The love of one’s environment is the secret of social evolution. -Maria Montessori
Retrieving a mat, picking it up carefully, finding the ideal space to work, and rolling it out provides an opportunity to practice gross motor skills and body consciousness. Everything that gets placed on the mat thereafter becomes the responsibility (and privilege) of the child working on that mat.
Montessori work mats delineate a work space as the child’s own and sets an intention to “work”. Not only does the child know that their lesson is exclusive to them (unless they invite someone to join them on their mat), they also have the responsibility to put their materials away when they are finished before they roll up their mat, and signal the end of their work session.
Our floors have been a sea of rugs! Your children are skillfully maneuvering themselves throughout the environment, careful not to disturb a friend’s work. We continue to be amazed at their growing control and respect for both friends and the environment.
Until next week,
Cindy & Sharlene
This week we started our unit on the states of matter! We learned that everything in our world is made of matter. We also classified the three states of matter: solid, liquid, and gas. The children enjoyed exploring each state of matter on our introduction tray and sharing examples of a solid, a liquid, and a gas. Be sure to ask your child if they can tell you a solid, a liquid, and a gas. You may be surprised at all the kinds of solids, liquids, and gases they can name! We are looking forward to more exploration of this concept next week with hands-on experiments and activities!
The children also continued their exploration of the largest continent, Asia, through several lessons available in our culture area. The children colored a map of Asia, explored the animals of Asia, and were introduced to several flags of Asia.
As we are nearing the end of January, we are beginning to prepare for our February parent teacher conferences in a few weeks. Be sure to look for the link to sign up for a conference time the end of next week. We look forward to meeting with you all soon to share how your children have been growing and progressing since our last conference!
Amanda & Deanna
In a Montessori classroom teachers rely on the Three Period Lesson to introduce new vocabulary, concepts, and even to highlight the purpose of a material. These lessons allow the child to absorb concepts in a concrete manner while also reinforcing each component of the lesson.
The 1st Period is simply naming the concept or material and demonstrating it repeatedly. Some of the more complex materials or concepts may need to be introduced in the 1st period over the course of several lessons. So for example, using the color tablets from the Sensorial area, we introduce the child to the primary colors by saying, “This is red.”
During the 2nd Period, we ask the child to recognize and find the object. We ask the child, “Which one is red? Which one is blue? Which one is yellow?” This period is longer than the 1st Period and we keep it interesting by asking them to manipulate the object. We might say, “Hide the blue tablet behind your back. Place the red tablet on your lap.” We are cognizant of making sure to begin each request or action with the last item we spoke about. So if we ask the child to manipulate the red, blue, and yellow color tablets in that order, the next series of directions would follow the order of yellow, blue, then red.
The last stage, or 3rd Period focuses on recall. We ask the child to identify the material or concept without any assistance. We ask the child, “What is this?”
While the intent of the Three Period Lesson is to isolate and introduce new concepts and materials, we are also helping the children to enrich and expand their vocabulary. We use this method to introduce almost every lesson/material in the classroom.
Have a wonderful week!
Michelle & Jeannine
This week we continued to build on our understanding of the three states of matter: liquid, solid, and gas. Hands on activities helped to illustrate how one state of matter can change to another: melting, freezing, or boiling. Water is the perfect example of states of matter to children because it can exists in all three different states. Our first experiment introduced a solid (ice cube) to liquid (water) change. Why the change? The children will tell you that when matter gains or loses heat it can change from one state to another, ice to water, water to ice, water to gas. In our second experiment the children not only got to find out how butter is made, but also saw a liquid turn into a solid. The children took turns shaking (agitating) cream until its fat molecules became shaken out of position and clumped together to form butter. We all enjoyed sampling the fruits of our labor spread on a cracker.
Never underestimate your children’s interest in science and their ability to understand. In fact, ask them to illustrate how molecules in each of the three states move. I know you will all be amazed!
