"A great blog that is fun, interesting and informative. Packed full of information on a range of topics. I love Lisa's sense of humor while she is providing well informed and thought out answers to your questions. All in all a great read for any parent!"--Christine Howard.

Increasing Your Older Child's Vocabulary The Montessori Way

"If Montessori does not use spelling tests or workbooks in the classroom, typically, then how can you incorporate spelling and vocabulary lessons into your daily activities?" one mom asked me recently. Great question, but before I answer it, here is a quote from my Montessori language document:

 "How can we help to build the child’s vocabulary? There are various ways, but we have to keep in mind first and foremost that words without experience are nonsense to a child. One cannot just increase [her] vocabulary. If you wish to increase the child’s vocabulary, we do not start by teaching words, but by increasing the child’s field of experience. Then we have to make sure that the child gets the exact word by which to express his experiences.

Four Season's Book Set: A Book Set Review

Photo from For Small Hands
"The land is where our roots are. The children must be taught to feel and live in harmony with the Earth."
      ~Maria Montessori

With Spring on the way I am excited  For Small Hands allowed me to review their Four Seasons Book Set.

Montessori Tea Party and Kitchen Practical Life Activities

Montessori tea party activities including pouring, place setting, and tea parties. You will need  a miniature or child-size tea set with teapot and lid, two teacups, two saucers, creamer, and sugar or honey bowl. The tea set in this blog post is from Montessori Services, Festive Ware China Tea Set, item #G425, and you can find it here, item #G425.

Practical Life Pouring

Material: Teapot, lid, teacup, and saucer; a towel.

Water: Consider how your child will have access to water so she can fill up the teapot. If she does not have access to a sink (or if it is not feasible) you can have a dishpan with water pre filled. Place the pre filled dishpan on a low counter or tabletop, perhaps near the sponges or towels. The child then dips the teapot in the water.

Towels: A small towel, like a washcloth, is necessary for this pouring work so have a basket of towels close by. Some classrooms have all their towels rolled up on a tray or in a basket so that each time a child takes a water material out to work with, they have to also get a towel for it when it is time to clean up. Keep in mind also that when the child is done with the material, she needs to put the towel in a hamper.

Sponges: Some teachers prefer to use sponges, however, the child needs to learn how to squeeze out the sponge in a sink or tub. Also, younger children might squeeze out the sponge on the table, floor, etc., or will squeeze it out in the sink and try to get more water—this is a natural thing for them to do but it is recommended that you create a separate sponging work, have a water table, or some other water play available… You want this to be a pouring work!


Multicultural Music and Rhythm for Montessori Children Ages 2 to 6

A great way to introduce multicultural music to children is through rhythm instruments. The child listens to the music and plays with shakers, rhythm sticks, or a drum. I received a wonderful music CD that has over 20 simple musical sounds from around the world that is perfect for such an activity called Multicultural Rhythm Stick Fun by Georgiana Stewart. "Rhythm stick play has long been a favorite teaching tool to help kids develop coordination and increase motor skills". A pamphlet is included in the CD case with directions and lyrics for each song. The songs are short and just the right length of time for a small child, but engaging enough that an older child can play along too. Much of music is upbeat and you will find it hard to sit still while you listen! Other tunes are quieter and calmer, perfect for pre nap time.

I suggest introducing the CD without an instrument, then, the second time around give your child/ren rhythm sticks or shakers. If you don't have those, use a wooden drum and mallet or a DIY instrument that you make out of house-hold items. Play the same three tunes several times during the week, then introduce a new tune the following day or week.

First Art : Art Experiences for Toddlers and Twos, a book review PLUS toddler art resources

First Art : Art Experiences for Toddlers and Twos, a book review

First Art : Art Experiences for Toddlers and Twos by MaryAnn F. Kohl (2002 edition) is 145 pages long and there are six chapters including Primarily Paint; Hands on Dough; Making Marks; Sticky Business; Great Impressions; and Fun Stuff for Toddlers and Twos. Each art activity includes a list of materials, adult preparation, process of the child, variations, and black and white drawings; and many include tips to "smooth out the bumps".

The 7-page introduction gives a brief synopsis of the skills, interests, and development of toddlers and twos that will help you understand your tot. The book emphasizes process and not product, that toddlers and twos "explore art as a learning experience or an experiment, discovering what is stimulating and interesting. They are more interested in doing rather than making a finished product."
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