Friday, January 29, 2010

Peeling a banana

Yesterday we peeled a banana. Yeah, not a big deal in the grand scheme of things. In fact, while Ryann was excited about it when we started, she seemed not impressed by the end result. What I found amazing about the peeling exercise was that she followed it from beginning to end and actually paid attention to what I was showing her!

I think the turning point for this hyperactive girl was getting a rug that is used exclusively as an activity rug. "Exclusively" for putting a puzzle together once as of the time of this writing, but just the *idea* of a specific place to do activities really helped Ryann take it seriously. The activity rug is a subject for another post however!

So yesterday we peeled a banana.

First, it helps to define the area and a cutting board worked well for this.

Cut into the top of the banana with a serrated knife. We used a butter knife.

Just make a shallow cut like this.

Peel each side carefully.


Afterward we practiced cutting. And she promptly lost interest. 

Friday, January 22, 2010

Cheap Montessori materials you don't have to make yourself

I've been on the lookout for genuine Montessori materials that don't cost an arm and a leg and after a long and mostly fruitless search I found an awesome resource! A Plus Montessori is a discount retailer with amazing prices and everything I've been looking for.

I've been on the lookout for a pink tower and everywhere I looked they were easily $100! For wooden blocks! Making one myself was pretty much out of the question so I had almost given up on the authentic pink tower experience (nesting blocks anyone?) when I found one on A Plus Montessori for $26.95.

$26.95? That's, like, affordable.

Three Period Lesson success!

Shortly after I posted about the three period lesson I tried it with Ryann and she loved it! This is officially the first intentional Montessori activity that she completed from beginning to end.

Ryann has this puzzle:
KID O Arranging Short To Tall Puzzle

I love it, but she hasn't really touched it since opening it on Christmas. I thought maybe it would hold more allure if we went over the concepts of short and tall. I picked the shortest and the tallest pieces and set them on the floor. First I identified the pieces, "this is short," "this is tall." Then I asked her which was tall and which was short. Finally, I asked her what each piece was. She understood it immediately wanted to do the lesson twice in a row but the second time through she labeled the pieces as "a elephant" and other such silly things.

I think the real success though was when she brought me the pieces a couple days later and asked to do the lesson. And she loved it just as much! I plan to do this with as many things as possible since this is something she is willing to focus her attention on.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Three Period Lesson

I'm realizing more and more that Montessori is as much as educational experience for me as it is for my daughter. Today I discovered the three period lesson and while it's easy and most of us probably do it with our children already, I'm fascinated with it's simplicity and wonder if I am delving into too many complicated topics too soon.

The three period lesson is how you present concepts and labels to your child. I found a couple youtube videos that I think explain it better than I ever could.

This video shows exactly how to present the lesson to the child, very helpful!

I love youtube :)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Using sensory activies to get what you want. Maybe.

I'm not sure how traditionally Montessori this is, but the other day we did a bean scooping activity. My current goal as a new Montessori mom and a long-time Green mom is to phase out all the plastic plates, cups and bowls in our house. There are a lot of health reasons to ditch the plastic but I would also like to have the mindfulness that breakable dishes entail. Watching my daughter throw her bowls and cups around at eight months old made sense, at two years it is time to be careful and respectful of the things she has. It's all too easy to let plastic sippy cups fall off the table but you wouldn't dream of letting a glass break in the same way!

In spite of this, I have not made the switch. Why? Because I have given Ryann glasses and ceramic plates and bowls and it did not end well... She is just not careful and she isn't old enough to care about breaking things. In fact, I think she rather liked it. I'm also having a hard time getting her to eat and drink mindfully, without spilling everything down the front of her.

Which brings me to bean scooping (I was getting there!). The exercise was to scoop dried beans into the cups of a muffin tin. This will help her gain control of the muscles she uses to eat and also train her to be careful with her utensils.


I'm not convinced it's working yet. Although it started out great. She almost let me show her how without interrupting and then went to work.

See our high-class plastic cookie tray used as a bowl? I told you we need to ditch the plastics.. sigh.

By this point, beans were flying everywhere. She tried, she really did. Until...

It  seemed far more fun to dig in them with her hands and drop them all over the floor.

Oh well.

Maybe tomorrow.