Monday, February 8, 2010
Tot School: Goin' it Montessori!
This was our first week really trying to use the Montessori philosophy in our tot school time. I didn't think it was working . . . until the last two days! She wasn't into working on anything. She would get something off the shelves, put it on her rug or on the table, and then refuse to do anything with it. And refuse to put it away! Her answer to everything this week has been "NO." Do you want to work with your stacking blocks? NO. Do you want to put them away and work with something else? NO. Finally on Saturday, we went down to do some work and it seemed to have clicked a little bit. She got out materials, and put them away. She hasn't been working with things for a very long period of time, but this is new. I expect that will come over time. Anyhow, here's what E has been working on this week!
The practical activities I had for E to choose from this week were: rolling out a rug, carrying a tray, pouring lentils, dusting, washing rocks, sweeping with a crumber, and folding cloths. We got to most of them during the course of the week. E had a great time playing a game with me learning to hold a tray steady while she carried it. I put some alphabet letters on the tray and had her walk over to her table and set the tray down without moving the letters. Then she got to take the letters off the tray, and bring the empty tray back to me to be filled with more letters.
Another activity that E really enjoyed was washing rocks. I put a tub of soapy water and a vegetable brush on a towel in the kitchen and showed her how to wash the rocks with the brush, then dry them with the towel. She LOVES rocks. It even got her to wash the red paint off of her hands from craft time earlier in the day. She told me her hands were "glowing," and didn't want to wash them.
Pouring lentils has proved to be very difficult for E right now, I think I will switch to larger beans. She can get it some of the time, but if she makes a spill, the lentils are just too small for her to easily clean up on her own. Sweeping with a crumber is also difficult for her, although she has a blast! She tends to make the mess larger rather than cleaning it up. We'll keep working on it. Any ideas on what to have her sweep? Pom poms are no good, because she just likes to cuddle and pet them, and things like rice or beans go EVERYWHERE, which just makes more for me to clean up later.
Sensorial activities for E this week were: the Melissa and Doug stacking/nesting blocks, color tablet box 1, and a shape puzzle. She is getting pretty good at the block tower. I can't wait until she gets to work with the pink tower - I think it will be so much more fun for her than these blocks.
E worked on color box 1 several times this week, even though it is way too easy for her. I demonstrated how to find a match and line the pairs up on the edge of her mat, which was my true purpose in starting with box 1. Today we are moving on to box 2, and she's still doing great. By the way, I made these color tablets out of paint chips that I laminated. I also put magnets on the backs so that we can use them with a cookie sheet if we want.
E never chose to work with the shape puzzle this week. It has been out for a while, I wish I had more shapes for her to work with. She did, however, spend a lot of time scooping, pouring, and feeling her rainbow rice box and our February Sensory Bowl. Those will occupy her for hours!
I am trying to do art with E every day we do school. We did a couple of paintings this week. Since shades of red was so popular, I put out shades of blue. She had fun, but it wasn't as big of a hit as red was.
We also did cookie cutter prints for Valentine's Day. We used pink, white, and red paint, and heart and flower cookie cutters. I am planning on cutting these up to make valentines for our relatives.
E spent a little time with her new playdough, but wasn't really into it this week. I'll pull it out again in a few days and see what she thinks then.