Children’s House - end of January
“As soon as children find something that interests them they loose their instability and learn to concentrate”
Maria Montessori – “The Secrets of Childhood”
We see this happening each day, and we just need to catch the signals through which the children let us know what are they interested in. For the month of January the planets did a great job in this regard. It is rewarding to see that children so young can learn so many facts and grasp such abstract concepts. I will mention science activities first, and then point to what is new in each of the Montessori areas.
- Planets, some characteristics, their distances from the sun
- Earth’s rotation, day/night, time zones
- Earth’s revolution, seasons
The children learned firsthand how difficult it is to spin and move in an orbit at the same time, that the further a planet is from the sun the longer it takes for it to orbit once, that gravity is how the Earth keeps us from wandering off into space, and because of gravity, everything that goes up comes down. We talked about satellites, asteroids, comets, space ships, we read about how people figured out the Earth is a sphere and made the first maps, and we looked at pictures taken from outer space.
Amphibians, their life cycle, habitats and some strange looking members of this group, such as the red-eyed frog tree and salamanders, caught the children’s interest and fascination.
Cleaning up and working with water transfer activities is running smoother as the children are more able to control and coordinate their movements and are by now accustomed to taking care of their environment. They have great appreciation for beauty and order and are sure to notice when something is out of place.
The generous snow gave us a few opportunities for large motor skills exercises by just walking and jumping in the deep snow.
In sensorial area, we paid special attention on spatial relationships and dimensions: big/small, large/larger/largest, far/near, close/closer/closest, long/longer/longest, around, in front/behind, up/down etc. To coordinate with science we reviewed the sphere, the ellipsoid, the cube, and the pyramids from the geometric solids.
We read folktales from “When the World Was Young” and “When Stories Fell like Shooting Stars” about the creation of the universe. Children were able to discern between fiction and true facts, and pointed that long ago people did not know as much as we know today. We looked into books about frogs, planets, Africa, and deserts, and discussed “The Stone-Palm Tree”, a story from the Sahara about courage in taking a challenge and thus becoming stronger.
The planets were handy again for practicing the ordinal numerals. Mathematical concepts are used throughout the day, besides the Montessori materials. Come and see some lessons at the parents’ night (February 2nd, 6-8 p.m.)
Geography, Environment and Cultural
Our trip around the Earth continued in Africa. We elaborated on Sahara, some characteristics of deserts, and Egypt with its ancient culture.
Arts and Crafts
Dropping paint and rolling marbles in paint as orbits, are the reasons for the strange pieces of artwork you will see in coming home. The children also came up with original Solar Systems in their paintings or by pasting circles of various sizes.
The pyramidal stack of cardboard squares, our replica of the Egyptian monuments, summarizes abilities to organize, compare, sequence, and relate to the pink tower, geometric solids, and math squares.
Songs/Dances of the month:
The Man who Lived in the Moon, Space Trip, African Playground, a children’s song from Ethiopia, Pata-Pata from South Africa, and Songs from a Zulu Farm.
Stay tuned for upcoming events and the units of study in February.