Friday, May 30, 2008

Flower Pot Scrubbing

Out door work station: Flower Pot Scrubbing!
Most of us have last year's flower pots about, in need of some TLC after the winter months. This Spring activity is fun and gives your children an opportunity to show how helpful they can be.
While your children scrub away cleaning last years pots, you can be getting garden work done. This activity is messy, aprons could be worn or outdoor yard-work clothes.

Materials needed:

several clay flower pots
an assortment of scrub brushes
2 cup measuring cup
table top/surface
pot storage bin/shelf in outdoor shed

From the bin of dirty pots the child chooses which pot to scrub and places it in the basin. Next he fills the measuring cup with warm water (from the water source) and pours it into the basin. The child then chooses a brush that will work best with the size pot he is going to scrub.
Taking the brush he dips it into the water and begins to scrub the pot in a circular motion.
After the pot has been scrubbed, he uses the sponge to wipe off any excess dirt.
When the pot is clean, he places it in the storage bin/shelf and returns to clean up.
He wipes up his space with the sponge and empties the dirty water anywhere in the garden.
  • To clean the pot
  • Preparation for handwriting (when using circular scrubbing. like table washing)
  • Building concentration skills
Enjoy your time appreciating our natural world and each other.
(Sorry no photo! Blogger is giving me a hard time tonight!)
*inspired by The Outdoor Classroom by Mary Boden


Hi Everyone,
My friend Lily and her wonderful organization YoKids Inc. deserve a "look~see". Stop by their web page and see the wonderful ways they are making this world a more beautiful and peaceful place.
My personal testimonial: My husband and I have always encouraged Middle Man to center himself when he begins to get upset; for example we've said the proverbial "count to ten" and "take deep breaths" but his intensity has often won out. Being a spirited child he has (many times) needed to temper his strong reactions in social situations. Learning how to do so has been his life's work. When Middle Man was five years old he had the good fortune of having a Yoga instructor as his Kindergarten teacher. He also had the good fortune of being a student of a Montessori school where the Head Teacher and Director supported Yoga in the classroom! Middle Man fell in love with Yoga! He is now able to find a calmness inside himself because he has learned the tools in which to do so. Public school has been a challenge for Middle Man; most days he doesn't want to go to school (for a variety of reasons). Recently Lily visited Middle Man's public elementary school and taught Yoga with his class. When it was a "Yoga Day" he would dress promptly, eat his breakfast and pack up his bag to go to school! I couldn't believe the transformation in him. Because of his joy of Yoga we have begun practicing Yoga as a family every evening for 1/2 hour before bed.
If you live in the area I highly recommend checking out YoKids! Sign your kids up for a class and request in writing that YoKids be introduced at your child's school.
Montessori Mama

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Multimedia Sculpture: Thursday's Art+Play

"Today is Thursday,
Yes indeed!"

Today's Art+Play was Multimedia Sculpture! That's a fancy name for: "gluing all sorts of things together". The kids seemed to enjoy gluing (as most young children do) and the choice of materials interested them also. I mentioned, when demonstrating the activity to the group, that some people may prefer to draw on the card board prior to the gluing. Sometimes this helps to focus a younger artist (and limits the amount of glue that gets used). Let them glue, glue, glue and they will create something original and interesting to look at.

And now for something completely different: Check out this very cool web page in celebration of the late great Rachel Carson (born May 27th).

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Soon it will be SUMMER!

I've been taking a break from blogging, spending more time outside and with my family. I'm experiencing a bit of writer's block as the school year comes to an end. Instead I will share what we've been up to around here.

Sand Box:
This Memorial Day weekend my husband and Little One filled our sand box. The black flies were out with force but still the two pressed on! The result a wonderful little spot for kiddos to play (although it is only 1/4 of the way full right now).

Rainy day fun:
Window paints! These nifty markers are fun for all ages but are they ever messy! Clean up was Little One's favorite part (he LOVES messy) but I will note* use paper towels* we used a wash cloth and it is now permanently stained.

