The children have been learning about leaves. It is a great time to learn as they are falling from the trees and are so beautiful!
In our classroom, as with many traditional Montessori classrooms, we have the botany (leaf) cabinet. This is a cabinet that holds three drawers of leaf shaped inserts. Many of the children enjoyed watching this lesson.
They heard the names of many of the leaf shapes. (We have to review these ourselves each year!)
They then matched up real leave to the pieces found in the cabinet.
We like to have leaf matching on the shelves. Here the children match a real leaf and one from picture cards.
Some of the children drew the other half of a leaf attached to paper.
Leaf dissection is always fun! Here we take a leaf and cut away the parts to show the children the various parts of a leaf.
Some of the children liked to complete a leaf rubbing work. Here they place a leaf or two under a piece of paper.
Using a sideways crayon, they rub and the leaves begin to appear. The children are able to see the veins in the leaf and feel the bumpy paper.
Finally, in afternoon art, the children experiment with materials found outside. This was inspired by the work of Andy Goldsworthy.
A little more on him here: http://visualmelt.com/Andy-Goldsworthy
To see more about our Goldsworthy-inspired project, go to our Facebook page to see a slideshow of the creations.
It is the time of the year to study apples!
We began the week with small groups demonstrating an apple dissection.
The children hear the names of the different parts of the apple and place the real piece on the black card.
Once they have had a lesson, they may take this work out and match the parts whenever they choose.
This three year old decided to paint an apple on the art table. In the first photo he had remembered the leaf on the apple that he saw.
Later, when he returned back to do it again, he drew the “blossom end” as seen on the bottom in the second photo.
The Kindergartner/afternoon group took a field trip to Wasem Fruit Farm. http://www.wasemfruitfarm.com/tours.html
Here they learned about a few varieties of apples, took a tour through the apple washing and storing process, had a snack of cider and donuts and then picked their own apples. This is a wonderful way to get the children to experience how food grows and where it comes from.
We then made a fun activity of washing the apples. Many children watched the multistep lesson on how to wash an apple and wanted to try it for themselves!
After you put on an apron (and have someone tie it in the back), you place out all of the items and fill up the water pitcher.
Pour the water into the washing bowl.
Place an apple in the bowl.
Place in colander.
After this the child walks through the classroom with a clean and sparkly apple and places it in a bowl.
Most children are very attracted to this activity and want to repeat it over and over.
We will use these clean apples to cut and make into applesauce next week.
Another art work was apple printing.
Here the child paints on side of an apple and pushes it on the paper to create prints of apples.
At the end of the week, we had an apple tasting. Dr. Montessori stressed the importance of sensorial education at this age.
Here, we educate the sense of taste.
We looked at six different types of apples:
red delicious (picked at the apple orchard)
We looked at the differences and similarities in the exocarp, mesocarp and the endocarp. (Some of the children remembered these names from the apple dissection lesson.)
Tasting them and deciding the favorite was the best part for many! We look forward to our applesauce next week!
In the spring we like to learn about butterflies. We learn about symmetry and metamorphosis. The children enjoy watching these guys change!
We receive a shipment of caterpillars. We spend a few days watching them eat, poop and grow!
After a while they attach to the paper at the top of the jar.
They form into chrysalides and we transfer them into their habitat.
In the meantime, we provide a plastic toy model of the butterfly life cycle. This is one the children can touch and order in the stages of development.
We also have an art project. Butterfly painting.
We paint one side of the paper.
Then fold over.
If the paint has not already dried a bit… there will be a symmetrical butterfly.
And we wait….
and voila! In a second, the butterfly emerges! Usually you can tell which one will hatch next as the chrysalis becomes very dark.
We feed the butterflies sugar water for a day and make sure their wings are dried out and ready to be set free.
We bring the habitat outside and open the top. Usually the butterflies need a bit of help getting out.
They fly around for a bit before leaving us for good. This is especially thrilling for the children.
And one three year old was so inspired, he made his own butterfly out of blocks!
The children have been learning about mixing colors, the color wheel and rainbows.
