Friday, September 30, 2011

Math: Matching Quantity and Symbol

Many of our children are very interested in math!  They have entered their sensitive period for numbers and all things related (see post on sensitive periods).  The Montessori materials follow the developmental sequence of the child when they become interested in math.  We have heard many voices saying the numbers which is called rote counting.  This is when a child can repeat the numbers because they have memorized them. 

We have also seen some number recognition.  This is when a child can visually identify the number which we call the symbol.  (We use the sandpaper numerals.)

We are working toward 1:1 correspondence.  This is when a child can match the quantity to the symbol, for example, the number four with four items.  Once a child understands this concept, they are able to begin the  mathmatical operation of addition. 

1-1 correspondence up to 5- this is a good place to begin with those just entering into this type of activity
another 1:1 correspondence game with a die

table top number rods
Montessori cards and counters, matching quantity and symbol.

If your child is interested in numbers, take a few pinecones or leaves and count them.  In the beginning we may need to touch the object with our finger or four can become six.  The children are used to rote counting which can go faster than the finger can move.  If we stop on each one as we count, it reinforces the 1:1 correspondence.  Use refridgerator magnets as numerals and count pieces of fruit in the kitchen.  Place the number next to the amount.  There are many different activities you can do to help your child learn this concept.  As always, we never push the child to do work if they are not ready or interested.  If they are showing you signs of readiness, count away! 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Island and Lake

To continue our geography curriculum, we have begun studying land and water forms.  We have presented the children with the forms for lake (an area of water surrounded by land) and island (and area of land surrounded by water).  We do this by presenting a model in which the children can interact.  Our aim is to help the child develop their knowledge of, and interest in, the forms and shapes that land and water can adapt.  As in most Montessori materials, we give a concrete representation of the concept.  We also give the children the vocabulary.  As Montessori (The Absorbent Mind, 2007, pg. 154) said, "We found that our children who had the opportunity of learning these words early, recalled and remembered them easily when they found them later in the ordinary schools... while those children who met them for the first time found it difficult to remember them.  So the logical conclusion is to give scientific names at this age, of 3 to 6 years.  They are not given mechanically of course, but in connection with specially prepared apparatus, so that they are based on real understanding and experience." 

Here a child is pouring water into the lake. 
The child then pours water into the Island form.

We will continue with cape and bay next. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Even though it is officially fall now, we do have a caterpillar who seems determined to turn into a Black Swallowtail butterfly!  He was found in a garden munching carrot tops.  We have fed him dill and parsley and it nearly doubled in size overnight.  The children have been watching this transformation!  We are excited to see when other changes happen. 
The caterpillar is in the jar on the left.  On the right is a butterfly I found "resting" in my parking space this summer.  Below are models of the butterfly life cycle. 
Will keep you posted on the progress of our caterpillar!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

We made bread!

Yesterday we decided to make bread as a group.  The children took turns pouring ingredients into a bowl and stirring. 
We baked it in our bread machine.  Did it smell good!
We ate the bread!  YUM! (It was cinnamon raisin)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Bugs, bugs, bugs, bugs...

Wow, have we been lucky lately!  We have found a praying mantis, a huge grasshopper (thanks to my oldest-the bug and small animal hunter), a caterpillar and Saturday night- an awesome walking stick!  The children love to see bugs and are fascinated to see them moving around in our bug viewing container.  At the end of the morning, we usually thank them and set them free back into the grass!  Montessori (The Discovery of the Child, 1967, pg. 71) felt the years between 3-6 was an age when "Children have an anxious concern for living beings, and the satisfaction of this instinct fills them with delight."  She also wrote, "The metamorphoses of insects... are objects of patient observation on the part of children, and they often give rise to an interest that surprises us."  We have seen this interest lately!!!
An interested child!  The walking stick moved around quite a bit!

You can see why this was so interesting! 
Thank you walking stick and goodbye! 

More Independence

Thank you to our friends at Stepping Stones Montessori in East Lansing!!  We obtained this wonderful table this weekend and quickly made it a place for our children to wash their dishes!  They can pour their own drinks then wash their cups in our new dishwashing table.  It was very popular this morning and of course, helped the children feel independent! 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


One of the many goals we hope to achieve when working with these amazing children is to develop independence.  If you have lived with a toddler, one of their favorite things to say is "I do it myself!"  Dr. Montessori felt children need to be independent and are mostly so by the age of three.  Without independence, we cannot feel dignity.  In The Discovery of the Child (1967, pg. 67), Dr. Montessori wrote, "If teaching is to be effective with young children, it must assist them to advance on the way to independence.  It must initiate them into those kids of activities which they can perform themselves...  We must help them to learn how to walk without assistance, to run, to go up and down stairs, to pick up fallen objects, to dress and undress, to wash themselves, to express their needs in a way that is clearly understood, and to attempt to satisify their desires through their own efforts.  All this is part of an education to independence." 

If you have extra time, try to let your child zip their own coat, put on their own shoes (even if on the wrong feet!), carry their own bag etc... In our busy lives it is often difficult to do this but try to give yourself 5, or okay, maybe 10 extra minutes.  If your child spills something on the floor, show them how to clean it up, and let them do it.  They could even help make lunch!  The child will feel such a sense of pride and dignity!

Monday, September 12, 2011


Sorting is a popular activity for all children in the classroom.  Montessori spoke of children having access to small objects to sort.  This activity not only strengthens fine motor skills but also problem solving by organizing, discriminating, comparing and contrasting. 

If you have small objects that vary in color or size, make your own sorting work for your child.  We do this work on a rug on the floor.  Also important is having the child put the work away by themselves including rolling up the rug.  This helps the child develop a sense of order.