Today we had our first class at the Atrium for the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. The girls love it so much. Today they were presented with the parable of the Good Shepherd. I love that the program uses so many hands on materials that really let the girl “see” the message. The parable is presented in the teachers own words, then the teacher offers some time for reflection and time for the girls to work on the material themselves. I am so excited about this program and I love that it is completely based in the Montessori method! The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd believes that children have a unique ability to understand and love God so deeply. This means that they can absorb so much about the beautiful world of faith and they love it! The atrium has a mini alter for the kids to set up, it has a small baptismal font, it has wooden figures to enact the Good Shepherd parable, the Last Supper, and other stories in the Bible. There is also a practical life area! All this make the kids so peaceful and happy. I really love it! So do the girls! If you want to see some pictures of an atrium or you you want to find out more about this program check out the national website here. I will post more on the materials as I get them set up in our home! Its going to be great!
Posts by Stephanie :
Well it looks like the Blizzard of 2011 is over (our weather forecasters think that every bit of snow we get will be the worst we’ve ever seen). We did get bunch of snow, and of course, that sent us out into the “extended classroom” after breakfast today! The girls had fun playing and Pup was really having fun in the snow. This was the first time that she actually like it! 🙂 Bunny was all about eating every bit of it she could (“only the good stuff though” is what she told me). After I finally got them in (Pup’s cheeks were frozen) we had some hot chocolate and special doughnuts that Daddy got! They loved it! I’m sure that we will be out in it again!
After the snow Bunny saw a heart shaped pillow on the front of a book, and decided that she had to make one! So up into my mountain of fabric to see what we had, and I found a hot pink calico with white dots on it! Perfect for a heart! So Bunny did the cutting, I sewed it up, and she learned about turning things inside out and stuffing a pillow! She was absolutely beaming with pride over it! She is still carrying it around while she plays! She told me that her pillow reminds her of God, because he is in her heart! 🙂 I love her joyful self!
Later, while Pup napped, we headed down to do some school work. I recently pulled out the Binomial Cube for Bunny. It is a bit of a challenge, but she has spent fairly long periods working on it! Concentration is still something that we are working on, so this was good to see. She surprised me though when she started to mix the cube with the pink tower! She found that the red and blue cube from the Binomial Cube, matched two of the blocks in the pink tower! I was really excited to see her making discoveries! Yesterday I realized that no matter what I try to tell her, she always does better when I shut up and let her figure it out. Bunny has a habit of talking out loud to herself and sometimes it sounds like she talking to me. So when this happens I answer her. Well I realized that she isn’t needing me to direct her in these moments, she is just thinking out loud! I do it too, so I shouldn’t be surprised! So I think that this observation will help me let her do things better! It turns out that following the Montessori method in its simplicity is the best way! Follow the child and see what happens!!!! Today it lead to hearts and cubes!
As I said yesterday our theme this month is Grace and Courtesy, so our trays are very valentiney! Love treats everyone one with respect and care, so I figured Valentine’s Day fit well. I think we have some fun ideas this month. Some are my original ideas and some I found by random internet searches. Let me know what you think!
Heart Shaped Lunch
(I did this last month with a snowman and the girls loved it! We do sandwiches, quesadillas, whatever we can)
This month in our school room, our theme is Grace, Courtesy, and Practical Life. I asked Bunny what she wanted to learn about and she said that she wanted to learn about doing things the right way and being nice! So we are embracing Montessori teachings and learning to love others and respect things! Perfect for Valentine’s Day! I realized the other day that I don’t praise and appreciate my girls as much as I should, and since that is a really important part of respect, I thought I would make it a point this month to do it! I made a wreath circle out of cardboard and I wrapped it in yarn. Then I glued a bunch of clothespins around it. I hung this on the wall of our kitchen and put a basket on the table with pink hearts in it. Every night at dinner, my hubby and I will write down on a heart something that we think the girls did well, or that we love about them , and clip them it on the wreath! I think they will love it!
Here is a picture summery of what I did in case anyone wants to make one of their own. If it goes well I may leave it up and change it with our theme (shamrocks, flowers, birds, etc).
I also realized today that I forget to post up some other crafts I finished that I said I would post! At the beginning of the month I took up needle felting and started making people. Bunny and I have been reading the Little House on the Prairie Series and She LOVES them! So I needled felted Pa, Ma, Mary, Laura, and Carrie for her birthday. They turned out well (Pa has issues standing up, but other then that they are good) and she loves them! Here is a pic of how they turned out!
My sister and I also did some painting, and made some canvases for my living room. I promised a pic of how they turned out, so here it is!They turned out pretty well!
I wanted to put up some pics of our sensory tub for the month! I made it yesterday, and Pup couldn’t wait till Monday’s new school day to test it out! I was so happy, since the first two I made were not played with at all. I think that the rice will make it more fun since it will pour and sounds pretty!
As promised here is my post for our continent box of Antarctica! I have made all the cards by using google images. It was very time consuming, but a little more budget friendly! In an ideal world they would be 3- part cards that have words on all of them, but right now they are just pictures since I couldn’t afford to print 2 set of everything (I spent $120 as it was). I think that the boxes look pretty good, but I do view them all as an on going project. I figure that we can add to them as we go! So here is Antarctica!
