Wednesday, March 28, 2012

We Did it!!

So, I can finally say that we have now bought our own space for Maple Tree!!  The last few months have been stressful trying to figure it all out but it was all soooooo worth it.  For me it is finally realizing the rest of the dream.  This will be the most amazing space for children, I can promise you that!

You can't see from this picture but the house came with two lots!  This means we will have our own outside play space for the first time ever.  I am planning to make the entire front lawn into raised vegetable beds year round and a zen garden along the side.  Oh, the possibilities are endless.  I will post the progress as it is unfolding.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Travel to Australia

 I have to say goodbye to one of my little friends this week.  He is getting ready to take a very big trip to see his grandparents.  They haven't seen him since he was a baby and I know he really doesn't have memories of that time.  He will have a lot to tell them though for he knows a lot about where he is going!  My friend has been studying and learning about New Zealand and Australia.
 When we learned he would be leaving us and going away we knew we needed to take him there first and so we pulled out the Puzzle Map of Australia followed by the continent box.

The last few years, I have been working on making these continent boxes to compliment our collection of maps.  I've been very lucky as we have been given many tiny, lovely small things that tell their own story and live in the boxes.  My Asia box is incredible and we were super lucky to have a fantastic set of grandparents traveling and thinking of us.

Montessori or not, anyone can make continent boxes and take their students away.  Bon Voyage!!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Spring is Here!

 I few pics from the morning!  What a lovely morning it was.  Wishing you a restful weekend!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Being the Teacher

There is a such a sense of being bigger right now and with that comes a loveliness that it really hard to put into words.  I am trying to show you with pictures.  The last couple of days I have asked for someone else to be the teacher and to guide the children through the CD story as we transition to our playground line.  I am here in the room but sitting on the fringes ready to help if need be.  The child is guiding the story and turning the pages as we listen to the story and wait for the cues.  It made such an impression on the children and the three children that had turns were very proud to have this opportunity to take on this role.  The other children listening were that much more captivated and so I watched this loveliness unfold and just be.

There is a great sense of community within the Montessori classroom, where children of differing ages work together in an atmosphere of cooperation rather than competitiveness. There is respect for the environment and for the individuals within it, which comes through experience of freedom within the community. 
Dr Maria Montessori (cited in Elizabeth Hainstock, 1986, p. 81 - The Essential Montessori)
I am sure you've heard of, " Pete the Cat"  it is a very popular story that the children request over and over again.  It is very funny, lyrical and has great cadence.  Ask your children about this story and see what they tell you!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Learning about Colour

This week we are delving into colour.  More specifically, we are looking at primary colours and how to take those primary colours to make secondary colours.  The work has been really well received and makes the classroom feel so much brighter.

I set up an independent work area for one and the children have been taking turns and waiting for an invitation to this work.  I originally happened upon this idea at My Montessori Journey a long time ago and filed it away.  The idea is that the children use the glass eye dropper to drop the colour on the correct coloured dot and when they have placed all the colours they use a tooth pick for each smaller circle to blend the colours.  when the colours have been blended we take a large square of paper towel to lay over the Colour Wheel and the paper towel absorbs all the colours.  It is taken to the drying rack to finish drying.
I've just used regular food colouring mixed with some water.  It is a beautiful thing to watch.  The care taken by the children in setting up this work and seeing it through right down to wiping the Colour Wheel sheet off and ensuring it is ready for the next child.  Colour makes me so happy, how about you?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Rainbow Connection

 I really love inspired spaces for children to play and imagine things.  We keep such a space as you come in the door of our school.  It is a small table top that has many little things and often those things are related to a theme or area of interest in our classroom.  Right now it is about animals. lucky shamrocks and a rainbow.  I love it when a space comes together and I find a new little thing at the thirft store.  This past week I was lucky enough to find a small chest to hold the sparkly shamrocks I had been saving for after our March Break.

It didn't stop there for me.  When we finished building the work bench I decided we needed small books about all the new tools we will soon be using on our workbench.  Each book is a different colour and matches the tool on the work bench.  Our new vise really is a hot orange colour and our hand drill is green.

I found an old cd rack at the thrift store and it worked perfectly to organize and set up our new project books.

My thinking is that the children need to learn about the tools and how to use them before we can actually start the many woodworking projects I have ready to go.

I also, have a few more tiny things I need to get before that space is completely ready.

 Speaking of rainbows, I thought I would share this idea....this beautiful garland is made from colourful strips of paper that I sewed together on my sewing machine last year.  It is so bright and cheerful.  At a time when it is so dreary outside it is nice to look up and see this band of colours.  This was super easy to make and it so beautiful in our classroom.  It would be great in place of streamers at a child's birthday party.
 I also, continued the theme at our art table this week.  Fruit Loops!!  I hope I bought enough for the week.  I am sure there will be lots of munching along with the glueing!

