Baking with Children

A community Halloween party

A Halloween party in a Montessori classroom may look different from parties at other schools.  We believe that the classroom belongs to the children and it is their community.  We allow and encourage the children to be a part of the planning and preparation.

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This child’s mother brought in cider to share with the group.  Here she is using her pouring skills to pour cider for her classmates.

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We decided to have a little sweet treat and candy corn has been a big lunch hit lately.  Here two Kindergartners use their math skills to divide up the candy corns between the cups.

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This Kindergartner wanted to do more to help so he made sure to count out the correct number of napkins for everyone.

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The afternoon children baked pumpkin-chocolate chip muffins the day before.

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The teachers did help by carving out two jack o’lanterns.

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We also provided small pumpkins for the children to take home as a treat.

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He chooses one from the bowl to put in his backpack.

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During the celebration, we had our snacks and cider.

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We also played games.  Some children took turns drumming to a Halloween song.

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A teacher plays the ukulele while the children sing.

Overall it was a lovely Halloween celebration that was enjoyed by all!

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Better late than never!  A few short weeks ago it was Halloween.

We have a low-key celebration as it can be overwhelming for many children.

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Some of the Kindergartners and the afternooners decorated the classroom.

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We scooped out a pumpkin to make pumpkin muffins for the classroom celebration.  We also carved a friendly jack-o-lantern.

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We also hammered nails into a pumpkin.

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Process & Product: Math, Magnets and More

At our school the children engage in many “works” that do not produce a product.  The Montessori philosophy is one of process over product.  Most of what we do does not go home in a backpack but does go home in other ways.  Children at this age learn through experience.  They absorb so much throughout the day while working and socializing with others.  We call our activities “work” and each one is thoroughly thought out before it is presented to the children.  As the children grow older, they begin to gain control over fine motor skills (with the help of interaction with many of our “works”) and may begin to bring home more “product.”

Here are some examples of non-product work:

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Learning the decimal system (unit, ten, hundred and thousand) by playing the “Bring Me” game.

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In this game the teacher asks the child (based on their abilities) to “bring me” a specific number using the golden beads.  Depending on the student, this may sound like: “bring me five units,” or “bring me forty two,” or “bring me three hundreds, seven tens and six units.”  The children carry their trays over to the shelf (the “bank”) and collect the corresponding number of beads then returns to the teacher.  They are often seen helping each other.  The teacher will then count the beads out loud to reinforce the amount that the child brought back.  This can also be played when the child is ready for “Bring Me” with the symbol or numbers.

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Once the children have worked on learning the values of the golden beads and understand the symbol, they are able to work on addition as a group game.

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This child works with the “Snake Game.”  Here she learns base ten with the golden beads.  She is understanding the ten addition tables.

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She starts counting the beads and stops at ten.  She then removes what she can, marks where she left off and replaces these beads with a ten bar creating a long, golden snake.

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This Kindergartner practices abstracting addition with the “Addition Blind Chart.”  He uses folded slips that contain written addition combinations and can find the answer by running his finger down from the top and over from the left side.  Where they meet is the sum.  Sometimes this can create a product if the child chooses to write down the equations.

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Here is a child engaging in our magnetic/non-magnetic work this week.

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This magnet work pulls or pushes this tiny car.

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This magnet work uses iron filings and sand.

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Learning to tie using the bow frame.

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Cutting the washed apples from last week.

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Pouring into a pan.

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Making applesauce for snack.

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This child has gone through a process of getting out the work, putting on an apron, washing hands and returning.  He is engaged in our food prep work of making a caprese salad on a toothpick.  He has just turned three and can do these things by himself now.

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He then gets to eat the yummy treat.

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This child uses a sensorial work, Color Box 3, to enhance her visual skills by grading from light to dark in a single shade.

This is only a very small sample of what happens every day at AACH.  There is so much happening and most of it does not result in a product to send home in a backpack at the end of the week.

Valentines, Valentines, Valentines!

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This past week (and last week) we had many Valentine activities on the shelves! One was making your own Valentine bag! The children wrote their name on ones side of a white paper bag and then glued on a red or pink doily heart on the other side. They were all so happy to be able to have a bag so they could take their Valentines home! casino online (Even better, it was one they made!)

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We also made Valentine cookies! Here two older girls help out other children make the cookies. (Afternoon children made the dough on Tuesday afternoon).

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They first wash put on an apron then wash hands. Lightly flour the surface, roll out the dough ball, cut out the heart and then carry it on the spatula (!) to a baking tray on a different table.

