5 Important Skills To Teach Toddlers And Preschoolers At Home Or School

My daughter turned three years old, that means she’s officially a preschooler. I will be homeschooling her until she turns five. We spend a large amount of time exploring and doing an active play. Learning through play is also a vital part of her developmental stage along with the use of our Montessori method at home.

Over the years of observing and teaching preschoolers, I have created a list of the most essential skills a preschooler needed to learn to be successful in their later life. In a Montessori method, a toddler basically do activities that helps with the refinement of muscles that prepares them to apply in practicing basic life skills or we also call this in a Montessori method the practical life skill. Here are the list I personally crafted to share to new parents and those with young kids. This will give you an idea what to do first to prepare kids before kindergarten. I created this list according to what I observed and tested as the most important skills a preschooler must learn. Of course, we follow the child according to their level of development and additionally they learn from their own pace. Not all two or three year olds are the same in their ability to learn. A two year old can read some words while the average will start at three years or four years. This is the same as learning the skills. I listed the skills in an order so it’s easier for the parents to teach their kids according to this level of skills from basic to more complex. Remember, a simple small steps you accomplish to develop your child’s potential can be rewarding for us as parents!

Some of the links in the post below are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. Please check out my disclosure policy for more details.

Five Important Skills To Teach Preschooler

 1. Basic Life Skills or Practical Life Skills- The Practical Life in a child’s learning is very important. This is to develop in the very young child a strong and realistic sense of independence and self-reliance. This skill made me realize that a strong foundation should be mold first in a child’s life in order for them to learn the basic life skills. This skill also teaches the child to be successful in their later life.

Examples of basic life skills:

a. Putting on socks

b. Putting on shoes

c. Dressing

d. Drinking in a cup

e. Pouring milk in a glass

f. Washing hands

g. Brushing teeth

h. Putting on underwear and pants

g. Lacing a shoe

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Preparing breakfast; Mixing eggs using a whisker

And the list adds up as the child learns a new skill. It is important for the parents to model first each new skills to your child. “Young kids as early as one year old are capable to learn basic life skills. Take advantage of this.”

2. Fine Motor Skill– The term fine motor means “small muscles”. Fine motor skills involve the use of the small muscles in the fingers, hand and arm to manipulate, control and use tools and materials. Hand-eye coordination, where a person uses their vision to control the movements and actions of their small muscles, is also an important component of fine motor skill development. Fine motor form the basis for many of the skills that children will develop and enhance as they move through childhood. For infants and young children, their fine motor skills facilitate their interactions with their world, and therefore their learning. As they develop, a child’s fine motor skills are essential precursors to the development of early literacy, and self-help skills such as independent dressing and toileting. As children move through their preschool and into their school years, their fine motor skills assist them to continue to develop as well as to participate in a range of more complex activities.  Each child will develop their fine motor skills at their own pace, and they will demonstrate different strengths and abilities, depending on their interests.

IMG_9333Molding kinetic sand using plastic knife.

3. Gross Motor Skills and Crossing the Midline- Gross motor skills that children should be supported to develop include those that involve movement of the arms, legs, hands, feet, head, neck and torso. The skills children need for optimum gross motor development include rolling, reaching, sitting, crawling, walking, climbing, balancing, running, jumping, catching, throwing and striking. These fundamental gross motor skills will assist children’s lifelong ability to participate in physical activity including sport and other recreational pursuits. My daughter loves to play outdoor almost everyday. She loves to run around the backyard, hop like a bunny and jump like a frog. We don’t have a huge play structure so I created a diy balance beam for her that are made of garden bricks and a long piece of wood. This type of play promotes balance and coordination and hours of active play outside.

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I use a Diy balance beam here that touches the ground. The edge are rounded so it gives a little bit of challenge for her. 

4. Nature Explorations and Educational Tours- Experiences are always the best teacher right? Planning for an activity such as nature walk, a visit at the kids museum, visit to the zoo, reading books in the local library, gardening, volunteer jobs along with your kids, opens an opportunity for a child to learn through experiences. They gain better understanding with the living things around them and the active involvement in the community provides personal achievement and pride.

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5. Music & Movement“Research studies shows that a preschooler who took  music lessons performed better on spatial and temporal reasoning task.” The same effects on infants when they engage in music. According to studies, when children learn to play an instrument, they gain the ability to hear and process sounds that they wouldn’t hear without training. Every active child loves to play musical instruments followed by dancing. You can see a baby who hears the beat of a drum suddenly throws her arms and try to jive with the music.

