Tuesday, 29 July 2014

In The Classrooms With....Our Three Year Olds ~ Part 2

This is the last post in a series of posts about the work of our students in our classrooms.  This post is the second part of a post about the work of our three year olds.  The children in these photographs, which were taken during the months of January to June, are in their first year of the Montessori casa (preschool) three year curriculum.  These children will all turn four in this calendar year and are considered preschoolers.

Taking Home A Reading Book
In the Montessori Language curriculum, children are not taught the names of the letters of the alphabet.  They are taught the first sound that each letter makes with the Sandpaper Letters.

The Sandpaper Letters

This material helps the child associate the sounds of speech with their written symbol.  Lessons are given individually and each child works through the letters at their own pace.  When a child knows all of his/her sounds, s/he begins work with the Large Moveable Alphabet and Pink Object Boxes as described in previous posts.

The Large Moveable Alphabet

The Pink, Blue and Green Object Boxes

Spelling Words

Independent reading begins to develop at this time. When a child is able to read individual words, they are given a reading book to take home.

This is quite a momentous occasion in our classrooms and all of the children are truly happy and proud of their classmate. It is always lovely to see fellow classmates congratulate the new reader on his/her accomplishment.  Of course the child with the reading book couldn't be happier.

Introduction to Teens

In part one of this blog post, two exercises illustrated the young child's introduction to numbers to ten.  Once a child is able to associate quantity and symbol for numbers zero to ten, the decimal system and the teens and tens are introduced concurrently.

In the following photographs, three year old E. is working with the Teens material.  The primary purpose of this material is to associate the names 'eleven' to 'nineteen' with their quantities and symbols. 

E. is taking the bead bars out of the box.

This material consists of nine different bead bars called the Short Bead Stair.  They range in length from one bead to nine beads.  Each bead is a different colour.  It also consists of nine golden ten bead bars.

The Teens Material

E. begins by forming the Short Bead Stair in the shape of a triangle.  The base (the one bead bar) is on the top.

Forming the Short Bead Stair

Forming the Short Bead Stair

Laying out the Ten-Bead Bars

The child then sets out one ten-bead bar and sets out the one bead to the right of it to make eleven.  The child continues with twelve and thirteen.  The teacher gives the child a three period lesson on these names.  If the child shows interest, three more numbers can be introduced.  If not, the numbers can be introduced at another time.  

Birthday Circle

Birthdays are an important part of a young child's life and they are celebrated in the Montessori classroom.  All of the child's classmates come together to celebrate the life of the birthday child.  A stool and candle are placed in the middle of the circle.  The candle represents the sun.  The months of the year are set out around the sun.  The birthday child holds the globe.  His/her teacher tells the story of the child's life while the child walks around the sun the same number of years they have been on the Earth. 

Walking Around the Sun

The birthday child receives birthday wishes from each classmate. These wishes are so adorable!  At the end of the circle, the children sing 'Happy Birthday'.  The birthday child blows out the candle.

Blowing Out The Candle

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.

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.

N. Is building The Pink Tower

 The Button Frame

The Button Frame is part of the Practical Life area of the Montessori classroom.  These activities are the first activities a child is introduced to when they begin their Montessori education. These activities - pouring, sweeping, hanging clothes on a hook, setting out a place setting and many more - allow the child to try doing the things they see the adults around them doing.  These activities fall into three categories.  The Dressing Frames fall into the category of Care of Oneself or Self Development.

The purpose of the Button Frame is to help the child develop co-ordination and independence.

Working With The Button Frame

Our Youngest Student

Our youngest student began with us in January and turned three in this calendar year.  She is a little camera shy. When she sees the camera she says "No thank you."  We did manage to snap some photos of her.

Making a Snowman

Baking Cookies on Pajama Day

Working with the Spindle Boxes

I hope you have enjoyed reading about the work the children are doing in the classrooms.  They are consistently busy and we are so proud of their efforts and their accomplishments.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

In The Classrooms With....Our Three Year Olds ~ Part 1

This is the penultimate post in a series of posts about the work of the children in our classrooms.  This post is about the three year olds.  The children in these photographs, which were taken during the months of January to June, are in their first year of the Montessori casa (preschool) three year curriculum.  These children will all turn four in this calendar year and are considered preschoolers.

