You can find many of our December themed activities in the following posts

I also have a review of “A Merry Montessori Christmas” by Aubrey Hargis.  This ebook is full of seasonal activities appropriate for the home and preschool class.

A Merry Montessori Christmas

Here are a few more December activities to round off the month!

Sensorial

December Scented Candles

Smelling and matching Christmas scented candles.  Use a blindfold for a fun challenge!

December Scented Candles 2

Language

I Have Who Has Christmas

We LOVE this “I Have Who Has” vocabulary development game from Kindergarten Squared

December Outline Matching

Matching Christmas erasers with their outlines.  That is some seriously shiny gold wrapping paper!

December Lotto

Here’s a Santa’s Lotto Game on our matching shelf.  Made by Teaching Preschoolers

December Metal Insets

Some holiday designs you can make using the Metal Insets

Math

December Counting 1-5

A simple 1-5 counting activity

Counting Jingle Bells 2

Counting bells using the control cards from Montessori Printshop

Counting Christmas Gifts 2

Counting Christmas Gifts using Christmas Tree number cards from One Room Schoolhouse

Snowman Board Game

Roll the dice and help the snowman get to the tree.  We made the little snowman using two white pompoms and some felt.  From Karen Cox (PreKinders)

Race to the North Pole Board Game

Another roll the dice game.  From Peace Love Learning.

Don’t miss our printable  December Activities on TpT:

Holiday Treats December Activities Bundle
Sunny Santa Math and Literacy Pack
Kwanzaa Preschool Pack
Hanukkah Preschool Pack 



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I’m honored to have Kelly Johnson on our blog today.  Kelly is a talented Montessori teacher, artist, and author.  She is passionate about expanding children’s experiences with nature.  If you’re a Montessori professional, you may have heard her speak at a Montessori conference, attended her recent AMS webinar, or read her articles in Montessori Life magazine.  It’s also likely that you own her gorgeous book, Wings, Worms, and Wonder. If you don’t already own the book, you can use our affiliate links to get it from Montessori Services or Amazon.  

Kelly has some great information to share with us today about how to make big nature connections even if you are in a small space.  She has also graciously made some of her lovely watercolor journal prompt cards available to Trillium readers for free!  Read through to the end to find out how to download them.  You’ll love them!

-Seemi


 

Big Nature Connections in Small Spaces

by Kelly Johnson

Connecting children with nature is often portrayed as this romanticized and grandiose thing, with children peacefully meandering around gorgeous edible school yards and professionally crafted outdoor classrooms, but for the majority of us, these scenarios are not the case. As teachers and parent teachers, we want to bring nature in and take the children out, but our classroom, school, or home environments (as beautifully as they may be prepared) simply may not offer much natural outdoor space. Perhaps the school is located in an urban environment where outside space is a commodity, maybe you are in a suburban rental location where altering the landscaping isn’t an option, or the funding to create and productively run a school garden just isn’t available. For those of you in limited natural space environments, never fear! Less outdoor space may actually help you in the quest to bring nature indoors in all seasons!

Big Nature COnnections In Small Spaces by Kelly Johnson

In my workshops, when I stress that all you need is a flower pot, a window, and a nature journal to spark wonder and connect children with their natural world, I am not exaggerating. The impressions made from a creative nature experience bursting with the teacher’s enthusiasm should never be underestimated! The key to helping children make successful connections, that keep wonder sparked and build relationships with local nature, rests on consistency. So, how can we incorporate nature into our classrooms on a daily basis?

 

How Do You Feel About Nature?

First, check in with yourself. We know that Maria Montessori puts huge importance on self preparation. How do you feel about nature today? How did you feel about it when you were the age of your students or children? What did you love most about nature as a child? Do you view your thumb as green? Assess your thoughts and feelings (without judgement) and embrace a beginners mind.

The best thing about trying something new with children is that we all become learners together! You have created a safe and inspiring learning environment for the students, so consider how you will prepare areas of that environment to embark on the journey of blending nature connection and Montessori education! If in doubt, remember what Rachel Carson (1956) said in her landmark work The Sense of Wonder,

Rachel Carson Quote

“If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder…he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in…for the child, and for the parent [teacher] seeking to guide him, it is not half so important to know as to feel.”

Start simply and don’t overlook the obvious. Examine your botany and practical life curricula. How could you bring more hands on nature to those lessons? Can you incorporate more plant care, seed, and leaf work?

Watering a plant

Instead of using tongs and pom poms, for example, use local nature materials the children may be familiar with from the playground or park.

I love three part cards as much as the next Montessori teacher, but when it comes to the botany curriculum, they are sometimes best abandoned for exploring real plants!

 

Nature Across the Curriculum

The cultural curricula present many opportunities for discovering history and geography through food at all levels. Elementary teachers, look to your economic geography and cosmic curricula. These areas are wellsprings of opportunity for integrating nature, food studies, and cooking. The Elementary level “Who Does the Farmer Need” lessons are a great place to start.

Explore ways that nature can be represented in math, geometry, and language. For example, label nouns from pictures of natural scenes, walk around the school grounds and have the children make lists of adjectives or noun families to describe their observations, write poetry, read stories about naturalists, grow the same plant in 2 different pots with 2 different types of soil and measure their growth rates, grow the same seeds in 2 pots and count, add, and subtract the numbers of sprouts. (Sunflower seeds are good for this because the seeds and sprouts are big for little hands.)

