Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Montessori Materials

      Montessori Materials can be very expensive.  Traditionally they are made of wood and are very high quality.  But many of the materials can be made at home and the same goals can still be achieved.  That being said, there are a few materials that are just not cost or time effective to make yourself.  One material I recently purchased is the Pink Tower. This is a sensory activity that teaches order, big, bigger, biggest, small, smaller, and smallest. Of course since all Montessori leaning is child guided sometimes other lessons can be learned as well.
     When the Pink Tower arrived I opened it and set it out in our "classroom."  The next time Gosling was in the room, it was the first material to which she went. I wonder if it was the beautiful pink color which drew her attention.  At any rate, she immediately picked up the smallest pieces and walked off with them.  I realized that we were going to need some boundaries or the pieces would soon disappear and although I shopped around and got a good deal on these materials, I do not want to have to buy replacement pieces!  So, I took out a piece of white contact paper and stuck it onto the shelf where I am storing the Pink Tower.  Then I traced each piece first in pencil and then in pink marker. This now gives Gosling a place to put the pieces when she uses the Pink Tower.
     At the moment she is still bringing the pieces to me, but it is the beginning of a learning process.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Transferring Objects

     Last fall our family when to St. Louis to visit some of the cousins.  It was a wonderful trip and we saw many historical sites. But of the most remembered moments for me was each evening Gosling (then 16 months) would get down the shoe box of pencils, pens, crayons and markers and transfer these objects into another box. She just sat down and did this on her own. This is why I love Montessori's teachings. I can see why she the activities that are taught, are taught. They truly follow the way a child thinks and learns.
     So, for Gosling's first Montessori learning center I made a Valentine box of transferring objects. She is supposed to transfer the objects from the box to the tray, one at a time, and back again. So far, she does great transferring the objects to the tray, but each time I demonstrate how to put the objects back in the box she grabs them out of the box and puts them back on the tray as fast as I can put them in the box. This is funny because she had no problem going back and forth on her own.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Why Montessori

     My first experience with Montessori was when Goose was 2 years old.  There was a Montessori School down the street from our home and I was going back to work as an Elementary School Teacher. The school took children from 8 months up to what would equal 4th grade. Several neighbors children attended and it had a wonderful reputation. Honestly, I had no idea what Montessori was all about at the time, but I knew Goose was learning a lot and was even invited to start Kindergarten at the school at the age of 4 years 2 months. She loved her time there.
     Unfortunately, soon after she started the Kindergarten program we moved out of the area.  At that point, I kept her home with me until she started Kindergarten, the following fall, at the local public school. It was a very good school, a CA Distinguished School, but we quickly found that it wasn't the right school for Goose.
     Never in all my years of teaching public school, a full decade at that point, did I think that I would home-school my children. But at this point I saw no other option.  Luckily for us we found a hybrid charter school.  Goose attended a Montessori program for the first three days of the week and home schooled for the last two. This was perfect!  I could get my feet wet home schooling and she could enjoy 3 days of Montessori which she had thrived in before.
     Her Montessori Teacher was amazing and since I was interested in leaning about Montessori I began working as a classroom aide. At the end of that school year I was hired as a new 6-9 teacher and started my 6-9 Montessori training through North American Montessori Center.  This is an on line program with beautiful color photo manuals.  I was very lucky because I had a wonderful Montessori mentor at work to guide me through the "learn as you go" process.  http://www.montessoritraining.net 
     After finishing my 6-9 training I really wanted to take the 2-6 training but couldn't afford the program at NAMC.  Somehow in my web surfing I came across Karen Tyler's program -World Wide Montessori On line.  This program is created for home schooling parents and current Montessori teachers at a very affordable rate. The course does not take the place of a certified Montessori teacher training school, but it was perfect for my needs. http://worldwidemontessorionline.com