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YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED: MY 6 YR OLD SON IS STARTING MONTESSORI - DO KIDS ADJUST OK AFTER BEING AT A PUBLIC SCHOOL FOR THE PAST YEAR? 0

Any Montessori program is ideally based on the observation of the child and their abilities, strengths and weaknesses, interests and drives. The teacher makes these observations and assessments before presenting a curriculum to the child. In a 6-9 program, a new child will be paired and grouped with children who provide a range of abilities to both support his exploration and provide a challenge level for them to attain.

Many Montessori programs at this age level will have regular consultations with each child to both get feedback from the child and work collaboratively to plan their projects. This process supports the nature of the children working independently at this level. If necessary, a child new to the Montessori method may be given lessons that are ideally provided between 3 – 6 years, but usually these materials may already be at hand in the 6 – 9 classroom and are not seen as remedial.

The amount of time spent on these materials will provide a suitable foundation for future exploration within the three-year period; your child will be free to accomplish his goals without the interruption of an end of year shift. As his guide at home, it would be ideal to become familiar with the way the 6 – 9 classroom works and ask the teacher for the language that is used in the classroom for such things as the materials, the ‘consultation process’ used in that classroom. Using similar language to that used at school will support a child new to the independent approach of Montessori.

 

FREE FARM CARD PRINTABLES 0

Download and print these farm cards for endless possibilities when it comes to activities!

 

FREE FARM ANIMAL CARDS

 

Great language activities, memory, mathematics and much more! Adapt the materials for whatever age you need!

You will also find a 10% discount code off Schleich Farm Animals (found in PDF)! You will receive products before Christmas!

YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED: What is the difference between a Montessori preschool and a regular preschool? 1

In many ways, most modern kindergarten and preschool systems are founded on some similar principles to the Montessori approach to education.  Furniture that is appropriate to the sizes of different ages of children can be seen, there are areas of rooms allocated to different areas of learning.  Passionate, respectful adults are driven to work with children of this age and are found in many early childhood settings. These things are commonalities. Points of difference for a Montessori setting are also sometimes quite obvious:

  • The adult to child ratio may be lower in a Montessori setting. While there may be similar numbers of adults working in the environment to support safety and hygiene, they are not as obvious to the children and usually there is one main educator providing the presentations to the children. Contrary to some ideals, Montessori supports the independence that is fostered by a cohort of a larger group of children who are not ‘interrupted’ unnecessarily in their endeavours by adult guides.
  • The age range of children is ideally evenly spread across a sub-plane of development (3 – 6 years for example is a typically Junior School environment). Within this spread there is where possible an even spread of genders. Montessori encompasses multiculturalism and often attracts a diverse range of cultures in one classroom.
  • Children work with real tools and have a bountiful range of practical life and craft activities at hand from ages 3 – 6! There is in turn a limited amount of toy or pretend activities, as the children are so joyfully drawn to the rewarding activities at hand.  These activities become useful tools down the track for more academic achievements in the same environment.
  • The children are responsible for the care of the environment as much as the adults role modeling this. For this reason, materials are fixed in specific areas and on shelves and are rarely moved around or cluttered. Children are then able to make choices from the environment and return the items in their own time.
  • There are fewer larger group activities and more individual or small group activities.
  • Whilst lessons are planned and coordinated for the child by the teacher, when they are delivered occurs more spontaneously, based on the readiness of the child as observed by the teacher. This is opposed to a lesson being planned by the teacher for Thursday of a set week during the term and delivered to all children at that time.
  • The indoor and outdoor activities are often available at all times to the children. In this way, the child’s work is not interrupted by a sudden shift in the day, and they may move between the indoor and outdoors to suit the needs of their exploration. Always this is with respect for the materials and others in their shared space
  • Children are invited to snack, in appropriate spaces, when they need, rather than at set dining times.
  • Individual creativity is supported by the respect for the child who has found work. The Montessori environment assists children to recognise when a child is engaged and to keep from interrupting them. Children are in turn driven to share the joy of their explorations and peer learning is a natural consequence of this.
  • The curriculum in a Montessori system is comprehensive and far ranging, and while presenting individually to the child under six, is encouraging of the child to move about the spaces and incorporate experiences into themes and projects. 

If you have a question you would like answered, please email us at info@iammontessori.com.au 

PRACTICALLY IMPRACTICALLY 0

Just as the kitchen may be the centre of family life in your home, Practical Life is the soul of the Montessori Curriculum. A child’s first experiences in a Montessori environment are those in the area of Practical Life.

