Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Sensorial Education in Montessori

Sensorial Materials and education of children often take a back seat to Math and Language. Mostly, because it is easier to measure progress and successes in the areas of Math and Language. Also, because reading and understanding simple math processes are the 'standard' measure of success that most parents look for. Sensorial education is just as important as the other subjects in Montessori. In fact it is the preparation for ALL critical thinking and observation.  

The Sensorial materials are designed to be very unique and interesting to a the child. Generally, they have nothing like this at home and this naturally interests them.

 The Materials prepare and refine the senses used to take in knowledge.

 Their natural curiosity and need to "touch everything" is the inner drive to gather information from the world around them. This desire is encouraged and they find gathering this raw data, and to classify it deeply satisfying.

 Dr. Montessori said: "We cannot create observers by saying observe, but by giving them the power and the means for this observation and these means are procured through education of the senses. " 

 When a child manipulates any of the Sensorial Materials they are gaining a deeper understanding of the world and the skills and vocabulary to draw information from their surroundings wherever they are. THAT is true education- giving the child the tools to build intelligence independently.

Monday, November 14, 2011

An Environment for Learning

Dr. Montessori based her methods and materials on the belief that a person does not really "teach" a child, but can only guide them to the information to make the discovery and retain the knowledge. That is what we do at Children's Garden Montessori. We guide the children to make discoveries with the materials to build permanent memories and experiences that become the foundation, in their mind, to build knowledge upon for the rest of their life! Children are born with a natural curiosity and desire to learn. We are here to help keep that fire within burning.

With the very specifically designed materials, and always following the child's lead, we are able to create an "environment for learning." This is a place where learning comes naturally. Even if your child is "playing." Each material is designed with a very specific purpose and often times a long-term purpose for learning. Children here are able to learn from everything going on around them. Children that might not be quite ready to try a material are able to watch and listen and begin absorbing the concepts before they even begin "working" with the materials. It is awesome to see a group of children spontaneously form and watch the learning just happen!

 They also have the opportunity to teach to others what they know, solidifying the concepts in their mind, and passing on the knowledge to another. When children see those working with a more advanced material, they are naturally inspired. They begin to see the future purpose for the knowledge they are currently gaining, and the next step or the "reward" for mastering the job they are working on.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

How to Create a Reading Environment at Home

It is SO important to support your child in the process of learning to read.
This article has some excellent ideas for helping your child to enjoy reading and making it a permanent part of your families life.

Friday, September 30, 2011

We have been in the classroom for about a month! It has been a busy and productive month for everyone.

The kids are really used to the flow of the class and comfortable with things like how to return a job to the shelf, rolling a rug, and other basics. 
They are really starting to dive into more "serious" work.

Working with Sounds

Sandpaper Numbers

Binomial Cube
Thousand Cubes, Hundred Squares, Ten Bead Bars, and Units (Introduction to Decimals)

Continents Map

Number Rods with Numeral Cards

Pouring water, Spoon Transfers and other "Practical Life" activities develop small motor skills
(by strengthening muscles and movements involved in handwriting.) and helps hand eye coordination.

Serving Snack

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Parent Referal Bonus!

If you brag about how awesome your child's school is, and it results in a completed enrollment, you will receive $25 off your next months tuition. (With no Limits!) That means if you refer multiple people you could end up with some free tuition! Please tell your referral to list your name in their enrollment form.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Open Houses during AUGUST

Ms. Needra is here from California,
and we are so happy to have her!
We will be holding open houses on Tuesdays, Thursday and Fridays throughout August
from 5:00-7:00 p.m.
So stop by to meet her and see the school! :)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Kindregarten Ready - Summer Camp

To all parents who have children going into any
Montessori Kindergarten this fall:

Children's Garden

Kindergarten Ready - Summer Camp!

*Give your child a head start for school this Fall!

*For Children getting ready to enter a Montessori Environment -
a brush up and review session in Montessori

*Give your child a head-start in grace, courtesy and experience
with the ins and outs of a Montessori Classroom setting.

*We cover all the essential skills and knowledge needed to
excel in any Montessori environment.

Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in August 2011.
9:00-11:00 am or 12:00-2:30 pm
$100 per student
(no registration fee)

Pay with the Pay pal button, There is a
"Kindergarten - Summer Camp" option!

Please Leave:
*Your Child's Name
*Your Phone Number
*Your Preferred Time
In the 'note' section when paying.