Fabric Crayons:
LOVE these! I brought these to Art+Play and the children made beautiful drawings, then at home I used the iron to transfer their drawings to T-shirts.
The Cornerspring Annual Yard Sale!
A cloudy but warm day proved to be the perfect combination for yard sailing! People were out in droves looking for bargains and buying up almost all we had. I always like hanging out with the parents who come to help out and my co-teachers. It's rare we have an opportunity to socialize and it's fun. Yard sales are allot of work, of course, but the money raised helps our school and I usually come away with some very cool bargains! This year's #1 find: A brand new thermos still in it's original packaging! I am very happy.

And so there you have Memorial Day Weekend (a little late). I hope all of you are not feeling overwhelmed by end of the school year festivities and classroom wrap ups. I wish you the occasional moment to play in the sand with little ones.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Teacher Appreciation/End of the Year Gift Ideas

As a teacher for over 15 years, I have received many lovely gifts from my students. I have treasured them all. Some can still be found in a shoe box in my closet and others have gone the way of many of my children's refrigerator art....
All have been greatly appreciated, especially the homemade ones. The time and thought put into choosing just the right image to color or type of treat to bake. I have enjoyed and appreciated being thought of in such a lovely way.

Here are some of the gifts I've received over the years:
flowers (always a good stand by, who doesn't love flowers?)
candy (very sweet)
hand soap/lotion (very nice for those of us who wash our hands 5billion times as day)
a bottle of wine
tickets to a movie (LOVED this!)
cash (this felt a bit impersonal, although the card was lovely, it felt a little like a tip, I ended up buying things for the classroom with the money)
Gift certificate to a local store I love (very thoughtful!)
a beautiful silver bracelet engraved (I wear it every year on the first day of school)
a hand knitted scarf (cozy for the playgrounds of the Northeast)
Hot Chocolate (equally cozy & yummy too)
candles (the scented kind)
home made ornaments and jewelry (very sweet, anything home made is adorable)

This second list is entitled: "Cost a Pretty Penny"
These are items I think your children's teacher would enjoy receiving but you may not be able to afford depending on how many kiddos you have and how many teachers you want to give something to. (I personally could not afford to pull any of these off but would love to).
  • Have LUNCH delivered to school.
  • Create note cards or note pads "From the desk of..." to give to your child's teacher. Use your child's art work to create sure to be used stationary.
  • Ask your child to inquire about their teacher's interests and possible collections such as tennis or gardening (gift appropriately with gift certificates to stores where they can make their own purchases to add to their collections.)
  • Gift card to local teacher supply store
  • Gift certificate to a local spa ("One free manicure for hands that have helped us grow and learn all year long.")
  • Expensive chocolates (from a local candy shop)
  • A flowering plant
  • Have flowers delivered to school.
  • Jewelry (the home made kind is most often cherished, I still have a button bracelet a little boy made for me before he left to start kindergarten)
  • Donate books in the teacher's name to the school library/classroom
  • I'm sure you can come up with many more...
But, let's not break the bank here...teachers also appreciate home made gifts very much.
A story or poem written by your child about their teacher with a drawing to illustrate
Photos! Once a parent came to all the events throughout the school year (Open House, Field Trips, Our Annual Auction, parent ed. nights, the Spring yard sale...etc.) and took photos. Then they compiled the photos into a small scrap book for us. This was a classroom treasure for years afterward and a wonderful tool for me as the Director at the time, to use to show enrolling families just some of the many things we do through-out the school year that they can become part of.

My favorite gift of all time:
Photos of all my students. One very sweet and talented photographer parent took photos of all the kids in my class one year and surprised me with a memory book. It was wrapped in hand print paper made by the kids in my class. I will always treasure this book and the wrapping paper. (*My classroom assistant helped the parent out a bit to make this all possible and I was leaving on maternity leave that year also).