 

planting and documenting monocot and dicot explorations

 

As you reflect on the areas in which you can easily begin to integrate small nature into the classroom, consider Maria Montessori’s observation that “Harmonious interaction–when it exists, as in the child–represents the normal relationship that should exist between the individual and his surroundings. And this relationship is one of love” (Montessori, 1972).

When children are encouraged to attune with nature in ways applicable to their daily life, they become perceptive and sensitive to feeling nature beyond the visual, and can truly connect to, and love, their world and place in that world. Isn’t that a foundation of why we are Montessori teachers – to prepare the children for their world? When we incorporate nature connection, we educate for peace, in this case environmental peace, and prepare children for the safe and healthy future world they want.

Kelly Johnson Quote

 

The Nature Journal

So how do we tie all the diversity of nature and learning together in our classrooms? That is where the magic of the nature journal enters.

The nature journal is a time-tested way to document and assimilate nature experience and discovery. They’ve been used by some of humankind’s greatest thinkers, artists, naturalists, and scientists. How often are Maria Montessori’s observation journals referred to in her work? All the time, and they are priceless, just as a nature journal full of observations are to a child’s discovery to and connection with her natural world.

first grade journal

The journal is a place to document observations, information, and then assimilate discoveries in creative and scientific ways. Through journaling, patterns and observations discovered in nature that may have otherwise gone unnoticed or overlooked can be tracked and tied across learning. This type of pattern work enhances students’ connections to their local and wider natural world, while also serving the teacher as a fantastic anecdotal assessment tool. A single nature journal for each child can be used across all the subjects and I recommend be taken on most field trips. The journaling practice prompts children at each level make increasingly in depth discoveries.

 

 How to Use a Nature Journal

Here are a few examples of ways to incorporate nature journals across classroom learning in all weather and seasons. Each of these ideas can be modified appropriately. 3 and 4 year olds will need 1 on 1 assistance learning how to workin a journal with an adult, and will document using short prompts and mostly pictures. It is worth the effort to get young children used to the idea that a nature journal is a normal part of life and weave the practice of nature journaling into the fabric of your school.

leaf margin observationsExploring leaf margins

 

Children of all ages really enjoy having a place to draw what they see outside and providing them with a consistent place to record their feelings about their natural world is a huge start toward building a life long love of nature and validating the importance of our nature in daily life.

  • Grow a pot with a flower and have the children practice writing words or sentences about it in their journals using whatever grammar or language mechanics you are working with at the time. Also provide a botany research work on that flower.

phonetic example teacher journal entry

  • Have children look out the window each day for a week and document weather observations and predictions in their journals. Elementary students can then, create a chart using fractions to relay how often their predictions were correct based off their observations. Tie this into your functional geography cloud lessons.
  • Write seasonal stories or poetry and illustrate them based on observations made out the window, or within your outdoor environment, if you have one, using journal prompts. Young children can dictate stories about their prompted drawings.
  • Winter is a wonderful time to start a nature journal because it encourages us to connect with the outside when we may otherwise not. Study seasonal nature holidays and festivals from around the world and have the children celebrate them. Winter solstice is just around the corner and is a very concrete way to study day and night, seasonal changes, time and how humans have responded to seasonal shifts. Have the children journal about how their lives are different in winter and summer based on observations made when days are naturally shorter and longer.

ist grade winter journal page entry

  • Use the multiyear class grouping to track seasonal observations of a specific element, such as a tree, year to year in their journals. Get to know the local environment more consciously, by tracking: dates when leaves fall, birds migrate, flowers appear, rain is more plentiful, or where the sun and shadows fall. Then, students in their final year of a cycle create a school yard field guide or flyer to assimilate the pattern tracking. Only a window with a consistent view is needed for this!


We went out to examine the Red Bud trees outside our school and looked at how they changed during the seasons.  In this video, we’re playing a Simon Says game of touching different parts of the tree.

  • In the Elementary class, when teaching about the first life on the timeline, have a smoothie party and include blue green algae bought at the natural food store in the smoothie, you will be surprised how many children love it! Look at the blue green algae under a microscope and have them draw pictures of the cells in their journals.
  • When you work on South American continent maps, grow sweet potatoes in jars in the window. Track their growth in the journals and then make a sweet potato recipe to share at snack

Sprout carrot tops on the window sillor grow carrot tops any time of year!

The important thing is that you keep tying nature inspired lessons and experiences back to what you love most about nature. If you love whales, adopt and study everything through the lens of the whale. If you want to learn to grow lettuce, get a window box, grow lettuce and make salads. If you love trees, study the leaves and lore of the tree species in the neighborhood. If you love insects, bring as many into class as you can and see the world through a bugs eye view.

When you focus on what you love about the wild wonderful diversity in nature, ways to tie that wonder into each aspect of the work already on the shelf will readily present themselves. Start simply and embrace nature journalling as the practice that weaves nature into the children’s lives.

 Nature Journal Prompts (free printable)

To set you up for success on your journaling journey, I am offering the readers of the Trillium Montessori blog a free download of my new Nature Journal Prompt Cards!

Click here

to get your free printable nature journal prompts!

