Montessori Inspired Bird Unit for Preschool

One of the best part about spring is the significant presence of different kinds of birds flying around and singing at the garden. This is the perfect time to let children explore and discover more about birds.

Here quite few of the activities we have at home for my 3 year old daughter. She had fun matching all the different kinds of birds with the three part cards.

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A yellow warbler matching card with object and bird puzzle

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This is our Bird unit shelf

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I gave her a basket with shredded manila paper as a birds nest

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She curiously matched all the birds with the bird cards

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She lay all the birds three part cards on our coffee table while getting the birds from the nest one at a time

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“Imagination does not become great until human beings, given the courage and the strength, use it to create.”

-Maria Montessori

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)

Ways To Teach Letters And Alphabet To Preschool

In this blog I will share how I teach letters of the alphabet in a fun and age appropriate way. My daughter Audrey is almost three and continues to learn and explore all her language books. I prepare her five little books of a, e, i, o and u by Moncure. She loves to read this books repeatedly every morning and before bedtime.

She’s 18 months in this photo exploring the vowel sand paper letters and picture cards with both upper and lower case letters.

Her little “a” book. After reading this book I showed her the sandpaper letter a with miniature objects such as apple, ant, airplane. I try to limit showing her two to three different objects each letter.

I also showed her an object card for apple and ant.

If a child is familiar with the lower case letters, I will move on to introduce the upper case letter. In this clip board shows an upper case “A” with mini apple die cuts for her to glue on it. Because her name starts with “A” (Audrey) in preparation to write her name, I include to introduce the uppercase and the rest are lower case. In a Montessori learning, a child learns the lower case or “small letters” first before the upper case letters.

Showing below are printed images of objects that starts with an /a/ and /A/.

While learning the letters of the alphabet, it is highly important that the child will learn how /o/ feels like on her tiny fingers by showing her how to write it in a beach sand. Learning the alphabet in the early childhood works best using the multi-sensory method.

Multi-sensory or kinesthetic is a method of learning that uses the senses such as: touch, sound, sight, and even taste. That’s when the babies and toddler likes to put objects into their mouth. When I teach the letter /a/, I let her eat an apple while saying the word “apple”. Another example is letter /b/, you can give a banana to teach a child what does letter /b/ taste or “bacon” and “bread”.

What other fun ways your child learn the letters of the alphabet?

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

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