Here is an example of some work done last week that highlights some creativity Montessori style. Since this child has sewn a lot over the past one and a half years, she wanted to make a bunny stuffed animal. She traced it on the fabric and sewed then stuffed! She then decided to write a story about the bunny. This child is in a strong sensitive period for language. She has gone through our first reading series and can read books with three letter words (phonemic and some sight words) but has now also begun to sound out everything she sees and loves to write on her own! She wrote a three page book about the bunny and also declared, “I am the author AND the illustrator!” This page says, “My bunny loves to ride her bike. She has lots of snacks.” After the pages were done, she chose a cover for her book. Being in a Montessori classroom she has learned the skills to complete such activities and she reported that she was very proud of herself and excited to have completed this work!
For another sewing work this week we introduced sewing a pouch. Some children have become very proficient sewers and need very little extra help. We used embroidery floss with felt to create the pouches. We also decided to give the option of adding a button as they have had a lot of button practice in the past few weeks. They only tricky part is threading the needle and tying a knot at the end. We did introduce the children to the needle threader which really helped!
This child made a pouch for everyone in her family!
The pouch sewing seemed to inspire another child who had taken a very long break from his stuffed animal sewing work. This child decided to finish sewing and then we asked him to write a story about the snake. He is a proficient reader and we are always looking for ways to help the writing process along. He wrote several pages and took the snake and the book home with him Friday! What an accomplishment!
This past week we introduced sewing buttons on burlap.
This child enjoys sewing and always picks the sewing works on the shelves. Here she sews on many buttons and decided to make a “book” (as we do with many science or language work). After deciding that stapling the side might not work, she sewed one side of the burlap together to make her button sewing work!
In order to maintain interest in a task such as using the moveable alphabet and writing, sometimes a teacher has to find ways to motivate the child. (Especially children who are very capable and do not like to make a mistake!) This can be done by finding something they are interested in such as sewing and making it into something that also involves a “work” they should begin to do as well. We have several children interested in sewing and decided to have them sew a “stuffed animal” as long a they wrote a story about it at the end.
First up was drawing the creation on paper.
The child then cut out the animal and we traced onto material. We used a hoop to make the fabric stable while the child sewed their animal. While doing this the child is thinking about their character, title, story line, etc for their book.
Here is a photo of the first stuffed animal! This child wrote a story by telling me the words to write but has now been using the moveable alphabet! We have three other stuffed animal creations and stories going. They may be done by the end of this month! Exciting!!
As many of the children have shown an interest in sewing, we added a sewing work with multiple steps. First is to sew around two pieces of pumpkin shaped cardstock. This is slightly different than how we sew cardstock.
The second step is to rip newspaper and stuff it inside the pumpkin.
The third step is to paint the pumpkin on one side, let dry and paint other side.
The children then sew up opening and draw a face on the front with marker.
They are really enjoying this multi-step activity.
We love to sew! We have now moved on to sewing around shapes instead of straight lines. The children are really enjoying this activity as you may see in their backpack today!
One child accidentally sewed two together at the same time and was very surprised at this error. In making lemonade out of lemons she said, “I will give this to my brother and he can use it as a puppet!” She stuck her finger in the middle and then went on to make another finger puppet! (Very Julia Child- who was also a Montessori child!)
We have now begun our sewing curriculum! The children used a very blunt needle to sew through holes in cardstock. We progress through activities increasing in complexity and will hopefully be sewing pillows by the end of the year!
As the end of the year approaches, we wanted the children to use their developing sewing skills to make a pillow. By doing this they create something to treasure and take home. We began with giving the children a choice of fabric. The fabric was colorful and fun. We also used hoops to steady the material so the children would have to do less work with the non-dominant hand.
The children sewed in a straight line along the penciled line. We demonstrated how to hold the hoop steady and use the dominant hand (mostly right hands for this group) to do the work. Some had a little trouble at first not looping the thread around the hoop. With a few demonstrations, the children were able to hold the hoop and sew along the line. We showed them how to use the tip of the needle to find the line and poke it up.
After the child has sewn on the line they turn the pillow inside out and begin to stuff.
We had them pull the stuffing off in little bits and put into the pillow.
We then sewed the hole closed which was a little difficult as we did not use a hoop. There was also no drawn pencil line on the fabric as this was the side that was shown. (For this fabric we sewed along one of the lines that was already there.)