Presenting Fish Unit Study The Montessori Way

 

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In this blog I’m sharing how I presented a unit of study to my class using a Montessori method. My presentation here is about fish.

Why fish?

I love the idea of structuring science and nature teaching into a memorable, fun and exciting unit of study about fish. During my childhood years Ive been fascinated with the ocean animals and had an interest in exploring and learning more about it.

Being passionate on sharing my knowledge through teaching children, I created this unit of study to nourish them information about the study of fish including activities using Montessori practical life, sensorial, mathematics, language, botany, zoology, geography, peace table, nature table, arts and crafts and learning resources like books, magazines and brochures related to this study.

This is the binder that goes with my project presentation.

Upon completion of this project, I gathered all my resources and had taken some time to do a research and create my own extensions of Montessori materials suitable for the age of children I am working with (2-6 years). I also created an objective that at the at the end of this study my student will be able to understand some facts about fish and habitat, how they live, classification, different types of fish including those that looks like a fish but actually not classified as a fish.

Materials

Prepare Your Environment: 

  1. Live fish and aquarium- To get started, gather things to set up in the classroom. The best way to get my students engaged in this study is to show them some live fish and aquarium or fish bowl.
  2. Colorful visuals of fish in a presentation trifold- Fish photos and facts placed at the trifold. Most of the photos used here are from California Academy of Sciences and Audubon Aquarium of Americas. I collected these photos during my holiday travel.
  3. Picture books & photos- I borrowed books from my local library to include in my books shelf. Any books related to fish are placed nicely at the book shelf (far right corner).
  4. Trays or baskets- Okay, Im a hoarder of baskets & trays! I love trays in my classroom. I always look for different sizes of trays or baskets on sale. In a Montessori environment we have different works/jobs that we regularly rotate weekly or biweekly. There are works that doesn’t need to be place in a large tray. With this in mind, I will only use a smaller one to organize materials.
  5. Montessori activities/work- The related unit study works/activities placed in each tray. It is organize particularly according to the photos shown above: practical life, sensorial, math, language, botany, zoology, geography.
  6. Nature Table/Tray
  7. Peace Table

The result of my hard work from this project. I’m a strong believer for “A” yay!

I also selected some unit of studies that Im sharing here to give you more insights about how each presented the Montessori way.

Space

Peace education

Money

Fish (my presentation)

Rainforest

Christmas

The Value Of Practical Life Activities To A Young Child

In this blog, I am sharing some important thoughts and insights about practical life skills and also our special moments at home doing some household chores with a help of a young child. First, I would like to share my thoughts why this is greatly important to a growing and developing child (first plane of development). It is important that we allow the child to experience and touch a variety of household materials that we use in our daily living. The more they are involve in whatever we do the easier for them to learn an important life skills that will last a life time. That is the best gift we can give to our new generations of learners”

I still remember a fellow co-worker at school asked me “Why do the child needs to learn how to wash hands using a basin?” I simply answered her “The child discovers new things and they are very curious to learn the process”.

Maria Montessori placed great value on the Practical Life exercises, referring to them as the “gymnasium for perfecting one’s action”. She believed that they not only refine skills but also form the foundation of character.

The experiences in Practical Life are crucial for building a firm foundation for future learning. Before children can master language and math skills, they need solid work habits and a strong inner sense. Practical Life activities are the vehicle to build this foundation.  

Practical Life in a Montessori education benefitted a child through spontaneous repetition or mastery of each activity. Through this activity the child also develop the love for work, independence, hand-eye coordination and love of order.

Core Principles Of Practical Life Activities; 

  1. Emphasis on life skills
  2. Care of environment
  3. Care of self
  4. Order
  5. Purposeful movement
  6. Develop motor skills (large and small muscles)
  7. Leads to independence
  8. Leads to conscious choices
  9. Auto-education (learning by doing)
  10. Language
  11. Raise self-esteem and self worth
  12. Executive Function- In a young age we encourage them how to organize, plan, take initiative and self-regulation. The work itself has it’s own reward.

Through Practical Life activities, children build and refine the internal skills needed for the learning that is to come. Montessori noted that children construct themselves through their own activities. The Practical Life area offers an opportunity to build a strong foundation for all subsequent work, making it an essential part of the young child’s experiences.

The exercises of practical life are formative activities, a work of adaptation to the environment. Such adaptation to the environment and efficient functioning therein is the very essence of a useful education.” Maria Montessori

Here’s a collection of our family moments at home doing simple chores as a practical life activities that a young child can learn and master. As you can see, a very close supervision is needed for an activity such as cooking wherein hot surface is a common danger.