I am sure that whatever your child and you come up with, their teacher will appreciate. Share your ideas by leaving a comment if time allows. Remember it's not how much money you paid for a gift it's the thought that matters most.
Montessori Mama

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Thursday Art+Play

Wind Socks!
It's May after all and as my father recently reminded me, May is the month to fly a kite with your kids. Dancing with a windsock you made is pretty fun too.

To make:
Cut the bottom off a paper cup, you will use the ring.
Decorate the ring with glue and tissue paper, ribbon, whatever you like!
Attach ribbon (we used party streamers) with tape
Punch holes and thread ribbon or pipe cleaner for the handle/hanger.

Art+Play was fun today, busy and loud but lots of fun. Windsocks required allot of parent help for this age group but in the end the children enjoyed dancing and spinning around watching their windsock move.
I hope you enjoy yourselves today and that if it is windy where you are, it's a warm and welcomed wind. PEACE

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Today is Monday by Eric Carle

Inspired by the lovely and talented Jean over at The Artful Parent, I'm sharing another Eric Carle language extension I made long ago. Using the book Today is Monday, I reproduced the types of food eaten in the story. (I cut mine out using colored construction paper but you could make color copies of the illustrations and reduce their size) Next laminate so they will hold up with repeated use. Provide days of the week cards for the children to match the food choices with.

(*MM's notes: Looking at this old photo I'm thinking for non-readers this work could be created as a matching. Instead of leaving the lower squares empty under the days of the week, add the images of the animals in those boxes. Then the children could match the food with the animal! I think I'll have to make another one.)
For another Eric Carle language extension please visit my past post 'Lovin' Eric Carle'
Montessori Mama

Monday, May 19, 2008

Look At Me!

Any GAP reps out there reading this? Ha Ha
This little red shirt I found yard sailing, it just fits. Oh how fast they grow!
Little One was so proud to have climbed up the stone steps he turned around and yelled with delight. Caught on film!

Fun with Daddy on a sunny afternoon.

Blogs I LOVE to Frequent and Why:

I want to take a moment and share that I have been trying desperately to leave messages on a few of the Mamas' blogs that I read frequently, but I have not been able to! I don't know if it's my computer or Blogger but I'm becoming frustrated by the whole process very quickly. Dial up stinks!
So, I thought I'd take a moment to share with you just five of the blogs I frequent (there are many many more I adore!) and this is why I LOVE them.

Chasing Cheerios:
This blog inspires and motivates me to create materials for my little one. The author is a mother to one beautiful toddler girl and posts regularly (some times many short posts in one day). Lovely photos of Montessori materials! A MUST see.

Little Monkey and Friends:
When I need to feel understood and want to giggle I visit Mama Monkey. It's like she can see inside my world and knows exactly how I'm feeling! She makes me laugh and loves her little monkeys so much. For sharing and venting and understanding visit Mama Monkey, you'll be so glad you did.

Modern Communities Mama:
My moment of Zen. I need to visit this Doula in training & Mama to two little boys every week. I read and re-read her poems and thoughtful entries and remind myself to slow down and appreciate the small but important moments in my life. I would be lost without her.

Unmitigated Bliss:
A fellow UU, environmentally conscious and artsy with a wonderful sense of humor! I check in daily and come away with nourishment for my soul, my belief in the power of positive thought renewed and with reminders promoting purposeful living. I lovingly refer to this blog as 'Bliss'.

The Sum of Mum:
Beautiful photography, heart warming entries, this blog reads like you are looking through a window into this incredible Mama's life. Having survived more loss than any Mama ever should; her writing reminds me how me blessed I have been and her honesty gives me courage.

Hang In There Baby Wear:
Mama J tells it like it is while sharing about her adventure in running her own baby carrier business and her first year of being a Mama. I'm hooked on her writing style and enjoy her so much. Little one and I have been trying out one of her wonderful carriers. I highly recommend this blog and her comfy carriers!