Make your week ‘MATTER.’
Cindy & Sharlene
We just finished our science unit on States of Matter. Matter is all around us. Everything that you can touch, taste, smell and see is made of matter. There are three states of matter: solids, liquids, and gases.
We learned that solids have a definite shape because these molecules are very close together and do not move very much. The shapes of solids do not change unless some type of force makes them change. Liquid matter does not have its own shape. The tiny molecules in liquids are not as close together as solid molecules and they move around more. Liquids take the shape of the container they are in. Gas matter also does not have its own shape. The molecules in gas are far apart and they move around a lot. Gases spread out and fill up their container too.
The children loved taking part in experiments that help highlighted the different properties of solids, liquids and gases. First we made raisins dance and blew up a balloon using a water bottle. Then we learned how butter was made and watched a liquid change into a solid. Of course, after making the butter we enjoyed eating it on a cracker. Ask your children to pretend to be a solid, liquid or gas and see how they move like those molecules!
Wishing everyone a wonderful week!
Michelle & Jeannine
“If teaching is to be effective with young children, it must assist them to advance on the way to independence.”- Maria Montessori
As the children are growing and showing increasing independence in the classroom, we began this week by adding two food preparation lessons onto our Practical Life shelf. These lessons included a banana slicing lesson and a carrot peeling/slicing lesson. Through the food preparation lessons in the Montessori environment the children learn self care as they wash their hands. They develop independence as they learn to prepare food. They improve fine motor skills as they prepare the food. Finally, they practice grace and courtesy as they offer the food to share with their friends.
There are many benefits to involving children in food prep. Even the pickiest of eaters have been known to be more willing to try things when they have had a hand in preparing it. We noticed all the children were drawn to these lessons and took great care in preparing the food and then offering the food to their friends. Each child practiced grace and courtesy by asking a friend, “Would you like some?” and their friend would respond “Yes, please.” or “No, thank you.” We will continue to rotate these lessons with other foods as the school year progresses.
We hope you will have fun including your child in food preparation at home as well. It is wonderful to watch the sense of pride and accomplishment in the children as they complete such a simple task.
Amanda & Deanna
The holiday season came and went in a hurry and the new year has officially begun. We were so excited to see the children’s enthusiasm as they returned to the classroom ready to learn and get back to work!
Children of all ages are eager to learn about their world and everything in it. When young children use all of their five senses, they understand how their bodies work and find new ways to experience the world. In the Montessori environment, children are taught to experience the world through all five of their senses. This can give them new insights and allow them to think creatively. This week we explored each of our senses in depth and talked about how we use our senses to understand the world around us. The children have been enjoying the new lessons this unit has brought to our Sensorial shelf. We also ended the unit with a “taste test” to explore the flavors of sweet, salty, sour, and bitter. It was interesting to watch their reactions as they tried each flavor!
As we begin this new year, we would like to wish you all a very happy new year and look forward to what the remainder of the school year will bring!
Amanda and Deanna
The holidays are behind us now and the new year looms on the horizon as a time of hope and promise in our lives, our families, and our communities. Your children’s smiles and laughter once again warm both our classroom and our hearts. It is not uncommon to see an increase in children’s emotional, social, and academic development after returning from the break. Our classroom routines are well established and each child is discovering their part in our classroom community. We slowly begin to introduce longer and more involved lessons. It truly is an exhilarating time of the school year!
Matter is everywhere! We have begun our study of the basics of solid, liquid, and gas and look forward to illustrating how matter can change from one state to another: melting, freezing, boiling, condensation, sublimation, and deposition.
Our classroom travels have taken us to the continent of Asia, the largest of the seven continents. We look forward to exploring the various countries, customs, animals, foods, music, and literature this culturally rich continent has to offer.
Thank you again for your thoughtful and generous holiday gifts. Ms. Sharlene and I are blessed to have such a warm, supportive classroom community.
Cindy and Sharlene