Thursday, September 25, 2008

Toddlers: DIY Montessori Refined Hand Movements

As parents write us for more DIY exercises, this nifty little project came to mind.

Take three to five cylindrical or cube-shaped beads with holes in them. The beads should be all the same size and color, if possible, or the same color and gradations of sizes (but this can be hard to find). If the holes in the beads are too small, you can use a drill or a file to enlarge them. Just make sure to smooth out any rough edges and re-paint as needed.

Prepare a dowel in a board as shown in the photo.

That's it!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Montessori and Homeschooling

In the last few months we have had an enormous amount of email from parents who want to use Montessori for homeschooling for purely financial reason.

After a bit of brainstorming with teachers here as well as others such as Chandra Fernando, a well-known teacher and Montessori teacher trainer, we have come up with some ideas and suggestions:

  1. Focus on the importance of the Montessori teaching philosophy before focusing on stocking up on equipment. Teaching style and presentation that allows your child to experiment in a hands-on and independent manner is key to everything.
  2. Hover parenting is contrary to Montessori philosophy!
  3. Drop in on a Montessori class to observe for the day. If one school turns down your request, try another. The Apple Ridge Montessori school in Maryland is a fantastic small school with reasonable rates and a wonderful administrator.
  4. Short on funds? Here is the link for "The Montessori Method" online. It's free and you can print it or save it to your computer.
  5. DIY equipment works well. You can also use items around the house for practical life and sensorial exercises. Building math and language equipment is harder, but doable. Our curriculum guides are an affordable way to get a step-by-step curriculum.
  6. Make sure you include practical life, sensorial, biology, math, language, group activities, physical activity, outdoor play, and nature observation and study. A lot of people are tempted to skip the "soft" aspects such as nature or physical activity, but these are key to the overall package!
Looking forward to everyone's comments and ideas! Have a great concept that works for you and your family? We'd love to hear it and share it with everyone!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Body and Brain Connection: Three-Fingered Grip

Montessori classes are full of little things that are super important. Showing children how to grasp items is one of them.

The ubiquitous three-fingered grip uses the thumb, pointer, and index fingers. Children use this grip to grasp small objects such as the knobs on the knobbed cylinders, the cylinders themselves on the knobless cylinders, pencils, and dials on radios.

If you put your fingers together slowly and deliberately, grasp the item you want to pick up, and place it in front of your child, he or she will see how you use the grip. Now let your child try.

Trial and error is good and great for the learning process, so kick back and let your child experiment!

More about Montessori in our monthly curriculum guides. Click here for an article excerpt.

Monday, September 15, 2008

New York Times: 6 Food Mistakes Parents Make

The New York Times online edition has a great article titled "6 Food Mistakes Parents Make" and here are some quotes that I found particularly interesting:

“Chocolate milk, chocolate chip muffins, chocolate chip pancakes — it was unbelievable,” said Ms. Worobey, director of the Rutgers University Nutritional Sciences Preschool in New Brunswick, N.J. “His mother just thought, ‘That’s what he wants, so that’s what I’m going to do.’ ”
And, for those of you who worry about your child eating something, anything at all, here is another thought:

“I think parents feel like it’s their job to just make their children eat something,” Ms. Worobey said. “But it’s really their job to serve a variety of healthy foods and get their children exposed to foods.”

Summarizing the rest of the article, basically, the recommendations were very much along the lines of Montessori thought: Involve your child in preparing healthy foods and snacks, make healthy food available on low shelves for your child to snack upon at any time, do not insist that children "try a bite" of food, do not bribe children to try food, and, if you have sweets at home, do not stick them out of reach to tantalize your child (it will only make things worse).

Read Tara Parker-Pope's original article here

Thursday, September 11, 2008

My Montessori House is now on Facebook

Okay, we finally did it and joined Facebook. It would be great to know what everyone thinks! Do you use Facebook for educational, toddler, or homeschool things?

My Montessori House on Facebook

For all you Facebook fans out there, if you have suggestions, we would love to hear them! Just send along a comment and we will share it with everyone.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Teaching Reading in the Classroom

Introducing basic letter sounds with the sandpaper letters helps your child start the process of reading. The movable alphabet set follows for introducing short vowel words.

When you get to harder words, we have made it easier with our new intermediate DVD that is appropriately called "Tough Words." Click here to take a peek!

These harder words include spelling combinations such as ch (ch as in peach), sh (as in sheep), th (as in three), and ou/ow (as in cloud and down). We also have a great book in Adobe PDF format to go with the DVD!