As I said, there are MANY more lovely blogs I would love to tell you about but time is passing quickly and I have many things to do. I think I will take time once a month to create a list of Blogs I love to visit and why. This is fun.
Many thanks to all of you who share your self with the world! I feel blessed to visit your blogs.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Good Things Come in Threes

Today I received three felted nesting bowls hand made by my husband's cousin Sarah. They feel lovely, they look lovely, they even smell lovely! I can't wait to add them to my toddler classroom this fall. Thank you dear Sarah, my very creative and talented cousin! Many small hands will be drawn to these special bowls for years to come I'm sure!

To fill and to dump, to wear as a hat of course, to find red, blue and yellow colored objects to put inside...there so many possibilities!
[Sarah, art work is on it's way. :) love to you!]
And to all:
Peace, enjoy your Monday.

My favorite List

A few posts back I shared Chick Moorman's 10 Best and Worst things to Say to Your Students, I promised to share my favorite list; so here you have it.
During my training I had the opportunity to attend several lectures given by Sister Anthonita Porta, O.P. I can not say enough wonderful things about Sister Anthonita; she is an inspiring teacher, entertaining and joyous person, a Spiritual Montessorian. I adore her!
This list is from her "Teaching to a Child's Spirit" lecture. During this lecture she talked at length about the differences between Evaluative and Appreciative and Descriptive praise.
The titles pretty much say it all but I will define them briefly for you.
Descriptive Praise:
Praise given that describes child's behavior, quality of work or accomplishments.
Often used when making observations about art work, practical life works, or performances.
"I see you created green by mixing yellow and blue."
"I noticed you put away the red rods one at a time and carried them carefully."
Appreciative Praise:
Praise that is given to show appreciation for following ground rules, being helpful, kind etc. (the behavior we desire whatever that may be at the time)
"Thank you for raising your hand."
"I appreciated your cooperation on the play ground today."
"I observed that you finished the 100 board, would you like to help our friend Tommy get started with the material? You would! Thank you."
"Thank you for collecting the library books, that was very helpful."
Evaluative Praise:
Sister Anthonita referred to this type of praise as 'meaningless'. She said it is the verbal equivalent to a pat on the head or a gold star sticker. This confused me and most of my fellow students because we were all raised hearing these types of comments and have come accustom to using some of them ourselves. But after she explained I came to understand what she was saying. I personally do often used "Wonderful" and "I'm proud of you." with my own children.
But I also understand her point and try to use my observation skills whenever possible.
"Good work."
"Good job"
"Nice work"
"I'm proud of you."
"You are so good!"

Dear Sister, If you are reading this...
These few words can not express my admiration and my appreciation for having met you in my life! Thank you for all you've done for children, teachers, parents, and our earth!

Montessori Mama

Friday, May 16, 2008

Little One Turns Two

It's been two years since we met and even though I didn't think it was possible, I love you more today than I did that first day.

We all smile and laugh more now that you are here. Thank you 'Not So Little One' for keeping life interesting and your Mama on her toes!

Birthday songs:
"On the day that _____ was born, the flowers bloomed and the unicorn danced and sang the whole day long, on the day that _______ was born."
"We wish you a happy birthday, a joyous and celebrated birthday, to our dear child may you have a happy life."

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Water Colors 'Little Man' Style

Tomorrow you turn two years old, today you paint with water colors and make a big colorful mess.
Tonight I kissed your head and put you to bed, my almost two year old.

Spirit Whisperers ~ by Chick Moorman (A review)

When I first read the following list, I will confess I was guilty of saying numbers 2 and 5 on the 10 Worst things list almost every day (to my own children not the children I work with).

Anyway, it took some retraining and practice, practice, practice. If you’ve never heard of Chick Moorman I highly recommend giving his stuff a read. His book Spirit Whispers is a favorite of mine. Although not all of the material applies to the age of the children I teach, I have often applied some of his suggestions to parenting with my three boys. I find Mr. Moorman to be inspirational and experienced; he gives helpful suggestions and seems to have a really good understanding of children and teachers.

