The Work Plan

Monday, August 19, 2013

Friday Five:Science Edition

The science works always get a lot of attention. Most of the time the work is rotated about every six weeks, they like to take their sweet time investigating, and digging deeper with the materials. I am sharing five of what is the current favorite science related activities on our shelves right now, in no particular order.

1. Snap Circuits! When the primary students were given an opportunity to have a go at this they went bananas! They were successful too.                   

2. Our Observation and Weather station


3. Our book with matching animal objects.

4. Investigating Magnets.

5. They always look for more information on their topic of interest with the Let's Read and Find series. I am fortunate to have all of the books in this series after purchasing them over the past ten years.

To see more Friday Five Science Favorites pop over to Montessori MOMents.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Friday Five: Practical Life Edition

 I am getting so inspired with Lori's Friday Five over at her blog Montessori MOMents, I have already linked up once today with my children's favorite five advanced practical life activities, but I am on a roll with this and I thought I would share what is the latest favorite practical life activities among the primary students right now.

1. Packaging eggs. Oh how they love this! They have no idea that they are building their concentration skills up and gentle touches have been reinforced, they haven't cracked an egg yet!

2. Making a necklace. An oldie but a goodie! This work is always available on the shelf year round. I just replace the type of beading and it is used.

3. Independent Snack Time. Making jelly sandwiches was well received.

4. Mastering scooping with task cards. Which leads to another practical life lesson in sweeping for some:) and some exploratory sensorial skills too.

5. Learning to use a rolling pin with play doh and a cookie cutter. Again this activity is always a winner.

I hope you have enjoyed this Friday Five: Practical Life Edition you can pop over here to get some more ideas for your practical life shelves.

Enjoy the sunshine!

From Sandpaper Letter to Zoology

Today was the second day of Primary Class which only meets two days a week from 9-12 pm.  I was awe struck by a child that I had only met once before. He wasn't really interested in anything else but the Montessori materials, particularly the language materials. It was amazing how he navigated his way in the environment and took full advantage of every. single. second. of his time. We ended up doing three language lessons and a zoology lesson on his very first day.

It went something like this......

Child: Can you tell me what this is (holding the sandpaper letter "t")?
Me: Sure!  Let's go dip our fingers into our special bowl that helps sensitize our fingers.

Child: O.K.

Me: These are our Sandpaper Letters and we use these to help us learn our letter sounds. This letter makes the sound "t" (as I demonstrate how to trace the sandpaper letter with my fingers).

    Your turn.

Child: "t" (while tracing the sandpaper letter)

Me: Can you tell me the name of this? (I asked the child while pointing to the sandpaper letter)

Child: That  is "t'.

We return the Sandpaper Letter.

Child: Can I play with this?(as he is picking up the entire set of phonetic sound drawers:)

I then precede to show him that there are many different drawers and I can show him what is inside one the drawers.

Me: Can you point to the "t" drawer?

Child: Here it is! ( he is totally excited that he recognized "t")

We named the objects first, and then he became mesmerized by the tadpole. Our initial sound lesson was put aside to discuss more about tadpoles. Which led us to the zoology area, discussing the life cycle of a frog.


I was able to capture the photos because I am cool like that (just kidding). LOL. Really though, I have mastered the art of using the camera to document work in the classroom. But it still wouldn't of happened if he didn't repeat all of the works three times, and loves to have his picture taken which could easily be another post in which I share how we learned about my camera that I wear during our morning line time. Digital Photography is on everyone's to do list at the Studio!


He also worked with the salt tray, and told everyone a story about a caterpillar while putting on a show. I also learned that his favorite color is red, and he explained to his friends that the red mat is the only mat he would like to use.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Art Labs For Little Kids

Some time in the near future I will be offering art classes to children 3-6 years old. At first I was going to outsource and hire a teacher that had more experience and talent to lead the classes.

After browsing through the library and bookstore I found exactly what I was looking for. Art Lab For Little Kids written by Susan Schwake makes teaching and exploring art with children easy peasy. The book is broken down by units.

Unit 1- Dedicated to setting the stage for art. It details how to organize art space, what materials are essential, and the positive attitude you need to possess to explore art with little ones.
Unit 2-  Drawing
Unit 3- Painting
Unit 4- Printmaking
Unit 5- Sculpture
Unit 6- Mixed Media

There are 52 lessons that are beautifully detailed along with stunning photos of the lesson unfolding. There are suggestions to extensions to the lessons that allow older children to be involved in the lesson as well. Each lesson highlights an artist too. I feel so confident in giving lessons to art classes to young children since reading this book. I highly recommend it! 

I'll be sure to share the fun when our classes begin.

Another note, this is just my opinion not intended to serve as a review of the book as we haven't completed any lessons. Just something I wanted to share just in case there is anybody else that feels that they can't teach art because of lack of experience or talent.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Just One of the Many Reasons I Love Implementing the Montessori Philosophy

In a environment where the Montessori philosophy is being implemented, a child isn't forced to learn your way of teaching things for the entire group, but the prepared environment sets the individual child up for success with self correcting materials (not necessarily authentic Montessori Materials). The materials are chosen carefully and are often created by the child's teacher who observes them closely.

 So if a child isn't interested in using these materials for beginning language skills.

There is an activity still available to meet the needs of the individual.

Watch out Ya'll Maddux is falling in love with writing.

