Friday, October 30, 2015

Montessori Moments

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. Two single photos - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

It's Raining...

Addition with the Number Rods
 It's is a wet, windy and wild fall day. Outside my window right now the wind is blowing the leaves off the trees and I am thinking about how I won't get to the massive pile of raking here at Quinpool until the end of November.  I really hope old man winter doesn't show up until mid to late December this year.  Last year I think we raked 45 bags and there was still a big spring clean up that needed to happen even after all that fall raking!  I truly love this time of year and I am struggling with not being able to get out and clean up and put the garden to bed.  There always seems to be more to do than there is ever time for and I am learning to make my peace with that.  So, while it is not the best day today outside it is certainly cosy and fun inside! 

I get a lot of questions about Maple Tree.  Lots of them being how to manage to get so much done?  We work really hard to balance out our Montessori materials and working environment with other early learning materials that we set up to be Montessori inspired.  For instance, because we are heading into Halloween this weekend we like to  add things like sorting spiders and transfering eyeballs to our practical life work shelves.  We think it is important to change things up a bit while still making it Montessori.  The children really love these kind of surprises on the shelf.  Don't get me wrong, there is still the traditional work materials out that are well loved and so very important but adding a little seasonal fun it a good thing. 
Sewing Pumpkins

Burlap Sewing

Red Lentils and Rice in the Sensory Table.  I wonder what kinds of surprises are being uncovered?

Even the light table seems a bit spooky!
Our Friendly Neighborhood Spiderman Dealing with Some Spiders!

Eyeball Transfer Work

Making a Pink Reader to take home

Hard at work on a metal Inset.

Reading list with letter search and find.

Friday, October 23, 2015

This Montessori Moment

From Cork Street

 {this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

From Quinpool Campus

Thursday, October 22, 2015

This Week at Maple Tree

 There is so much great work happening in the classrooms right now.  I am grateful for the pictures the staff are sending me and their notes about the working days as I am recovering from surgery.  Four more weeks, and I am counting the days until I am back in the classroom!  For now, I am happy to focus on other aspects of my work like our new website which I am working on in my down time.  More about that in the next couple of weeks.  I am also enjoying some time to read.  I never seem to get to read and I have a long list of articles, blogs and books I want to get through.  Some for work, and some for personal enjoyment.   Anyway enough about me, here are some snippets from both campuses this week.
Color sorting with glass beads and Binomial Cube work
The Binomial Cube is one of those incredible Montessori materials that introduces early math concepts to the child.   Like all other Montessori Materials it is presented when the child is in a Sensitive period for this work.  The cube is composed of 8 wooden blocks which fit together in a binomial pattern, representing the cube of two numbers, (a + b), or tens plus units.  All the blocks fit into a natural wood box.
Each box contains colour coded blocks;
One red cube a³, One blue cube b³
Three red and black blocks “a²b”
Three blue and black blocks “ab²”
The algebraic expression represented is :
(a + b)³ = (a + b)(a + b)(a + b) = a³+3a²b+3ab²+b³  

Of Course the child does not  get into the complex math problem with the Binomial Cube until much later with Elementary Math.  But it is definitely implied in the way that it is presented to the child as a complex puzzle.  Have you ever noticed how some children are really good at complex puzzles?  It's food for thought!

Short Bead Stair 
  More Math work with the short Bead Stair.  This child is practicing building the short Bead Stair and as an extension she is coloring a math sheet with the sort bead stair in the correct order.  In Math each Bead Chain is represented in a different color.  If you ask me is just makes perfect sense.  Everything in Montessori makes perfect sense and is so well thought out.  Maria Montessori was a truly brilliant woman!
Extensions Exploring Board Stair and Pink Tower

Teen Bead Hanger

 This week at Cork Street the children have extended their art work with more plasticine at the art table.  I understand they are making beautiful fall trees.  They are really beautiful and you know how I feel about clay in the hands of a child.  It is nothing short of brilliant from a sensory experience to an artful experience.

My friend here is really advanced with his language work and he is working with the Phonetic Farm.  Grammar symbols have been introduced and he is building his sentences using, articles, nouns, adjectives and verbs.  How wonderful is that!

More Short Bead Stair work.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Today at Cork Street

We've got pumpkins on the brain right now.  It's hard to believe that we are only a few weeks away from Halloween and all the excitement that comes with that.  We have a fun little project set up at the art table this week.  The children are using plasticine to make their own jack-o-lantern.  I love using plasticine it makes me think of Barbara Reid.  There is a great tutorial on Plasticine and how to use it on her site and I recommend having a look.  Not only does plasticine come in a variety of colors but it lends it's self to a lovely sensory experience for the children.  The children really love to explore 
the clay and it also seems to create a quiet space or time for the child.  Using plasticine isn't easy.  It requires a lot of hand strength and so I see it as a wonderful extension of our art shelf and a continuation of work to prepare the hand as Dr. Montessori would say.

“The hands are the instruments of man’s intelligence,” and “The human hand allows the mind to reveal itself." ~Dr. Maria Montessori

 More hand work by way of Metal Insets in the classroom today.  You can see that this child is using a specific Metal Inset tray to do her work.   Some children don't use this kind of tray.  This tray specifically allows the child to focus on the task of tracing the line around the metal inset and allows for success with the work.  Some children can become very frustrated when their metal inset is sliding round on them on the tray while they focus on tracing.  Metal Inset work is the start of preparing the hand for writing.  I send dozens of these home during the year and I have heard the complaint, "all she does is metal insets".  Thing is, metal insets are super important.

Metal insets help with development of hand eye coordination.  It helps the child to gain mastery over control of small movements and lets them develop control of a pencil (pressure, and steadiness).  In the grand picture it also helps the child to develop a geometric sense and stimulate artistic sensibilities that lead to an ability to plan a design.  
Short Bead Stair work

Friday, October 2, 2015

Montessori Moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.