The intention of this list to give you some tools and a gentle reminder about the language to use when working with children. Remember this is ‘Best Practice’ no-one talks like this ALL the time but we can try to.

From The Teacher Talk System

Designed by Chick Moorman
The 10 Best Things you can say to your students:

1.) Next time…

2.) Check yourself

3.) Check it out on the inside

4.) Sounds like you have a problem

5.) Choose/decide/pick

6.) Please make a “be” choice

7.) What do you attribute that to?

8.) What can we learn from this?

9.) Problem solver or a problem keeper?


The 10 Worst Things you can say to your students:

1.) What did I just tell you?

2.) That is the third time today…

3.) Stop whining

4.) Don’t run/yell/throw/cheat/lie

5.) Knock it off

6.) Because I said so, that’s why.

7.) Tell her you’re sorry

8.) Great answer

9.) Always do your best

10.)Here is my advice…

Well there you have it! Chick’s Best and Worst list, what do you think?

I have another list I personally like better, I will share it with you soon.

I hope you are all enjoying this beautiful weather! Cornerspring is having their annual auction this weekend May 17th 6-9pm at the Shriner’s Club in Belfast! If you are local come on by and make a bid! A copy of my book Maria Mouse will be a live auction item.



Saturday, May 10, 2008

Many Hands Make Lite Work

This week was the Mother's Day Tea Celebration! Here is a picture of the children preparing the tea snacks before their mothers arrived. Filling thumb print cookies with jam, building cucumber & watercress sandwiches, making fruit kabobs, and slicing lemon bread. Setting the tables, arranging flowers,practicing songs....what a wonder-FULL day!

The Annual Mother's Day Tea Celebration is a lovely tradition the children, teachers and Mamas look forward to every year. In the weeks before, the teachers interview the children and ask them questions about their mothers, EX: What do they enjoy doing with them, what makes them special?
It's sweet to watch the Mamas' faces when the read what their child wrote. The hand-made gift is also a favorite, this year it was a clay painted pin for Moms to wear. They were all different and each one was made with care.

Every year I take my Nana's bone china out of storage and bring it to school. I don't worry about the small hands that carry the tea cups because I know my Nana wouldn't mind if one of them ever broke. I know she watches over Mother's Day Tea and smiles in enjoyment over knowing her tea set is appreciated by so many. Every year someone comments on the beauty of the tea set and I can hear Nana voice say, "Why keep it hidden away when someone could be enjoying it?" Why indeed. Let's have some tea, shall we?

A Montessori school is a place I would like to visit any day of the year; but Mother's Day Tea day is the most elegant day by far. It's also the day when the children often surprise themselves when they display how much they have learned over the school year. When they take a step back from a full finished platter of sandwiches they've made and smile with appreciation, they are so proud. It's that moment that I cherish most.

I hope one day you'll be invited to tea at your child's school and you'll get to eat cookies and fruit on a stick. There's nothing in the world quite like it.
Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day Mom

This is my gift for my Mom this Mother's Day. (shhhhh....)
She always wore her hair in two long braids when I was growing up.This is a cut paper collage of the two of us. I finished it this morning and wanted to share it with all of you. Below is a poem my Aunt Elizabeth sent to me for Mother's Day. Although not everything will apply to everyone of us, I enjoyed the sentiment and thought you might like it too. I haven't forgotten about the teacher appreciation ideas....I've got a list building, I've just been busy making things and being a Mama. Thank you all for reading!

This is for the mothers who have sat up
all night with sick toddlers in their arms,
wiping up barf laced with Oscar Mayer
wieners and cherry Kool-Aid saying,
'It's okay honey, Mommy's here.'

Who have sat in rocking chairs for hours on end soothing crying babies who can't be comforted.

