All posts tagged: Montessori

Circular Calendar, a Waldorf way for teaching the seasons, the months and the year {Grapat Toys}

Few months ago, we started a new routine in our house to help to give rhythm to our days. Every morning with #1 before the school run we set the date, we check the seasons, revise the months and days of the week. I was looking for a fabric calendar for months and we finally got our hand in one while we were in Holidays in France. This calendar is really well made and it is a lovely educative room/playroom decoration. We love it a lot. But little by little,  I noticed that #1 was struggling a bit with the concept of year, months and seasons. We have talked about the solar system trying to help with the cycle concept. This is when I realised that our fabric calendar was not helping. I then thought that a circular one will be more helpful and realistic. Why a circle? We usually think of the passing of time as linear, with one event following another in sequence by day, by month, by year. But placing events in a circular or wheel shape …

The specificity of Montessori Materials

Montessori materials are quite unique and once you discover all of them, I promise you that you are going to be fascinated and never look back again. All of them are linked together while having a specific goal. Montessori materials invite activity. Each of the Montessori apparatus brings you to explore by the forms, colours and engage all the senses to help learn. The specificity of Montessori materials are that each of them isolates one quality. For example, the pink tower is made up of ten pink cubes of varying sizes. The child constructs a tower with the largest cube on the bottom and the smallest on top. This material isolates the concept of dimensions. The cubes are all the same colour and texture; the only difference is their size. The aim of this apparatus is to help the child feel with all his senses the variation in size by the weight, length, etc. Other materials isolate different concepts for example, the colour tablets for the colours, the geometry materials for forms, and so on. Moreover, all Montessori materials are …

Montessori for Infants: Heuristic play and Treasure Baskets

Recently, treasure baskets have been really all over the places and I am sure you have crossed them or at least heard these words somewhere. They are selling as a set or you can buy parts to make your own. This is how you might have heard about them. But at the end, what is it all about? Where does it come from? And what does it stand for? Treasure Baskets are an extension of a concept developed in the early 1980’s by Elinor Goldschmied and Sonia Jackson in their book, People under Three, called HEURISTIC PLAY. What does Heuristic play means? Heuristic play is rooted in young children’s natural curiosity. As babies grow, they move beyond being content to simply feel and ponder objects, to wanting to find out what can be done with them. Toddlers have an urge to handle things: to gather, fill, dump, stack, knock down, select and manipulate in other ways. Household or kitchen utensils offer this kind of activity as every parent knows, and can occupy a child for surprising stretches …

The Five key learning areas of a Montessori classroom

During my research about Montessori, I have discovered something very fascinating: the five key learning areas. The fact that learning is divided into five subjects and that these subjects are all linked together, I thought it was genius. Then discovering all the Montessori apparatus and all what Montessori has done, I was definitely converted. In a Montessori classroom, you will normally find these five areas separated with the designated materials. At home, depending on the space you have and if you are looking to recreate a classroom, you can try to follow the learning areas or just put things together on your shelves. We are trying to set up a classroom so we are following this as much as we can. So a Montessori classroom is divided in five areas: the Sensorial area: The Sensorial area of the classroom helps children become more aware of smaller details that are often overlooked. Each sensorial activity focuses on one important quality such as colour, weight, shape, size, texture, sound or smell. For examples, the knobbed cylinders and colour tablets. Sensorial activities …

Montessori at Home – How to create an appropriate environment?

So the first step of our Montessori at Home Project has been to change our environment. The first room where we made the changes was our, what we used to call, Playroom. One of the main aspect of the Montessori philosophy is to keep the environment in order and tidy , the aim of it is to obtain a calm atmosphere. “The environment must be rich in motives which lend interest to activity and invite the child to conduct his own experiences.” Maria Montessori For Maria Montessori, the first three years of life are precious as she called it the “Absorbent Mind”. So the home is the first place a child is going to evolve so we should try to make the most of it first. “The first phase of the child’s development goes from birth to, let us say, six years of age. At this stage the child is partly at home, partly in school. The plane of education should take both the situations into consideration.” (Maria Montessori – Four Planes of Education, p. 2) Maria Montessori observed …

Montessori at home

In September last year, #1 started at reception year and she was five. One of the challenges was to teach her reading. She knew her alphabets and was eager to learn but quite rapidly we realised that she was struggling with the concept of blending. It was just like putting some toothed wheels together and not knowing how and where to start the mechanic. #1 suffers from ASD, she is high functional which means that her struggles are more subtle but they are here and we try to help her as much as we can each time we have one in front of us. Since baby, I used to work with her with the Montessori pedagogy but just by doing some Montessori inspired activities. I never drown myself into it properly. I just liked the fact to involve a young child in our day to day life and let her be. At two, she was folding the clothes with me, cooking with me and able to snack by herself. All these little engaging things we …

Rainbow box, Montessori philosophy, child’s play and Toy Rotation

We are lucky to have a spare room in our flat and we use it as a playroom. We have never been satisfied by the way it was looking and found it so unpractical with lots of plastic boxes filled with toys.  It took us few months to decide exactly how we wanted to organize this spare room and how we wanted to use it. We definitely knew that the room needed to be divided in different areas like reading, playing, and study. We wanted to make a class room with a Montessori philosophy. I will explain this later in another post. Basically, we are looking for the child independence and try to encourage it by letting him choose and decide. Therefore, the two essentials we absolutely needed were a child-sized table and chairs and  low shelving unit for materials. We choose the famous Kallax units {Ikea} and used them to divide the room too. We made a reading/Montessori Study corner, a writing/Art corner with a table and a playing/Practical life corner. We now organize any educational …