Sunday, June 7, 2015

Over-The-Top Montessori

Montessori purists hold on to your hat!

I allow children to mix materials when it is done with the flair 
of an artist as demonstrated here.

Our job as Montessori educators is to encourage creative thinkers so why would we shake in our boots when all our shelves hold works to do just that.

Montessori police in our heads be gone!

Let the beauty begin!

Only here in our classrooms will a child experience such heart fluttering combinations of design, color and shapes. Was this child proud and satisfied after this long, well-thought-out masterpiece?  The smiles! 

I have a shelf of Reggio loose parts for free form design and they came to visit the knobless cylinders.

Glittering like the sun!

The zing to make it ring!

Oh my!  I have seen real caterpillars this fancy in my tomatoes.

A Garden of Delight for any child.

Drawing the Brown Stairs?  
When it becomes a work of art that is the next logical extension.

This is the student who started it all. Her designs were big and beautiful and I never reined her in. All morning was spent at her work, just like any artist spends in their art studio. This is pure creativity and only Montessori materials can offer an experience like this.  Let's rejoice in the possibilities!

Friday, November 21, 2014

A Virtual Walk in the Woods

Here are works that remind us of a day in the woods discovering owls. My Montessori school offers Reggio Loose Parts activities as shown here.


Friday, October 10, 2014

Decorating Halloween Place Mats

The addition of creepy crawlers, plastic leaves and tiny Halloween cupcake liners change this spider web place mat into a fun holiday activity that even two year old children love to do! 

This is the time of year I get my skeleton unit out.
Children learn not to fear Halloween but to name the parts of the skeleton.

Decorating Halloween Flags

Have a holiday flag? 
Have the children decorate it with appropriate items to jazz it up!

Objects were gotten from the dollar bins at Target.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Land, Air and Water. A Montessori/Reggio Hybrid Layout

A mix on classical Montessori geography and Reggio Loose Parts? Oh, no!
Oh, yes! It is way cool. In the past I have used the common three bottles filled with dirt, water and air and the matching animal cards. And with this I do give the traditional intro using the globe to describe the land, ocean and being surrounded by air.
But then I deviate using cut paper, a painted shell on canvas and a Lego cave ( horrors to a purist ) simply laid on a large floor mat
Then we lay out the land part which is rocks, the ocean part which are shells and the air part which is cotton ball clouds. Labels for land, air and water are added.
The animals come next.
Last the vehicles cards are talked about and added.
The old way is classic, but this way is so interactive and takes much thought and consideration in placing all the objects. 
I love it. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Doily Prints

Estate sale doilies. 
No one wants them. No one buys them. 
I look at them and see potential and fun ahead!
Twenty-five cents each is also a good reason to find a use for these handmade items from times gone by.

Paint them up, flip them over and press them on paper. 
Simple and so pretty!

We thought that the print would transfer easily by rolling with a brayer. We found the children were not strong enough to do that well.

We found the best way to transfer the print was to place newspaper on top and rub hard.

This would make Grandma proud!  Lovely prints bring new life to the old, unloved doily! And we do appreciate the handmade labor of love from women of the past who made these lovely doilies that once brightened their home. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Trivet Nature Free Form Design

A wooden trivet, and empty glass frame and potpourri matched in a divided tray makes a beautiful free choice design work!  

Cheap and Practical Montessori

Kids don’t need perfection, beauty or big bucks spent to place a successful, intriguing work before them.

Stuff around the house can be put together in surprising ways for small hands to use.

My staff says I need to go to estate sale rehab. Years of bringing back random, strange objects has always paid off in the creation of a huge variety of manipulatives that are truly unique.

My box of unmatched items grew empty so off I went bargain hunting again. 25 cents an item or for the whole bag! I always pair each activity up with a 50 cent tray and a 10 cent spoon and my imagination. This week they are not so pretty, but I know the kids will love doing them.

My students inhale practical life works and I rotate them often. The bargain works are created and then bagged up, often with the appropriate 50 cent tray, for quick finding and easy rotation. I know I have over 100 practical life works bagged to switch out. Almost all objects are discount finds from Goodwill, Salvation Army, garage or estate sales.

See my other estate sale posts for more ideas!

Estate sale bonanza. The odd parts fall together to make
this sweet activity for very young children.

I have been saving juice lids and must come up with more ways to use them all!

Old flag poles find their mate!

These unloved objects have been at the bottom of my unmatched items box for over 15 years. I never thought I could find a use for them until I found wooden eggs at an estate sale. Then, presto! Their hidden potential was finally made visible.  

Our toddlers love this and will do it over and over!  Open ended free choice matching of base to wooden eggs. 

This tall bread tin makes the perfect down the chute work with styrofoam balls. 

This is so elementary that I hesitated to put it out. The twos and threes did this non-stop all afternoon! 

This would make a church grandma proud.  Church bazaar craft of felt mittens with a hair clip inside is a perfect pinch open and shut work for my students. 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Fireworks Painting

Pipe cleaner stamps and whips make beautiful 4th of July art work!

This idea was found on Pinterest.