Wednesday, September 17, 2008

New Work and some thoughts...

We are in our third week of school now, and it's been a great learning experience for the children and myself...they have kept busy with all the different activities that line the shelves, and I have kept busy showing, reminding, and insisting that the rules be followed (i.e. put your work away before choosing another, put your work on the shelf where it goes and not just the nearest open place, etc...) I've also given lessons on new work and on new ways to use old work. Sometimes, when the kids are peaceful, I will choose a work myself and find a spot to sit and relax for a minute. I often sit near a child who has not shown interest in the particular work that I am using, or has forgotten how to use it, in the hope that they will notice what I am doing and use it correctly in the future.

The power of observation is stressed for a teacher- observing the children in the classroom to determine what they are working on, what they are ready for, what is giving them trouble, etc. Much of the role of the teacher is to simply observe, and then in the future act on those observations by giving new lessons or re-demonstrating a previously given lesson. But...children are also keen observers, and that is part of the magic of a Montessori classroom. The children in a classroom are all working on different work, but at the same time they notice what their peers are working on, and also HOW they are using the materials. They rub off on each other! And I have noticed it with our school as well...all three of the children have been using many of the works on the shelf, and they all tend to gravitate toward those they are comfortable with. But, though they each have their "favorite" works, seeing someone else rush to work with a certain material is a great motivation to give it a try at some point...

Here is some new Practical Life work that we have done lately:

Above is "Using Stickers", and the purpose is simply to become familiar with peeling a sticker off a backing and sticking it onto a particular spot. I drew some lines on strips of paper, and the children try to completely cover them with stickers. I will change the sticker selection in the future, but for now I wanted it to be plain and simple. And it has been pretty popular!

Sorting button has been a favorite as well since it was put out on Monday. The buttons all begin in the middle, and one by one are sorted into the twelve surrounding areas. Not TOO challenging for the children, but it still requires a bit of thought because some of the buttons are pretty similar.

I've also introduced two dressing frames, which are intended to help the children learn to completely dress themselves. Right now we have out the "snapping frame" and the "large button frame". I will post pictures as some point, but they consist of two pieces of material in a wooden frame, connected by snaps/buttons, and a child can fasten and unfasten to get practice in these skills.

That is all for now...I will continue to post as we add more materials, and have more to share.

By the way, this is a "private" blog (i.e. only those people I have invited can read it) but if you will let me know of anyone you think SHOULD be invited to read it, I will gladly do so. I don't mind letting people read it, I am just a little wary of a complete stranger stumbling onto it and reading all about my kids...

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