These are the first exercises that the child sees that are familiar to their past experiences in the home. The Practical Life experiences centre on the three fundamental needs to care for oneself, to care for the natural and built environment, and to care for other people. The area of Practical Life should be prominent in a Montessori environment and entice the children to return to these exercises that meet the needs of the sensitive periods for movement, order, and language.

What activities could you provide for your child in the home, that will allow them to contribute to the care of themselves, look after the house, or do something nice for a family member without being asked?

When there are activities aplenty in the area of practical life, there is no need for arbitrary rules for behavior in a classroom. This is possible because children are engaged in work that is contributing to the development of themselves and those around them, while contributing to the care of the physical and natural world as well.

Here’s the challenge for us as adults, to make these activities accessible to our children… We need to set up activities that are practically impractical!

Rather than having children use our tools, we need to have equipment that is the appropriate height, weight and that function well for small bodies.  We need to demonstrate first for our children in a way that is not efficient or ‘the best and fastest’ way to get something done. We need to slow down and break down an activity into small manageable parts, so that a child may see each step clearly and be able to replicate it successfully. We should provide children with real tools, not plastic or mock tools that don’t serve a real purpose. 

Children may happily pretend to use a plastic shovel for a short amount of time, but give them a real shovel and a real mound of dirt and they will do so for hours and have picked up a skill along the way.

The activities in practical life mirror activities carried out by adults in their direct cultural communities, but are reproduced in such a way to provide a multitude of benefits to the child: functional independence, concentration, self-confidence, development of sequential thought, social relationships, development of ordered work cycle, self-discipline, integration of personality and character, develop choice making skills, harmony of mind/muscles/will power, attachment to reality, encourages inclusivity among peer groups, development of coordination of movement.

With these outcomes available to the child, why not set up a few activities in your home today? Whether it’s preparing food, practicing with utensils, having cleaning up tools on hand for your child to care for the home. Perhaps craft activities available on a tray with all the materials needed for the child to work independently without the need for you to set it up or clean it up for them. Stay tuned to I AM Montessori to learn many more ways you can make Practical Life more practical in your home.

THE MASSIVE MONTESSORI GIVEAWAY 0

We have been talking about a massive Montessori giveaway... well here we are!

We have a Montessori setup to giveaway to one winner and 3 x bedSOK packs to giveaway.

 

The main prize value is over $1000 and includes:

Little Sparrow Infant Furniture Set VALUE $500

I AM Montessori Materials Pack VALUE $300

I AM Montessori Classes for a term VALUE $190

bedSOK of your choice - pink or navy VALUE $99

 

2 runner-ups will receive:

2 x bedSOK packs of your choice - pink or navy VALUE $99 each

 

You can enter the competition here: https://www.facebook.com/iammontessori?sk=app_228910107186452

 

Good luck and thanks for getting involved,

 

Rebecca

 

The benefits of Montessori 0

Dr Maria Montessori placed great importance on the mental development in the early years of childhood.

When we are born, physically, our body only needs to be nourished to grow. However, the mind has to not only grow, but has to be constructed. It needs an environment that is conducive to mentally develop. 

Montessori education encompasses every area of life. The child must firstly become independent, able to look after themselves. We do this through practical life exercises, which are then followed by the cultural, social and moral aspects of life.

Dr Montessori refers to the mind as the “Absorbent Mind,” it can learn so much without effort or fatigue. Dr Montessori saw the mind of the child as being like a camera, they observe everything in the environment, then something happens in the dark room of the unconscious, and the perfect record is fixed forever. We as adults must help and not hinder this development. Dr Montessori believed that movement, manipulation and the isolated training of each sense develops the capacity for thought, and all her methods and materials exemplify this.

When referring to babies of 0-5 months, their environment is broken up into two parts, physical and psychological. The physical environment has four areas, feeding, sleeping, physical care and movement. Black and white, dark and light are initial contrasts that infants are attracted to. They love to watch a mobile of these tones moving in a breeze.

At around 6-8 weeks you can start to introduce colour. At 10-12 weeks mobiles that highlight more movement and that are varied in shapes and colours can be introduced. At around 3 months babies are reaching and using their hands as an extension of their arm. As the child develops we have activities that aid in their eye-hand co-ordination, placing objects in and out of closely fitting containers.