This is for all the mothers who show up at
work with spit-up in their hair and milk stains
on their blouses and diapers in their purse.

For all the mothers who run carpools and
make cookies and sew Halloween costumes.
And all the mothers who DON'T.

This is for the mothers who gave birth to
babies they'll never see. And the mothers
who took those babies and gave them homes.

This is for the mothers whose priceless art
collections are hanging on their refrigerator doors.

And for all the mothers who froze their buns on metal bleachers at football or baseball games instead of watching from the warmth of their cars.
And that when their kids asked, 'Did you see me, Mom?' they could say, 'Of course, I wouldn't
have missed it for the world,' and mean it.

This is for all the mothers who yell at their kids in the grocery store and swat them in despair when they stomp their feet and scream for ice cream before dinner. And for all the mothers who count to ten instead, but realize how child abuse happens.

This is for all the mothers who sat down with
their children and explained all about making
babies. And for all the (grand)mothers who
wanted to, but just couldn't find the words.

This is for all the mothers who go
hungry, so their children can eat.

For all the mothers who read 'Goodnight,
Moon' twice a night for a year. And then
read it again, 'Just one more time.'

This is for all the mothers who taught
their children to tie their shoelaces before
they started school. And for all the mothers
who opted for Velcro instead.

This is for all the mothers who teach their sons
to cook and their daughters to sink a jump shot.

This is for every mother whose head turns automatically when a little voice calls 'Mom?'
in a crowd, even though they know their
own offspring are at home -- or even away
at college -- or have their own families.

This is for all the mothers who sent their kids
to school with stomach aches, assuring them
they'd be just FINE once they got there, only
to get calls from the school nurse an hour later
asking them to please pick them up. Right away.

This is for mothers whose children have gone
astray, who can't find the words to reach them.
For all the mothers who bite their lips until they
bleed when their 14 year olds dye their hair green.

For all the mothers of the victims of
recent school shootings, and the mothers
of those who did the shooting.

For the mothers of the survivors, and the mothers who sat in front of their TVs in horror, hugging their child who just came home from school, safely.

This is for all the mothers who taught their
children to be peaceful, and now pray
they come home safely from a war.

What makes a good mother anyway?
Is it patience? Compassion? Broad hips?
The ability to nurse a baby, cook dinner, and
sew a button on a shirt, all at the same time?

Or is it in her heart?
Is it the ache she feels when she
watches her son or daughter disappear
down the street, walking to school alone
for the very first time?

The jolt that takes her from sleep to
dread, from bed to crib at 2 A.M. to put
her hand on the back of a sleeping baby?

The panic, years later, that comes again
at 2 A.M. when she just wants to hear
their key in the door and know they
are safe again in her home?

Or the need to flee from wherever she is
and hug her child when she hears news
of a fire, a car accident, a child dying?

The emotions of motherhood are
universal and so our thoughts are for
young mothers stumbling through diaper
changes and sleep deprivation...
And for mature mothers learning to let go.

For working mothers and stay-at-home mothers.

Single mothers and married mothers.

Mothers with money, mothers without.

This is for you all. For all of us...

Hang in there. In the end we can
only do the best we can. Tell them
every day that we love them. And pray
and never stop being a mother...

Much love to all of you amazing Mamas out there!
Happy Mother's Day (a day early)! I hope the special little people in your lives will shower you with love and affection on Mother's Day. It's good to be Queen (at least for the day).
Montessori Mama

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Teacher Appreciation Week

In celebration of Teacher Appreciation Week 'Middle Man' has planted some herbs and created a watering can card with a poem attached to give to his teachers.

The poem reads:
"I'm giving you this packet of seeds,
just to let you know,

that every day, my appreciation of you,
continues to grow and grow and grow!"

More ways to show your child's teacher your appreciation coming right up....

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Caution: Artist a Work!