 

Also especially for you is a discount code for the Wings, Worms, and Wonder shop chock full of resources for weaving nature across the Montessori environment at school and home! Enter Trillium2014 on orders through 12/31/14!

nature prompt card example

 

 More Resources

To learn more about nature journaling with children, check out the posts from the Wings, Worms, and Wonder blog:

Fall Nature Journaling – inspiration for all season journaling

Nature’s Color Wheel – free lesson plan

Writing with your Senses – free lesson plan


 

About Kelly Johnson

Kelly Johnson

 Kelly Johnson is an artist, author, Montessori teacher, and children’s garden educator in Neptune Beach, Florida. Through her books, workshops, consultations, blog, and handmade garden accessories Kelly inspires children and adults to connect with their natural world through gardening and the arts.

Where to find Kelly:

Email her: info@wingswormsandwonder.com

Blog: wingswormsandwonder.com

Social Media:    Pinterest    Facebook     Instagram     Twitter

 

 Kelly Johnson, author of Wings, Worms, and Wonder

 



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I’ve been having fun creating monthly printable ebooks for seasonal Montessori activities this school year.  You can find the October and November ebooks on the subscriber page.  But it’s already December 5th and I don’t have one published for December yet.  Do you know why?  Because I found someone else who’s already made one!

I recently purchased “A Merry Montessori Christmas” by Aubrey Hargis and I just love it!  Aubrey is a friend of mine who blogs at Montessori Mischief.  If you are fairly new to Montessori, her blog is one of the first places you should visit. If you want more depth and are interested in incorporating Montessori principles at home, then I highly recommend you join her Montessori 101 Facebook group.  Aubrey is dedicated to authentic Montessori practice and is truly skilled at gently presenting Montessori ideas in an accessible manner.

A Merry Montessori Christmas

Aubrey’s “A Merry Montessori Christmas” is a 68 page ebook full of Montessori friendly seasonal activities perfect for the home or classroom.  Aubrey has included a lot of high quality photos to help you prepare the activities and has provided detailed but easy to follow instructions.

A Merry Montessori Christmas

For the Home

The activities in this ebook can be comfortably done at home.  The materials suggested are easy to find at this time of year and Aubrey’s instructions are simple to follow.  You will also get a lot of insight from the “Tips” and “Why it’s Montessori” sections at the end of each activity.  The following activities would be particularly fun in a home setting:

  • A Tree Just For Me
  • Gingerbread Cookie Playtime
  • Minty Playdough
  • Sewing an Ornament
  • Cookie Cutter Outlines
  • Glitter Paper Letters
  • Holiday Scavenger Hunt
  • Jingle Bell Fetch
  • One Hundred Stars

(and that’s just a few of the activities included in the book…!)

For the Classroom

All of the activities in a Merry Montessori Christmas are designed for and appropriate for the home.  The following activities are ones that I am planning to add to my classroom:

  • Ornament Scooping: perfect for the fine motor shelf!
  • Jingle tongs: more fine motor fun!
  • Pomander: sensory awesomeness and fine motor development all in one
  • Mystery stocking: great idea to use a Christmas stocking as a mystery bag!
  • Scent matching: who can resist Holiday scents?
  • Present wrapping: such a great practical life activity!

“A Merry Montessori Christmas” has 25 activities you can do with your preschooler.  All of the activities are designed to tap into the child’s need for sensory hands-on experiences.

I suspect you will have as much fun with these activities as your child will!

 

How to get “A Merry Montessori Christmas”

You can get your hands on Aubrey’s ebook from her website.  It is available for $4.99.

click-here-button1

Whether you’re a teacher or a parent, I think you will really enjoy this ebook.  You get so much for such a low price!

If you’re a Trillium Montessori blog subscriber, I have a special Christmas offer for you.  If you purchase “A Merry Montessori Christmas”, I will send you my “Holiday Treats” printable activities bundle for free.  [Why would I do that? Because I think Aubrey is doing amazing things for the Montessori world with her Montessori 101 Facebook group without any compensation whatsoever and I would like to express my appreciation for her efforts.  Are you guys with me?  Let’s do this!]

Holiday Treats Bundle Cover

If you buy the packs individually, they total $12.
Click here for product details.

The following activities are included in this bundle:

Holiday Treats Preschool Pack
Play dough mats
Cutting strips
Sorting by color
Sorting by size
Oral Language development: the question game
Oral language development: following directions
Matching cards: outlines
Matching cards: shadows

Holiday Treats Phonological Awareness Activities
Gingerbread Men Poem and Sequencing Cards
Rhyming Riddles
Matching Beginning Sounds
Matching Ending Sounds
Phoneme Segmenting and Blending Cards

Holiday Treats Literacy Activities
Upper and lower case matching
Initial letter clip cards
3-part phonetic reading cards
CVC word families
Themed story paper

How to get your free bundle:

  1. Purchase “A Merry Montessori Christmas” for $4.99 HERE  between December 5th-15th, 2014
  2. Fill out THIS FORM before December 15th, 2014
  3. Forward a copy of your “A Merry Montessori Christmas” receipt to Blog@Trilliummontessori.org
  4. I will email you a link to download the free bundle.  I have to do this part manually so please allow 48 hours for me to get the link to you.

***IMPORTANT: The free bundle offer expires on December 15th, 2014***



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Please welcome Aimee Fagan!  Aimee’s work on the Montessori Works Blog has been an inspiration to me for a long time.  Aimee is a trained Montessori teacher and she has some wonderful resources for the practical life area of the classroom.  She also writes about her experiences raising her children in a Montessori home.  Today she has some ideas to help you incorporate a practical life activity to get ready for the gift giving season!

