Saturday, August 20, 2011

little girl learners

As the girls are much more active and busy than last school year, I wanted to plan activities and learning play just for them to help focus their attention and busy hands on practical skills, especially for Kate. So I turned to what I know best for meeting this need, Montessori learning. There are so many great websites for homeschooling parents to glean and gather ideas from. In addition, I purchased an e-book from Montessori at Home which gives a ton of learning help for parents looking to incorporate the well-known Montessori ideas in their own home.
I'm in the process of selecting some items from Montessori Services to have utensils and containers for the girls' little hands to manipulate and practice with. Most of these activities are considered Practical Life skills like pouring and transferring. And the more formal learning of letters, numbers, colors, etc. will be worked into this type of play learning. Laura is already counting fairly accurately up to five and showing an interest in letters. I hope to take advantage of her interest and her abilities to help Kate develop further as well.
A week or so ago I set up an outside table with bowls of water and various scooping and ladling utensils borrowed from our play kitchen stuff. Everyone had a blast, pouring the water from one container to the next and back and forth, eventually soaking everything in sight. It was a glorious, watery mess.

Both girls still put things in their mouths, so I will have to modify some of the transferring activities until they grow out of this stage. While these activities are mostly meant for the girls, I do have some things that only Seth will be able to work with and practice his coordination and concentration skills with. I think he will enjoy it as they will enable him to do more independent things in the kitchen as well as handwork learning. A long-term benefit to many of these coordination activities like transferring, is building muscle strength in the fingers and hands which enables better handwriting endurance, especially in boys.

In preparation for this busy learning, I have rearranged some furniture to make the area more little-girl-friendly. I also have simplified the items on the lower shelves so they are not so crowded and jumbled. I plan to arrange some of the newer activities on these shelves so that they work right there at the table and learn how to put things back properly. Both girls understand how to put stuff away, but need a lot of coaching to do it properly and completely. That's a life skill in itself, just ask any grown-up!

Here are just a few Montessori sites that I have found helpful:

Maybe Montessori

Montessori Candy

A Little List

My Homemade Montessori

Shannon's Tot School

I'm excited for the girls as they learn and practice new skills this coming year. It will be fun to watch them figure all this out and develop good coordination at the same time. If you have any thoughts or ideas, please share!

P.S. Yes, Kate was standing on her own two feet outside at the table to play with the water!! Progress is slow but steady!

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