Posts Categorized: Toddler I
February is Parent Observation Month here at MSH. Our toddler parents will be observing through the videos the teachers have recorded, while parents at other levels will be observing by sitting in the classrooms. While observing try asking yourself these questions:
Parents often ask us, “How do you get them to do that?” or they say, “I wish they would do that at home.” These questions and comments almost always occur after Parent/Child Sharing Night and after conferences. They see their child cleaning up after themselves, being independent in their self care, not taking things from others, and wish they could see their child exhibiting these desirable behaviors at home. The answer we give our parents is that the environment has to invite these behaviors.
Children naturally want structure in their lives. While they may not show it, they want it, they need it, and they thrive with it. Our classroom is set up to fit them. It is their world, and they are responsible for its care. While turning your home into a Montessori classroom may not be doable, there are things you can do to help make it more like school.
The first rule of thumb is less is more. Children’s rooms and playrooms can become cluttered with toys. Having too much overloads their senses, and they simply cannot make sense of it all. This is especially important to remember during the upcoming holiday season when new gifts will be arriving from family and friends. Make a point to clean out their old toys in anticipation of the new ones they will be receiving. In our classroom we regularly rotate out the work, keeping no more than two pieces of work on a shelf. Rotating the materials keeps them fresh and inviting.
Many years ago we had a parent tell us the way she did that was by giving the old toys to charity. She sat down with her child and talked about which toys were toys the child still played with and which toys they had outgrown. After sorting them into two piles they talked about little children in the world who did not have toys and encouraged the child to think about giving them to those children. How happy a little boy or girl just like them might be to receive this new toy. The child loved the idea of sharing with other children and was eager to give as gifts the toys she was no longer using. Doing this not only lessens the clutter in your home but it also highlights sharing. Caring for others is something we all can practice more often.
In the coming months we will share more ideas on molding your home environment to be more like the classroom environment. Thank you all for reading and for sharing your precious children with us.
The second half of the school year is quickly coming to an end. All that the children in our class have learned since the first day of school is now more evident than ever. Morning drop-offs are easier than they were during those first few months, our work cycle has expanded to mirror that of a primary work cycle on most days, the children have achieved a great level of independence in making their own snack and preparing their own lunch with minimal assistance, and they are taking care of their own toileting needs with minimal assistance, as well.
This month our Toddler 1 class will be busy studying the Earth, its different continents, and the cultures of the people who live far away from us. We kicked off our multicultural studies with St. Patrick’s Day by talking about how the holiday is celebrated in Ireland, which is a country in Europe. In honor of the holiday we made Rainbow Fruit Skewers for snack.
The continent we will be focusing on for the annual Multicultural Festival is Australia. If you or someone you know has anything from or about the continent of Australia please let us know. We would love for you to share it with our class.
Planting our garden will also be a big focus in our classroom this month. Last month we learned that our Earth is made up of water, land, and air. Now we will begin putting that knowledge into practice by watching how the land, water, and the air will help our plants to grow. A BIG thank you to all of the parents who helped during the family work days to prepare our garden. Without all of your work, enjoying our garden would not be possible.
As always thank you for sharing your children with us. Please do not hesitate to ask if you have any questions or concerns.
Maria Montessori wrote, “The greatest sign of success for a teacher is to be able to say, The children are now working as if I did not exist.”
We love every moment in our classroom. Each part of the school year is something to cherish, and there is always something to celebrate. However, second semester is an especially magical time in our toddler classroom.
We often comment to one another throughout the day that we can meld into the background and the children would not even notice. Watching them put into practice everything we have spent hours repeating over the past few months not only gives us a sense of accomplishment, but it subconsciously gives them one as well.
They are now independent. They can work through the class day with minimal instruction from us. If they spill something they know where the sponges are to clean it up. When they are hungry, they no longer tell us. Instead they check to see if there is room at the snack table themselves and they make their snack on their own. They now know where everything belongs, and when a new student enters our classroom it is the children who help them to phase-in. Their classmates help them to know where to place work on the shelf. If a new student spills something, our other children are so eager to help them to clean it up. They are a fully functioning family unit. Caring for each other is a part of their daily routine.
The natural rhythm, which develops is a joy to behold. We are so very fortunate to be able to witness what our little people are capable of doing every day.
~Written by Becky and Lacey in celebration of Montessori Education Week