Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Aftercare Update

The Early Childhood Aftercare took a trip to visit the Elementary Aftercare last week.  The children had fun visiting with Grandma Joan, playing legos with the older boys, playing dress up with the older girls, playing foosball and watching the basketball game in the gym below.

Busy beavers in Room 4!  

The children are excited to be back to work after a long break.  These are some of our favorite works this week – learning about fractions, tracing the Constructive Triangles to make a book, washing the horse (part of our mammal study this month), writing with the Movable Alphabet and with dry erase, and math works such as the Large Card Layout (teaching place value) and Cards and Counters (matching quantity to numeral and introduction to odd and even numbers).

Constructive Triangle Box #1

Scrubbing a Horse
Story Writing with the Movable Alphabet

Decimal Large Card Layout
Cards & Counters

Introduction to Fractions

Fraction Extensions

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Writing Explosion

There has been a "writing explosion" in room 3!  The moveable alphabets are chosen on a daily basis, as the children are using them to put their thoughts into writing--some children then transpose their story onto paper.

the bird flies in it's home and sees its prince

the world is in the ocean
it swims out to the biggest ocean

the cat jumped on the rat

once upon a time there was a tree with leaves
transposed to take home

transposed onto paper

story to take home

Picture Prompt: the elephant has a trunk    it drinks water

older child working on Sandpaper Letters with a younger child

my mommy has a baby and I am so excited

on my trip I saw a castle

Pine Cone vs. Pineapple

When I was giving a lesson on a new pine cone decorating craft, one of the children asked if a pine cone was a pineapple.  There is a similarity!  This sparked a whole new lesson – what is a pine cone and what is a pineapple.  We looked at pictures of pine cones on pine trees, and pineapples on pineapple bushes.  Surprisingly, pineapples do not grow on trees!


We passed around a pine cone and a pineapple for all the children to feel and look at.

We put the top in a dish, and added water. After it grows roots, we are going to plant it and grow a pineapple bush.

The sides of the pineapple were cut off.

We talked about the core and what other fruits have cores. 
Dice it up.

Let’s eat snack!  Yum!  

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Montessori Map Making

Another map?  Did you spend your entire day making a map yet again?  Why is my child making maps at school?  How many maps will he/she bring home?  Where are the language and math works that I saw in the tour, all my child does is make maps all day, every day…  

Have you, as a Montessori parent thought any of these things?

The beautifully painted wooden maps of the world and continents are very attractive and draw the child to them, as is the intent of all of the Montessori materials.  The direct aims of Montessori materials are to instill cooperation, coordination, concentration, independence and order within the child in their world—through these five aims evolves retention of knowledge, respect for others and the world around them, confidence to try new things, a sense of independence and self-assuredness, and the ability to succeed. 

The Montessori cultural materials include learning about the earth, first with the Sandpaper Globe—this is land, this is water.  Following lessons on land, air, and water, children are introduced to the Globe of the Continents—often learning the names of the seven continents through song.  Perhaps you have heard the little jingle that we sing at The Montessori Academy,

North America, South America, Africa, Europe and Asia
Don’t forget Antarctica, don’t forget Australia. 
North America, South America, Africa, Europe and Asia. 

Often, the puzzle map and song are all that a first year (3 year old) Montessori student may work on, as he/she will be busy working with the Practical Life, Sensorial, and beginning Language materials most of the time. 

Throughout the 3 years in a Montessori Early Childhood Classroom, children are exposed to cultural units of study on each of the continents.  The continent is introduced, there may be cultural objects for the children to explore, maps are presented, and food tasting and art projects are available within the classroom.  
Typically in the third year, children are yearning for more extended challenging works that take time to complete and pose as a challenge for them in terms of concentration, independence, and order.  Prior to ‘making a map’ children are introduced to the names of the countries that make up a continent. 

Making a map to take home involves a lot of work!  Matching map pieces to the correct color of paper is primary.  Then the child (sometimes with the aide of an adult) traces the puzzle piece onto the paper.  The next step is pin-pricking the outline of the country/state with a sharp stylus or jumbo tack in order to make a perforated outline, to then be gently separated from the paper. The holes must be close together for this to work without tearing the paper—this takes great concentration, eye-hand coordination and focus holding the tool in a pincer grasp.  This is not a simple quick work to pass the time.  Map Making takes commitment and planning—this work takes lots of concentration and follow-thru to complete.  Finally, after all of the pieces have been recreated, the child must lay them out to reconstruct the puzzle and glue them onto a poster.  The crème de la crème is to label the map and know the names of the countries—can your child do that?  Have they labeled the countries with little cut-outs of names or written them in themselves.  Can they go over the map and tell you names of the countries? 

The map making child is a great planner, can work on a large project to completion, is coordinated enough to pin-prick those tiny holes, and perforate the paper—they have fine motor control,  their spatial awareness is developed, they are orderly in their work.  Your little map maker has been working on memorizing, handwriting, and general knowledge all while creating a beautiful work of art.  This child is destined to work on that project, to finish the long math problem, write that twelve page research paper, speak confidently in front of others and go places in our world.

Next time your child proudly carries out a poster board map at dismissal—take time to revel in the fact that your child has worked hard at school, your child is set up for great things, your child is proud of his/her work, your child is a Montessori Child!

Submitted by: Julie Gabrielse

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Book Fair

TMA’s annual Book Fair Blizzard will soon be roaring into town, matching Michiana’s early winter weather! In the Library, however, everyone will be able to enjoy pleasant temperatures as they browse the blizzard of books. In a beautifully decorated setting, there will be books for all ages: picture books, beginning readers, biographies, favorite series, books on science, sports, mysteries, world records and more!

Our Book Fair Blizzard begins on Wednesday, December 3 and will be open through Friday, December 5, 2014. Hours each day are 8:20 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. However, on Wednesday, December 3, the Book Fair will not close until 7:30 p.m., to coordinate with the Upper Elementary’s Chili Supper. Be sure to mark your calendar, come to the Fair, and find some books to share on a cold winter’s night!