Tag Archives: Maria Montessori

Studying Animals the Montessori Way

It is, of course, best to observe animals in their natural habitat, free in nature rather than in a cage. A bird feeder just outside the window will attract birds, and if you show your child how to sit quietly the birds wont become afraid and fly away. Letting your child use binoculars gives a feeling of having a part in the birds activities, and also allows children to watch from a distance. They could also watch deer and squirrels with binoculars. If you have a pond with frogs, they can watch the eggs turn into tadpoles. Watching cocoons hatch is an amazing way of seeing a creature develop in its natural habitat without it being caged up.

As wild animals are obviously less accessible than birds, commonly seen animals and insects, it is advisable to introduce the observation of birds and insects first and after this providing models of animals, pictures and books about them. Books assist the child in learning about animals outside their immediate surrounding and learn even more names. It is a timeless favourite activity for children to play with models of animals. These can be soft toys, non toxic plastic models or wood. Wood is a personal favourite of mine. My daughter has MANY wooden animals.

Focus on the child’s natural, inherent love and affinity with and for nature, and the desire to touch, hold, look after and keep nature specimens such as flowers, leaves, feathers, rocks, shells, seeds, insects, kittens, puppies – all things living and nonliving. Go for walks outdoors, show them horses, cows, sheep etc on fields. Go on a train ride. Perhaps visit a farm where you know the animals are raised humanely and live free range.  Many farms have open lambing season, we have been to many and on several occasions seen lambs being born. They often have animal handling – Our 2 have got to hold lambs, chicks, ducklings, chickens, and rabbits among others. If you live in West Sussex, this is our favourite – Gaston Farm. More farms in Sussex: West Sussex Farms for kids

Slow down, follow your child’s interests and live in the now appreciating the nature that surrounds us. Take the time to see, feel and hear. Just be, together with your child.

RELATED LINK  The Montessori method and home educating

Montessori Home Schooling 3-6 years old

‘I never teach my pupils; I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.’ Einstein

The first and most obvious preparation that needs to be made is to set up the classroom. This is referred to as the ‘Prepared Environment’ and can easily be set up in the home. This doesn’t just cover physical objects such as games, materials, and books, it also includes the rules and atmosphere of the environment. This is of foremost importance at any developmental stage of children.

Children from age 3-6 are being acquainted with the world, and shouldn’t be forced to learn anything but rather have an environment abundant in all reaches of learning so they can instinctively pick what they want to learn when they are ready. Ensure all key experiences are on offer to allow a child to teach themselves. Being naturally curious provides a diverse learning environment that will stretch a child’s experience, imagination and broadens their grasp on things such as art, history, music, geography, science, foreign languages, and maths. Materials should be arranged neatly on shelves, according to subject and have a permanent place so that the child knows where to find what they need and where to put it away. Perhaps arrange materials from the most simple to the most complex.

Montessori Cooperative Games and Material for Age 0-6

The Montessori method and home educating

The Montessori Philosophy

The Montessori method and home educating

“The first essential for the child’s development is concentration. It lays the whole basis for his character and social behaviour. Praise, help, or even a look, may be enough to interrupt him, or destroy the activity. It seems a strange thing to say, but this can happen even if the child meekly becomes aware of being watched. After all, we too sometimes feel unable to go on working if someone comes to see what we are doing. The teacher’s [and parents’] skill in not interfering comes with practise, like everything else, but it never comes very easily. What advice can we give to an interesting occupation: they should not be helped unnecessarily, nor interrupted, once they have begun to do something intelligent.” Dr. Maria Montessori

A lot of home schooling families are integrating the Montessori methods or using them fully to teach their child. This method greatly differs to traditional teaching. An environment is created that is supportive to infants. Learning and teaching is lively. Independence is also taught. For preschoolers who like doing things by themselves this is a very good teaching method. Montessori learning and teaching is a methodology and educational philosophy developed from the work of Dr. Maria Montessori in the early 1900s.

The aim of the teacher is to control the environment, not the child, and to protect concentration from interruption. Children need to be free to interact with their surroundings as this helps develop self discipline, love for order and natural curiosity. Their curiosity needs to be inspired, and they need to be encouraged to do the things that interest them above all. The teaching style will be very personalised, based on the direction in which a child’s interest lies. A stimulating, child orientated environment needs to be made available so the child(ren) can have the freedom to touch, learn and explore without any fear. This develops a love of learning that is carried with the child for ever more.

Picture a trianlge – the student, the parent or teacher, and the environment. The adults role is to prepare, continuously, the environment and how the child is introduced to it through books, projects, materials, and lessons to best nurture their creativity and exploration. For the first three years of their lives, a child will soak up like a sponge, whatever is in their surroundings, ugliness or beauty, bad manners/coarse behaviour or gentleness, good or bad language. They will especially pick up on their parents behaviour and imitate them. As parents, we are the first role-models of what it means to be human. Set a good example. Also one of the most important thing we can do is to surround our children with the kind of people we consider to be good role models. These will also be some of their first teachers. Children are forever influenced by their first experiences and nothing can help create beauty in the world as much as giving beauty and quality to them.

