Sunday, May 22, 2016

Reggio Emilia and Playful Maths ideas - Part 1

Those for have been following on this blog will know that I love creating or thinking of new activities using open-ended materials such as pebbles, shells, sticks, buttons etc... following the ideas of the Reggio Emilia approach.

This year, I added two activities on our shelves.

Associate Numerals to Quantity

The first one is an activity helping children to associate numerals to quantities. The manipulatives are very appealing to the children.

Collect loose parts (don't forget to include natural loose materials such as pebbles here or even shells). I used small wooden cookies to display the loose parts clearly but you could use curtain big rings or even scallop shells (the flat part). I collected pebbles on the beach and wrote numerals on each single on of them before varnishing them. The child playing that game picks a pebble, places it on top of a wooden cookie and picks his/her loose parts. He/she then needs to place the right amount of loose parts on the cookie, according to the numeral he/she picked. Simple but extremely effective. The children love this game because they are creating their own learning and their own rules with the loose parts while their senses of touch and sight are being tingled.

Numeral recognition with pebbles

A very simple number pebble game for the younger kids to help them with their number recognition.

Once again, I use the pebbles I collected at my local beach. I placed them in  basket and showed the children how to use them during at circle time. It's a very simple activity but it helps children still struggling with their numbers. All the children need to do is to sort out  the pebbles according to the numbers written on them. Each time they pick one pebble, the teacher calls the number and they then match it with the correct row of pebbles. Simple. But effective as the children love that type of manipulatives.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this post. Please share your own experience below in the comment box. I would love to hear from you.

Check our post about children using pebbles to draw pictures or in coordination with the Montessori long rods. Click  here

A new title to our blog: The Guilletots Playful Learning

So, I have been thinking.... And thinking...

Those of you who read this blog regularly will remember when in 2013, I found myself wishing for more room to manoeuvre within the Montessori curriculum, wishing for more flexibility .... Wishing for more freedom!!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Creating naturalistic play areas - Part 1: ADDING SAND AND GRAVEL

Creating a natural playscape for a childcare setting can be quite an investment. As tempted as we may be by all the ideas swarming Pinterest, the reality is that many of us cannot afford such fantastic features or don't have the time nor the skills to design them. That's why I've started writing about easy, simple and cost-effective ways to implement outdoor play ideas using mainly natural materials or recycled materials.

Welcome to Part 1 of our new series "Creating Naturalistic play areas": Adding sand and gravel.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Teaching kids to use scissors

Teaching children how to use scissors.Hmmm...  This can be quite tricky at times. So my assistant got an idea and drew these little faces on the children 's thumbnails  and told them that the little faces needed to be looking at them all the time while cutting. If the children use the scissors incorrectly, their thumbs usually twist under their palms and away from their body. By keeping that little face drawn on their thumbnail in sight, they automatically use the right position for cutting with scissors .

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Learning French in the classroom

Over the past few weeks, I have started teaching a few words in French to the children in my classroom. The response from the children was actually quite amazing and I never expected them to take to it so well and so easily. I used the format of our circle time to start teaching them how to say hello, good-bye, "my name is.." and at the moment we are learning numbers.
To make it more interesting and to enrich the learning experience, I started researching the web for resources or ideas And I thought "why not sharing it with you all"?

French Learning programmes

There is actually much meaningful resources out there unless you are ready to spend money on programme such as:

Muzzy (more geared towards the home learning environment)
Professor Toto (a cartoon character that engages and speaks to children).

To be honest I am not interested personally into these programmes but they might be what you are looking for. The idea for our setting is not for the children to become fluent in French but to explore another language and open up their mind to the world around them. It is also a nice extension to our geography study on the continents.

YouTube videos

Below are a list of  YouTube videos for pre-schoolers which I started using. They might sound boring to you but believe me the children do like them. They reinforce what I teach them in an interactive and fun way.
  • French greeting songs

  • Counting in French

Needless to say that the best thing to do is to try using the greetings and the numbers as often as possible throughout the session: greet the children in French when they arrive, wave them good-bye in French, count how many children are standing on the line in French etc... Using the Montessori sandpaper number cards, apply the Three-period lesson to help the children remember the numbers in French.

Easy Songs and rhymes

Expose the children as much as possible to the sound of the language.

Please leave a comment if you would like to share your ideas or suggest any other activities. Thank you.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Free download - spring flowers 3 part card game

And because today's weather was glorious but exceptionally cold for a 29th April, I felt like sharing one of the 3 part-card game we are currently using in our classroom for our study on Spring. The children line up the cards then need to match pictures to pictures (remembering the names of each flower if possible). For those a bit older, we add another difficulty by matching the word cards to the pictures. So just click right here to view file for free. And please, if it doesn't actually work, please let me know in the comments below. I am quite new at that "game" and I am a slow learner as far as technology is involved.



Thursday, April 28, 2016

Transition bags (also called "quiet" bags)

Transition times in our classroom have always been an exercise that required tact organisation, patience and swiftness. What are transition times I hear some of you ask?Transitions are those periods of time when the children are moving from one activity to the next. In our setting the main transition causing chaos is usually the one after snack time when we need to clean up the tables and help the children putting their snack boxes away in their bag and put on their coats in preparation for our outdoor activities. Well, let me tell you that kids at that time especially get quite excited about going outside.

Geometry in Art & Craft

In our classroom, children regularly use the Montessori Constructive Triangles Boxes. These boxes contain various triangles of different colours and they are used to form plane figures. They help children to refine the discrimination of geometric form and prepares them for geometry. I wrote a great post a few years ago about geometry and you can check it out right here if you re interested in knowing more about how children learn about shapes in our setting.

Friday, April 8, 2016


This page is under construction. Come back later...