Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Small world play ideas

I wrote a little bit before on the value of Small World play (SWP) last August. SWP is imaginative play where children are provided with a small world for them to use as a canvas to transfer their thought, their ideas and their experiences.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Our new sensory table

I have been using sensory bins from time to time. But this year, I wanted to have a more permanent feature in our classroom and I have been begging my husband for months for a DIY sensory table.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Winter activities on our shelves...

I nearly forgot to show you all about the bits and pieces kids have been doing in the classroom in relation to our winter theme. It hasn't stopped! I usually find January quite long, bleak and monotonous. But January 2014 has been different so far!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Ice Ice baby

As part of our winter study, I wanted the children to think and learn about ice, snow etc.. It sounds so "obvious" to us but little ones haven't all experimented the effects of low temperature.

Maping the world with our animals

In our classroom, we have collected many “continent boxes” over the years. We use them as an addition to our traditional Montessori folders. We have been lucky enough to swap items with many friends across the world and in each box, we have little collection of plastic animals. It just occurred to me one day as we were learning about the continents, that I could gather all these animals and use them in conjunction with a large floor world map. The children have been studying the continents for quite some time, they are now quite familiar with their names and shapes and colours. The idea is for the children to explore the map of the world, and in particular the countries of origin where the animals come from. I am working on a felt map to use but this is a slow process as I am not great at sewing! In the meantime, we are using the Montessori world map.  I use 7 little boxes colour-coded according to the continents on the Montessori world map.  Each little box contains plastic animals from each continent. As you can see below, I simply used plastic washing soap liquid dispensers to store the animals. I had boxes but they were either too big or too small, while some were made out of wood, wicker or plastic.  I wanted something a bit more uniform but I didn't want to go and spend too much money. I suddenly realised that I had been "collecting" theses dispensers in my utility, so...voila!

How does it work? I  invite a child to work with me and I point first at the colour code on each box. I ask the child to match the colour to the corresponding map and ask them to remind me of the name of the continent. The child works with one box/one continent at a time.


When he is finished, the child must tidy up, one continent at a time, placing the animals in the right tub.

The aim of the activity is to look at the countries of origin of many animals the children are familiar with, thanks to their interaction with our continent boxes. The exercise requires the child to isolate maps, to identify them on the world map, giving him/her a sensorial impression of the positions, shapes and sizes of each continent. This activity is a great revision of the continent and their names, as well as a good introduction to the animal kingdom. It also helps some of the younger kid with colour recognition. And though the activity is presented and played on a one-to-one basis, it proves to be a great team work as  all kids LOVE to use the animals that way and talk about them. So not only this activity links zoology and geography but it also helps children to expand their vocabulary and engages them to converse and think.
I just need to add more animals to represent marine zoology and I am lacking animals for South America and Asia. In the  progress!





Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Facebook connection

I have added a Follow our Facebook Page button .. I am not sure if it is going to work or not. Technology and I are not always best friends! If it is not working, just click right here and you will go directly to our Facebook Page. Please like and share! Thank you.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Celebrating winter .. a winter unit study

We are back to school tomorrow morning and this month, winter is going to be at the centre of our studies.. I have changed the cover of our blog (I have borrowed a picture from Bending Birches. If you haven't visited this blog, please do. Great Waldorf blog with lots and lots of ideas and beautiful spaces). I love the picture and it is SO appropriate right now.
So follow us within the next few weeks to find out about our curricular activities....

Working hard

Here are a few pictures of what the children were up to the few weeks leading to xmas...

a bit of pre-writing....

A bit of maths ...

Montessori Cards & Counters

Montessori spindle box


introduction to halves, quarters and thirds


Sensorial activities....

Waldorf tower.. using the circle first on their own, sorting them out by size

then using the rectangles alone, sorting them by length

all together now

more soring exercises by colour and shape

shape and colour again while developing fine motor skills

associating colour to matching picture

Developing fine motor skills with the Practical Life exercises...

jigsaws are great for little fingers but also develop problem solving skills, concentration, hand eye coordination etc..

as you can see, we are using the Montessori teen beads for the sole purpose of refining fine motor skills (no number, no counting). the hooking up movement is a great exercise for little ones ....