It’s a teacher work day today, and I’m making sequencing cards for our pre-language area. I took some photos at our snack table and thought I’d share in case you’d like to download and print them for your own use. Sequencing is a great pre-language activity, and can be tons of fun. You could use these as two separate sets with a young child, or put them together for more of a challenge.
Annabelle, my almost four year old, has loved books practically from birth. She has never tired of being read to. I have never pushed language learning on her. In fact, if you’ve been reading along for awhile, you might know that I sort of deliberately left toys depicting letters out of our environment. Books were all around, of course, but there were no alphabet blocks or other such things. Of course, like any toddler, she reached a point where she wanted a name for everything in her environment, and around age two she began pointing at letters in the world around her. License plates were a big one. “What is this, mommy?” “What sound is that?” In Montessori fashion, I answered with the letter in question’s phonetic sound, rather than its alphabetical name. And I left it at that. Over time she learned to recognize a number of different letters on her own, and several months ago, she began tracing the Montessori Sandpaper Letters. We have had formal three period lessons when requested, and she has traced and practiced on her own to master all 26 sounds. Continue reading
I’ve been talking with a lot of Montessori families lately, and I’m finding that the question of how to provide for a Montessori work period for an older child, while also keeping an infant or toddler happy, is not an uncommon one. My youngest, one-and-a-half year old Elliot, has been in our Montessori preschool classroom since he was five months old, so I’ve had a bit of experience with this and thought I’d share what has worked for us.
First, some of the back story. If you’re not interested in all of that, you can scroll straight down to the big text for some tips for working with an infant or toddler in a Montessori Primary Classroom.
I set out to start our little, home-based Montessori school for two reasons: I wanted to continue to be my children’s primary caregiver, and I wanted my children to be able to attend Montessori at least from age 3-6. Financially, these two things just did not go together. If I wanted to pay for Montessori for my preschooler, I was going to have to go back to work outside the home, and this would mean regularly leaving my infant in someone else’s care. Being a trained Montessori teacher, I saw a simple solution: if there’s not a school that works for our family, why not make one myself? Continue reading
I spent much of our Thanksgiving break sprinkling our classroom with holiday cheer, and I thought I’d share a few scenes from our space, in case they should inspire you in any sprinkling you’re doing in your home or classroom.
I love decorating the classroom at least as much as I love decorating my home – in fact, the tree, however small, went up here before one went up in our living room. I love this little, live tree, which has temporarily replaced the Umbrella Tree that normally graces our reading corner. Between it and the wreath on the door, it smells of evergreen throughout the whole room. Originally, I thought I’d leave the decorations for this tree in a basket so that the children could decorate it themselves over and over, but I found that the process was not exactly pleasant, due to the very sharp little needles on this particular tree, so it stays decorated to make the classroom more beautiful, and another, smaller tree is available on the shelf for the children to decorate and redecorate as much as they’d like.
There are so many different ways to keep a record of the work individual children are doing in the Montessori classroom. I have seen a number of systems, and they all seem to be working well for the teachers using them, which is what counts, really. In my training, we were given a model for record keeping, referred to as an Individual Learning Plan. This plan is a spreadsheet which includes the materials typically found in the classroom, with space to make dated comments about the work each child does with these materials. In the past, I have simply reproduced this spreadsheet and used it for my record-keeping. It is a wonderfully useful document, but it does not perfectly reflect what is in my classroom, however, nor is it perfectly set up for me to include the information I like to record. Continue reading