Friday, October 21, 2011

What have we been up to?

We have been very busy in preschool these past 2 weeks. Children have made tremendous progress. Some of them could hardly make a simple jigsaw on their own... most are now able to work on their own and they take such pride in their achievements! Others could barely hold their pencils properly and many were just doodling.. Look at what they can do now:

Something we have noticed a lot as well in our classroom is role play or pretend play. As you may be aware, when we talk about fantasy play Montessorians usually believe that "fantasy should be postponed until the child is firmly grounded in reality." I want to make it clear here that even though I follow Montessori's method of education, I would NEVER discourage or reproof a child who is engaged in imaginative play of their own design.  It is not the allowance of fantasy that should be postponed. I simply take care to avoid the planting of fantastic ideas in children's heads. Remember that Montessori herself asked "How is it possible for the child's imagination to be developed by that which is in truth the fruit of the adult's imagination?". I really believe that imaginative play is a wonderful thing. I just don't want that type of play to be directed by what we, adults, provide the children with. Cildren shouldn't need plastic spoons, toy kitchens etc.. to develop their imaginations. They do this quite well on their own. In our classroom, we have many fantasy/imaginary stories and have lots of open-ended art materials (for example, play dough.... I have eaten so many "pretend" pizzas so far this year!!) . They play some sort of superman game outside with their friends. The kids play "house" sometimes when cleaning up or helping to prepare snack or "you're the mom, I'm the kid". The difference is that we, teachers,  are not doing it with them - they're coming up with it themselves. Imagination springs from the child, not from a predetermined creativity curriculum, diecut crafts, or a teacher's mind... "let's pretend to be supermen and I'll give you a cape." We don't have a dress-up corner or a home corner in our classroom. But children don't need them to be imaginative. When the weather is really bad and we cannot go outside and play, I sometimes get a prop box with very random things in it: a scarf, a hat, a real stethoscope, postcards or used envelopes, etc... And that's all they need to start imagining. Lately, they love playing "teacher" together. They gather on the mat and one of them pretends to be the teacher during a "pretend" circle time:

As a follow up on our harvest theme, we have been studying the life cycle of pumpkins and this week the children have worked hard on their Pumpkin Book.

And to relate the theme to Halloween, the children have also created their own pumpkin. I cut out some pumpkin shapes out of card board. They painted them orange and glued some pumkin seeds all over them. Once they were dried, they painted them in orange again and finally varnish them. I added eyes and mouths and voila:


  1. Yup, your pumpkins look great and yummy too. MMMmmm pumpkin seeds! I agree too about fantasy, except that I do sometimes like to tell the children stories about fantastic creatures (gnomes and fairies) b/c I think it sometimes helps them look more closely at the natural world. For example tomorrow I am going to tell them a story about a little gnome that lives in the roots of a tree, and he goes around the forest and visits 3 different kinds of squirrels - asking them for acorns - so that he can plant them to grow trees. I hope in telling the children this, it will be a way for them to look at squirrels more closely to see what kind they are and to look at oak trees knowing they grew from acorns. Also I think the stories are great for language development and imagination too.

    : )))))


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