Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Back to school!

Our transition back to school was a wild ride - an ice storm followed by a near-record snowfall in Portland meant a lot of starts and stops, but things have finally settled in. Here are some scenes from our first weeks back at Tree of Life.

 Practical Life is the heart and soul of the Montessori children's house, and we had a lot going on in January!

Crushing cloves with a heavy mortar and pestle is wonderful for strengthening the hands, and it is a delicious sensory experience.

The tapestry table was finally complete as children added their own contributions!

Sifting flour to separate larger grains of wheat was messy, popular, and a great way to make the dusting cloths very useful in our classroom.

Practice folding - geometry, motor control, and problem-solving all come together in this simplest of activities.

The joy of finding just the right top for the jar in our opening and closing exercise!

Learning to put the buckles together on the buckle frame.

Bubble-whipping is not in the Montessori cannon, but it sure is fun and it gets used every day. It also lends a purpose to the soap flakes we made in our soap grating activity. The warm water carafe is good for practice for tea-making as the year goes on.

Slicing and serving bananas is a great way to build friendships.

This math cabinet is dusty! Better clean the whole thing!

The button snake held his attention for a long time - maybe 30 minutes. Then he was ready for the button frame!

Button sewing takes on a practical use, making felt bracelets that button closed.

We have writing-mania! SO many children are learning to write, and it's an exciting independent work to choose. Its's also a way to work close to friends!

Story-picture paper gives space to write and then illustrate their ideas.

One child reads a word, the other has to build it with the movable alphabet - challenging them to spell it correctly.

Building words using small objects as prompts.

The sound game, in which children identify sounds within the names of objects, is endlessly fun and is useful for children just becoming aware of individual sounds in words as well as those who are well into reading and writing. The youngest child may be presented with two items and asked which one starts with a certain sound, whereas a more experienced child is asked to produce every sound in a word, in order!

Finding the first sound in each word as he works his way through the entire box of tiny objects! Lots of concentration and determination. 

The math area is in more use as the children are getting older and more interested in working with the bead work. 

Counting the short chain of 5.

Matching counters to cards.

Outside we played even in the coldest weather!

Pushing and pulling to give a friend a ride.

Carrying a chunk of ice on a spoon!

Exploring more ice on the top of some water.

Cold weather does not deter water play for many children.

Our mixed-age group leads to friendships and fun moments of all kinds!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Chanukah oh Chanukah!

This post is long overdue, but with snow and various staffing issues things have been very busy this winter! Our Chanukah celebrations were cut a bit short at Tree of Life Montessori, but we still enjoyed lots of holiday art and practical life! The adventures in weather were also fun to explore at school.

Our "treasure sand" was a fun sensory experience, and the children had to be very careful not to spill and all over the place!

Using cutters, salt dough, and texture tools to create a beautiful Chanukah decoration.

Painting salt-dough ornaments to take home to decorate for Chanukah!

 An epic game of dreidel kept everyone's attention!

Polishing the brass menorah feels extra special just before the holidays!

Look! It's snowing!

Fitting candles into the menorah and spinning the wooden dreidels

Painting a delicate wooden snowflake.

Leaves are stuck in a sheet of ice

The sun shines through a sheet of ice on a very cold but sunny day.

Catch a snowflake on your tongue!

Gift-wrapping was a very popular addition to the practical life area for the holidays. 

Helping a friend with the tricky folds to cover a box with shiny paper.

The children in the afternoon art class also made many beautiful decorations for our class Chanukah party, as well as mosaic menorahs!

Menorah is progress.

Families enjoying dreidel at our party.

Shaking up the snow globe she made - another party activity

There were plenty of latkes for everyone!