When a child is able to sit in a chair or stand at a shelf we can offer a new range of challenges. These challenges not only develop their eye-hand co-ordination, but also develop their visual discrimination and control of movement. After we present an activity to a child, we will say, “your turn.” If the child makes a mistake we never comment, we would just say, “I’ll have another turn,” or, “now it’s my turn again,” and will then present it correctly so they may see it again.

In Montessori education we are always careful not to criticise, as the child might lose interest in the activity or feel a sense of incapability. In this age group the children are learning to develop their pincer grip, they start with the palmer grasp and with different activities they develop their fine motor skills to be able to use a pincer grip. The children also learn at 5-12 months the cognitive development of object permanence, the knowledge that an object exists even when it is out of sight. These are also described as mathematical concepts. We use an activity to help with this called the Box with Automatically Returning Balls; this has varying levels of equipment for the children to learn with. Gross Motor development is of course paramount in a child’s early years, the vital importance of unrestricted movement cannot be over emphasised. A mirror that is large enough for the baby to see his body in, is an essential tool for the body development scheme and image.

As the children get older the materials need to correspond to their developmental needs. The materials need to have an intelligent purpose, they should be beautiful and incorporate different textures and substances such as wood, metal, glass and natural fibres.  The Montessori classroom consists of different sections of learning. They are sensorial, language, mathematics, culture and science.  There are many different activities that the children work on to help them learn and understand. The Montessori materials are designed for the children to be able to completely understand how to achieve a positive outcome. There are activities that prepare the child for writing and to gain control of the pencil, there are many extensions of this activity. The next is the sandpaper letters, these are introduced by a three period lesson. The child learns the sound and shape of the letters of the alphabet and will gain a muscular memory of the shape of the letters as a prelude to writing. There are many amazing activities for the children to learn language, they are beautiful which insures the children will love to work with them. They have an insatiable desire to learn to read. 

When learning mathematics we have a number rods activity where the children learn to count to ten and understand the value of each number. Next is the tactile numbers where they learn the numbers by feel. The number rods and numerals are then the next step, they associate numerals 1-10 with actual quantities. We have two aesthetically beautiful activities called the spindle box and the golden beads. These materials are so aesthetically and texturally interesting that the children love to hold and work with them, making learning enjoyable and exciting. 

As you can see Montessori is truly an amazing way to learn. Children are in a calm environment and become very involved in their activities and are intrinsically rewarded. This kind of learning aids children intellectually, physically and in their everyday life. Montessori helps children to always strive to be independent and will give them the best start to life.

 

If you have any questions, please email us at info@iammontessori.com.au or call us on 0409 649 321 and we can assist. 

 

BRIDGING HOME AND SCHOOL WITH A METHOD THAT MATTERS 0

“Education is not what the teacher gives; Education is a natural process spontaneously carried out by the human individual”

 (Education for a New World, Dr. Maria Montessori, p2}

 Here at I AM Montessori we believe that the home is a child’s first classroom.

I AM Montessori will share with you and your child the fundamentals of the Montessori Materials, scientifically designed to meet the needs of the child at each stage of their development.  But these materials are nothing without the guidance of a knowledgeable and nurturing adult guide.

The method reaches much farther than the materials we see on the shelves of a traditional Montessori classroom!

When you are home with your child, or out exploring the world with them, the Montessori ethic challenges you to rethink the role that children play in our society. Long gone are the days when children should be seen and not heard. Centuries of academics and psychologists have lead us to know that children construct knowledge from their direct experiences with the world, an observation over a century ago which led to the Montessori approach to education. Never again will a child absorb and construct so effortlessly the amount of knowledge that is acquired from birth to age six. Let us here at I AM Montessori share ways to make the most of this extraordinary age in your family’s everyday. 

Welcome to I AM Montessori 0

I AM Montessori was created to fill a major gap in the market for parents looking to provide an alternative form of education for their children in the critical early years of their lives.

The Montessori method is a gorgeous form of education, which is not only something that stays in the classroom but transcends into the everyday life of the child.

The children who attend Montessori school or classes are given the ability to direct their own learnings and discoveries, connect with the world from their own eyes, learn to respect themselves, others and their environment giving them confidence, independance, and joy.

Here at I AM Montessori, we run classes for children from 0-3, and 3-6, with qualified guides (teachers) in a true Montessori inspired environment.

Our goal is to empower and assist the parents to implement the Montessori method easily at home and in play, giving access to quality and affordable materials that can be purchased online or at our premises.

We are all about giving children the headstart that the Montessori method can give them, in a way they can implement in the real world environment and at mainstream schools.