Please be aware that the materials bought by families who are teaching Montessori style are often bought in error, as they are unknowingly buying the products designed for the schools. These materials are expensive because they are made to last in a school environment. A Montessori atmosphere can be created without these expensive materials.

The Montessori Philosophy

Montessori Cooperative Games and Material for Age 0-6

Learning About Nature the Montessori Way

Choosing Toys For the Montessori Home Environment

The Montessori Philosophy

Born in Italy in 1870, Maria Montessori became Italy’s first female doctor in 1896. Her work was based on the direct observation of children. She was not into manipulating their behaviour with punishment and reward, and wasn’t interested in preconceived theories about a child’s ability to learn. Instead she was constantly experimenting and developing materials based on the developing abilities of children as well as their interests and needs. She learned that it is important to let children educate themselves.

0-6 years A child may become stressed and its energy may be dissipated if their environment is crowded or chaotic. Materials are carefully chosen to bring the child joy, concentration and work. Up until the age of 6 children learn through direct contact with the environment. All of their senses are used and through movement they literally absorb their surroundings. Toys and materials used should be of the best quality to develop respect not just for oneself but also the environment and to develop an appreciation of beauty. New technology is handled cautiously, including TV and computers as these have far more negative influences on a child’s development than is known. Even dummies and baby walkers can have a negative effect. TV’s and computers are the worst as sometimes too much time is spent in front of them. TV’s are anti-knowledge. Individuals are separated from themselves and the environment. They are watching what others make them see, whilst believing they are living. At the age of 6 a computer can be a positive help but it depends in what way it is used, just like TV. The danger of watching TV is not so much in the behaviour it produces as the behaviour it prevents. Watching TV can turn off the process that transforms children into adults. Maria Montessori was more interested in building a child’s mind through activity according to inner directives and urges rather than filling the mind with information.

6-12 years This is the age of imagination. Charts, models, maps, books, plays, etc are produced. Essentials must be continually provided and changed to suit the children so that they can be creative and use their imagination. Things such as multiplication bead frames can be used for older children, but as soon as the child is ready to advance should be left behind.

12+ years This is when the child’s education becomes more traditional and books, computers, and the tools of the place where they may be an apprentice are used. The child will now learn to function in the ‘real world’ and make the transition to adult life. Children must not be limited to our interests, but introduced to subjects and materials in all areas so they can choose their own area of interest. The adult’s special interests usually lie in one or maybe two areas of study.

LEARNING ENVIRONMENT

The teacher helps the child make intelligent choices and puts them in touch with the environment so their own research can be carried out in a prepared environment rather than just filling the child with information. The concentration of the student is not interrupted. Surroundings are created to help fulfill children’s highest potential, spiritually, emotionally, physically as well as intellectually – as members of a family, the world community and the universe. The whole personality is educated rather than just teaching a specific subject and passing on textbook information. Children taught with this method have a drive to play, work, learn and create with enthusiasm. They are excited about learning and show a great keenness to help, teach and care for others and their environment. They are taught in supportive surroundings and the classes are of mixed ages and all levels of mental and physical ability. The role the teacher plays in bringing a child up with this method of teaching is very important. They are continuously preparing their student for the environment and their future. The introduction of books and materials, timetables are well thought out to nurture the child’s exploration and creativity. Children learning by this method often excel more than their peers and the teachers in all areas as they learn to find answers for themselves. The child chooses what to learn and there is no time limit of how long they study their chosen subject. They are not confined to desks and are free to move around the room.

The Montessori method is taught globally.

You must be aware though that the name Montessori is not copyrighted and can be used by anyone for any purpose. You must be aware of this when searching for a good Montessori school or when purchasing Montessori products for home schooling.

Montessori Cooperative Games and Material for Age 0-6

Learning About Nature the Montessori Way

Choosing Toys For the Montessori Home Environment

Montessori Cooperative Games and Material for Age 0-6

Materials

Children in the 0-6 age range need sensory materials. These experiences can be found and experience in a child’s daily life – feeling the temperature of the bath, exploring tastes while cooking, the colour, shape or size of toys, clothes, etc. With toys such as blocks or a puzzle toy with a specific way of usage, the child wants to know the steps needed to accomplish the puzzle or the process connected with it. Puzzles provide visual discernment practise as the child works out how the elements fit together visually, and eye-hand control as the pieces are fitted together. Showing a child how a puzzle works will teach them respect when they know how to use it properly. Playing with open-ended toys, such as building blocks, dolls, art material etc is made infinitely richer by a child’s knowledge of exact techniques in handling toys or materials. The child is taught that work or play is not open ended but can have a beautiful and logical structure. Building blocks are, and have always been, a firm favourite of children world wide. The imagination is set free to create relationships between these physical objects. Mathematical, geometrical relationships and architectural concepts are found and physics principles are discovered when the structure gets too tall or heavy. We can show where the toy is kept when it is not in use, how to carry it, and the possibilities of its use. You must also accept that there will be a certain amount of untidiness with young children. The most important result is a child developing the ability to combine their mental faculties with the work of their hands, enjoying the experience of focusing and concentrating, and finding joy in the activity.