(or enroll in person at one of our open houses!)

Friday, July 8, 2011

No Open House this Saturday July 9th

We will not be having our regularly
scheduled open house this Saturday.
It is my son's Birthday!
Come see us on Friday, or next week!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The "Core" of Montessori

This video is a really great explanation of the difference between Montessori Schools and Traditional Schools.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The New School is Ready!!

We will be open for tours
every Friday and Saturday evening
from 4:00 -7:00

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Scientific Observation (BEES!)

We just brought home our first colony of bees! While they are still enclosed in their cage and cannot escape, we used this opportunity to observe them close up. We made observation journals to document what we saw. We followed up with some informative books about bees at story time. Since we have been talking about insects all through April this fit in perfectly. We were able to discuss what made the bees and insect and count legs to verify.

Language and Math

I added two new tabs to the top of the page. The majority of questions or concerns I hear from parents looking into Montessori involve how reading and math are taught. These tabs hopefully give a clear enough overview that someone new to Montessori would be able to understand the basic premise of the theory behind learning language and mathematics. These subjects are underrepresented in the blog posts because they are not changed throughout the year like practical life exercises are. I will also be adding a Sensorial tab and a Practical Life tab. Those are also extremely important in the Montessori classroom.

Friday, April 22, 2011


I decided I had better formally announce that we are moving the school to North Ogden. The location has been very tenative up until this point, so I didn't want to say anything until it was more solid. There are a lot of exciting changes going in and I can't wait to introduce the new teachers and show off the new space!!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

March activities

We have been learning about birds, so we have had this nest out on the shelf with a magnifying glass for exploring.

Rainbow number to dot matching. I think I got these from Confessions of a Homeschooler.

This frog is a piggy bank. Putting the coins in over and over again is great small motor skill and hand eye coordination practice. We also had the chance to talk about the differences in the coins and their value when the kids showed interest.

Spooning and pouring rice

Tweezing beads

Friday, March 25, 2011


I can now accept credit and debit cards on location!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Rainbows in March

We have been learning about colors, color mixing and the spectrum of light this month.

One morning we experimented with mixing colored water. We had large glasses filled with water dyed in the primary colors. We first mixed yellow and blue. I wish I caught a picture of their faces when it turned green. They were shocked and amazed!

Another day we practiced our cutting skills by making our own rainbow mosaic. They also got to practice matching and categorizing, which are excellent pre-reading skills. The rainbow is now hanging in our school, so they can continue to work on it as the inspiration hits.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Valentines Party

I know its a little late, but I still wanted to post some action shots of the Valentines Party.

First we made some butter by putting cream and a marble and shaking it until all the little arms were exhausted.

Then we made heart shaped biscuits from scratch. I would have gotten more shots of us actually making them, but I had my hands full (and sticky!)

We made some handy valentine-holders........

for our awesome homemade valentines.

They loved being sneaky delivering them.

When we were all finished we sat down to a fancy snack, and sampled our delicious biscuits and butter.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Who was/What is Montessori?