I don't think you can find such a wide range of materials in traditional settings to meet the same goals as you can in a Montessori Prepared Environment.

 Just Sayin:)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


My little friend Maddux who is 4.5 is getting his work on this summer and loving every minute! Many of the things that he wasn't interested in at all in the Fall he is gravitating too. One of them is our land forms.


His favorite landform is the Island. Maddux could play with the Island landform all day and night if he could.

I bet you can imagine his delight when he was shown how to make his very own to take home.

This has led to so much playful learning which is developing his sense of the world.


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Where Did All Of The Leaves Go?

If you haven't witnessed the life cycle of the butterfly first hand I strongly suggest that you do. It is so much fun and the learning that the kids get from observing this miracle is unbeatable to any book on the subject.

When the first child witnessed all of the leaves were gone from the milkweed plant he was upset and thought someone had destroyed the plant. It took an older child to calm him down by explaining that the caterpillars ate the leaves. At first he didn't accept the explanation, but after I suggested to the older child to read the book "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" by Eric Carle to him, Maddux the younger child gleamed with excitement. 

Now Maddux is interested in learning how to grow a milkweed plant, luckily we have some seeds. I love how learning about insects, specifically butterflies is leading Maddux to make connections in the Botany area.  Stay tuned! 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

It Is That Time Again...

When we go a little deeper into our study of Butterflies!

This year we will be comparing the Painted Lady Butterfly to the Monarch Butterfly. Also following the interest of the children we have been and will continue to learn more about host plants. 

    Revisiting the life cycle of the butterfly.  


This year the children are asking questions without prompts and recording their observations all by themselves!


This book has been very popular among the children to grab and find some quick answers to their questions.

I learn something new every.single.time. we raise caterpillars!

We are in summer session in a new location, click here for a little tour of our new learning space.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Beginning Woodwork

Lots of things have changed with the program that I offered in my home. If you have been following along with me on my other blog then you are up to date on what has changed as far as the program is unfolding. I am opening up a Project Based Learning Studio. This program is strongly influenced by the Montessori Method and inspired by Reggio Emilia as well. I have four children who will be continuing their learning with me and I hope that time will allow me to share their activities with you here. To learn more about the Project Learning Studio you can visit the website at

One of the activities that has been a big hit with the kids is this Melissa & Doug woodworking set.

It is a car that comes in a wooden box, with a screwdriver ready to be assembled. It is a great work for children to really get use to using a screwdriver.


One of the children who isn't reading yet was able to give it a go using the pictures. What a great skill it is to be able to follow the directions without being able to read a word. What I like most about this kit  is that it is something that can be done over and over. Most importantly it builds confidence within the child to want to complete the task and still want to enjoy learning more about woodworking.

I found this kit at JoAnn Fabrics and with a coupon this well put together kit cost me $12.00. As soon as it is assembled I'll share a picture of the car completed, and yes my first grader who is a girl can't wait to get her hands on it too.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Inspiring Project Work Among Preschoolers

If you have been reading my other blog, or following me on facebook then you know about my latest craziest risk. I am starting a business that will be a Project Based Learning Studio for children from ages three years old through high school. Some of the services that I will be providing are parent/child preschool classes, hosting birthday parties, and selling project kits prepared by me for the child to work on while at the Studio or at home. The bonus is if  the child chooses to work at the Studio is that they will have access to well equipped materials that may inspire projects of their own and a place to showcase/present their project work if they desire. The beauty of it all is that if a child is currently working on their very own project they may bring their own work. Of course my training to become a certified Montessori Guide is definitely preparing me for this task.

One set of materials that I am really giddy about being available in the Studio is this set of music materials that will accompany the Montessori Bells.

This set of materials are not intended to teach the child any music lessons. They are intended to inspire a child! There will be Parts of the Cards available for the child to work with so they can have something to hold, identify, take apart if they so desire. I hope to one day see a child get inspire and research musical instruments. Perhaps some child may be inspired to make their own instruments, what a great project that would be!

The Montessori Bells materials would definitely be used for teaching music. I will follow, observe, and present because surely a child will come back to them if they are interested.    

I'll still be working at home as well too, although I will only be offering half day Montessori Preschool classes three times a week. I will service those who need full time care as well, and relying on a lot of support to make the details solid.

If you are interested in reading more about Project Based Learning I highly recommend this book.

Here is a great link that shares how Montessori IS the original Project-based learning..

Well expect to see more postings as it relates to Project Based Learning for the preschool crowd.    

                                                            Montessori Monday

Friday, February 22, 2013

Guess The Mystery Number

Lately Maths have become a huge deal around here.

 Working with the Sandpaper Numbers and Number Rods are certainly paying off well for them.

Since the Math shelves have been getting a lot of attention I have been creating some original work of my own, that I must admit that they are loving:)

I found this bank with a fun combination lock on clearance at Target for just $5.88. 

The cool thing about this combination lock is that you can set the number yourself. This inspired me to make  the Guess The Mystery Number work.

  The clue is how many pennies are in the dish on the tray.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

 The child counts the pennies as they are putting them in the bank.
 Then they turn the dial to find the number.
Their reward is huge when they have discovered the mystery number and unlock the door, because they get to do it all over again, and again.                                                                         
We have had wonderful math related conversations since this work has been introduced. Most importantly the children are discovering how numbers are relevant to them.

Linking up with to some amazing blogs!!
Montessori Monday