Sunday, December 13, 2015

Chag Chanukah Sameach!

Happy Chanukah to All!
Holidays and changing seasons bring lots of opportunities to bring new activities to the classroom, and gives us a chance to observe and interact with our changing outdoor environment.

Tamping down the compost after pulling out old, dead vines.

There is ice on the bark chips!

Bulb planting has replaced seed sprouting on our potting shelf and the planted bulbs are lining up. 

Putting candles in our brass Hanukkiah.

Chanukah cutting and pasting adds a holiday theme to a popular work.

Jewels, candles, and Chanukah cutters offer new explorations in salt dough.

Time to get ready for our Chankah party! Painting a background for picture-taking.

Scrubbing up after all that blue and white paint.

Making Magen David decorations to hang up.

When they are dry, they can be painted.

Almost party time! Polishing the wooden dreidels and washing the tables to help get the classroom ready for our friends and family. 

We light the candles every day and sing the blessings before lunch. 

Party time! Our special guest, Sarabel, treats us to a wondrous Chanukah tale!

Happy Chanukah from Tree of Life Montessori!

And now…


Sunday, November 8, 2015

Busy hands!

With a break from major holidays, the children have been busy engaging in the wonderful work that Montessori classrooms have to offer. After being presented with a particular tool or activity, a child is free to use it when the desire strikes. The practical life area offers plenty of opportunities for a wide variety of full-body movement.

Washing a table with utter concentration.

We have the tools accessible to clean up after ourselves - or after others - without a reminder from an adult. 

Practical life offers motivation for gross motor activity and controlled movement.

Carrying a steps tool from the other room means we can reach higher windows to wash.

A push broom challenges children to use their muscles and "follow the pile."

Practical life extends into our outdoor environment - loading and pushing a wheelbarrow of hay!

Fetching step-stools and decorating the fence absorbed an entire morning for this group of children.

And then in the afternoon, the scrub brush was there when they wanted to scrub it clean again.

Adding compost to our new flowerbed. We planted daffodil and crocus bulbs - hopefully we will have a beautiful display in early spring!

We use all our strength to shape our environment. These two wanted to move the logs that are commonly used a as table and chairs. At first they asked for help but then figured our that they could roll then if they turned them on their sides

It's been rainy and there really is nothing better than making mud pies in the sand box.

Raking straw out of the straw bale house. Soon the straw bales will fall apart and will be replaced with fresh bales.

Scrubbing gourds is a seasonal work that extends practical life out onto the patio. 

Picking seeds out of a pomegranate is tedious work, but it has a sweet reward.

Concentrating on adding dye to a cup for dip-dyeing work.

The gourds inspire lots of exploration and interest. Here they are a spontaneous provocation for drawing. 

The sensorial materials are also a great motivation for physical exploration.

The constructive triangles - how many triangles can we build? What other shapes can we make with these?

The large box of color tablets is a motive for repetition and order.

There are many ways to explore with the brown stair. Lately building up as high as they can is very interesting!

Baking biscuits has many steps and is a fun sensorial activity. One child cuts the butter into tiny slivers, while others measure out the other ingredients into the bowl. Then we each got a turn rubbing the butter into the flour for flaky, tender biscuits!

Once they are baked and cooled, the children spread their biscuits with strawberry jam. 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Montessori means…. following the children.

During our day the children often choose the independent activities set out in front of them on the shelves - classic Montessori materials and and visual art materials. Often we also create new work to follow their interests or do spontaneous activities based on the energy and interests of the children.

Alicia enjoys leading the children in yoga when they need to move their bodies in different ways.

Sometimes children lead games, using the games modeled by an adult. Here he is leading the Sound Game, which is a fun way to teach phonemic awareness.

On a whim we built this little shelf from a kit bought at Ikea. In the afternoon we all took turns painting it and it now holds peat pots planted with seeds on our outdoor patio. Activities like this gives children ownership over their environment and the impetus to care for the things around them.

Scrubbing work is more fun when you are next to a friend. Often children can be overheard comparing - "My work has soap! Does yours have soap? Do you have a scrub brush?"

Some days are too nice to stay inside - the nearby park offers a fresh way to play!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Enjoying the End of Summer

Though fall has officially begun, we have enjoyed quite a bit of summery weather over the last few weeks. Perfect weather to celebrate the Jewish harvest festival of Sukkot!

We need schach, the branches that cover the top of the sukkah! The wheelbarrow can help transport branches.

We can bring them by hand too. 

Someone else can have a turn with the wheelbarrow.

The completed sukkah is a lovely place to gather.

We decorated mini-sukkahs by choice for gluing work this week. Not everyone chose this work, and each was decorated in its own way.

We gathered in the sukkah to say the blessings and shake the lulav and the etrog, the four species that we use on sukkot.

Every child was eager for a turn. It was too heavy to hold alone so Ariel gave some help.

Being outside has been refreshing! What have we been up to?

Looking for insects and other creatures under logs and stumps has been a very popular activity.

We are digging up the sod for a new flowerbed - we will plant bulbs and watch as they grow and bloom this spring.

Everybody in! Sometimes a new element, like a tarp over the climbing structure, can spark all kinds of adventures.

Chag Sameach! Happy Holiday!