Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Importance of Movement in Montessori

MOVEMENT:
an act of changing physical location or position, or of having this changed.

Movement in Montessori

I watched a video online a few weeks ago - Youtube, Vimeo, I can't remember which one, about a Montessori class in action. I love to watch the children in a classroom - it does  not look the same as a montessori homeschool. There is a different atmosphere, and although I don't covet it - I enjoy my homeschool - it is neat to watch. I came across a video that was of a young girl attempting to do a work (the stamp game) that she was not ready for. This particular video struck me immediately, because her reaction is one I've commonly seen with my Bug, though for different reasons sometimes - she burst in to tears. 

The mother in me wants to comfort her, the teacher in me wants to guide her - and the woman in me generally has no idea which one I should do first. Maybe that doesn't sound very *montessori* - but it's true. I watched the teacher guide her away, as the little girl wiped tears from her face, and give her some instructions - ones I couldn't hear very clear. I watched as the little girl took off, then showed back up on the camera laying out a rug and the pieces of the pink tower. After doing so, she reported back to the teacher, who told her to lay out another rug, this time next to her, on the opposite side of the room from the initial work. I'm sure you are probably figuring out where this is going - she trecked back and forth 10 times to bring the tower pieces to the original rug, then back and forth ten more times to build the tower on the rug next to the teacher. By the time she was finished, the tears were gone, and replacing them was an accomplished smile and confidence in her independence. 

There were many factors, I believe, that helped this little girl overcome her disappointment and move on. The work was something she could do, there was an element of something new possibly, if this was the first time to do that kind of extension, and there was a great deal of movement. I can't be certain, but I think the movement had a two-fold purpose. There is a need for movement in children, and if you don't believe that, have one sit for 45 minutes-1 hour in a church service - you'll be a firm believer afterwards! While meeting her need for movement, it is also played a role in taking her mind off what she couldn't do, while showing her what she could do. 

HOW THIS WORKS FOR ME

fast-forward

We were at the library, for something that was taking longer than I expected. Buddy Boy didn't have a nap that day - he usually doesn't - but we usually don't find ourselves out and about at 5:00. When we are at home, he can sit and relax and not get overtired. At the library, things were a little different, he was getting tired, and fighting it, which became a restlessness. I was trying to think of something to do, when I remembered the video. I grabbed a wooden puzzle, took the pieces out, and placed them on a table on one side of the kids area. Then, walked back to the other side and asked him if he wanted to play a game. We played the extension, with a puzzle instead of the pink tower. One puzzle turned in to two, then in to playing with another boy and his mind was distracted and no longer was he restless (and getting in to trouble)


fast-forward

Two days ago, Bug was having a hard time finding something to do. So I showed her the pink tower extension. She is still very dependent on me during school time, as well as in other areas. She loved the work, although she is officially out of her 'need for movement' phase. She finished the work, enjoying it very much, and went on to choose her own work afterwards. That may seem small, but if you've ever had a child dependent on you for every idea, every new thing to work on
- it's a big step.

CONCLUSION:

Work to get the movement included in learning. It is not something that comes naturally to me - I tend to forget that part. However, my tendencies don't change what my children need! Below are some great posts on bringing movement in to learning - some are Montessori, some Montessori-inspired, and some are centered around Kinesthetic learners, who really, really NEED that movement!

THEORY OF MOVEMENT

Can Learning Be Enhanced By Movement? - Montessori Society


Why Is Analysis Of Movement Important In Montessori Education? - Living Montessori Now

The Sensitive Period For Movement - Daily Montessori
(this one has extra lengths for other sensitive periods as well!)

ACTIVITIES FOR MOVEMENT IN THE MONTESSORI CLASSROOM/HOMESCHOOL

Montessori Inspired Movement Activities - Living Montessori Now

InfoMontessori - Check their Practical Life/Sensorial lessons for movement activities

Montessori Outdoor Environment
If you take them outside, they will get moving!

Montessori Sensorial Activities
The sensorial materials require a good deal of movement many times.

