Adventures in Tot Schooling

Letter M Week

This is Munchkin’s second week of 3-morning a week pre-school. Her class now has a letter of the week. I decided that it would be good for our home offerings to reflect the letter of the week, so I will be adapting as I discover what letter that is. I intend to provide Montessori inspired offerings based on that letter. While I adore the school, the atmosphere and the staff, it seems that they now do directed “crafts” based on the letter, so I will shift my art focus to all things open ended, for the most part. This week I rotated out most of our shelves. Here’s what’s new:

M is for Marble Painting

Munchkin and I had great fun with a couple of different sessions of marble painting. We used acrylic paints one day, and “kid” paints another. She worked on pouring out just a little bit of paint from each container, and did fairly well.

M Salt Tray/Sandpaper Letter

Munchkin’s school is not pushing writing, and I’ve seen nothing “written” come home. Only crafts where the letter of the week, or objects beginning with the letter of the week are collaged. Munchkin is really into writing, so I provided the salt tray as a way for her to practice, should she want to. She asked me to show her the ‘m,’ but I didn’t see her work with it other than that. I want to find a few things to rotate (playdough mats, q-tip painting) so that if she wants to write she can, but the salt tray isn’t out every week.

M is for Moon

I found some great alphabet printables at Totschooling.net. Munchkin really, really just wants to be writing. Placing this printout in a plastic pocket and pairing with a dry-erase marker lets her practice as she wishes. I really like that there is a dot-to-do image paired with the letter practice too. This is the type of tray I come around the corner and find her using all by herself.

Cards and Counters

I would like to start formally introducing some of the Montessori math lessons. I recently discovered MontessoriAlbum.com, which gives lesson orders for the Montessori lessons, and also details instructions, resources and variations. This should be the third lesson introduced. We dallied with spindle boxes last week, and I don’t have the number rods. Since I can only have one or perhaps two lessons out at a time, we’re going to have to work with what we’ve got. I had everything available for this lesson, so we went for it. The full lesson uses the numerals 0-9, but 0-5 seemed a good place to start. I adjusted the number of counters available down as appropriate. A total of 10 counters provides a control of error. This was also our first mention of even and odd numbers. We worked through the presentation once, and it didn’t come out again. Will rotate between this and the spindle boxes for a few weeks.

Foam Bead Threading

Later in the week, we visited the dollar store and I rotated in two more trays. The first is pipe cleaners and foam bead threading. Foam beads require something sturdy to push through. I also provided a dish of pony beads as a contrasting material.

Shape Pricking

I saw this lesson while browsing MontessoriAlbum. Munchkin gets into my desk sometimes and is fascinated by my push pins. I knew she would love this! It also requires quite an attention span, and was really good for her to spend some focused time on one activity. This is a great activity for developing a writing grip, as the push pin is so small. Traditionally there would be a stylus, but the pins I had worked well. I must remember this.

O-Ball

Little Sister continues to enjoy her O-Ball.

Family Photos

This week, I changed out the abstract black and white prints above Little Sis’ changing table for family pictures. She LOVES them. She laughs like crazy on her changing table now, and looking at the photos has been settling her if she if fussy.

Water Table Play

We also spent some time outside scooping dried beans in the water table. With some support, Little Sister had a great time standing and playing too. For Munchkin, we talked about how many scoops from one cup it would take to fill a bigger cup. It was a nice shady morning. I watched that baby like a hawk so that no beans went in her mouth!

All that marble painting made for a great art wall this week!

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