Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Purim celebration!

We had a delightful Purim celebration over Spring Break! Many of the families in our community were able to come celebrate.

We threw bean bag "jam" into a giant hamantaschen!

We ate real hamantaschen and colored Purim pictures with our friends in costumes.

We made beautiful groggers with jewel beads and bells.

And then we shared a child-friendly version of the story of Esther, Mordechai, Haman, and Ahashverosh! We shook our groggers and boo-ed and yay-ed!

But the best part was the hamantaschen. Yum!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Starting Points

It is a common misconception that children are expected to repeat the lessons they are given perfectly, without adding or forgetting any steps along the way in a Montessori environment. While being able to follow a sequence of steps builds order and memory, a teacher's presentations are just a starting point, upon which children can build. Where they go with an activity is up to them, and it is up to the teacher to observe what they do, discover their interests and abilities, and teach from there.

After being presented with sets of corresponding triangles, a child can then experiment to make shapes in new ways, and often build elaborate pictures with them. There are five sets of triangles in all, which means this work is a drawn-out, relaxed exploration in geometry.

A first metal inset design is created with full concentration, tongue out and strong pencil strokes!

Graded knobless cylinders make interesting sculptures and inspire lots of exploration. 

Some exploration of the knobless cylinders is artistic and whimsical, and some is ordered, giving a visual and stereognostic sense of changes in dimension.

Preliminary activities, such as this sponge transfer, prepare our youngest children for longer sequences of activity and can induce deep concentration and careful attention to detail. 

Learning to write, building words with the movable alphabet, is a slow learning process that builds one day and one activity at a time. After lots of experience with sandpaper letters, the movable alphabet is offered and we support phonetic word building.

Outside we had so much fun enjoying the February sunshine! Today is a different story, but we had a few weeks of fabulous weather. 
Planting new herbs in our herb garden - chives and parsley!

A beautiful day draws us all outside, and children bring out their chosen work on tray tables, practice hammering, draw with chalk, and exhult in the beautiful weather!

Figuring out new ways to move their bodies outside.

Finding places to lie on the stumps.

A new metal tub filled with water inspires all kinds of stories and sensory play!

A pow-wow in the straw house.

Friends hang out on top of the climbing structure.

The soccer ball flies! Negotiating who gets to be goalie builds social skills. 

Inside we help our school by preparing carrots for snack.

At the end of the week we strip the nap mats and put the sheets in the washing machine! Learning to take care of our own things builds confidence and motor skills.