-Seemi



 

Holiday Gifts Your child Can Sew Montessori Sewing Activities

Handmade gifts are the best!  The only thing that makes them better, is when they are made by children.

I strongly believe in the benefit of sewing with children. In my classroom, I have a sewing sequence that we follow, which not only develops sewing skills, but more importantly independence, concentration, coordination, and a sense of order.

Here are two super simple sewing projects that can be used for gifts and easily incorporated into the home or classroom. Now, if you are jumping into these with a relatively new sewer, you will need to be available to help, and guide, especially when it comes to threading the needle and tying the knots. But personally, I love the look of “child made” and I try to make sure that my sewing help is minimal (like making sure that the thread doesn’t completely tangle!)

To get started

you will need:

Needles — for early sewers I suggest blunt tapestry needles, then I move on to the sharper needles that still have a large eye.

Needle threaders – if you plan on incorporating sewing into your class and home, you must invest in a few of these!

Embroidery floss – We tie the loose ends together so there is no chance of the needle becoming unthreaded.

Scissors

Pincushion

All of the above in a cute little basket would make an adorable Holiday gift for a child interested in sewing!

 

A Set of Ornaments

 

Christmas Tree and Star Simple Sewing Projects for Young Children

The great thing about these is that they can be done by a child at almost any sewing stage. Obviously the youngest will need support, but it still results in a lovely homemade gift!

Materials:

  • Stars (or other holiday shape) cut from felt, I like to have the child make 2-3 per gift.
  • Beads and sequins with holes large enough for your needle (the sparklier the better)
  • Ribbon
  • Needle, embroidery floss, scissors, pincushion

Process:

  1. Start by helping the child get the needle threaded and the knot tied. If you are interested in lessons to help the child do this independently, see below.
  2. Have the child come through the felt and then pick a bead to put on the needle. Have them sew back down through the felt.
    Here is where your involvement comes into play with the younger sewer. My main goal is to help them not pull the thread so tightly that the felt shape becomes distorted – but otherwise I am very hands off, and allow the child to follow their ideas. The great aspect of this project is that the embroidery floss becomes part of the decoration as well, if you cut out Christmas trees, and used red floss, it’s now tinsel! I like the look of the white floss on the star.
  3. Continue to add beads until the ornament has been decorated to the child’s satisfaction, help the child tie a knot to finish.
  4. For adult or older independent sewer, cut a length of ribbon and attach it (either with a thread or a glue gun).
  5. Repeat for as many as needed!

 

Embroidered Dishcloth

Embroidered Dish Towel simple sewing projects for young children

 

This is a gift we make every Mother’s Day with out kindergarten students. It is for the more independent sewer, but can still be adapted for the beginner.

Materials:

  • Dish Towels, prewashed, dried, and lightly ironed. We always use these from Ikea
  • Embroidery hoops
  • Needle, embroidery floss, scissors, pincushion

Process:

  1. Trace the child’s hand onto the lower middle part of the towel.
  2. Attach the embroidery hoop.
  3. Have the child backstitch (or just stitch for the younger sewer) along the pencil line.
  4. When complete, we write the child’s name and the year on the edge of the towel.

 



 

Threading a Needle

This is how I teach a child to thread a needle. It is a long process, and it can take a child months to become an independent needle threader! Often the child needs help guiding their hands to get the needle threader through the eye of the needle. We usually incorporate this lesson into any other sewing work that we have out, rather than have a “needle threading” work on the shelf.

learnking how to thread a needle simple Montessori sewing projects for young children

Materials:

  • A pincushion or cork
  • A needle with a large eye
  • A needle threader
  • A precut length of thread
  • A magnet (optional, to hold the needle and needle threader)
  • A small dish for the magnet
  • A tray to hold the materials

Presentation:

  1. Invite the child to the lesson, take the tray to the table.
  2. Holding the needle, point out the eye and name it. I say, “This is the eye. It’s not like our eye, but it’s the same word.”
  3. Place the needle in the pincushion, showing that the eye is still upward.
  4. Take the needle threader in the dominant hand and slide the large hook through the eye — do not let go of the needle threader.
  5. Pick up the thread with the subdominant hand, and place it over the hook with about a two-inch tail at one end.
  6. Hold the needle at the base with the subdominant hand. Using the dominant hand that is still holding the needle threader, pull the hook of the needle threader back through the eye and until one end of the thread has come through the eye.
  7. Point out that there is an end of the thread on each side of the eye.
  8. Remove the thread, invite the child to try, helping as needed.

 

Tying a Knot to Finish

We have two ways to tie a knot, and both have their pros and cons. Practice both and see which works best for you. We present both: some children prefer one way and others another – and still others come up with a different way!

Similar to threading a needle, this is not a lesson that we always put out as an individual work. Some years children enjoy practicing, other times the material is hardly touched. If we don’t have it out as a lesson, we present this same lesson as part of the initial sewing lessons.

Again, this is a lesson that I usually do in an interactive fashion, rather than the traditional Montessori way of the teacher presenting the whole lesson, and then inviting the child. Since it is so complex, I find that children tend to master it faster if we do it together, and I use my hands to guide them — hand over hand.

