Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Learning Update

Here are a few things that the kids have been up to the last couple weeks...

Decorating the Lima Bean bowl (Lucy):

Using the red rods to build a tower, a maze and various other things (Gene and Lucy). Jane watched, and was very excited to walk through the maze with the other kids. She then asked to use the rods. Now, she hasn't used any of the preliminary Montessori sensorial building materials (Pink Cubes, Brown Prisms) and is pretty young for any of them in a traditional school, but as I have newly determined to "follow the child" and not say no to a rational choice, I allowed her to take them out. She said she was going to build the maze!

She very carefully took them out one at a time, carried them the way I had shown Lucy, and brought them over to the mat by our front door that we use for the rods (because it's big enough). She got tired about halfway through, and announced she was going to put them away again. And she did, in the stand we have for them, each in a spot though not in the correct order. She had a great first experience with them, and will learn over time how to use them in a more meaningful way. For now, though, I'm sure she'll go back and want to use them again, and I'm looking forward to the day when she truly gets them. For now, though, take a look at her "maze"...she had gotten the point that we put some rods on one side of the mat, and some on the other:)

Another activity that Jane has shown interest in way ahead of her time is cutting with scissors. She pulled out the cutting tray a few days ago, and went right at the paper strips with her scissors. She got her fingers in the right holes, finagled them open, and shut them again. She has chosen the work numerous times since, and I finally made her a separate beginner cutting tray, with a bowl to put the cut pieces in. Here she is in action (using her left hand, but she cuts most successfully with her right...a little experimenting won't hurt, though):

Jane got a set of fruit and veggies to cut for her birthday, and it's been a popular activity. I tried it myself, and it really does feel like the real thing. Pretty fun!

The surprise of the week was Lucy's To-Do list. She has been interested in writing letters for a long time, and has conquered most of them now (half uppercase, half lowercase, but at least she feels confident that she can write all the letters in one form or another). She's been writing her name for awhile, and a few other random words, but this was the first big writing project for her. It was completely self-initiated, I think inspired by a Frog and Toad story that we have read before (but not recently). She just got some paper one morning, told me what she was doing, and went at it. She then crossed off a few things as they came up over the course of the day, and I don't remember what they were, but here's what was left when I took the picture:

Go to bed
Wake up
Clean up
Get in your bed

Translation: Go to school

Pretty neat, huh?

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