We have also been having fun mixing colors!
We use the three primary colors. The board shows the children to what colors to drop on each circle.
The children squeeze the droplets of colored water. Some children need a lesson on how to use the eye dropper or pipette.
After all of the droplets are on the circles, the child uses a toothpick and mixes the colors.
This allows the child to see how these colors combine to create different colors and shades of colors.
Next, the child places a paper towel on top of the colors.
The towel absorbs the colors.
Sometimes the child pushes down the towel to be sure the colors show up.
Pick up and you have a color wheel!
The children also wanted to make a large rainbow for the classroom.
They cut out various shades of different colors from magazine photos.
The children spent time gluing the pieces to a large poster board.
The children have been learning about various flowers we are seeing out and about in our environment.
Since we have seen many tulips, we decided to have some tulip art!
The children use a foam core board and color in the stem.
They place their petals on the board to fill in the tulip.
Liquid starch is used to paste down the tissue paper petals.
The children put these on the drying rack after they are finished so they can dry.
We have been doing a lot of gardening and getting ready for spring. This year we thought it would be fun to grow mushrooms! We ordered a mushroom growing kit from a farmer and have begun this process.
We showed the children the kit and talked about how mushrooms grow from spores. They are really not a plant but have their own category as a fungi. They actually obtain their nutrition by metabolizing non-living organic matter.
These mushrooms came to us in compost. We all took a turn smelling it and these were some of the comments: It smells like: woods, moss and bark, chocolate, woodchips, bees and bark. Some children just thought it was stinky.
We put the dirt in a bucket.
One of the children brought three cups of water.
We then added water and mixed.
The squeeze test is done to make sure it is moist enough. For us it wasn’t so we added a bit more water.
We then put this mix on top of the compost and mushroom spores.
After this process was complete and everyone had a turn putting the dirt on top, some children wanted to make a sign.
The moveable alphabet was used to write the words and then someone wrote them on paper.
Lastly, some of the children went with a teacher to a dark, furnace room to place the mushrooms for optimal growing. They need it to be dark and about 75 degrees.
Inspired by the study of mushrooms, some of the children engaged in other activities. One was making a paper mushroom.
These types of activities require the child to use different types of tools such as a pencil or marker, glue, hole puncher. All of these help to increase fine motor skills and connect the brain with the hand.
Another fun activity was painting with mushrooms! The child picks up a mushroom that is on the end of a plastic fork, dips in paint and creates their own picture.
Lastly, some of the children like to create their own nomenclature book.
We hope to have real mushrooms in a few weeks and will update the blog then!
The children were so excited for this art lesson today! They used a Gelli plate to create a print of their own.
First step is to write your name on the paper.
Paint on the Gelli plate.
Push down the paper on the plate.
Carefully peel back the paper to reveal the print.
Place on the drying rack.
Here are many different prints.
The children took care to clean off the plate when they were done. This required them to walk to the bathroom holding the sponge in a bowl They used the sponge to wipe off the plate so it was clean for the next person.
The children rinsed out the paint and then squeezed out the sponge.
There will be many Gelli prints this week!
Every year we spend the week leading up to Valentine’s Day doing all sorts of things such as cutting out hearts (great fine motor work), pouring beans with a heart scoop and making valentines to give to our parents and loved ones. Hope you all enjoyed your Valentine’s Day!
making a special card
making valentine’s bags
putting valentines in the bags
Weaving is always popular! It engrosses many children and they enjoy all of the work we have to offer. The children learn about the weft (yarn or paper that goes right and left) and the warp (top to bottom). This work allows a child to have time to sit and build concentration and fine motor skills. Some sit with a friend and chat together and some prefer to do it alone. Either way, weaving is enjoyed by many children!
Paper weaving, individual weaving and a large community project.
Now that the children have learned the Earth is made of land and water and has seven continents, many want to make their own continent map. First they poke holes around outlines of continents.
Once the continents are ready, the children paint a map.
They glue the continents onto the map.
Please click below to hear them sing the Continent Song!