Who was Maria Montessori?
Maria Montessori was the first female to carry PhD in Italy, over 100 years ago. She was later put in charge of the project of creating a school for children in a low income housing district. Using her scientific background in anthropology, she simply observed the children. She began developing materials for the children based on the idea of giving the children tactile experiences with real life concepts. She observed that "play" was the work of the child. This was at a time when it was thought that children couldn't "learn" anything academic. It was felt at the time that children had to be sitting still and quietly listening to learn. Her work was radical as far as thinking in that time period. She developed a set of materials and a standard for their use that is still in use today.
The Materials and the Method.
These are what make a school a Montessori school. The materials she carefully thought out, tested and refined were inspired by the children and their abilities. The way she described their use, in her writings, are simply a method of presenting them to a child in a way that helps them gain the most use and knowledge.
Some people think all Montessori schools are only catholic.
Maria Montessori was catholic, but that does not limit those who employ her methods and materials to any religious preference.
Some people have heard that only "advanced" or "exceptional" kids go to Montessori.
(I think that might be a chicken before the egg thing ;) ) The beauty of Montessori is that a child can learn whatever they are ready to learn at their own pace. Children of different abilities and ages work well together and help and teach one another in the prepared Montessori environment.
Some people think Montessori is not academic enough.
I have heard some parents say "I want my child reading by______." The problem with this is: 1-It is not the parents goal to set
2-It does not consider the child's ability or interests.
Children learn skills much faster and more solidly if it is on their own terms. Montessori allows children to grow and learn on their own time and at their own pace. The secret is that kids WANT to learn! They want to progress! I have seen over and over a child who is allowed enough space to grow, flourish faster than anyone else could expect from them. (that, by the way, is why it is called Children's Garden Montessori ;) )
Some people think Montessori is too academic, rigid or structured.
This probably stems from the fact that there isn't a lot of fantasy play in Montessori. Maria Montessori wasn't against children role-playing and using imagination. She observed that children between the ages of 3 to 6 have a hunger for real life and learning the skills that come with it. Montessori materials are very fact based. I believe it is important to distinguish between fantasy and reality at this age, but I think it is wrong to restrict fantasy and pretend play.
The structured accusation might be because the Montessori prepared environment looks a little "O.C.D." to the untrained adult, but children thrive in that order and learn sequence and placing naturally. Along with grace, courtesy and personal responsibility.
Some people think Montessori classrooms have no "discipline" and the children have no rules or structure.
The Montessori Classroom is "child led" this does not mean it is Lord of the Flies in there :) What it does mean is that the child is allowed to progress at their own pace. They are moving through a series of materials prepared to help them grow to their fullest potential. Again, this "non-forced" approach helps children develop.

Classic Montessori Materials - The Pink Tower

This is the first in a series of posts about the "Classic" Montessori materials that make our class a "Montessori" Preschool. These standards are always on our shelves. It is worth knowing what these basics are and what they teach.

(on the Bottom Left)

I chose the Pink Tower first because it is the most recognized and iconic of the Montessori materials. Also......O.K. I'll admit....It's Pink and I'm still feeling all Valentine-y :)

The Pink Tower has 10 cubes ranging in size from 1000 cubic Centimeters (each side has a length of 10 centimeters) to 1 cubic Centimeter.

When Maria Montessori developed this material she had dimension, sequence, order and relationship in sizes in mind. She first used in on a green mat because of the way the pink and green looked together. Although, neither the pink or green color are what matters in this work; what matters is the size of and the amount of the blocks. This is considered a 'Sensorial' material, But like most sensorial materials it leads easily into later math skills. (think: relationship in amounts, order and much later cubing numbers.) It also gives us an opportunity to add vocabulary like "biggest" "smallest" "bigger" "smaller." While the child practices building this in the right order, they are "inputting" the information into their brain on many levels, by touch as well as sight. They hold onto the information learned from direct experience with a very real concept until this information is needed to expand upon. The control of error is that if it is out of order, you can see it, and sometimes it falls over.

After the child has mastered building a basic tower and has done so several times, they are ready for extensions of this work. These include tracing the cubes, building all kinds of other creations, looking at a control card on a mat and going to the shelf to choose the correct sized cube and bring it back to verify (pictured below), building along with the brown stair, and many others. The extensions help to refine and solidify the sense of size and dimension, and the new vocabulary.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine/Heart Works for Feburary

These are some of the Valentine-y works we have on the shelves right now. I have several more in the works though. By the end of the month our shelves are always completely different than the beginning. :)
Count the hearts and pin the corresponding number to the card. The back side of the cards and both sides of the clothespins have the correct number written on them, for control of error and the kids can check their work when they finish.

I found this idea on My Montessori Journey (again :) ) The player rolls the die and places the landed on number of chips onto the game board until it is full. This has been great for those who want to work on something with others.

Build a Heart Chain. I found these heart shaped links at Oriental Trading.

Conversation Heart Sorting. Those are not real candy, they are foam beads. I found them at Oriental Trading too! They are ALL ready to progress from this simple sorting and I already have a more complex one ready for Tuesday!

Heart Cutting practice. This has been a big hit. They all love hanging them up when they are done to decorate the classroom in hearts. The added satisfaction of making something "real" is always extra fulfilling.

This transferring activity was kind of an accident. I originally had it out on the shelf with wooden toast tongs and no one really seemed super impressed or interested. My 19 month Old got a hold of the tongs and tore them in two :( I ran up to my practical life bucket and grabbed this Olivewood spoon from Montessori Services to replace it. THEY LOVED IT!! The little red marbles fit perfectly into the spoon, I think that is part of what makes it so appealing.This work always has a line-up to get to now.