Materials:

  • A pincushion or cork
  • A needle with a large eye
  • A needle threader
  • Embroidery floss wrapped on a plastic bobbin
  • A pair of scissors
  • A magnet (optional, to hold the needle and needle threader)
  • A small dish for the magnet
  • A tray to hold the materials

Presentation I:

  1. Invite the child to the lesson, take the materials to the table.
  2. Measure the thread and cut. We use the measurement on the length of the table or the length of the child’s arm — it ends up begin about 20 inches. Based on your environment, you can adjust your method of measuring the thread.
  3. Thread the needle as described in the previous lesson.
  4. Remove the needle from the pincushion.
  5. Bring the ends of the thread together so that they are even and the needle is in the middle of the thread.learning how to tie a knot simple Montessori sewing projects for young children
  6. In the dominant hand, pinch the ends of the thread.learning how to tie a knot simple Montessori sewing projects for young children 2
  7. Add the eye of the needle to the pinched ends in the dominate hand.learning how to tie a knot simple Montessori sewing projects for young children 3
  8. With the subdominant hand, grasp the floss in the middle.learning how to tie a knot simple Montessori sewing projects for young children 4
  9. With the subdominant hand, wrap the floss around the needle three times.learning how to tie a knot simple Montessori sewing projects for young children 5
  10. Now hold the tip of the needle with the subdominant hand.
  11. Slide the dominant hand’s grip up to include the thread that was wrapped around the needle.
  12. Holding the tip of the needle with the subdominant hand, slide the dominant hand (which is holding the wrapped thread, the eye of the needle and the end of the thread) off the end of the needle and to the end of the thread.
  13. Cut the knot and return the materials to the tray, or start sewing.

Here is the whole process in motion:

 



Presentation II:

  1. Invite the child to the lesson, take the materials to the table.
  2. Measure the thread and cut. We use the measurement on the length of the table or the length of the child’s arm — it ends up begin about 20 inches. Based on your environment, you can adjust your method of measuring the thread.
  3. Thread the needle as described in the previous lesson.
  4. Remove the needle from the pincushion.
  5. Bring the ends of the thread together so that they are even and the needle is in the middle of the thread.learning how to tie a knot simple Montessori sewing projects for young children 6
  6. Lay the end of the thread in the palm of the subdominant hand.learning how to tie a knot simple Montessori sewing projects for young children 7
  7. Pinch down with the fingers to hold the thread, leaving the thumb sticking up.learning how to tie a knot simple Montessori sewing projects for young children 8
  8. Wrap the thread around the thumb.
  9. Use the needle to sew under the thread.learning how to tie a knot simple Montessori sewing projects for young children 9
  10. Carefully remove the knot from the thumb.learning how to tie a knot simple Montessori sewing projects for young children 10
  11. Gently coax the loop down to the end of the thread
  12. Pull the knot tight.

This is the easiest method of tying a knot, but unfortunately the knot isn’t very large, and often the child tightens it in the middle of the thread, so they can’t sew for very long without rethreading.

I hope that these ideas inspire you to make some wonderful gifts this holiday season.


 About Aimee Fagan

Aimee Fagan of the Montessori Works Blog

Aimee is a 3-6 trained teacher who works in Charlottesville, Va and blogs at Montessori Works. She is in the final stages of publishing a book outlining a sewing curriculum for the Montessori classroom. If you are interested in more Montessori sewing lessons and projects, hop over to Montessori Works and subscribe to the email list. You will be the first to know when her Montessori sewing book is published!

 



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Introducing Trillium en Espanol

by Seemi on November 26, 2014

in Cultural

I’m excited to announce the launch of Trillium en Espanol!  I am collaborating with my dear friend Rachel Kincaid to translate as many of my TpT products as possible into Spanish.

Trillium en Espanol

 

About Rachel

Rachel and I have been friends for many years.  I first met her when I began doing some field consultant work for the Center for Guided Montessori Studies.  She handled the back end work in their office at that time.  Once she decided to do the Montessori training herself, she joined me at Trillium to do her internship and was our very first employee!

Rachel World Map

Rachel then moved on to start a Spanish immersion Montessori program with Marc Seldin.  She is now the head of school at Renaissance Montessori.

About Trillium en Espanol

I have been creating printable materials for my classroom here at Trillium Montessori for the past couple of years.  Most of these printables are designed to be changed out with the seasons so the children can continue to practice basic skills.

Rachel is working on translating these printables into Spanish.  We’re hoping that those of you who work in Spanish Montessori classrooms (or homeschools!) will find them useful.

If you’re not already familiar with the Trillium Montessori line of products on TpT, we have the following categories:

  • Preschool Packs that include basic skills like cutting, matching, color and size sorting, prepositions, oral language development, etc.
  • Phonological Awareness Packs that cover essential pre-reading skills such as rhyming, syllables, phonemic awareness etc.
  • Continent Packs which provide some unique materials to add to your Montessori continent studies
  • Mini Units which help you add Montessori friendly activities to your thematic units

We will be uploading the translated Spanish Montessori printables into our brand new Teachers Pay Teachers store as they are ready.   http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Trillium-En-Espanol

Trillium en Espanol Montessori printable Materials in Spanish

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Today I’m excited to welcome Tanya Wright to the blog!  She is sharing some information about the Montessori Baric Tablets.  This is an elegant Montessori activity that you don’t hear about much, which is unfortunate because it’s an important part of the Montessori sensorial curriculum.
 
