Thursday, September 29, 2011

a montessori journey

“The child first experiences the world…then names it.”-MM

Have I shared with you all that things have been crazy busy! Probably so, but if for some reason I haven't mentioned it...I will now!

This past week we had a special evening at school for the Parents. It was a Montessori Journey. We decided to hold it in the multi-purpose room because we were unsure of how many parents were joining us. The purpose of this night was to give parents a brief overview of the Montessori curriculum so they have a better understanding of the various works in the classroom.

Each teacher chose an area of classroom to 'represent'. Well I didn't really choose- but I ended up doing the Sciences. I was definitely overwhelmed at first because there are SO MANY materials to choose from!!

After going through my album and classroom I decided on 6 works to showcase: the continent puzzle map, land/air/water, land forms (island/lake), magnetic/non magnetic, sink/float, and parts of an apple. I wrote up a small excerpt about each (which I'll add at the end of this post) and small introduction to the Montessori Sciences. The parents first watched a short movie about the Montessori curriculum and then broke up into small groups of 4 or 5. Each group started off at a different table, then they would rotate to the other tables every 15 minutes. All together I had about 6 different groups. In the beginning of the night I was SO nervous- but by the 4th group I felt like a pro! I talked about each material, what the various extensions are, and what skills each help build. I also had a few works the parents could try at the table- like tracing the continent puzzle piece and cutting it out or ripping construction paper to make their own island/lake landform booklet. This really brings the parent into their child's shoes and they loved it!

This is my table- The Sciences



Practical Life


The whole night only lasted about 2 hours (from set up to take down) and the parents really enjoyed it! I think the best way to combat parent/teacher problems is parent education. The more they understand about their child's day the more comfortable they feel.

We had a lot of positive feedback about the journey night, so I'm sure we will be doing this again next year! 

Below you can find my write ups for each material presented...

Land, Air, and Water
We present these three items/elements as the non-living things of which our world is made up of. These bottles provide a concrete experience for the child. We engage in conversation with the child about what is in each bottle, where we can find each item, and what we can find in each item (what lives in each). We can also expand on this and introduce new language to the child- for example other words for dirt (soil, dirt, mud).

The Continent Puzzle Map
  The puzzle maps are used to introduce the child to the concept of the earth being divided into land masses called continents.We introduce the names of each continent and can later introduce the oceans. The child also learns what continent we live on.

Land Forms
These trays are an introduction to land and water forms. We introduce these to the children in pairs; island/lake, bay/cape, gulf/peninsula, strait/isthmus (each being it’s opposite). We then teach the vocabulary and discuss each form. This activity also refines hand-eye coordination.  

 This lesson is a hands-on approach to teach the child about magnetism. They learn which items are magnetic and which are non-magnetic through testing each item with a magnet. This experience allows the child to then create educated guesses about what other items might be magnetic/non-magnetic.

  Sink or Float
This material is a hands-on experiment that teaches the child about sink/float. The child guesses whether or not each item will sink or float and then tests it out. The child carefully places each object in the water and observes whether or not the item floats. The child then places the item under the correct action- sink or float.

Parts of an Apple booklet
 This material is used to teach the child the parts of an apple. We make a booklet that contains pages of apple pictures that are labeled and highlighted for each ‘part’ of the apple. The child then re-creates the booklet, coloring in each ‘part’ (if old enough, the child also labels each part). The child is then able to take their booklet home.

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