Herbal tea portioning using a spoon

Egg slicing using a bread knife

Cutting a banana using bread knife

Vegetable washing

Mixing pancake batter

Washing corn

Sweeping dirt from the floorIMG_0801

Rolling and putting back the work matIMG_0447.JPG

Pencil SharpeningIMG_0135

Watering plantsimg_1519

Thank you for visiting my page and taking your valuable time to read this article. Please follow me for more ideas and inspiration about Montessori method, parenting and homeschooling.

15 Effective Fine Motor Activities For Toddler

 

In this blog, my daughter was 33 months. It’s just like only yesterday when we celebrated her first birthday. Her milestones continue to progress that I needed to catch up and do a quick review on my observational skills.

I gather a compilation of activities that enhances the refinement of muscles or fine motor skills as well as hand eye coordination. Being a mother and a teacher plays a big role to deeply involved with every developmental milestones she’s into. Preparing a variety of fine motor activities each week is a must for a very active toddler.

At home you can always find materials you need to strengthen your child’s hand muscles. You can also check tons of ideas at pinterest and instagram. Here are my collections of activities at home that helps my child a lot with her fine motor.

Some of the links in my post 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.

1. Water Ball Play- This is one of her favorite activities at home. Something stretchy, gewey, sticky and wet put a spark on her eyes and get totally engaged with this.
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She’s about 15 months here and so fascinated with activities like this

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2. Watercolor Painting- Great for hand-eye coordination. She still working on mixing water with the color palettes. I love the glow on her face when she discovers different shades from mixing with variety of colors.

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3. Pegboard Activity- Putting pegs into a hole develops grasps and release, refined pinches and eye hand coordination.

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4. Color Sorting Cylinder- Master eye hand coordination, refined pinches and develops pincer grasps.

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5. Name Puzzle Tracing– In here I use small colored beads (choking hazard). She uses beads to trace each letters of her name. This is a great way to teach a child in preparation of using a pencil for writing.

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6. Molding Kinetic Sand- Instead of using play dough, I choose this plain colored kinetic sand and a set of 5 cutting tools. This activity strengthens her hand muscles.

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Below shows the five different play dough cutters. She loves to create different shapes and designs out of it.

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7. Foam Stickers– Stickers are always a big hit at home. It’s also another great fine motor activities that are easily available at home and a good calm down activity for toddlers.

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8. Coloring- Young children can grasp easily when they use a bigger or thicker crayons and markers. It is also advisable to use non toxic and washable crayons for safety.

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9. Block Stacking- Babies and toddlers loves to stack objects. It strengthens the whole hand by using all the fingers. This activity also enhances the hand-eye coordination.

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10. Letter Tracing- A good activity to efficiently use pincer grip.

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11. Dot Painting- The thickness of this dot paint fits well to a toddlers tiny hands.

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12. Cutting- This activity takes a lot of practice and observation. A close supervision will be needed. There are a lot of toddler friendly scissor that you can buy for your child. I got this pair of scissor at Dollar Store (teacher’s corner).

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13. Water Pouring- This is her favorite activity during spring and summer. She spends a couple of hours outdoor doing this fun activity.

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14. Sticker Peeling- I found this at school supplies section at our local store. I use this for her to follow the shape or pattern of an object. As long as you have a bunch of this at home or school your child will love sticking. A great activity to promote concentration, hand eye coordination and pincer grip exercises.

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15. Washing- There’s a vast washing activity for toddlers like baby doll washing, toy washing, play kitchen utensil washing, clothes washing, fruits & vegetables washing and a lot more things to wash.

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What are your kids favorite fine motor activities here? Please share this very helpful fine motor article that your friends and family will enjoy. Follow me for more fun and educational ideas and tips.

Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius

The Future Of Creative Learners

 

Preparing your child in a Montessori environment takes time and research. Their future depends upon the method of learning applied to them starting from birth to six years or the first plane of development. 

To get the best education for them, we do our research first by reading, asking questions, do our school visit and observe the method. It takes a lot of effort, experience and experimentation to fully adapt to this kind of learning approach. At first, you find it overwhelming and confusing. The sweet thing is, your effort will surely reap a rewarding future for your child. Your not only investing for their education, but You as a parent also contributed to our societies future by preparing your little one’s to fulfilling the next generation of leaders. Everything is possible. The best ingredient is patience, determination, and allow your self to continue to learn every possible day.

