(Sources: Montessori Compass and Transparent Classroom)
Pink Tower is usually introduced as the second activity in the area of Sensorial work.
This lesson consists of a series of ten graduated pink cubes, which vary in size from 1cm³ to 10cm³. This indicates variations in size of three dimensions and helps develop a basis for the cubes of numbers.
The purpose of this material is also to develop a visual sense in perception and differences in dimension; improve awareness; develop attention in working with sequences and systematic operations; encourage the power of reasoning; develop the habit of correcting work until it is the best it can be; development of motor control; development of muscular memory; set the groundwork for the understanding of the science of numbers and to develop quite complex comparative and superlative vocabulary (such as 'bigger', 'smaller', 'heavier', or 'lighter' to compare and describe the shape and size) as well as geometric vocabulary.
Initially the tower is built with the cubes placed centrally on another. Later the tower is built with two flat sides and the smallest cube travels down the steps fitting each step exactly to reinforce the relationship between it and the change in size of the series of cubes.
The Brown Stair and Pink Tower can be combined and the interrelationships of size explored.
The Brown (or Broad) Stair activity is usually the third lesson within the Sensorial area. This lesson consists of ten wooden rectangular prisms, which are 20cm long and have both varying widths and heights from 1 square centimeter to 10 square centimeters. This represents a variation in two dimensions. This lesson specifically helps develop an understanding of rectangular prism and comparative and superlative adjective vocabulary, allowing the child to notice the squares of numbers from 1 - 10. The purpose of this material is also to: develop a visual sense in perception and differences in dimension; improve awareness; develop attention in working with sequences and systematic operations; encourage the power of reasoning; develop the habit of correcting work until it is the best it can be; development of motor control; develop muscular memory; set the groundwork for the understanding of the science of numbers; and develop the language of size (width, height, length), comparative and superlative adjective comparisons relating to size (as well as many geometric terms).
Using the World Puzzle Map, the child matches the continent pieces from the Puzzle Map to their outline shapes on the corresponding Outline Control Map. Once this first step is complete, the child then moves on to constructing the map without using a control, then will make a personal map using the puzzle pieces to trace. The final part to working with this material is for the child to read the continent and ocean names and place them on the corresponding puzzle.
The Sandpaper Letters are a series of alphabet letters in either cursive or manuscript form, which have a rough feel to them so as to stimulate the child's sense of touch and to assist in the development of sound recognition and writing. Usually, vowel sounds are presented on red and consonants on a blue background. The child is shown how to trace the letter using two fingers, the index and middle finger of the child's dominant hand. Once the letter has been traced, the sound of the letter is said. Tracing the letter and associating it with the letter sound both prepares the hand and the mind for future writing. The muscle memory goes beyond just a memory of how to form the letter, it also helps the child internalize and remember the sound of each letter symbol. In this activity the child is introduced to the lower-case and capital sandpaper letters and their corresponding sounds.
In this activity the child builds their auditory sense by connecting the sandpaper letters and their corresponding sounds to actual objects. Initially, the child begins with a single letter and an assortment of objects that begin with that letter sound. For example, the sandpaper letter "b" might have the corresponding objects of a ball, book, bike, and boat. The child first makes the sound of the sandpaper letter, and then names the corresponding objects, understanding that they all start with the 'buh' sound. As the child progresses with this work they sort mixed objects beginning with multiple sounds to their corresponding letters. With this activity the child develops their ability to hear the initial sound in a word and match it to the appropriate symbol.
In this activity the child continues to build their auditory sense and letter sound knowledge by matching pictures to the letter corresponding to their initial sound. The child works with groups of letters arranged on a mat. They then pronounce the name of the object in the pictures and place the picture beneath it's corresponding letter. The child continues until all of the pictures are placed. They can then check their own work by turning the pictures over and seeing if they match the main letter (correct matches will have the same color or symbol on the back).
In this activity the child matches individual letters to an 'alphabet roll' on a mat and pronounces the sound of the letter as they do so. The child might match lower-case letters to capital letters or vice-versa.
The Metal Insets (often pronounced by young children as the "metal insects!") are made of metal frames with metal inserts all of which are specific geometric figures. The child is invited to do a variety of activities with this material. The main aim of the material is to develop fine-motor control, particularly in preparation for pencil control and, ultimately, to prepare the child for writing. This is a fun activity because it involves tracing, drawing different types of lines or creating designs and patterns that can be colored - all this as the child progresses with the use of the material, which satisfies both the creative side of the child while assisting in developing beautiful handwriting. In the initial activity, the child works to create a single outline of a shape. The outlines created are filled in, first with lines drawn far apart, then lines drawn close together, then a single continuous line and eventually they will fill a single outline completely.
The lessons in Grace and Courtesy are central to Montessori education. They are the essential lessons and exercises by which we create a peaceful and cooperative classroom. Students learn kind and polite ways to handle everyday situations. Students also learn how to communicate and behave in a manner that is considered kind, gentle and polite in society. As students learn these skills they feel a sense of internalized order and self-discipline. They learn to respect themselves and others. Ultimately, as students grow in these skills they become confident and active members of the community. Teachers and other students work on handling conflict through the process of conflict resolution. This is done through role modeling, practice and discussion. Through this process students practice using effective language to share their own feelings and ideas with others. Students also practice using active listening techniques as they listen to the feelings and ideas of others. The long term goal is that, through this consistent practice, students will feel empowered to resolve conflicts within their communities with respect and success.
The Montessori birthday ceremony takes place whenever a child in the class has a birthday. For many very young children this is their first exposure to the idea that the earth moves around the sun. This "lesson" is repeated many times over the course of the year, and the young child simply "absorbs" an understanding of these concepts as she watches the child who is having a birthday carry the globe around the sun (represented by a candle). Some classes discuss events in the child's life, that help create an impression of growth connected to the passing of time, as well the passing of the seasons. This experience is followed by a range of lessons that introduce the child to the use of different timers and clocks, calendars and concepts related to the passing of time.
What is it?
* This is a game we play with the children to encourage the ability to be silent when needed. The guide can facilitate this game through gathering a group of children, having them sit quietly and
whispering each child's name until they are all gathered around her.
* Another way to play this game when all the children are very familiar with it, is for the guide to write silence on the chalkboard. As children notice the sign, they begin to let other children know, until the whole class is quite. At this point the guide may choose to do many things: call the children's names quietly (as previously), sit quietly for a moment before inviting the children to return to their work, recite a poem, etc...
Why do we do it?
* Coordination and refinement of movements of the whole body
* Development of the will
* Social cohesion
How to help at home?
* Spend some quite time with your child at home. If you meditate, invite your child to join you for some of that time.
Deux Mille Feuilles
École Montessori Bilingue
Bilingual Montessori School
Route des Bois 2, 1278 La Rippe, Vaud (near Nyon)
Phone: +41 76 580 61 78