The senses are the child’s window to the world; it is through them that he gathers information about his environment.  The sensorial materials and presentations help the child make sense of the sensory impressions he is taking in.   “The training and sharpening of the senses has the obvious advantage of enlarging the field of perception and of offering an ever more solid foundation for intellectual growth.  The intellect builds up its store of practical ideas through contact with, and exploration of, its environment.  Without such concepts the intellect would lack precision and inspiration in its abstract operations.” – Maria Montessori, Discover of the Child.
 
-Seemi



 

Hello, my name is Tanya. My blog is The Natural Homeschool and I feel very privileged to be a guest writer for Trillium Montessori and share our experience with the wonderful Baric Tablets.
 
Baric Tablets… beautiful work that isn’t appreciated or used enough, maybe because it isn’t quite as known as other more popular activities. Maria Montessori knew that this work was important to include in the Sensorial material for a reason. It teaches some very important skills that we will discuss here.
 
Why should we love and encourage this work? Read on and find out.
 



Baric Tablets are a wonderful work to encourage learning about and recognizing weight.



The materials you need:

- Three wooden boxes with seven tablets in each box (some companies offer boxes with 6 tablets instead of seven)

- A table or a mat



Vocabulary:

light, medium, heavy, heavier, heaviest, lighter, lightest


Specifications:

Each wooden box has seven tablets made out of wood (about 3 inches long). 

The seven tablets in each box are the same size, but they are made out of different woods. 

Each box has seven tablets. The first box has tablets that weigh 12 grams. The second box has tablets that weigh 18 grams and the third box’s tablets weigh 34 grams. Some companies make tablets that weigh 20, 30 and 40 grams.



Note: In all reality, I am a homeschool mom and two things you learn when you move from the Montessori classroom to the Montessori homeschool room is to be flexible and creative. If you want to make these at home, but don’t know what woods to use, don’t worry. As long as you can obtain three woods that are obviously light, medium and heavy in weight, you are good to go.




Presentation:

* The first time this presentation is done, the child has his eyes open. The second time, his eyes will be closed.
- This work is supposed to be done at a table, but since our table is not large enough in the homeschool room, then we use a mat and do it on the floor.

- Invite the child who will be working with you to bring the boxes to the table or mat.

- The child is then instructed to put his hands out (as if receiving a gift), palms facing up.

- Place one light tablet on one hand and ask child to move his hand up and down, as to gauge the weight of the tablet.

- Place one heavy tablet on the other hand and ask the child to move his hand up and down gently.

- Take the light tablet off and place another heavy tablet on that hand. If he realizes that they both weigh the same, then ask him to place them together on the table or mat.

- The child can try this again with two lighter tablets. If the child realizes that they are the same weight, then he can place them on the table or mat.

- Continue placing the tablets with matching weights in rows (light, medium, heavy). Continually, use the vocabulary words  mentioned above.






Extension: Do the same activity, but this time, the child has his eyes closed.



The goal of this work is to let the child become aware of weights and how things can weigh differently. Baric sense is very important as is sitting still long enough to focus on recognizing whether the two tablets held are of same weight or not.



The control of error is usually the color of the wood. The set that we have at home is harder to recognize due to color, which helps with becoming more in tune with the weight and not the color, which is great, in my opinion. The point of this work is to engage in recognition of weight differences.



I hope your children enjoys this work as much as mine do. They have asked for it several times. 



Here are some other resources that you might find helpful. It would be wise to note that there are always variations in the materials and presentations. I like to stick to my Montessori training binders, but doing what works best for your family is the most important thing. Montessori World, Info Montessori, Montessori Commons.





Please feel free to visit us over at The Natural Homeschool for more Montessori and Montessori-Inspired activities. Also, follow us on Facebook, Pinterest, Google + and to subscribe to our weekly emails.




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A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A MONTESSORI TODDLER

by Simone Davies

A Day in the Life of a Montessori Toddler



It is so fun to be back guest blogging here for Trillium Montessori. Thanks for having me visit, Seemi.

I always say that Montessori is not just an educational philosophy but a way of life. So I thought it would be fun to delve into the photo archives to show you what a day in the life of a Montessori toddler was like in my house.

My children are now 13 and 12 years old so it has been really fun to put this together for you!

The timings are just approximates. The timing changed from day to day but we had the same basic routine almost every day – toddlers like to know what is happening next! But it also gives you an idea how slowly everything happened. The other thing you will notice is the children are invited to join in all our daily activities. My favourite part is still just hanging out with these two!

6:30am/7:00am Wake up time

The children shared a room until they were in their teens so if one of them woke up it wasn’t long before there were two wakeful children. I’d often find them chatting in bed or out of bed playing with the few toys in their room or reading books.

Emma is sleeping here in a junior toddler bed from Ikea that she could climb out of by herself.

1 Wake Up

8:00am Breakfast time

Toddlers eat a lot. We would make a 3 course breakfast together starting with some cereal like Weetbix, then some fruit, followed by yogurt. The children would help me set the table and we always put out a small jug so they could pour their own milk.

I like to eat main meals at the family dining table so the children would just kneel on their chairs to reach the table. We would chat about what we were planning to do that day, watch what was going on out the window, and inevitably there were spills which the children would help wipe up.

8:30am Get dressed

The children enjoyed choosing their own clothes. I would sit on the floor to help Emma while Oliver would mostly get himself dressed. Some days this took a very long time. Ideally there is no hurry with toddlers in the house.