I hope this steps helps you get more insights as you walk through on your child’s developmental stages. Follow my blog for more tips and guides about parenting, homeschooling and Montessori method of learning and so much more!

Montessori Inspired Garden Activities For Toddler And Preschoolers

Gardening and gardening with kids are both therapeutic, fun, educational and worth the time spent with it. My parents told me that if you have a green thumb it can be really beneficial if you love gardening. In my homeland, my late father had established an area to grow what we eat like banana, taro leaves and crops such as sweet potato and cassava. I grew up with a memories of gardening with my family. Here in the US, We live in a tropical state where palm trees, flowers and variety of plants blooms beautifully. Together with the whole family, spending our time outdoors working at the garden are always a memorable one. I cherish those moments I’m helping my Dad to grow fruits and vegetables at our backyard. This memories stays with me forever and to keep those memories alive, I am sharing our precious moments at the garden with my now three year old daughter Audrey. This activities are perfect for toddlers and preschoolers. Small objects such as glass beads are choking hazards so take extra precautions for your littles.

Some of the links in the post below are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. Please check out my disclosure policy for more details.

It is true that man has created enjoyments in social life and has brought about a vigorous human love in community life. But nevertheless he still belongs to nature, and, especially when he is a child, he must needs draw from it the forces necessary to the development of the body and of the spirit.” Dr. Maria Montessori (p153 tmm)

Montessori Inspired Garden Activities For Toddler And Preschoolers

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  • Decorating the patio– Giving child a task like decorating the patio is something that gives them a sense of responsibility and self confidence.

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  • Creating a mini garden– This is a fun activity for sensory play in the garden. I give her some glass beads, pebbles, rough stones, miniature fairy garden set and a mini pool. Then I show her how I decorate and place it in bin with stones. This mini pool or tub is her favorite hang out in our garden. She can play there for hours without interruptions just toss some ball, pool noodles, rubber duckies and other toys. You can also convert this into a reading area just place some blanket or picnic mat and throw pillows on it!

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  • The best shoe is no shoe at all! According to expert Tracy Byrne specializing in podopaediatrics, walking barefoot develops the muscles and ligaments of the foot, increases the strength of the foot arch, improves proprioception or the awareness of where we are. With this theory, I believe every child belongs to nature.

But it for the physical life it is necessary to have the child exposed to the vivifying forces of nature, it is also necessary for his psychical life to place the soul of the child in contact with creation, in order that he may lay up for himself treasure from the directly educating forces of nature.” Dr. Maria Montessori (p155 tmm)

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  • Grounding- Let children walk barefooted in a grass, beach sand, soil and smooth stones.

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  • Smelling flowers and herbs– A good activity to exercise sensory perception for your little ones. Choose plants in your garden that are safe for children.

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  • Child size patio and pool– I set up this cute mini patio area to give her a personal space to play, read and explore something new to her. I also place some child size chair, her gardening pail, mini bird house that she painted recently and a picnic mat to hang out or just simply lay there at night for moon and stars sighting. Of course the mini pool was her favorite play area.

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  • Insect observation– Observing ants in an ant hill. She knows that stepping on an ant hill would hurt her feet so she’s really careful not to step on it.

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  • Cutting leaves- A good activity to strengthen hand muscles. You can also find more inspirations and ideas from my blog “15 Effective Fine Motor Activities”.

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  • Painting a bird house- Kids love to paint. A wooden unfinished birdhouse is an excellent tool to let your child engage in an activity that strengthen their hand muscles and at the same time fuel their creativity by deciding what color to apply and materials to put in it for decoration.

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  • Writing/Drawing/Doodling on a chalkboard, white board or doodler pad– Also a fun tools to use during summer. I move this easel whenever we have an activity like painting, tracing, drawing and even just to hang a leaves to dry. I just put a string and tiny clips on it. A colored chalk, washable pens and markers, paints, stencils are best match with this fun activity outdoors.

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  • Watering the plants- Children naturally loves to help and contribute to our daily task. This simple task can be an exciting part of a child’s development that they can apply as they grow older.

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  • Weeding– Another task that she loves to do at the garden. I gave her the smallest weeder I saw at our backyard. For her this is part of her fun outdoor play but next thing you know, your child will be volunteering to do garden works for you!

