The Work Plan

Friday, December 28, 2012

Stick With Me:)

I have been really focused on our Practical Life area since reading the classroom manual that I have received for my training.  What I have learned so far( I still need to reread the manuals and study) is that I was definitely wrong about the group of children that I work with being normalized. For the most part many of them are in the second phase of normalization. They will choose activities all work period, but choosing to go in depth with one material at a time they are not doing. That is O.K, because I can do something about it.

One of the blessings of going through training is having a album that I can understand. We haven't nearly scratched the surface of practical life activities. They really still do need these activities to help foster their independence, deepen their concentrations skills, and strengthen those fine muscles that indirectly prepare for all areas of environment. 

While checking my inventory with the suggested activities in the album I was really discouraged. It isn't that I haven't acquired these items, there not in top notch shape as they should be. My goal is to have activities available that follow the interest of the child, and are so beautiful that they want to touch it. Beauty that calls them back for more!

I would love to be able to go online and order all of the beautiful Montessori Practical Life materials that are available, but that is not economically possible. I have found really good sales at Home Goods, World Market and Target that if prepared well can do the job too.

 What's in the basket?

  • A napkin ring for 99 cents from Target
  • child size fork, spoon, knife, spreader and whisk from World Market all for $4.00
  • Package of four linen napkins for $5.00 at Home Goods
  • A table mat for $1.78 at Target
  • Mortar/Pestle for $3.99
  • Two charger plates for 99 cents a piece from Target
I have somewhat of an idea what I will use them for, but I will share later once the mission is complete:)

Cups and saucers for the snack table just $12.99 from World Market. I love that they are color coded, it allows for me to assign a color to a child until washing dishes is done correctly by all of the children.

            Hand washing set I put together for just $15.00 at Home Goods.

If you went online and compared the prices from the popular Montessori Sellers you can see that I saved big time, not including the shipping fees. See having a Montessori environment doesn't have to be expensive to set up, just prepared!

I hope you will feel inspired to create and share some practical life fun with the children in your life!!

I am going to be documenting my training along the way. You may not see children in the pictures as much as you have in the past, but if you follow along you will be able to see the process it takes to have an Montessori inspired environment from the perspective of a student going through Montessori teacher training.



Monday, December 24, 2012

The Gift that Keeps on Giving!!

I received my first component training materials on Friday. What a wealth of information!!

Happy Holidays!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


I used the card material from The Helpful Garden to discuss the classes of vertebrates with a small group of children ranging from three to eleven. We had a blast with this lesson!!

 They were really intrigued by this new work on the shelves.
 This material actually belongs to my son who has studied these Animal X Rays extensively. You can learn more about them and see what work this inspired him to do here
 Many of them enjoyed matching the pictures to the X-Rays, others became occupied with identifying the classes of vertebrates.                                                                          

    The older ones really took to making their own little booklets also available from The Helpful Garden.                                                                

Sunday, December 9, 2012


One of the things that I aim to do whenever possible is to expose the children to the diversity of our world. Since its Christmas time it is a great time to learn more about Kwanzaa and Hanukkah. This week I added a few Hanukkah related works that will definitely get them to ask me questions.

Today I will like to share the practical life works.

                                                             The Menorah Tray

             This is how it looks when completed.

                    Folding Napkins with the Star of David.

                         Spooning symbols of Hanukkah.
I added this too because of the colors white and blue. Blue and White are the colors of the Tallit(prayer shawl) and the Israeli flag.

I have quite a few books that I will be reading to them as well. The symbols will be discussed and lots of geography and cultural studies will be done.

Linking to Montessori Monday 


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Writing at the Easel

I am still working hard on saving money for Montessori training certification. In the meantime I have been focusing on accrediting my home based preschool. The first thing in this process that I want to tackle is improving our environment. I have been making various blueprints of how I want our preschool/elementary classroom to look. Fortunately for me the kids are respecting each others' work space and are now at the point where they habitually ask for lessons on work, and respect the hands off the work approach until the lesson is given. This helps me to bring them all together now which will allow a more attractive work space for them, and more room.