2 Get Dressed

9:00am Feed the fish

A fish is a great first pet. We kept the tank on the shelf at child-height so the children could watch it. At feeding time, we would put a small amount of food into an egg cup for them to pour into the tank. A custom glass lid stopped little fingers playing in the water.

3 Feeding the Fish

9:15am Head out for a morning activity

Shoes on! In the entrance we had some small chairs where the children could sit to put on their shoes. Velcro is perfect for little ones trying to dress themselves.

4 Putting on Shoes

9:30am Montessori playgroup (or other activity)

Once a week we would attend a Montessori playgroup for toddlers and parents. Here is Oliver setting the table for snack time.

5 Playgroup

Other days we would attend a music class, visit the grandparents, head to the beach or the park or playground.

12:00pm Make lunch

We would mostly have a simple lunch of sandwiches or cheese on toast. The children like to take turns on the step ladder to make their own (clothing optional!).

6 Making Lunch

12:15pm Lunchtime

The children would carry their lunch to the table and sit with me to eat together. I still love meal times to talk about everything and anything. These two are such sweet company.

7 Lunchtime

12:30pm Naptime

There was generally a quiet time in our house for around an hour and a half. When Oliver got older, he would just read quietly in bed while Emma napped. There was even a time when I practised tai-chi while they were resting to get enough energy to get through the afternoon.



2:30pm Out and about again

Some days we would stay at home in the afternoon, but many days we would head out and about again.

On sunny days, some of things we did were: exploring the park (including blowing dandelions), watering the plants, or taking some duplo and a blanket outside.

8 Outside Fun 1

Or if we were feeling like going further afield, we went for a short bush walk or went to the local train station to wave at the train drivers.

9 Outside Fun 2

Some inside options we enjoyed were heading to the art gallery or, once a week, visiting two ladies in a nursing home as part of a volunteer program.

10 Inside Fun 1

And if we didn’t even leave the house, we would get busy baking or get out some paints for an afternoon of craft.

11 Inside Fun4:00pm Snack time

Thechildren would eat their snack at a small child-sized table by the window. Here is Emma enjoying some apple. We always used regular plates and glasses – I don’t like eating off plastic and the children learn to take care and carry the plate with two hands.

12 Snack Time

Sometimes we had some visitors wanting to join us for a snack. Feeding birds with young toddlers is so much fun.

13 Feeding Birds

4:30pm Help mum

In a family with young children there is always a lot of washing. So Montessori  children get to help. Here Oliver has emptied the bucket of pegs and is trying on Dad’s t-shirt. It takes longer, requires some more patience, but involves them in our daily life.

14 Helping Mum

5:30pm Dinner time

Dinner time can be a messy affair. Cloths are at the ready for meal time clean up.

15 Dinner Time

6:00pm Bath time

And the best part about getting dirty at dinner, is getting clean in the bath. Such special times. Squeaky toys, small watering cans and sponges added to the fun.

16 Bath Time

6:30pm Story time

Our favourite part of the bed time ritual was jumping into the big bed to read books together. It wasn’t always such a peaceful scene though – often a lot of trampolining on the bed too.

17. Reading Books

7:00pm Bed time

It’s been another busy day. Good night all. It’s not long before they are both asleep and softly snoring.

18. Night Night

About Simone Davies

Simone Davies loves putting Montessori into practice. She is a qualified 0-3 Montessori teacher through the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) and mother of two children who attended Montessori preschool and primary school. She is from Australia and lives in the Netherlands where she runs a Montessori playgroup for babies, toddlers and preschoolers in Amsterdam. Visit her website here: www.jacarandatreemontessori.nl/blog.

19. Simone Davies

 

 


Where to Find Supplies

Many of the things you will need to make your home more Montessori and child friendly can be found easily at places like the Dollar Store, Target, and Walmart.  You can also find a great selection of tools at For Small Hands, a company founded by a Montessori teacher.


 

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The Connected Family

by Seemi on November 7, 2014

in Montessori Home

I’m so excited to introduce you to my friend Kim Hughes today!  Kim has been a master teacher, mentor and leader for many many years.  Although she’s not a Montessorian, her approach to discipline works very well with Montessori.  She is a certified Conscious Discipline ® Loving Guidance Associate, personally trained by Dr. Becky Bailey.
-Seemi



by Kim Hughes

Building Positive Parent-Child Relationships with a New Approach to Discipline and Intentional Parenting

Connecting with our children should be our highest priority.  As parents, we can build a connected family in many ways, from spending quality time together to seeing the world from our children’s perspective; from noticing their interactions with others to listening to their thoughts and ideas; from setting firm yet respectful limits to loving them unconditionally.  Each of these elements solidifies the child’s trust in the family relationship.

Parents across the country have been enjoying the fruits of a new approach to discipline: positive discipline methods built on the principles of Conscious Discipline®.  Built on the latest in brain research and work in early childhood development, Conscious Discipline works in even the most challenging of situations.  One major difference from other discipline methods?  Conscious Discipline prompts parents to develop discipline within children rather than applying discipline to them.

 

The Connected Family

 

Tips on How to Build Positive Parent-Child Relationships with Conscious Discipline®

 

1.     Make time to truly focus on your children.

Don’t plan to be there for your children only during the good moments, but during ALL the moments, even when the going gets tough! Be an eyewitness to your children’s lives.  Be fully present by giving both your interest and full attention to your children rather than multi-tasking.  Make the decision to be accessible even when your life feels hectic.

