How many classroom showcase posts have I written now? We’re still going strong in our little school on the bottom floor of our home. This past week was our first week back, and it was so fantastic. For most of the children, this is our third school year together and I can’t even find the words to describe how amazing it is to see the same bunch of children at four and five that we got things going with when most of them were two and a half. They know what’s expected of them, they are really coming to feel like they own the classroom and the materials, and they have quite a repertoire of extension activities up their sleeves, too. I have seen a lot of the blindfold in these first five days, which the children are challenging one another with in the Sensorial area.
Anyway, the classroom: since we had a nice long summer, extended by a couple of weeks because of the birth of our chubby, cuddly, beautiful Nora, we took some time to make a few big improvements to our space before the new school year. It’s finally almost exactly as I’d like it, minus a couple of new tables and hopefully a new ceiling, one day. I’m so in love that I just have to share it with you. Now.
There are some affiliate links in this post, by the way. If you happen to see something you want to add to your own environment, purchasing it using one of my links gives me a small commission at no cost to you, and allows me to further improve our classroom – a win, win!
I’ve sort of put myself on maternity leave from the computer, but I have been reading and communicating on mobile quite a bit, as I’m putting in quite a bit of time pacing with or nursing a nearly asleep newborn. This has meant lots of conversing in various Montessori groups. Yesterday, someone raised a question about silverware in the group: Bringing up Montessori Infants and Toddlers and many of us chimed in to make suggestions.
I have said before that we Montessori guides often become curators of beautiful collections of small objects, delighting over bits and pieces discovered for use in the classroom. Some of us take this role more seriously than others. In honesty, though, I can frame this any way I like, but a couple of decades from now one of my children might be putting me on the modern-day equivalent of hoarders after they open a cabinet in my house and find themselves buried under a pile of miniature pitchers, tiny bowls of various kinds and, well, cutlery. Reading the comment thread about silverware yesterday, I realized I could put my collection to good use, as we own all of the various options that were suggested. I snapped a side-by-side comparison picture for those considering their options and a few moms found this helpful, so I thought I’d grab some better photos and drop them here in the blogosphere for easy reference. Continue reading
I’m nearly 39 weeks pregnant, with an energy level on the low side and the knowledge that every day could be our last day of school. While most of the children in our little school are pretty resilient, I wanted to make sure we had an official end to the school year for those who are especially sensitive to routine and might be really thrown to wake up and hear, “Miss Melissa had her baby, so there’s no school today. You’ll see your friends in September!” What I decided to do was to continue as usual until I reached 38 weeks, and then to have an official last work time together and a simple picnic to mark the end of the school year. Then, those who wanted to keep coming would be more than welcome to do so until baby-time, but I wanted to change it up a bit – both to make things obviously different from the school year routine, and to give myself a bit less cleaning work in the evenings during this busy time, I decided the solution was to have outdoor school.
For many weeks now, I’ve been pinning ideas, gathering supplies, and making plans for our “outdoor classroom,” and today was our first official day of it (well, Friday was supposed to be, but it was pouring rain!). It was awesome. Everyone seemed to enjoy it so much that I’m seriously considering making it a regular thing in the late Spring (and perhaps early fall, too), when there is so much to discover outdoors and the weather is so delightful. I thought I’d share some photos of our set-up with you. It took me about 15 minutes to get everything outside and ready this morning, and about the same to put it back in for the day, so it’s really not any more time intensive than prepping the indoor classroom in the morning, and there is no vacuuming, mopping, or dusting waiting for me – a beautiful thing! Continue reading
Most lovers of Montessori are familiar with the popular Montessori birthday celebration, or “Celebration of Life,” as it’s often called. We marked my now four year old, Annabelle’s birthday with a celebration of life at school this year, but we also enjoyed two other, slightly less popular Montessori birthday traditions. I wanted to share these with you all, in case you should be unfamiliar with them, as I think they’re fantastic activities that not only make birthdays that much more special, but also help deepen the child’s sense of their place in history and in their family.
“…for all things are part of the universe, and are connected with each other to form one whole unity. This idea helps the mind of the child to become fixed, to stop wandering in an aimless quest for knowledge. He is satisfied, having found the universal centre of himself with all things.”
Timeline of a Child’s Life
The materials shown in this post were sent to me by Montessori Services (a company I love, trust, and have personally spent more than I care to admit with this year alone), for the purpose of review. I was not obligated to give a positive review, and all information and opinions shared are my own. Read to the end for your chance to win $50 to spend on anything you’d like from Montessori Services. If you visit Montessori Services by following one of the links within this post, I’ll receive a commission at no additional cost to you, and those funds will go to support the work of this blog and of our little Montessori school (thank you!). This is the perfect time to shop, because they’re offering free shipping until the end of March on orders over $50.
How did you spend the first day of Spring? In the classroom, Annabelle and a few other preschoolers spent a portion of it doing a recent favorite work: flower arranging. A popular Montessori Practical Life exercise, flower arranging can be done outdoors or in, by cutting flowers directly from the garden or by choosing from a selection prepared for inside. It can even be done with silk flowers if fresh aren’t available or practical. The work fits into the category of Care of the Environment, as it inspires children to take part in the creation of a more beautiful classroom or home. Continue reading