The question is: How am I going to do this?

  • Take a moment to have a school visit: Most Montessori schools are open for parents doing their school visit or observation during active class. Let them know first by calling or sending an email. Director and administrators welcome your questions so make sure your list of things to clarify are ready. Don’t be shy if you think your asking too much questions. They love to know your concern and they are ready to give you informations about the method.
  • Read, read and read: You had your recent class observation but there are still in your mind that needed enlightenment. Do your readings. Choose books that you know will be helpful and clearly lead you all the way to fulfilling your goals. There are several books written by Dr. Montessori and some authors that have a vast experience of the method. They truly speak from the heart.
  • Online courses: There are a lot of online course offering Montessori training that fits your schedule. Here are some list of online schools to walk you through Montessori method of learning.

http://www.montessoritraining.net, http://ageofmontessori.org, http://www.guidedstudies.com, http://www.montessorilive.org

Disclaimer: This post have an affiliate links that have no cost to the reader. I only share informations which I know would be helpful and beneficial.

Here are my top list of recommended books to read if your a new parent and wanted to practice Montessori method for your child or children at home. This books are also the reference of student teachers practicing Montessori method. These are not just a book but rather Life Changing Books.

  1. The Absorbent Mind– by Dr. Maria Montessori. This book is about her personal insights and observation from her students. This theoretical book explains the education from birth or the sensitive periods of life. 
  2. Honoring The Light Of The Child: Activities to Nurture Peaceful Living Skills in Young Children– One of the important part of Montessori method is teaching peace. This book have a lot of activities to nurture peace in your child’s environment. Young children will have understanding about feelings and respect.

  3. Discovery of the Child– Dr. Montessori, as keen observer describes the nature of the child and her method of working fully with the child’s inner urge to learn. This is a book with her observations base upon closely working with children. It also explains why OCCI was highly implemented in a prepared environment. Order, Concentration, Coordination, Independence. The science behind each activities.

  4. Montessori from the Start: The Child at Home, from Birth to Age Three– Helpful book specially if your a first time mom and wanted to implement Montessori at home.

  5. The Montessori Method-The scientific pedagogy applied by Dr. Montessori in the children’s house.

  6. Montessori Inspired Activities For Pre-Schoolers: Home based projects for 2-6 year olds (Volume 1)– This book is a good starter readings if you choose to practice the method at home or home schooling your child.

  7. Dr. Montessori’s Own Handbook-by Dr. Maria Montessori

 

 

Treasure Basket Or Discovery Basket For Toddler 

 

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I wanna share my discovery basket that I gathered today to include to my little daughter’s Montessori shelves. This is made of different colors, shapes, textured objects. The brush was embedded with the other stuff so not quite visible but I can see it. Here it goes, a simple “toddler discovery basket” or “treasure basket”. I chose to put a simple objects only. I can always add more items at a time. Babies and toddlers loves to explore with all their senses that more often they will also taste the object and put it in their mouth.

Here is another photo of a simple treasure box. This is mostly made from natural items like wood, sea shells, dried bark, dried seed and I included a fabric flower too! The one on top had more objects on it with a combination of items made with non natural material. You can put whatever objects you like as long as the child could explore on it using her senses. Resources around you can be vast. It can be purely from the nature or garden, a selection of toys, different fabric, large beads, cotton, bottles, pine cone, wooden brushes.
Hape – Pallina Bamboo Tumbling Ball Game

Discovery basket or Treasure basket- Are a collection of objects that we can easily find around the house or garden. This is given to a child when they are ready to sit. The purpose of Treasure Basket is to give the child the opportunity t0 explore and discover the objects using their five senses; sense of sight, touch, taste, hear and smell.

You can always change the theme or add more objects to your treasure basket to make it more appealing to your child’s eyes. Your baby’s senses are also improving while she’s growing so it’s very important to give her objects appropriate to her age. If she’s turning two or toddler stage you can add variety of objects like wooden spoon and forks,wooden blocks, little kitchen stuff, jumbo colored pom pom, tube cylinder with water or objects inside (make sure that it’s close tightly), maracas and many more items right for the child’s age.

I will be showing more themed treasure box on my future blogs. Follow my blog to get more ideas and insights about Montessori method of learning. Please share this post to your friends. Sharing is Caring!

May 2, 2016 -Update to my Discovery Basket

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Discovery basket with more objects
This is an update to my discovery basket I posted a week ago. I added more objects on it like small stuff sensory animals, wooden hour glass, wooden cubes and change the basket into a bigger one.

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