This was meant to be a post about painting with feathers. An idea I thought would be different but fun. And it was, although Little One was soooooo into his creative process (and very over tired it was a hour past his usual nap time) that when one of his toddler friends tried to take his feather....this was the result!
I was snapping pictures of him painting when the incident occurred. Caught on film!
Toddlers have strong opinions and their verbal filtration system is not yet established, so everyone in the house knows how this Little One feels when he expresses himself.

Wouldn't it be great to be two, just for a day?
At the bank:
"What do you mean I have to wait in line?" followed by you throwing your purse and stomping and screaming.
(Do you think people would let you move ahead?)
At the grocery store:
"Where are the muffins? You're all out of blueberry!? But that's my favorite!" followed by you sitting down on the floor and sobbing, "Bluuuuuuue berrrrrrry!"

Sorry, I guess I'm over tired too.
Feeling silly, day seven 3 kids, no husband, is it Mother's Day this weekend? It is! My hubby comes home Friday night!
Wow, I think I'm due for a break....good timing.
Take care of YOU, all you Moms and Dads out there!
And remember, don't disturb your young artist at work, who knows what might happen?
PS: Painting with a feather was fun and no, Little One did not make the letter 'M' on his paper.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

May Pole Celebration!

Okay, so I LOVE May day! Here is a photo I took of my Sunday school group enjoying singing and dancing round the May pole. I constructed the 'May Pole' out of paper towel rolls taped together with Duct tape, then covered in rainbow colors. For our classroom project we made May baskets to give to another member of the congregation.

I wish I could show you the children's expressions but I forgot to ask parents about posting a photo of their children. It was lots of fun. The pole stands supported by a garden stake I stuck into the ground. I taped over one end of the cardboard tube and left the other end open to slide it over the stake. It worked well, I think I'll save the post and May Pole for next year, to do it again!
I promise this is my last May Day post!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Matching Sets Made by MM

What to do with an old Sierra Club Engagement Calendar? Throw it away? Recycle it?
NO, Re-use it!
Yes, cut the beautiful nature photos out and make matching sets. This was my idea.....months ago, January I think. But here you go, finally completed and ready to be used. Laminating and color copies cost you quit a bit of $, so if you can time it right and hit the copy place on a sale day this project will be worth it. If not you'll save money to buy a set from Montessori Services. I had fun and enjoy making things with my hands, as you know, so these sets were created. My plan is to give one set to each of the new classrooms at our new location.

YES! Cornerspring is expanding!! I am so happy to announce I will be heading back into the Montessori classroom full time again this fall. Little One will be my sidekick and the toddler class will number ten students with two teachers. I can't wait to get started. I know I will miss quiet mornings around here with Little One, Nora Jones and my two cats vying for my lap...but lets be realistic those mornings don't happen very often and the wolf is often at the door (or rather calling me on the phone asking for a payment I can't make). Getting back into the classroom and bringing money in to help pay off these piles of bills will be good for my spirit and good for my family.
Toddlers are my favorite age group to work with (i.e. learn from) They have so much to teach!
I love observing the look of concentration on a toddler's face while they attempt to pour water...indicated so often by them sticking out their's priceless. This is a time of firsts, of sensorial exploration and discovery, and of learning how they feel and identifying the needs of their small bodies. This is a busy year and they are busy little people. Keeping up with them is my joy, slowing them down to help them build those concentration skills, comforting them while they express their ever changing emotions, and providing them with many opportunities for learning is my work in the classroom. Sharing the toddler's individual discoveries, interests and developmental needs as I observe them is my work with their families. I have such empathy for the parent parting with their young child. I make it my goal to connect with every family, to ask questions and to share experiences. I am the window they view their child's day through; it's important that I am clear and open.

Creating the 'Nest' will be my summer's work. Creating materials and designing the space, making purchases and planning curriculum choices....these are some of my favorite things.
Providing Little One with an opportunity to get to know other children his age, social exploration and exposure to more Montessori materials than we can provide him here at home is pretty exciting to think about also. I'm sure I will post more on this topic over the next few months!

