Early in March, teeny, tiny caterpillars arrived in our classroom. We have watched them grow into longer, fatter caterpillars. Last week the caterpillars turned into chrysalises and now rest in our butterfly house awaiting transformation. We have been reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar and using felt cut outs to engage the sense of touch with the story. We tapped out the word chrys-a-lis as we looked at the little chrysalises in the butterfly house. The children are so intrigued by the living insects in our classroom. Being witness to the metamorphosis of a caterpillar is made possible by the Annual Fund.
The practical life shelf is meant to provide works that mimic real life or prepare the child for real life activities through practice. Lacing, zipping, pouring, spooning, opening and closing containers are all part of our practical life works. After a few months of having a wooden knife cutting work with fruit and veggies that are velcroed together, we introduced a knife for cutting banana to our snack routine. Each child is given a small portion of banana still in the peel. After peeling the banana the child can use the knife to cut pieces to put into her snack bowl. This is something you can offer your child at home. Bananas can be sliced long-ways to create a flat side so the banana remains stable as the child cuts.
Looking through color blocks and tiles remains an activity that children are drawn to over and over each day. As the adults in the Montessori environment, the teachers, or guides as some call them, are charged with creating a developmentally appropriate and safe environment, observing the children to know their interests, desires, and needs, and with children between birth and age three adults act as the prefrontal cortex (known for executive function) for children. The adults help children with impulse control, predicting their actions before they move. Adults are the filters for the children. Similar to how the children look through the color blocks to see a different view of their world, adults are responsible for filtering and focusing the child’s attention. If one child pushes or hits another child to get their attention, we know the preverbal child is using physical movements to communicate. We can interpret this for the children, “Your friend is saying hello,” giving words to the action and reminding them that, “We touch our friends gently.”
Attending the American Montessori Society Annual Conference in Washington DC was a multisensory experience. We visited Franklin Montessori (https://www.franklinmontessori.com) and observed their classrooms and outdoor spaces. We listened to inspiring keynote speakers and attended excellent workshops. AMS recently published this video about the Montessori infant and toddler experience, https://youtu.be/SvpQUomnSho.
The SMS Tag Sale Saturday April 6 at 8am at Margaret and Barry Johnson’s house 1230 Yorkshire Rd. Are you able to volunteer? Sign up here. Please invite others who would be interested in clothes for younger children.
The Five Love Languages with author Dr. Gary Chapman @7pm April 24 in Home Moravian Church Sanctuary. This event is co-sponsored by Salem Montessori School and the Shaffner Fund of Home Moravian Church and is free and open to the public.