Friday, October 31, 2008

Snapshot! Son #3 & Knobbed Cylinders

This is Son #3 working with the knobbed cylinders. He's 3 going on 4 this month. In observing him, I gather that he definitely enjoys the sensorial and practical life materials at this moment and that is what is developmentally good for him right now. He has asked me to present stuff from the math shelf after seeing brother #1 working with stuff, but I see him using even the "simpler" math materials in more of a "practical life" way.

I'm finding a bit challenging that I have a lower elementary student (my oldest is 6), sharing the classroom space with my primary children. I've arranged the materials on the shelf from the most challenging to easiest, so that the children choose stuff at their "level". However, my 3 year old sees his 6 year old brother working with the golden beads, etc. and will ask to be introduced to the material too. It's a little tricky. If I had a bigger classroom, I'd have a toddler section, primary section, and elementary section. I can't complain though, I'm very blessed to even be able to dedicate one whole room in the house to a classroom!

So, one of the things that has helped with my 3 year old wanting to choose work he is not yet ready for, is figuring out his need. I ask myself, "What is it that attracts him to the elementary work?". If it is sorting, stacking, or counting, etc.. I can then divert his attention to an activity in which he can practice or use those skills. This seems to help. He enjoys repeating the activities a few times, and then chooses something he has already been presented with, or asks me to present something new. I'm planning on either purchasing or looking up some extension work for some of the sensorial materials. The level of satisfaction and concentration he has shown so far, leads me to believe that he will be really engrossed in the extension work.

What do you all do if you have children in the primary (3-6), lower elementary (6-9), and upper elementary (9-12) levels combined? I'd love to hear from you!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Entering the State Fair

Here is my 2nd oldest little one working on his submission for the state fair. On the entry form it asked if you would like to sell your work of art, so when I asked him if he would like to...

He says, "Yes, for six dollars."
Me: "Six dollars? Your big brother wants twelve for his."
Him: "Six dollars. That's it."
Me: "Why?"
Him: "Because 5 and 1 make six Mami!"

So there you have it! Six dollars it is!

My two oldest boys wanted to submit to the State Fair coming up, so I took it as an opportunity for them to learn about the process of entering a submission. I had the oldest help read the rules of entering, and provided them with books containing a wide range of art ideas. They enjoyed flipping through them and were inspired to use various art mediums. One thing that was really cool was that my 6 year old decided to submit a picture done in wet chalk pastels and compared his "technique" and color scheme to Van Gogh! I thought it was so cute to hear him saying, "I'm using some of the colors Van Gogh used in his Cafe' painting and making texture with the wet chalk!" (Cafe Terrace at Night, also known as The Cafe Terrace on the Place du Forum). I really do enjoy the moments when I observe one of my children making a discovery for the first time or applying something they've learned. Those moments make me feel so privileged to be both their mami and educator. They remind me of the importance of observation and the importance of what Maria Montessori called, "the preparation of the teacher". In order to better observe your child and provide what they need, it is important that we take the time for the spiritual, physical, and mental preparation of ourselves. This way, we can be in tip top shape to create an environment that nurtures their eternal soul, growing bodies and absorbent minds.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Child in the Church

"The preparation of the child for his full participation in the life of the Church is a much wider thing than the learning by heart of certain intellectual truths. It is a life in itself."
-Maria Montessori, "The Child in the Church", by Maria Montessori and others, edited by E.M. Standing

You can find a copy of "The Child in the Church" here:
Catholic Shop Online

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Joys of Reading!

My 6 year old asks me at the table this morning, "Mami, what's Dirty Dancing?"
Me: Umm... Where did you hear that mijito?
Him: "I read it right here on the back of the cereal box."
Me: Umm..., Umm...
Him: "Mami, I know what it is."
Me: You do mijo?
Him: "Yeah, it's when you've got dirty feet ("and dirty clothes too!" chimes in son #2), and you dance around and leave muddy foot prints!"
Me: Yeah, that sounds about right :)
(I hadn't noticed there was a movie quiz on the back of the box!)