Once a child starts writing there is no stopping them! They absolutely love inventive spelling. In fact I wholeheartedly agree to have the child read their own writing before formally introducing reading to them. It seems that all(4 yr olds) of the children here are entering their sensitive period for language.

Our easel has proven to be an invaluable tool in allowing the children to follow their interest at a whim.

   Some choose to use the Sandpaper Letters to practice letter formation.  

 Maddux loves to trace the Sandpaper Letters and say the sound while writing.

    (you can see some of the work to be done to prepare the environment with x marking the spot)
The children also enjoy using the easel for drawing pictures to tell a story.

While adjustments are being made to the environment the easel offers plenty of open ended writing to still continue.                                                                          

Monday, November 26, 2012

Festive Work

Things are getting busier here!! Which is always good news:) One of the things that has changed is that I don't really have to change out any materials on the shelves often. They are taken to the traditional Montessori materials. I try to save my material making time for extensions or flat out inspiration.

One of the things that I think I will always do is add some Christmas Spirit to our days. We always have a tree set out to decorate.

 I do change up the ornaments to keep the surprise element for the kiddos. This work is done by everyone from the youngest " preschooler" being two to the oldest being fourteen. It is a well received work here.

          The collage tray gets transformed to a lot of glittery paper shapes.      
       Here I just changed out beans for ornaments.

                     Using tongs to transfer bulbs.

I thought I share this photo too because there's nothing like a new pack of freshly sharpened colored pencils.    

Linking up to Montessori Monday.                                                                       

Thursday, November 15, 2012

How They Have Been Learning To Read

I have had an opportunity to review the PAL: Reading and Writing program from Institute for Excellence in Writing as a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew. This program is amazing and it has a lot of Montessori principles incorporated in it. I have been using the program with Janessa who is in Kindergarten and she loves it. The other children have shown interest in doing this work too. 

Maddux is four years old and has looked forward to reading time while using this program.
                             His handwriting is improving.
                          This letter booklet is from the The Helpful Garden
 Maddux's love of sounds is growing..

 Maddux is having so much fun playing the games and doing the cut and paste activities that he hasn't realized he is reading sight words and vowel diphthongs too.

I am able to still follow the child while using this program. For example Maddux and I do one lesson in two days, this is what works for him. I would not recommend using this with a child who has not done a large amount of early reading activities. I found this series Early Math and Language Skills written by Melissa at Vibrant Wanderings to be really helpful in making sure that those activities were done with the child before introducing them to the program. To read my full review of the PAL: Reading and Writing program go here.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Counting Number Rods and Cranberries

Last year Maddux was my wanderer in the classroom. Paying close attention to his classmates work, but not choosing any work for himself. This year he started out staying busy in the Practical Life area and now he is breezing through the tradititional Montessori lessons.

 He loves to lay out the Number Rods from longest to shortest and then begins counting them one by one. He starts with Number Rod 1, because he says it is the shortest and then counts them all. He is still working on identifying some numbers but any day now he'll get it.

 Being a wanderer has helped Maddux out tremendously. Maddux is familiar with the presentations and knows exactly what work he may be interested in me showing him. He remembered the cranberry work I had in the Practical Life area last year and went bananas when he saw a pail of them next to the Sandpaper Numbers. Maddux knew just what to do because he has been wandering  observing the classroom for a long time.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Pink Tower: Cut and Paste

There is one material here that gets used daily by all The Pink Tower. It is definitely in need of some paint. In a way I like it like this. Its just one of those things that grows on me and I have made a lot of good memories with the Pink Tower. If you hop over to The Helpful Garden you can download this cut and paste activity to add some more fun to this beloved work.
                    A proud owner of the Pink Tower!!

 Mia had a blast with this work and now she is becoming an Architect of the Pink tower and Brown Stairs. The Helpful Garden also has a cut and paste activity for the Brown Stairs. If you haven't visited this very resourceful blog you are in for a treat. Warning!! Before visiting grab your favorite beverage, stock your printer with ink, turn on your laminator, and enjoy. This wonderful lady has been such a blessing!!