Sorry, I just couldn't resist it.  It makes such a pretty rainbow.

Monday, March 12, 2012


 So, this is my week off.  We are into March Break and the school is closed this week.  My family was to be in Nfld skiing but we had to cancel that trip this year because of other commitments.  I am hoping to share some news about that on Friday so check back!  I was, at first a bit bummed out not taking our annual trip but I have found my happy place in my garden and kitchen this week.  Sometimes, it is really nice to tackle some things around the house and do day trips.  This morning with my double long espresso I tested out a new pancake recipe for mt.  Orange Yogurt pancakes.  Simply Divine!  I will share that recipe soon with you.
 While I was off at the movies this afternoon with my girl, my handy husband built the cutest workbench for mt.  We have had these plans in the works for some time and finding the time to implement it was challenging.  Wow, it is just so freaking fantastic.  Can you hardly wait 'til it is in the classroom and there are building projects taking place?!  I am telling said handy husband he may want to market this workbench and start taking orders!!
 The idea for this work bench came from the book,"Children Can Build" it was purchased through Montessori Services a long time ago.  We are working on assembling the many small projects in the book so it is ready to go after March Break.
 I've also taken the time to build a poly tunnel in my back yard.  I am so sick of root veggies.  I am looking forward to the spinach and lettuces we will be harvesting very soon.  Right now, it just has compost - as we are warming up the soil to take seeds.  So exciting.  I was very inspired by Niki Jabbour's  book, "The Year-round Vegetable Gardener".  So look out because I can smell cold frames and more poly tunnels.  I am so committed to having our children know about the food we eat and why we need to grow it.

We also took some time to make some markers.  Halifax Seed is loving me and my wallet this week!  How is your March Break shaping up?  Do you have some great plans and ideas you want to share?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Mental Math

 "This system in which a child is constantly moving objects with his hands and actively exercising his senses, also takes into account a child's special aptitude for mathematics. When they leave the material, the children very easily reach the point where they wish to write out the operation. They thus carry out an abstract mental operation and acquire a kind of natural and spontaneous inclination for mental calculations." 
(The Discovery of the Child, Maria Montessori) 

Monday, March 5, 2012

Material Making Weekend

 Like a crazy woman, I spent my weekend making new blue materials for our language shelf.  I am most certain I should have been painting and helping around our house but I had a bee in my bonnet and I really needed to get this work done and on the shelf. I had been waiting for weeks for a bag of tiny four letter phonetic objects and some sentence cards and objects to arrive and on Friday they finally did.

I decided to make my own reading cards for our reading boxes and was able to locate a great Montessori font here.  It was free to download and printed up beautifully on blue card stock.

The tricky part was cutting it all out the right size which was largely dictated by my box size and then laminating and cutting again.  I LOVE these smart snap boxes available at Staples.  I know, they are plastic :(  but really they are so durable and pretty.  Given how much action these little reading boxes are seeing these days, I really needed something durable.  Our small blue paper boxes were just not cutting it anymore.  

 The children are so drawn to these reading boxes.  I think it is because they want or rather need to hold the tiny objects in their little hands.  I hear them sometimes playing out a little scene with them and think to myself what great story tellers they are becoming.

You are in for such a treat at parent teacher tonight!  Your children are doing such amazing things.  They are reading and writing and have evolved so much in the last year.

I am so happy making new things for our shelves.  I know I make my husband crazy when I work late into the night or on weekends but he gets it now and understands my need to make things.  Please try not to notice the state of my desk tonight!  I've got better things to do then clean it up and I have so many projects waiting to go out on the shelves.

In my mind, my desk is a prepared environment :)

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Bunny Love

 Good Saturday morning to you all!  I am dropping in to announce that our giveaway for March will be a sock monkey kit or rather a sock bunny kit from the fabulous Monkey Show shop.  Just in time for Easter is my thinking on this one.

I love the concept of this product.  The monkey and bunny kits are made from socks and mittens and everything you need to make the monkey or bunny with comes in the box.

Given how many little sewers we have at the school I know this will be a big hit.  hmmmm..... maybe the Easter bunny will drop into our house and leave one.

Oh, and fyi they offer birthday parties at their shop on Queen Street.  Check them out some time and don't for get to pop in and leave your comment for a chance to win a bunny kit!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

February Winner is.....

Congratulations to Lauren, our February Winner!!  Your books will be in your Art file at the school for pick up.  I will be back tomorrow to announce our Giveaway for March.