Matching Sets:
cut images from calendars, magazines or photos you take!
have color copies made
mat them on sturdy paper
laminate & cut
*These particular cards will also make wonderful conversation starters for young children.
Most importantly: Have fun, nurture YOUR creativity and enjoy your creations.
Your children are sure to enjoy them as much as you do!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

On the PEACE Wheel

Hello Everyone,
Mike Van a fellow Montessori teacher who I completed my training with, wrote me about an exciting project his school recently completed. I thought it would be of interest to all of you so I told him I would share it. Have you ever heard of the organization 'Free the Children'?
(I hadn't myself, until Mike sent me there). It's a wonderful organization! Wow! They do so much good for this world. Mike's school participated in recording a song called On the Peace Wheel and proceeds from the sale of their CD will go to supporting the Free the Children organization and the many children of this world that they care for. The song, On the Peace Wheel, represents the very real attainability of peace in the world. In the words of the children, “Why can’t we just share?” and “We all deserve a peaceful land.”

I am so proud to know Mike and would like to congratulate him and the children of Harbourview Montessori! I can't wait until my copy of their CD arrives. Wow! What a wonderful idea, please check it out when time allows you.

It's May Day!

Today's Art+Play: Making May Baskets!
I acted out the "ding & dash" concept using the classroom coat closet and pretending to be my Gramma answering the door. (The children really seemed to enjoy this part.)
The children decorated the paper and picked their flowers (assisting of course with the trimming of too long stems and ribbon cutting). Parents applied the contact paper and fashioned the paper into a cone shape. Deciding who they would surprise with their May Baskets was by far the best part. It was lovely listening to them chat with their parents about their choices as they left the classroom. I love May Day.

All day long I thought about the Montessori school the joy of May Day. I longed to stop by and join in the fun but resisted until the very end of the day. When I arrived a friend shared about the May Day festivities even before I could inquire. It made my heart smile to hear her stories of the children's tip toe adventures around the neighborhood like a pack of fairy folk. 
I've had a long and difficult week. My husband is away and parenting three children on my own is allot of work (and that is a major understatement!) My hat goes off to single parents everywhere! I could have written about all my complaints because there is a long list, but I'm writing about May Day. May Day is a day to surprise and delight. There is something magical about this day and being "thought of" always feels good when you're the recipient OR the gift giver. It's much nicer than complaining.
Random Acts...
When I went in to buy the flowers for today's craft I noticed an older woman sitting alone in her car, next to mine. When I returned about 15 minutes later she was still sitting there (I guessed, waiting for someone to come out of the store) she looked so tired. And I felt so tired, even though it was the beginning of my day. I put the bags in my car and started to back up to drive away. But then I stopped, pulled back into the space and got out. I gave the woman a flower.
"Happy May Day" I said to her
and she smiled,
"Thank you very much" she said.
She was obviously surprised but also very happy. I didn't know her and she didn't know me and it was a surprise, that's what May Day is all about. Random acts of kindness, to quote a bumper sticker.
It's a nice message to share with your children,
today and everyday.

Sorting Color Rings

Little Man enjoyed this morning's sensorial activity: Sorting Color Rings. It was easy make (and inexpensive too!)
Here's what you need:
a package of color rings
a three wooden peg
a basket for storing
Here's what you do:
Glue three different colored rings to the wooden peg surface to indicate which color ring belongs where (either a gradation of colors light to dark or three very different colors for example red, blue and yellow would be another great set of three to use. I only found blue and white rings in the clearance bin at the dollar store so...this is what I ended up with.
Next provide child with basket of mixed colors...and Viola!

(Please excuse the lack of rug, Little One has been moving table top activities to the floor these days and if I want the photo I've got to get it when I can...)
He made me smile when he added his Binky to the post! Too funny.

Today is Thursday!
I'll share today's Art + Play this afternoon.

Where in the World?


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