Plastic toys should be kept to a bare minimum. Young children learn by using all their senses: touch, sight, hearing, taste and smell. Plastic is more often than not hard and smooth. This doesn’t offer the breadth of sensory stimulation given by natural objects, though plastic toys are great for taking outdoors when playing with mud/water as wood can spoil. Whenever possible a large array of real objects appealing to all five senses should be used. E.g. fruit and vegetables, aromatic herbs/foods, fabrics such as cotton, leather or corduroy, musical instruments designed for kids and objects from nature.

Cooperative Game

When children are able to work and play independently and cooperatively, they learn the most valuable kind of socialisation – helping one another. In the home cooperative games aid laying these foundations. Some games are too competitive and don’t encourage togetherness and this can cause players to feel isolated or left out. Actions can be secretive, possibly resulting in hurt feelings or rows. In cooperative games, children and adults alike feel good about themselves and each other because they enjoy sharing, helping each other, working as a team and making joint decisions. The game no longer revolves around beating one another, but rather around helping one another. Once a group of kids or a family learn to play cooperative games, it becomes easy to change the rules of any other game to make it less competitive. This is considered real ‘socialisation’ and makes children ready for positive interactions throughout life.

At this age kids frequently prefer to work on the floor instead of at a table – on rugs or pieces of carpet that can be rolled up when not in use, marking their work area just as a table does. In the classroom, it is suggested you use a variety of colours and shades, plain in design so that the child can focus on his work. In the instance where a table/desk and chair is in use, these need to be the right height. This is essential no matter what age the child is as the body needs support for a good posture while the child reads, writes and works.

Always respect your child when they are fully focused on a task at hand. When this is something safe and meaningful (an activity using both the mind and body – not playing on the computer) this is considered a child’s important “work” and the adult’s role is to respect and protect it. Don’t interrupt them.

Learning About Nature the Montessori Way

Choosing Toys For the Montessori Home Environment

Learning About Nature the Montessori Way

A good basis for studying plants and animals is a feeling of respect and love – beginning in the home. The easiest and most memorable lessons come through first hand experience of animals and plants in their natural environment. There is nothing that can replace walking over fields, hills, through woods, on the beach, in the garden etc and listening to and seeing birds, deer, squirrels, picking up shells, watching ants, worms, wasps, bees, flowers growing, trees growing and going through the seasonal cycle etc. It is essential to continue the children connected to nature from as early an age as possible.

Flowers and fresh fruit and vegetables can be shown to children from a young age in the home and garden. Show them the shadows cast by plants and trees and get them to listen to the wind blowing through leaves, or listen to the rain splashing onto the trees and ground – go out with an umbrella, put wellies and a raincoat on your child! Let them jump in puddles and get wet and muddy. They will sure appreciate a warm bath after.. It is very important for children to spend time outdoors to experience all weathers and seasons.

From an early age children will show an appreciation for the different textures and colours of trees, flowers and plants. They will also love looking at colourful books about nature and recognise plants and trees. My daughter certainly did from a very young age. She has always loved poppies and if she saw one in a book would straight away know what it is. My grandmother has many flowers and if we see the same when we are out or in a book, she will say that Oma has the same in her garden.

In the first few years of their lives, children want to know the words of EVERYTHING, they are natural born learners. Not just categoristic words like flower, but descriptive words like daisy, yellow, white, small are eagerly learned and remembered. If you know the scientific or Latin names of plants, now is the time to teach your little ‘knowledge sponges’ these. If you have space in your garden, have a ‘wild’ section of plants, such as thistles and dandelions.

When your child starts walking and being able to co-ordinate their bodies, there are many more things they can do in relation to plants. They can help you cut and dish up fresh fruit and raw vegetables, at the same time learning the names and colour of each. Easy flower arranging and salad leaf washing is also relished. Kids -in general – love water, let them fill a small vase and put a flower in it to decorate the table for breakfast/lunch/dinner time.

Allowing them to have miniature garden tools such as a wheelbarrow, bucket and spade and letting them wheel anything about that needs to be transported is a good way to get your child involved with gardening. If you have no garden, even if you have just one pot plant in the house is better than having none.

Pretty picutres of flora and fauna, perhaps even copies of great works of art, cold be hung on the wall. You may find that your child actually prefers real books about nature to fictitious books about nature when they have been kept in touch with nature.

Footnote – of course ensure that house and garden plants are safe for children.

RELATED LINK – Choosing Toys For the Montessori Home Environment

More cool home school memes

maria m         bruce lee

john holt                     colouring

lr knost   tamara kelly

sue m awww dayna        JTG 3

boom

education  coleour

 

MORE MEMES: (PLEASE FEEL FREE TO SHARE) Cool home school memes