Advanced Sewing

At AACH we have a sewing curriculum which spans the three years a child is in the program.

There is something for everyone.

This child is in her third year and can now thread her own needles, tie knots and also knows the difference between a whipstitch and a straight stitch.  She has participated in many sewing projects over the years.

Here she is decorating a plain t-shirt.


Use the template to trace onto fabric.


Place on the t-shirt and use pins to secure then place a hoop over the area to sew.


Choose color, thread needle (we use embroidery floss) and tie a knot.




A visit to the Food Pantry


Around Thanksgiving time we had a food drive and a visit to the Back Door Food Pantry.  About the BDFP here: http://www.backdoorfoodpantry.org/about-us/


The children were asked to donate lentils and beans.  The Kindergarten children crafted a letter and sent it to all of the parents.

They received the donations and sorted them into bags.


They then took the bags to the BDFP one day and met with two volunteers.




The children then received a thank you letter.

Please thank all of the 13 pupils who brought bags of donations to the BDFP last week. We received 30 assorted bags of dried beans, including at least 8 different varieties, and some raisin snack packs.On Thursday all of the beans  were put out on the protein distribution shelves and were eagerly selected by patrons . The raisins were selected by a  family with several youngsters who love raisins. 
We are really delighted that you were able to bring a group of the older pupils to the pantry twice this month with other teachers helping as well. The children  seemed excited to have the experience of visiting the BDFP and learning about how to help contribute to the  food we distribute to our patrons.  
Thanks go also to the parents who responded to their children’s request to purchase some food to donate. Feel free to contact us about scheduling  other classes for a tour in the future.


Helping in the Classroom

The children enjoy helping others and taking care of their environment.  In a Montessori classroom, we teach the children how to take care of themselves and others.  They learn how to clean up a spill and where things are stored.  They take such pride when they can help a younger child tie their apron.  All of these tasks give them confidence!  Here are some children being helpful in our classroom:


Folding cloths


A stack of cloths that have just been folded.


The cupboard where the cloths and other supplies are kept.  The children have learned that once they have cut paper, they can get a new piece out for the next person.  They also have polishing cloths and other supplies in this cabinet.


One Kindergarten child has had some experience baking bread in the bread machine.  Here she guides two other Kindergartners along this process.


A vase with a flower and water was knocked over.  Several children get a blue cloth and help to wipe up the spill.  When it is dry, they place the wet cloth in the dirty clothes hamper.


Here a child is taking care of the rug he used.  He is being very careful when he rolls it up, making sure the sides are just so.


Here a second year child helps tie the apron of a first year child who wants to do a food prep work.


This first year (3 year old) child wanted to wash cloths.  He really enjoyed washing and hanging them up to dry!


This second year child enjoyed washing a chair.


More cloth folding with a friend.


This second year child enjoys wood polishing.


Even if you are the youngest child in a classroom you can help clean too!  This child notices very tiny paint spots on the art table and doesn’t want to stop washing until they are all gone!  She is in a sensitive period to notice small tiny things and order.


This child saw someone drop a moveable alphabet on the floor.  He stopped what he was doing so he could help her pick it up.  He made piles and then later helped place the letters in the correct spot.


Here a third year (Kindergartner) helps a first year child get a snack.  She is explaining what the choice are and is showing her how to use the tongs.


This first year child enjoys feeding the animals each morning.  Once he changes into his indoor shoes, he heads to the classroom to see if the food is out for the animals.

We see these spontaneous acts happen all day long.  The children are not usually asked to help another child out, they just do.




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.


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.


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.


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


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


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


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


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


During the celebration, we had our snacks and cider.


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


A teacher plays the ukulele while the children sing.

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


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!

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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.

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Once they have had a lesson, they may take this work out and match the parts whenever they choose.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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Pour the water into the washing bowl.

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Place an apple in the bowl.

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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.

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Another art work was apple printing.

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Here the child paints on side of an apple and pushes it on the paper to create prints of apples.

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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:

ginger gold


red delicious (picked at the apple orchard)

honey crisp



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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.)


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Tasting them and deciding the favorite was the best part for many!  We look forward to our applesauce next week!

Science- solid, liquid and gas

The afternoon children had fun thinking about solids, liquids and gases this week.


First, we poured a liquid (apple cider) into popsicle molds.  These turned into a (YUMMY) solid once frozen.


We compared ice to dry ice by placing ice cubes in a plastic bowl.

We then observed what happened when warm water was poured over them. (They turned into a liquid).


Only the teacher touched the dry ice with tongs.  It was very cold (-100 degrees F which can harm the skin).  The metal tongs made a strange sound when they touched the dry ice.


The children carefully took turns touching the vapor made by the dry ice and the warm water.  The water droplets attach to the dry ice gas and form tiny droplets.  It was fun to fan the vapor.



Color mixing and Rainbows

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.



Africa and Ancient Egypt



We continued our cultural studies by investigating Africa and Ancient Egypt.  The afternoon children took a field trip to the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology to learn more about Ancient Egypt.  https://www.lsa.umich.edu/kelsey/  This was extra fun and exciting because we took the bus there!  A docent met our group and took us around the museum.



We saw real mummies and tombs.




We saw toys children used back then.


We looked at shoes, jewelry and oil lamps.



We looked a different types of pottery.


We had a great time at the Kelsey museum.


In the classroom we continued to explore and learn about Africa.  We borrowed a “Civilization in a Crate” so the younger children could also be exposed to Ancient Egypt.

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We also had many other African items to investigate.


Another way to learn about other cultures is to taste some of the food. The children helped to make couscous one day.  They first chopped the veggies and added them to the couscous for a treat one day.



Finally, Lori from Drummunity came to see us again!


She showed us many different types of clothing and instruments.  The children were able to explore and Lori helped explain what these instruments were made of and how to play them.







Here are links to us jamming out with Lori:

Drumming Video 2015 3

Drumming Video 2015 1

Drumming Video 2014 2

Here is a link to Lori’s website: http://www.drummunity.com/

Thanks to Lori for coming out, to Kelsey Museum of Archaeology and to all the parents who went with us on the field trip!






Recently we studied an annual favorite- volcanoes!  The children enjoy having a chance to have hands-on interaction with the small volcano model.  Some of the afternoon children make their own models to take home.

Volcano Eruption

Click above to see the “eruption” in class.


Some children chose to make a book about the parts of a volcano.


The children watched a small group lesson on how to erupt the small volcano on their own.


After learning how to do it, they could explore on their own.

First step is to add the baking soda.


The second step is to add the vinegar.


Watch the eruption!


Some older children chose to learn more about the ring of fire.  It is always fun to see how the ring of fire spreads over several continents.