Hooray! It was our first day back at our Co-Op today and we were both pretty excited about it. L missed her friends and I missed watching all the kids work and catching up with like-minded parents. I must say though, I’m always amazed by multi-child families and parent’s abilities to negotiate them all at once, it’s a spectacular case of multitasking and not sure I’d have the skill or patience. I think I could manage some extras for a few hours, play-dates, babysitting, that kind of thing, but 365 days a year, 24 hours, 7 days a week? Hmm…
Anyway, as always, L loves Marie-Lousie’s prepared environment she has for her children and feels welcome and invited right away. I’ve never seen her settle and feel so at home that she can explore without me, work happily and socialise, than she does here. As always the beginning of the afternoon work cycle started with a song in German, today was Incy Wincy Spider which you can listen to here:
Die klitzekleine Spinne
Inse binse Spinne, wie lang dein Faden ist,
kam der Regen runter, und der Faden riß,
kam die liebe Sonne, leckt den Regen auf,
inse binse Spinne krabbelt wieder rauf.
Afterwards the children are invited to begin their work cycle and choose something to work on. L went straight to the practical life shelves and chose a new transferring work she hasn’t done before. The materials involved were; water, a dropper and a rubber soap holder. It’s a lovely fine motor skills work that helps develop finger strength, co-ordination and concentration to name a few and also control skills. The idea is to take water into the dropper and then squeeze just a few drops into the soap holder suction cups so they don’t over flow. L picked up the idea very quickly and really enjoyed this.
She continued with practical life work and moved onto a dry transferring work where the materials involved were: 2 glass bowls, a spoon and some brown rice. The idea is to transfer the rice from one bowl to the other without spilling any. The look on L’s face above is pure concentration. She is quite skillful at transferring and pouring work, but still lots of room to improve as she can’t do it yet without spilling some. An element of patience is needed for this work to really master it – it can’t be rushed.
After I’d managed to persuade her out of the W sitting position, which isn’t so good for joints or core muscle development, she chose a work she has mastered and finds very easy but enjoyable all the same. This is a work considered a pre-language work which comes before reading and writing. The animals in this set are African in origin and the materials used are: printed and laminated sheet with pictures of the animals and small animal figures that correspond. The idea is to match object to picture.
I love this group, the kids are so kind, helpful and polite and L’s taken such a shine to A, Marie-Louise’s eldest daughter who L is often found with doing some of the younger work with A’s help. Today we had another family I hadn’t met before, 2 girls and a baby boy. One of the best things about Montessori is the varied age ranges within classes. 0-3, 3-6, 6-9 and 9-12 in traditional Montessori schools, as I understand it. Our little group is aimed at 2-5yrs, however as it’s at the organiser’s home, obviously her eldest 2 children are present but they do their work alongside the younger ones and often help out.
Our youngest member O, is just an ultimate sweetie! He’s so calm and easy going and curious about everything going on around him. His mummy’s hands were a bit full with her middle daughter so L and I were only too happy to go and entertain him for a while – we played with a treasure basket and the items within which he found interesting and he spend a lot of time watching L play with a drum and track racer before she wanted to gently stroke his hair and wave ribbons above him. It was lovely to see her be so sweet to him and he couldn’t take his eyes off of her, so I ended up picking him up off the floor so he could see her better. We look forward to seeing him again next week, little charmer!
Now, dressing frames! Not something we have at home, but the ones she can do already are Zips, Velcro and Poppers, so today she started working on button hole buttons, which she found a difficult challenge despite having the dexterity the co-ordination is where the practice is needed. Dressing frames come in a variety of fastenings from velcro to ribbon tying, button holes, poppers, zip and buckles. Mastering these fastenings is a really useful skill for toddlers, who are learning to dress and undress themselves, as it gives them that freedom to choose their own clothes AND put them on or take them off at liberty. They may seem like obvious or uninteresting things to us adults, who have mastered these skills, but to a toddler, anything which gives them more independence is a task worth participating in.
The last work she did before we finished for the afternoon was scissor cutting skills. There was a tray set out and the materials involved were: Strips of coloured paper, scissors and a glue stick. L love scissors and is always desperate to do “cutting” as she calls it but her technique needs much refining and she gets frustrated and ends up just tearing paper rather than cutting, however, the scissors she had today seemed to make a difference in her technique and she was able to do it by herself. I need to investigate the brand of scissors and invest in some for practice at home.
We finished up with another circle time, this time reading a German Story with actions before heading for home. We stopped off at a cheap bookstore on the way home and L acquired a pirate book (pirate mad at the mo!) and I picked up a couple of activities for her which I’ll introduce at a later date when relevant. I love finding a bargain!
It’s just gone 7:30pm and Lizzie’s in bed down for the night. This hasn’t happened for MONTHS! Marie? Can we do this every day? lol
Friday night Vino and TV I think – Aaaaand, relax!