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  • Let them explore– Observe, keep your distance, don’t talk. Let the child concentrate on something interesting to her.

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“The human being is a united whole, but this unity’s to be built up and formed by active experiences in the real world, to which it is led by the laws of nature.” (The Absorbent Mind p.203)

 

5 Basic Guides For Organizing Learning Materials At Home Or School

It’s truly a productive Sunday today. While my husband and daughter are out having a play date at the park, I get the opportunity to re-organize my learning materials and prepare them for our next lesson and theme. Moving from California to Florida was truly exhausting, yes really. Amidst of that major move, I was able to bring all my important learning materials and books that my daughter will be using for the following years to come. If your reading this right now and can relate how precious this learning materials are, then your a certified teacher or Montessorian at heart. Congratulations for being one! And since we have the same interests, I’m excited to share how I take care of my learning materials. The way I organize my stuff improves over the years as I find more ways to keep things accessible without wasting my time looking for my materials in a different places. Yes! Ive been to that too and Im no way going back to that unorganized method of myself anymore. I love organizing things because this gives me a peace of mind and personal achievement. If things are organized and in proper place, you know exactly where to find it saving your sanity and more importantly your precious TIME. Here’s my guide with photos of how I organize my learning materials. at school or at home.

Some of the links in the post below are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. Please check out my disclosure policy for more details.

5 Basic Guides For Organizing Learning Materials At Home Or School

1. Invest in a high quality storage boxes or drawers.

Below shows photos of how I store my materials according to theme or unit of study. I also include in each box the books related to each unit. I prefer using clear individual boxes or drawer. For storage boxes, I recommend a latch type with extra storage space cover. If your learning materials are extra bulky this will hold the content without breaking the latches (I’ve been to that!). This style of organizations keeps my unit of study in one place with easy to see label.

Basically this are the learning materials that goes with each storage boxes

  • Books (my most important learning material)
  • Three part cards (ex. community helpers three part cards)
  • Puzzle/s (ex. bird puzzle)
  • Nomenclature cards (ex. bird nomenclature cards)
  • Model or miniature objects (ex. flowers)
  • Guide sheet or picture cards
  • lesson plan, song & poems related to the unit.
  • Other learning materials like felt board for story telling, posters & display banners, doctors bag, loose objects for creative play.

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My thematic storage for community helpers, Insects, Farm animals & reptiles.

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This are my storage boxes for geography, astronomy, dinosaurs and ocean animals.

2. Choose tools and machines you trust and will last for many years.

From my past blog, I posted about my daughter’s birthday gifts that are mostly Montessori inspired. Yesterday, I’m done laminating some three part cards for her Safariltd Toob sets.

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Laminating cards should not be expensive. I got this Fellows laminating machine as a gift five years ago and until now it never fails me. My three part cards and nomenclatures are mostly from Montessori Printshop. They always have free and sale items. Additionally, they use the card size that fits with my storage system.

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I been using Fiskars for cutting three part cards and nomenclatures for many years now. For my blade, I choose the one with Titanium blade coating. The difference from the regular one is the efficiency and sharpness of the blade. This can be reuse many times before it gets dull. This is a 2 pieces per pack. It saves you from buying more often of the regular blade.

3. Use shelving system that fits your criteria and budget.

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Last night, I finished organizing books that Audrey got from her birthday. I invest in this high quality book shelf from ECR 4 Kids. I love to showcase more books for my early reader at home so a five tier book shelf wins. It displays different sizes of books and also sturdy enough for my daughter who loves to step on it like a ladder while looking at the window when I ask her “Whats the weather today?” during our morning circle time.

4. Choose a simple easy to view storage system for small learning materials.

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I found this clear rectangular case at Daiso when I’m still at the Bay Area (SF) and I regret that I did not buy more of these. It perfectly fits a three part card with the objects then I place the other cards on top of it using a rubber. It’s easy to view what’s inside with an instant label!

5. Display learning manuals & books in an easy to see and reach shelving unit.

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I like my guide books handy when I need to take a quick look for a specific quotes and words from Dr. Maria Montessori.

How do you organize your learning materials? I hope this guide will be your inspiration and will be a great help with your home or school organizational task. Don’t forget to share this guide to your fellow teachers and parents who homeschool their kids.