The Spindle Boxes

The Spindle Boxes are part of the Mathematics area of the classroom.  They are one of the early Mathematics activities introducing units of quantity zero to nine.  The Spindle Boxes consist of a box of forty-five wooden spindles and two separate trays labelled one through four and five through nine.  The trays are placed side by side to form a single tray of ten partitions 0 to 9.  The Spindle Boxes have many aims – to show that numbers are a collection of separate objects, to introduce zero, to illustrate that the symbols 0 to 9 are all the only ones needed for arithmetic.

In the following photographs, three year old M. is working with the Spindle Boxes.  He has read the numbers on the partitions and set out all forty-five spindles.  When doing this work, M. counts out the number of spindles he needs, grasps them in his hand, and places them in the correct section.  He continues doing this until the work is complete.

The Spindle Boxes In Progress

Counting Seven Spindles

Placing the Spindles In the Correct Section

Seven Spindles

Ready for Number Eight

Cards and Counters

The Cards and Counters exercise is also an early Mathematics exercise.  This material can be made by a teacher and consists of a box/basket of fifty-five small objects or ‘counters’ and a box/basket contained cards on which are written the numbers 1 to 10.  We often change the ‘counters’ with the seasons.  These red hearts were set out for Valentine’s Day.  The aim of this exercise is to reinforce the sequence of numbers from one to ten and to once again show that numbers are a collection of separate objects.   The child can also be introduced to the concept of odd and even with this material.

In the following photographs, three year old M. is working with the Cards and Counters.  She places the number cards 1 to 10 from left to right in order across the top of the mat.  She then places the appropriate number of counters under each number.  The counters are placed in columns of pairs.
Setting Out The Counters

A Completed Exercise

To introduce the concept of odd and even, the child is invited to run their finger down the centre of each column of pairs.  If their finger hits a counter, this number is odd.  If their finger moves right through, this is an even number.  All counters are paired in even numbers, while odd numbers will have one unpaired counter.

Even Numbers

Odd Numbers

The Hundred Board

The Hundred Board consists of a board divided into one hundred squares and a box with wooden tiles numbered one to one hundred.  This material challenges the child to order individual numbers to one hundred.  This material can be worked with in many ways.  The tiles can first be organized into piles 1 to 10, 11 to 20 etc.  The child then takes one pile at a time and organizes the numbers on the board.  Another way is to leave all of the tiles in the box, randomly choose one and place it on the board.  A bag can also be used.   The child takes out a tile and places it on the board.

Recently turned four year old S. has been working with the Hundred Board since the fall.  In the following photographs, S. is the child on the left of the mat.  He is working with his sister and his good friend.  This is a great example of children of different ages working together.  In these photographs we have children in their first, second and third year of the Montessori program all working together.

Working Together

S. can count and write his numbers to one hundred.

Writing Numbers 1 to 100

A Close-Up

The Pink Object Boxes and the Large Moveable Alphabet

The Pink, Blue and Green Reading Schemes were described in detail in our posts In The Classrooms With…Our Five Year Olds and In the Classrooms With …Our Four Year Olds. The Pink Scheme consists of two and three letter phonetic words such as bun and peg.  Please note that the children in these photographs are reading independently and have their own reading books which they take home at the end of each day.

In these photographs, recently turned four year old D. is sounding out and spelling the words found within a Pink Object Box. 

Spelling the Pink Box Words

Reading and Matching the Reading Cards

Reading and Matching the Reading Cards

Reading and Matching the Reading Cards

The Object Boxes can also be used as a reading and writing exercise.  Four year old M. has worked extensively with the Pink Object Boxes and the Large Moveable Alphabet.  In the following photographs, M. is making a book of the objects found within the box she has selected.

Matching the Objects and Reading Cards

A Page From the Book

Our final post in this series, In The Classrooms With....Our Three Year Olds ~ Part 2, coming soon.