Children know when you are genuinely with them.   Connect with your child by taking a walk, reading a book, creating a special ritual, or sharing a funny story.   Time spent with your children should be a sacred priority of parenthood.  Your presence is the greatest present you can give!

 

2.    Change your “don’ts” to “do’s”.

Conscious Discipline reminds us that what we focus on, we get more of… so if you focus on what you don’t want your children to do, you tend to get more of the same.  Children have a very hard time taking a “don’t request” and turning it around to a “do action.”  How many times have you heard someone say “don’t hit,” yet the hitting continues?  Children look to the adults in their lives to teach them the correct responses to challenging situations.  Be specific about the behavior you would like to see.  For instance, say, “Talk to him if you are upset. Hitting hurts.”  Capitalize upon these occasions to utilize conflict as an opportunity to teach children missing skills rather than reprimand them for not knowing what to do.

 

3.    Teach the behavior you want to see.

Children need a lot of time and practice to learn new skills.  The best time to teach your child how to handle conflict or social interactions is when he’s calm and can hear what you’re saying.  Work on his skills before the next conflict or social situation occurs.  How?  Explain what your child can do when he’s conflicted, frustrated, or angry, rather than what not to do.  Be calm, patient, firm, and crystal clear in your expectations.  Model the appropriate behavior yourself.

 

4.    Learn the QTIP rule: Quit Taking It Personally.

Strong feelings can conjure up strong behavior.  Your child’s intense reaction is truly not about you, it is about your child’s inability to control herself.  Often she becomes tangled up in her emotions and has temporarily lost her ability to understand and express her emotions in a positive manner.  Feeling hurt and taking this behavior personally can keep you from responding in a thoughtful fashion and supporting her transition to a state of composure and self-control.

 

5.    Keep your cool.

Be the type of person you want your children to become by modeling composure.  Take a deep breath and tell yourself, “I can handle this! Keep breathing,” over and over until you compose yourself.  Let your hurt and anger go, consciously quiet your voice,  and think through how to calmly and constructively respond rather than simply react.  Reframe your thinking and instead of simply trying to make your child stop a particular behavior, ask yourself, “What can I do to help him choose to take this action instead?”

 

6.    Offer choices.

Choices empower children while giving them a sense of control.  Additionally it grants you the ability to direct those choices.  You might offer choices such as …

  • “It’s snack time! Would you like string cheese or a small container of yogurt?”
  • “Let’s put on your jacket.  Do you want to have the zipper open or the zipper closed?”

 

7.    Encourage, encourage and then encourage some more.

Seek to be an active participant in your child’s everyday successes and struggles. Your encouragement during good times and bad will allow your children to see themselves as good people capable of good things.  Knowing you are fully supportive empowers them to focus on what they can do, not what they cannot.  Use verbiage like “You did it! You picked up your toys.” rather than just “Good job!” so they hear detailed information about specific successes.

 

8.    Effective praise relies on describing; notice instead of judge.

Notice and genuinely comment on appropriate behavior throughout the day.  Describe what you specifically see children doing by almost painting a picture of what you notice.  For instance, “You gave your sister a turn, so she could play with the toy.  That was helpful.”  Children quickly live up to our expectations of them.  When you notice appropriate behavior and genuinely comment on it, children will begin to exhibit more of it.

 

9.    Reclaim your parent power.

Children need and want boundaries and limits — these make them feel safe, secure, and loved. Setting limits provides children with guidance before they get into trouble as they know from the beginning what is expected.  Firm control and simple, clear-cut reasons for limits are effective ways to help children build inner control and establish the beginnings of a conscience

 

10.  Mistakes are how we learn.

Mistakes create another rich opportunity to learn.  Refrain from “saving” your child from the consequences of her actions.  Help her learn to handle frustrations and disappointment by offering support and empathy.  Compassion allows children a chance to step back, take a breath, and claim responsibility for their actions so they can move forward.

By fully exploring social relationships,interacting with people, and manipulating objects, your child will formulate ideas, try these ideas out, and accept or reject what she learns. By exploring and then trying out a hypothesis, and finally, solving problems, children make learning personal and meaningful.

Constructing knowledge by making mistakes is part of the natural process of problem solving.  The discoveries your child makes within both the mistake-making process and then the problem-solving process provides the vehicle for her learning.

 *****

Remember that parenting is a journey … Enjoy the ride as it is one that is filled with ups and downs.  Use Conscious Discipline® to create a fundamental shift of power in your family so that intrinsic motivation, helpfulness, problem-solving and genuine connection govern your home.

 



 

About Kim Hughes, M.Ed.

kim-hughes

Kim is a 30+ year veteran of early care and education, Kim served as North Carolina’s 1999-2000 Teacher of the Year. In 2011 she began Conscious Connections, an educational firm that helps parents, teachers, administrators, and child care providers harness positive discipline techniques and cutting-edge early childhood research to create rewarding relationships and positive learning environments for children.
Kim continues working with children via ongoing mentoring, modeling, and coaching. She currently trains educators and families throughout North Carolina, the United States and Canada. In 2010 she received her certification as a Conscious Discipline® Instructor and was elevated to the national level in 2012 and to the LGA level in 2013. She is available to conduct educational keynotes and workshops nationally as well as to coach/mentor in the Raleigh and Central NC area. Feel free to contact her at kim@GetMeCC.com. Check out her website at www.GetMeCC.com.


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