Saturday, January 19, 2008

Classification Cards

The making of Classification Cards is a never ending project. It is a great moment, when you notice a new interest developing in the children and you can say "I have some cards about that subject." A Montessori teacher should have as many as possible! I've downloaded several sets from sites that offer them for free (of general subjects like "Kitchen Appliances"), and have made many sets on my own (more specific ones like "Birds of Aruba") . The cards are arranged by subject (hence the name), and are used to first introduce the child to the names of familiar objects, and then to the written form of the names of the objects.

I found that simple pouches for each set is the best and easiest way to contain and protect them. The first pocket holds the picture cards and the second holds the labels for reading and matching. The third pocket, holds the picture and attached label (the control card) so that the child can self correct his work. (Sayenne is making the nice felt designs on the outside of the pouches.) When I figure out how, I will post pdf files of the cards that I've made so if anyone is interested in downloading and printing them they can go ahead.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

"The joy of making an effort."

The largest part of my day was spent reading Montessori literature and copying the outstanding quotes into my notebook. When you take Assistants to Infancy training, this is one thing you have to do for many days. When my brain and eyes were full and spilling over, my dog took me for a walk. I share some of the exploits of both activities.

“A higher spirituality can only be reached through action.”

“The one thing life can never do is to stand still.”

“At that early stage, there are things which do not exist at the adult stage, or if they do their manner of existence is quite different. Let us start with one very simple reflection: The child unlike the adult, is not on his way to death. He is on his way to life. His work is to fashion a man in the fullness of his strength. By the time the adult exists, the child has vanished.”

“Only nature, which has established certain laws and determined the needs of the human being in course of development, can dictate the educational method to be followed; for this is settled by its aim- to satisfy the needs and the laws of life.”

“In the fist place it is the intellect or reason which sets us free from the never ending prison of the present moment in which animals live, dominated entirely from moment to moment by their instincts.”

Monday, January 14, 2008

january 14

The "rainy" season is reaching its end and when I come to water the plants at the school the ground is parched and cracked. The native grasses got the most out of it and they are once again lords of the garden.

The building has been painted, the outside blue and white (like my house when I was little, or like houses in Santorini), and the inside is "shades of shade" (our Montessori trainer suggested a palette of colors that go together in nature, so I chose the color of shade under big green trees).

(If you look super close at this picture, you can even see the dove of peace flying over the building. Enough to bring tears to one's eyes...)

Not pictured is the monumental pile of debris that prevented further planting yesterday, and that must someday be carted away to the dump.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

january 10.

This week I had the pleasure of watching Sanna Sophie (14 months) using her new table setting. To get to use a glass is a very exciting thing for a little child. Her mother poured two sips of water into the glass about 30 times and Sanna Sophie could not get enough! Placing the glass back carefully in the embroidered circle every time, she waited patiently for more.

This week I made a small Movable Alphabet for the 3-6 classroom. This materials is used for sounding out words and building them. I printed out, cut, and laminated the letters. Then I sewed together a pouch to easily carry them and lay them out. It is small enough that it could easily be used at a child's work table.

Monday, January 7, 2008

A Year of Only Januaries

January is the best time of the year. The sunshine is just right in Aruba. And when Maxi and I go for walks we suck it all in.

January is also when our little friend Lise Lotte was born (only 2 days ago!). And as a welcome gift for her, I made her a little movement mat. The mini movement mat is meant to be used during the first months of the baby's life up until crawling begins. The mat can be placed anywhere around the house so that the baby can hear the sounds of the family, it allows maximum freedom of movement for the little non-crawlers, and mobiles can be hung over it for added visual stimulation. It is basically a soft cotton mattress (I sewed two thick bath towels together and covered them with a washed organic cotton) and has a really soft cotton covering that can be washed.

David and I also went on a mad planting spree at the school. The garden now boasts guayaba, grapefruit, jasmine (for flower arranging), tangerine, and a second lime tree (one can never have enough limes).

The weeds have grown at alarming rates giving a false impression of green abundance. The new trees are there although you need special 3-D glasses to see them in the picture.

The walls in the 3-6 classroom were busted to join together the two biggest rooms in the house, a huge advance in the process of it starting to looking like a classroom.