Happy Schooling! :) 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Montessori Services Giveaway

*WHEW* 

While we did *officially* start school August 1st, we've kept the days slow and have been focusing on trying to just get back to routine. I've been working a lot the last few days on some introductory History research packs, hopefully to give a small bit on direction to start with, and encourage some personal research. Anyway, no great pictures from last week's school week - we did do school, just had little time for pictures, and I haven't loaded them yet. So...... I'll share someone else's with you! 


Living Montessori Now is hosting a great Montessori Services giveaway on her blog!

Montessori Services $50 Gift Certificate Giveaway

Some of my personal favorite Montessori Services items, in several areas:


PRACTICAL LIFE
Blue Glass Pouring Set
These are absolutely my favorites, and at the top of the list!!!

SENSORIAL
Sorting Beads Activity
Sorting Beads - I just love sensorial work!

MATH
Bead Bar Rubber Stamps
Bead Bar Stamps (how fun would these be, especially if you didn't have the beads? You can do the same things with the stamps, for much less storage space and money!)


LANGUAGE
Language Object Starter Set 2014-2015
Language Objects Starter Kit - the deluxe package of mini-language objects! (MS is where I have gotten a good deal of our miniatures!)


SCIENCE
Planet Frog - Live Frog Habitat
Frog Habitat - Watch the life cycle of a frog!

ART
Colors Sticker Book
Colors Sticker Book

ELEMENTARY
Animal Kingdom
Animal Kingdom Cards

So head on over to Living Montessori Now and enter this great giveaway!!!


Saturday, August 2, 2014

First Day Of School

August 1st was our official 'First Day Of School'. We hit this yearly milestone the homeschool way - by not being at home at all. We went to the local Nature Center in town. Of course, it was classified as a *field trip*, so I didn't let it slide away without trying to get some inspired learning in. 

Armed with food and a backpack full of goodies, off we went.
During lunch, we got our first zoology observations with the geese that frequently come up out of the water and walk all over the grounds. My kiddos had a blast throwing them bits of cheese and banana (turns out, these geese wanted nothing to do with bananas) and seeing them come as close as within a foot or two to eat what they just threw down. 




After that, I pulled out our printable journal pages, pre-stapled together for them, and we had a little botany-inspired art. 

Leaf Rubbing



My only mistake was to NOT get some blank paper stapled together for Buddy Boy, thinking he wouldn't be interested in sticking with this project. I am, in fact, still learning. He began to melt down when he realized he did not have any paper, or his box of crayons. 



My heart just puddled when I saw that Hoss brought him over and shared his paper so that Buddy could do his own, and I learned that I underestimate my children.  

We finished there and went inside , where I quickly saw that the 'pink tower' follows us everywhere. 







While we were there, because they have a great balcony overlook, I brought along a couple small parachutes. The kids got a great hands on lesson on the effects of gravity, air, lift, and the difference that weight makes on a parachute. Of course, it was at this point that we were pinned homeschoolers by people we don't know - because, apparently, people don't just carry parachutes with them everywhere ;) .



We were also able to observe a Western Diamondback Rattlesnake eat. Every day they feed a different animal, and on Friday they always feed the big guy. I would have taken pictures, but it was extremely crowded in the small hall where his tank is. Also - interesting facts - diamondback rattlesnakes will not eat when they are nervous. If they hear a lot of noise, they will wait to eat until nighttime. As well, if they make the kill and begin to eat, and then get scared - it can get worse. They will stop eating, and most likely cause themselves to regurgitate, which is very painful. If they do, it can cause them to not desire to eat again, because of the painful events from last time. There you have your snake education for the day :) .

Here is a link if you want to read it in more detail, and share it with your children.  I did NOT want to share pictures - they are disgusting!

We had to end our day by dipping our feet in the water. Rather - THEY dipped their feet - and ankles, and lower legs - in the water. I sat and watched and began to regret my decision for a few minutes, but it's just so hard for a child to resist getting their feet in the sand!




I am still working on making sure that my plans/preparations for this school year are ready, and that is always an ongoing mode for me. I am excited to see where this year takes us. I will be sharing our schedule for the year soon, and try to give a glimpse at our shelves - at this moment, they aren't very attractive, but that's all going to change in the next few days!

I hope you are having a great time preparing/starting your school year!



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