Last week, I wrote about the essential materials for a well equipped Children’s House environment. This week, I wanted to talk a bit about the options available for purchasing materials, and about what I’m doing for our program. At this point, I have ordered most of our materials, but have received very few, so I’ll definitely be posting an update when I’ve had the chance to work with them for awhile.
As regular readers know already, I’m in the midst of planning and preparing to set up a Children’s House environment for some children in our community. One of the first things I did, before even deciding for certain that this was the right move, was come up with the list of materials I would need to purchase and do some pricing to see if we could afford everything we need. I first made my own list for each area, and then turned to my good friend google to see if I could check my list against those of others. I’d like to share my conclusions with all of you and hopefully add a resource to the surprisingly few available for others who may be starting a classroom or school. Continue reading
The last few installments in my early math and language series have focused on language. Today, it’s time to talk a bit more about math. As with the alphabet, many adults are in a hurry for children to learn numbers. Like the letters of the alphabet, however, written numerals are actually quite abstract and, without a thorough understanding of what they stand for, are not particularly useful to young children. Early preparation for mathematics can come from many of the activities already discussed in this series, such as matching, sorting, and grading. Beyond that, there is much to do before bothering with learning numbers and operations.
My point in discussing these ideas is not to point out still more that we as parents need to worry about, but instead to highlight the complexity of the preparatory skills young children develop before they can have a meaningful understanding of numbers and other mathematical concepts. For most children, everyday life will provide plenty of opportunities to develop these preparatory skills, but it’s important that we honor the child’s process and allow them plenty of time to learn and absorb these pre-math concepts before we stress about teaching them math in a more formal way. For those interested in providing tools and activities to assist with early math learning, the following Montessori based ideas may be helpful. If you have ideas of your own, please share them! Continue reading
This is part four in my series on early math and language skills. In my last post, I discussed the way children learn to pick out and differentiate between individual letter sounds (phoneme isolation) in Montessori schools and shared some ideas for how parents can provide similar activities at home. Once children have become familiar and comfortable with the letter sounds (auditory discrimination), we move on to presenting the individual letters. We do not, however, present the letter names, but instead present each letter in association with its phonetic sound. Of course many letters make more than one sound, but we begin with one common sound for each letter.
In previous posts for this series I have briefly touched on the way things are done in the classroom and then focused on ideas for parents supporting their children’s learning at home. When it comes to the letter sounds, the method used in Montessori schools is useful for nearly all children and can be followed by parents who are supporting their children in learning to read at home instead of in a Montessori school or elsewhere. Continue reading
Regular readers are probably tired of hearing about our upcoming trip, but it’s finally almost here, so I thought I would share some of the things I’m packing to keep 23 month old Annabelle happy during our 26 hours of travel. Fortunately 8 of those hours will be made up of layovers, so running around and using up energy should fill the time quite easily. For the other 18, here’s what we have: Continue reading