I also had her write a report on Antarctica ( I think that I might put it in our box too). Her drawings of the Emperor Penguins are SO sweet! I love the little baby on the Daddy’s feet (you have to look really close and you can see it orange beak).
Today is Bunny’s fifth birthday and I am so proud of all she has done in their past year! To celebrate her amazing little life we had a Celebration of Life ceremony for her. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Montessori tradition, it is a chance to remember all the things that she has done since the start of her journey around the sun. It starts with the child holding a globe and walking about a lit candle. The candle represents the sun and the globe represents the child living on earth.
The child walks in a circle around the “sun” and stops at the place she started. This is her first birthday when she complete her first trip around the sun! I had some pictures of her first year and of her at age one. We also told some stories. Then the child make another walk around the “sun” and this is her second birthday. And you continue on for each year of her life. After each walk I had pictures of her at that age and some stories to remember. When we got to her fifth walk we sang Happy Birthday and she blew out the candle. Then I gave her a gift (the rest she will open at her party later). She really liked it. I think that it is such a special way to remember your child and all the special things that she has done!
Each month I pick a theme for our classroom and this month, as you know, I picked winter. I also have decided to pick a continent to focus on at the end of each month. This month I picked Antarctica (for obvious reasons). So we are spending this week talking about the world’s winter wonderland! Bunny loves this continent for some reason and both girls are enjoying this study! On Monday we talked about the continent as a whole and Bunny was fascinated that in Antarctica is summer right now (even though its still really cold). She also loved the idea that the Emperor Penguin is as tall as her! For our art I made some play dough (left it white with some glitter in it). The recipe is from My Montessori Journey here. With our dough we made the shape of Antarctica. Bunny wasn’t sure how to do it so, I had to show her how to start with circle and then add the the peninsula and push in the bays. She made one all herself ans was really proud!
I also had a seal and penguin cookie cutter for the girls to use and they loved it! Pup broke her dough into tiny pieces and then stuffed her cookie cutter full! Then she would ask me to push out the shape! They had so much fun!
Today we did our grocery shopping all morning so our school work was only one project! I read a book about the Antarctica wildlife and then we made an antarctic scene using ice cubes of different sizes. Bunny wanted the Arctic Toob from Safari LTD. (you can get them at Hobby Lobby) and this project was a way for her to have some fun with it! After talking about the difference between Antarctica and the Arctic, we got to work making our cold world! This is what we came up with.
After a while I gave Bunny some salt to use with the ice hoping that she would make some discoveries of her own! She did! She saw how it looked like snow, how it “melted” (dissolved), and she wanted to know if pepper would do the same. I couldn’t find my pepper shaker (I cant wait to see where it turns up)so I gave her sugar! She worked for about a half hour (then I think she got cold) and I’m sure that this will be something that she will want to do it again. Pup played for a little bit, but she wasn’t very interested! This ideas was really great and Bunny is able to pick out which animals are from Antarctica and which ones are from the arctic! This idea came from My Montessori Journey. Check it out! I will be posting about our Antarctica continent box, so check back soon!
I just found out that About a Girl is trying to organize a continent box swap. This is another amazing Montessori idea that allows children to come in contact with the different cultures of a continent is a very hands on way. There is usually one box (bag, folder, etc) for each continent that has animal figures, souvenirs, flags, instruments, etc. inside for the kids to explore. Many others ( like mine) also have cards (mostly 3-part) that depict animals, people, places, landmarks, birds, plants, instruments, food, etc. from that continent. Bunny loves our boxes and I am always on the look out for more things to put them so that the experience is better. It is a really amazing way to present the wide cultures for the world to our kids. So if you are interested in starting your own boxes then leave a comment for About a Girl here:
Also visit Counting Coconuts if you would like to see here continent bags! They are amazing and offer a great idea of what these are all about!
So I have been wanting to post of our school calender for a while. I must admit that this idea was not mine, I totally copied Mari-Ann from Counting Coconuts! http://countingcoconuts.blogspot.com/2010/10/our-classroom-calendar-circle-time.html I loved how organized and pretty her calender was, so I made one for our house. There are alot of features that I really like. We have the days of the month or a classroom calender that I got from the dollar store. Bunny puts up the numbers every month as her calender work. She love to be able to put the tacks in place. Hanging on the tack is a key ring with some ribbon on it to mark the date. This way we can see where we are more easily.
Underneath the calender is pockets with the days of the week on them. Into the pocket goes a little popsicle stick with a person on it that tell us what today, yesterday, and tomorrow are. I’m hoping that as we do this daily we can get a better idea of the passage of time!
Up at the top I have the month name, the year, and the season. We review this daily as well.
Finally we track the moon phases (Bunny loves the moon) and we track the weather. I have laminated cards and everyday Bunny (and sometimes Pup) pick out the cards for the day.
I got the Moon Phase cards from here https://edutccom.ipower.com/catalog/index.php?cPath=33&sort=2a&page=2&osCsid=42f077d8a67a85fb7edd5b878eec5fa1
(there are a ton of good freebies here)
and I got the weather cards here. http://www.bootkidz.co.uk/kids-weather/ (Scroll down towards the bottom for the ones I used )
The girls both really enjoy using the calender and my hope is that they pick all the difficult concepts of time by simply using it daily! Let me know what you think!