Thursday, January 31, 2013

Thank You

Thank you to all the families who stopped by during the Preschool Expo!  It was great meeting all of you!  If you would like to schedule a visit please send us an email at or come to our open house on February 23 from 2-4 pm. 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Come and Meet Us!

Ann Arbor Children's House will be at the Preschool Expo tomorrow from 1:00-4:00.  This will be located at:  Palmer Commons on U of M Central Campus

We are also having an open house on February 23rd from 2:00-4:00.  If you would like to schedule a visit another day, please email us at

Vertebrate Puzzles

We have recently received some new puzzles in our classroom.  There is one puzzle for each type of vertebrate.  Some of the children have been very interested in making their own vertebrate page.  They take one of the puzzles to a table and trace each piece.  This is tricky and requires strong fine motor skills.  Some children are not at all bothered to have extra large wobbly pieces for their puzzles but others like a teacher to assist in the tracing so their piece looks like the wooden one. 
After they are done tracing, they cut out the pieces and glue them to a piece of paper.  Once dried, the child retrieves a control card that has the names of the parts of the particular animal.  They use a ruler to make a line and then write the name of the part.  One child decided to make all five pages in one week and assemble into a book! 


One of the afternoon children had a question. Why does all of the water in rivers not sink into the ground? We decided to help him see the answer by making it a concete experience!
We made a small model of a river by gluing and taping styrofoam pieces to make different elevations into a plastic tray. We then put a layer of modeling clay over all of it.
 We then poured water with some blue food coloring in it on the top and watched how the water flowed quickly down. We talked about where water comes from that forms rivers.
In addition to the hands on experiment, we made our own parts of a river booklet to take home. 

Packing and Unpacking a Lunchbox

This is really practical!  On our practical life shelves this week we offered an activity that will help the children for a long time to come!  We packed up a lunchbox with various containers that would mimic what the children bring in for lunch each day.  For our lunch, they unpack their whole lunchbox and place it on a plate that we provide along with all of the necessary silverware. 
 The most difficult part of the lunch process for the children is opening the containers!  
With this work, the children can not only learn how to unzip the lunchbox but to open each of the containers and then pack it back up again. 


This past week we studied electricity in some of the afternoons.  The children were given a balloon and shown how to create static electricity.  Rubbing the balloon created static electricity because the balloons become negatively charged and have taken some of the electrons from the hair, thus, leaving them positively charged.   The hair (positive) then rises to meet the balloon (negative) as opposites attract. 

We then showed the children our circuit board.  Here they were able to see how to light up the bulb by creating a circuit.  Many children were very interested in the circuit and ended up experimenting with ways to change the circuit. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

mint crushing

 As we did last year, we plan on introducing "having tea with a friend!"  To prepare the tea, we offered mint crushing as a practical life activity.   Children take a tray to a table, open the tin, place it in the mortar and pestle, crush and put in the container.  This is a multi-step activity that also smells good!

helping a friend

Socialization happens very naturally in our classroom.  We teach grace and courtesy such as how to ask for help, how to walk around someone's work, how to give a compliment...  As these children have learned to tie, they are now able to ask each other for help tying bows or knots! 

sewing a gator

 Sewing continues!  The children have decided to make neck warmers or "gators."  It is wonderful watching a group of children sewing gators and chatting away!
Here she chooses the material and the embroidery floss.
 VERY CAREFULLY, we use the stick pins to secure the material.
 Use a "whip stitch" to sew the side.  This is tougher than it looks!
 Finished product! 

Table top volcanic eruption

 In order to have the children explore the volcanoes a bit more, we offered a table top experiment.
 Here she carries the tray to the table.  She uses a teaspoon to put in the baking soda.  Then, vinegar is poured into the opening. 

more volcano work

 We also looked at volcanic rock.  Two students had gone to Hawaii at the beginning of the year and brought us back a lava rock!
 We were also lucky enough to have volcanic ash from Mt. Saint Helens!  The children were all able to feel the ash in their hands. 
More rocks from volcanoes!
And... very exciting!  This child had heard about the "ring of fire" (and he also likes Johnny Cash!) and was very motivated to make his own!


This past week we explored volcanoes!  We presented the children with three models. 
 We read books and learned volcano facts.
 Then, we used baking soda, vinegar, dish soap and a little red food coloring to "erupt" the volcano!

 The children were able to match parts of volcano cards and then also made books!  Some of the children were very engrossed in learning about the volcanoes. 
The volcano books came home on Friday.

Creativity in a Montessori classroom

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! 

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Secret of Childhood

It is amazing to hear stories of parents who come to visit the classroom!  We are used to the atmosphere in our classroom and it is wonderful to hear the observations of others.  Here is a great blog post speaking to the Secret of Childhood! Enjoy!

Link to a great Blog Post regarding Children!