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On Thursday morning the children decorated the cookies with frosting and a tiny amount of sprinkles. Before going home on Thursday they all ate the cookies!

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Happy Valentines Day!

Gingerbread Cookie Baking

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We continue to prepare cookie dough on Thursday afternoons so baking can be done on Friday mornings. This week we decided to make gingerbread cookies. The children sprinkle the surface with flour (of course after putting on an apron and washing hands!), take a ball of dough and roll out.

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Using the various cookie cutters, the children cut out a shape and used the spatula to put on the cookie sheet. Yum!

Making Cookies

Tis the season for baking!  On Thursday afternoons, the children are beginning to make cookie dough for baking on Friday morning.  So far we have made sugar cookies and oatmeal cookies.

First the children put on an apron and wash their hands. Then they take a piece of dough and put it on the floured surface. Using the rolling pin, they flatten the dough.

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A cookie cutter is used and then with a small spatula, they transfer the cookie to the baking pan. For the oatmeal cookies, we flattened with a fork before transferring to a pan.

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Once there are enough cookies on the pan, a teacher will take the pan into the kitchen to bake the cookies. Our school smells wonderful and before we head outside to play, everyone enjoys the fruits of their labor together! They have all learned to wait until everyone is served before eating.

Bon Appetit!

Pumpkin Muffins

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Last week we dissected a pumpkin in class to learn about the different parts. We then baked the pumpkin and the children took turns scooping out the inside. To demonstrate what to do with pumpkin we decided to make pumpkin muffins. The children all had a chance to help with mixing up the muffins, putting them in the tins and of course, eating them!

Still in Europe- England

We had moved on from Holland and studied a bit of England last week. The children engaged in many activities from coloring and learning about the St. George’s cross (the Flag of England) to singing songs from England and making scones and having a tea party at the end of the week.

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The afternoon children made scones and then ate some as a snack. They were able to practice their spreading skills with butter and jam! (Sorry, no clotted cream here much to our disappointment!)

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Later in the week we decorated hats to wear to the “tea” party. We used a plastic bowl, punched a hole on either side, cut the middle out of a paper plate and taped them together. The children decorated then we used white yarn to tie together. Everyone made a hat and were so excited about wearing them to the party.

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We had scones with jam, sliced grapes, tea sandwiches (the children helped to prepare these by spreading the cream cheese on the sandwiches) and lemonade which was our tea.

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It was fun to have our tea party on Friday. We were able to practice our Grace and Courtesy as always during the tea party. We waited until everyone was served to begin eating or drinking, when asking for more we used please and thank you. At the end of the party, the children were able to clean up independently. It was a great week in England!

Homemade Fish Crackers

This week we decided to give homemade fishy crackers a try. These turned out to be very labor intensive but it was fun and the children seemed to enjoy the process.

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First up was grating the cheese. We then made the dough (recipe to follow) and using a lightly floured surface and rolling pin rolled the dough into 1/8 inch thick pieces. We used a tiny fish cookie cutter hand crafted by Amy. (amazing!) Once in a while the cutter was dipped in flour to help the shape drop out.

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Bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes, making sure they don’t get too brown.

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Enjoy!

Fish Crackers
Yield: About 100 small crackers
6 ounces sharp cheddar, orange if you can find one you like
4 T. butter
1/2 c. all purpose flour
1/4 c. white whole wheat flour
1/8 t. onion powder
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon table salt

Preheat oven to 350. Combine all ingredients in a food processor, running until the dough forms a ball, up to 2 minutes. Wrap dough in waxed paper or plastic wrap and chill in fridge for 30 to 45 minutes which also makes it easier to transfer shapes. Cut out the shapes. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes or until barely brown at the edges. Remove and set on a rack to cool.

These could also be made with bigger shapes and would not take as long to make.

Granola Bars

More baking!  The winter is upon us and baking is practical, fun and warm!  We decided to make granola bars together.  Wash hands, put on apron, mix ingredients, push in a pan and bake!

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Mix together:
3 c. oats
1 c. coconut
1 c. chocolate chips (we used about 1/4 c. at school)
1/2 c. dried fruit
2 T. melted butter
14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
1/2 c. wheat germ

Press into a greased pan (or parchment paper). 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

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Enjoy! Make sure to cover if eating the next day. These may be cut up into rectangular pieces and frozen in tin foil. They are great to throw in a lunch, thaws by lunch.

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Enjoy!