“The teacher teaches little and observes much, and, above all, it is her function to direct the psychic activity of the children and their physiological development. For this reason I have changed the name of teacher into that of directress” (p. 173 TMM)

Montessori Botany- Flower Unit Presentation For Preschool

We live in a the sunny side of the United States and it is the perfect time of the year to teach kids about nature. My three year old daughter loves to touch and smell flowers wherever she can find one. Her grandma have a wide collection of beautiful flowers from her garden that she can take care of. I am sharing today our Montessori botany flower unit and activities at home with my three year old daughter Audrey.

Some of the links in the post below are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. Please check out my disclosure policy for more details.

Flower Puzzle Presentation

Materials: Flower puzzle, miniature hibiscus, hibiscus three part card, tray

First, I introduce a single flower to a child. I present this flower puzzle and show her one by one the parts of a flower such as: stem, petal, pistil, and stamen. It is best to use the three period lesson so the child will easily remember each part of the flower.

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After presenting the flower parts, I also discuss about the flower hibiscus by showing her the three part card with a miniature hibiscus. Once the child is familiar with a single type of a flower I can move on and introduce other kinds of flowers. Photo below shows eight different miniature flowers with the three part cards:

  • Sunflower
  • Bird of paradise
  • Lotus
  • Tulip
  • Daffodil
  • Hibiscus
  • Rose
  • Orchid

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Practical Life Extension: Flower Arrangement

Materials: 8 miniature flowers, small basket, play dough & tray

 

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This is one of the many extensions of a flower unit. Audrey loves to use a dough and this is a great way to use as a soil for flower arrangement. I first show her one by one the different kinds of flower in a small basket. Then I slowly put one at a time each flower into the dough making sure each of the flower have enough spaces. Once I finished putting all the flowers I will say “Im done with my flower arrangement”. Then I will put back the flowers one at a time into the basket. I will then say “Can you do the flower arrangement Audrey?” Then I will pass the tray to her.

 

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Language Extension: Flower Word Matching

Materials: White printer paper with the eight flower names written or printed on it, small basket, miniature flowers, tray.

This is another extension for language. I wrote eight different flower names in a white sheet of paper. I then name each flower using the three period lesson and place each flower in the corresponding slot.

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“The education which a good mother or a good modern teacher gives today to the child who, for example, is running about in a flower garden is the counsel not to touch the flowers, not to thread on the grass; as if it were sufficient for the child to satisfy the psychological needs of his body by moving his legs and breathing fresh air.” (p. 154 TMM)

 

 

 

Montessori Inspired Birthday Gifts For Preschool

I am sharing with you today the wonderful Montessori inspired gifts that my daughter Audrey had received last Wednesday for her birthday. My family and close friends are very well informed of the type of gifts a three year old would love. I will definitely recommend this educational gifts to all the parents who’s main goal is to instill the love for learning to their child or children. Here’s the photos of what Audrey receives for her third birthday party.

This is the unwrapped birthday gifts that I put together.

Geography

Interactive world map with landmarks, local dialects, country flags and more!

Practical Life

Melissa & Doug 6 Pieces Cleaning Set

Geography & Zoology

Felt Seven Continents and Animals

Language

Solar System by Safari Ltd.

Practical Life

Felt picnic bag from target dollar spot

Botany, Zoology, Physical Science & Language

Safari Toob Sets: Flowers, Backyard Birds, Human Organ and Community Helpers

Botany & Zoology

Mommy’s gift: A set of Zoology and Botany Puzzles with cabinet

Language

Dinosaur sticker pads, solar system fact book, dinosaur felt book and 50 states fact book.

Fine Motor Activity

Modo non toxic learning dough with wooden spoon

Sensorial & Imaginative Play

Brain Flakes Interlocking Disks helps sparks imagination to create and build tons of objects like ball, dog, flower and more!

Music & Movement, Gross Motor

Bose Soundlink Color II- She love to dance and this Bluetooth capable speaker sounds like a huge one in an amazingly small size which is perfect for a child to hold. Perfect for any music and movement activities!

As you can see, some of my gift wraps are recycled paper bags. From my last post “Audrey Turns Three” we use mostly recycled gift bags and brown paper bags that I decorated with doily, dot paint, acrylic paints and water color paints. We practice recycling and repurposing things around the house. This is a great way to teach a child how to be creative and green at the same time. 

What are your favorite Montessori inspired toys for your kids?