check-up.  A Dentist may recommend more frequent visits if a child displays a tendency to build up plaque or is subject to tooth decay.

 

6. Set up a routine and schedule and try to follow it as closely as possible.

Having a routine and schedule for oral hygiene is the best way to ensure healthy habits.  Click below for your Back 2  School Oral Hygiene Routine and Schedule.

 

 

 

In order for you to develop a healthy oral hygiene routine and schedule, you will need the necessary items to assist you.

 

 

  • Man yourself with the proper tools

The toothbrush is the most important tool in ensuring a good cleaning between visits to a Dentist.   I recommend and have recently used a great toothbrush from mouthwatchersMouthwatchers is a toothbrush company that has a line of manual and power toothbrushes. They are very reasonably priced, and have an option of purchasing single or yearly toothbrushes.

 

I have a youth and an adult manual toothbrush.  The soft bristles are gentle on my gums, and there are two sets of bristles for an even better brush.  I used the youth toothbrush to reach my wisdom teeth and molars in the back, and it left them feeling clean like I had just left the Dentist!  I used the adult toothbrush for all of my other teeth; my incisors and canines.  Overall, both toothbrushes left my teeth feeling extra clean, and I will definitely be investing in more mouthwatchers in the future!  For even more great products, go to mouthwatchers.com

 

 

 

Combining the above tips with a good, quality toothbrush, added with a daily routine and schedule, will put your child on the right path to developing healthy oral hygiene habits early on.  It may be beneficial for parents of young children to assist them with the brushing, as it may be difficult for children to brush their teeth by themselves.

 

Enjoy this post?  Be on the look out for more Back 2 School posts for the month of August.

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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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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