Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Sensorial Materials - The Pink Tower

The Pink Tower is part of the Sensorial area of the Montessori classroom.  This area of the classroom helps to develop the child's senses.  The Pink Tower is an early Sensorial exercise.  The main purpose of this material is to help develop the child's visual discrimination of differences in three dimensions.  It also helps in the development of fine muscular coordination.

N. is building The Pink Tower

This material consists of ten pink wooden cubes varying in size and differing equally in all dimensions by one centimetre.  The child is asked to bring The Pink Tower to a mat.  Each cube is taken individually and placed randomly on a mat.  The teacher then begins to build the tower vertically beginning with the largest cube.  Once the tower has been built, the child and teacher examine the tower from all sides. The tower is dismantled cube by cube.  The child is then offered a turn.

Friday, 9 August 2013

Itsy Bitsy Spiders ~ Nature in Our Outdoor Classroom

At our little yellow school, we have two large outdoor playgrounds. Both are natural spaces with grass, mature trees and vegetable and flower gardens. The playgrounds are also teeming with nature ~ rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, a groundhog, various birds, snails, butterflies, ladybugs and grasshoppers frequent our playgrounds.  One winter a woodpecker was a frequent visitor, pecking holes in our pine trees. We have even seen a baby fox! Each season brings changes to our outdoor spaces and provides the children with many opportunities to explore and establish a bond with nature. They are our outdoor classrooms.

One fine June day, the children discovered something they had never seen before. Excited by their find, they came running to their teachers to show them.

Can you guess what they found?

It was an egg sac of spiderlings! The following are pictures of the sac 'exploding' with the spiderlings dispersing away from each other on little silken threads. (If you would like a closer look, click on the individual pictures to enlarge them.)

We did a little research and discovered that these spiderlings were most likely Common Garden Spiders.

Throughout our outdoor time that day, the children continued to observe the hatching spiderlings. Not once did any of them disturb the unfolding of nature. It is the little experiences in nature, such as watching spiderlings hatch, that remind us of just how beautiful and awe inspiring the natural world truly is.