Parents corner:
Parents often ask, “How do you get the children to clean up?” In the Montessori classroom we start by modeling what we want the children to do. We model how to clean up after ourselves, how to get works ready for the next person and put back on the shelves.We also expect the children to learn these skills and put them to use in the classroom. We show the children how they can get their work ready for the next person, which means they put it back on the shelf in order so that the next child choosing those materials is ready to get to work right away. If a child gets materials out and walks away from them, we gently remind them to “put their work away” or “put your work back on the shelf’. If a child resists, we engage them in picking up the work by saying something like, “I’ll pick up the red pegs, what color will you pick up?”Try this at home and let us know of your successes and frustrations you run into.MTW parents, thank you for those who’ve come in to read and for those signed up for further dates. When I see the mostly younger T-F children are ready to have parents in the classroom with them, (when it won’t make them cry), I will send out a link for reading.

Apples, falling leaves and of course, pumpkins – it must be fall! We have 3 multi-colored pumpkins hidden inside a toddler-sized backpack, just waiting for little hands to explore. We have a large pumpkin in our sensory bin, which the children scrub clean with a brush.

We halved one of the mini pumpkins and our large pumpkin, and passed it around so the children could see what the inside of a pumpkin looked like. Some of the children ventured close to touch the coolness of the pumpkin meat and and feel the smooth hardness of the seeds with their hands. I cleaned off the seeds from the large pumpkin, took them home and roasted them at home with salt and olive oil and brought them in for the children to taste. Some were hesitant to taste the seeds, but they eventually did, and all of the children loved the seeds and quickly ate them all up.

As the children master the works in the room, we add extensions that add complexity and interest. We have added tongs to our pom pom sorting work. Adding the tongs makes it more of a challenge for the children. We added a spoon to our acrylic leaf transfer work, again adding complexity to the work. We also added magna tiles to the room. We have small people of various materials and colorful wooden discs that children can use with the dollhouse, the barn and Magna Tiles to help them extend their storytelling.

“Any child who is self-sufficient, who can tie his shoes, dress or undress himself, reflects in his joy and sense of achievement the image of human dignity, which is derived from a sense of independence.” – Maria Montessori

This quote explains why children in the Montessori program are encouraged to practice independence through various tasks, like putting on their own slippers and shoes, as they are able. Children who are able to do this are very proud of their accomplishment and make sure to tell their teachers what they have done. For children not yet able to do this independently, we teach them the skills they need by breaking down the task into clear steps. We show them how to hold their shoe with both hands and to put their toes in first. Then we show them how to put their thumb in the back of the shoe to slide it over their heel. If you are not in a hurry, you can support their efforts by letting them put on their slippers when they come in. You also can let them put on and take off their shoes at home, when it’s more relaxed and you have more time.  In doing so, you are not only helping a child learn a life skill, but you are helping him/her experience the satisfaction of feeling competent and giving him/her this image of human dignity.

As Montessori adults, we always ask ourselves, “What are we now doing for the child that he/she can be doing independently?”

A new and very popular chant we’ve been having fun with in the classroom is “Rocketship, Rocketship.”

Sit with your palms pressed together at the bottom of your lap ad slowly push them up as you repeat these words:

Rocketship, Rocketship, to the moon.

Rocketship, Rocketship, to the moon.

Rocketship, Rocketship, to the moon.

After the third time, your hands go up and out, sort of like a volcano spraying lava, but you softly say “whoosh!”

We’ve also been singing, “Jump in the middle”, I say, “If your name is “Joe”, jump in the middle. The child jumps a few times and then sits back in their spot, and all of the children take turns jumping. This is also very popular and sometimes at the end of it, we all get in the middle of the rug and jump together.

2 Comments
  1. Bowman was so excited about the pumpkin seeds and talked to us for about five minutes over dinner about how the children reacted to the pumpkin “guts” and how they all ultimately gobbled up all the roasted seeds. Thank you for giving our children such experiences. Maybe some day Bowman will make you one of his kale & avocado (and other yummy food) smoothies!

    • Thank you for your kind note, it was fun for all of us. I was surprised how quickly children gobbled up the pumpkin seeds. I would love to try Bowman’s smoothies!

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