Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Basic Montessori Concepts

Montessori Concepts (From Wikipedia)

Inner guidance of nature. All children have inherent inner directives from nature that guide their true normal development.[28]

Freedom for self-directed learning. The Montessori method respects individual liberty of children to choose their own activities. This freedom allows children to follow their inner guidance for self-directed learning.[29]

Planes of development. The natural development of children proceeds through several distinct planes of development, each one having its own unique conditions and sensitive periods for acquiring basic faculties in the developmental process. The first plane (ages 0–6) involves basic personality formation and learning through physical senses. During this plane, children experience sensitive periods for acquiring language and developing basic mental order.[30] The second plane of development (6–12) involves learning through abstract reasoning, developing through a sensitivity for imagination and social interaction with others. The third plane (12–18) is the period of adolescent growth, involving the significant biological changes of puberty, moving towards learning a valuation of the human personality, especially as related to experiences in the surrounding community. The fourth plane (18+), involves a completion of all remaining development in the process of maturing in adult society.[31]

Prepared environment. The right precise conditions around children allow for and support their true natural development. For young children, the environment must be prepared in this way by providing a range of physical objects that are organized and made available for free, independent use, to stimulate their natural instincts and interests for self-directed learning.[32]

Observation and indirect teaching. The teacher's role is to observe children engaged in activities that follow their own natural interests. This indirect teaching to control the environment, not the child, contrasts sharply with the ordinary teacher's role of implementing a pre-determined curriculum. For example, a Montessori method class has the teacher resolving misbehavior by refocusing the child to some positive activity, rather than engaging in the ordinary system of rewards and punishments.[33]

Normalization. During the 0–6 plane of development, children have the ability to shift their fundamental being from the ordinary condition of disorder, inattention, and attachment to fantasy to a state of perfect normal being, showing such external behavior as spontaneous self-discipline, independence, love of order, and complete harmony and peace with others in the social situation. This psychological shift to normal being occurs through deep concentration on some physical activity of the child's own free choice.[34]

Absorbent mind. The young child (0–6) has an absorbent mind which naturally incorporates experiences in the environment directly into its whole basic character and personality for life. This mental faculty, which is unique to young children, allows them to learn many concepts in an effortless, spontaneous manner. It also allows them to undergo the key phenomenon of normalization to return to their true natural development. After the age of about six, this absorbent mental faculty disappears.[35]

Work, not play. Children have an instinctive tendency to develop through spontaneous experiences on the environment, which Dr. Montessori referred to as 'work'.[36] In this sense, the children's normal activity is attached to reality in the present moment, rather than idle play through such means as toys and fantasy. [37][38]

Multi-age grouping. Children learn from each other in a spontaneous manner that supports their independent self-directed activity. The ordinary Montessori classroom therefore consists of a mixed-aged group, such as 2–6 (primary level) or 6–12 (elementary level).[39]

Mini Montessori

Hi Everyone,
Have you come across this small size Montessori
equipment? If you are crunched for space or just
want to have Montessori to go, this is the equipment
for you! I have seen the version with manuals and
in a suitcase.  Both Adena and Alison's sell the suitcase...
Here are the contents:
The suitcase includes the following items: Knobbed Cylinders (4 pieces) Pink Tower Brown Stairs Constructive Triangles (5 boxes) Hundreds Board Stamp Game Spindle Box Color Box Mystery Bag Binomial Cube Number Rods Counters and Numbers Intro to the Decimal System Snake Game Addition Strip Board Subtraction Strip Board Multiplication Board Division Board Fraction Skittles Sandpaper Strokes

A good review of this material is here:

Check out these desk size
red and blue math rods ( or red and natural wood)
from Hello Wood:

Lisheen Montessori sells these small sets of Leaf Insets,
Continent Maps, and Geometry Cabinets.  Just the right size
for a desk top or smaller shelves. 

These small tiles for word building (pink, blue and green)
are great on a smaller table. The tiny objects are available from
the same company: Primary Concepts (one of my favorite many great things here!)

I really like these smaller sized Zoology and Botany Puzzles from
Dr. Ed out of Thailand. (Alison's Montessori stocks these)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Sensational Sort!

Sorting boxes are a favorite of mine and my kids.
We had a very well worn yellow plastic box and
shapes  from the 80's that got loved and chewed
on by all the kids and grandkids. I bought this before
I did any Montessori training just knew it had to be a
good thing for the babies to's why:

Posting objects into boxes is a natural inclination for young children. This activity gives the child practice with hand-eye co-ordination as the shape is put through the hole. The shape is then easily retrieved from the front of the box to repeat the activity over and over. These boxes provide an infant with experiences of object permanence.
Imbucare Boxes
These materials provide a young toddler with experiences of fitting objects into holes, exploring the use of the hand and developing eye-hand coordination. Set of   boxes  cylinder, triangle, square, rectangle 
cylinders of two sizes,  a cube, a triangular prism and a rectangular prism.

Montessori Concepts Imbucare Boxes

Early School Materials Infant Box and Balls
                               Cabdev (Canada) Imbucare Boxes set
Other shape sorters:
Brio Shape sorter (shiny!)

Plan Toys Box Sorter

Tag Toys Maple Sorter

Tag Toys Shape sorter with lids and mirror
(a great deal and space saver)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Felted Objects for Language

Hi all,
 On the subject of cute Japanese small items,
today's find is the cutest felted objects I've seen
so far! Here are the how to books:

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Go Montessori...what a Woman!

Groovey Little Japanese Objects

I've been on the hunt for small
objects to use for language.
I found these cute magnets which
along with a cookie sheet and some
magnetic letters would make a great
word building set. (For younger children
larger kitchen magnets would work better...
these japanese magnet sets are teeny-tiny and not for
the infant-toddler  level.)

Objects are available here:

Letters are available here:
(these are great for montessori word building because the
colors are correct)

Cookie sheet is available here:

Magnetic Board (an alternate to
a cookie sheet) is available here:

The Manufacturers warning:

WARNING: This product contains (a) small magnet(s). Swallowed magnets can stick together across intestines causing serious infections and death. Seek immediate medical attention if magnet(s) are swallowed or inhaled.

[Yes, we know it's silly to have to say this, but Federal law requires us to tell you that this magnetic product contains a magnet. Believe it or not, our government actually thinks that you are not capable of realizing that a magnetic item contains a magnet. No, we can't believe it either. But seriously, keep these and all magnetic items out of the mouths of children!]

Monday, March 8, 2010

Mellow Yellow

Along with the sunny spring theme I thought
I'd revisit all the yellow and gold Montessori materials!
There are lots, you know~~
Like: The Golden Bead Materials (Bruin's even look like honey comb)
The yellow cylinders
The yellow triangles
The yellow colour tablets
The yellow language insets
The yellow decimal mat
The yellow and green botany insets
Can you think of any others?
Have a Sunny DAY!

Bee Link Farm

The Bees Knees!

Here is a Beehive

Here is the beehive, where are the bees? (clench fist and bring out fingers quickly one by one)

Hidden away were nobody sees

Watch and you will see them come out of their hives,

One, two, three, four, five,

Buzz, buzz, buzz.

Five Little Bees

(clench fist and bring out fingers as you go)

One little bee blew and flew.

He met a friend, and that made two.

Two little bees, busy as could be--

Along came another and that made three.

Three little bees, wanted one more,

Found one soon and that made four.

Four little bees, going to the hive.

Spied their little brother, and that made five.

Five little bees working every hour--

Buzz away, bees, and find another flower.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Lovely Language Insets for Design

I think the language insets were one of my first and favorite
pieces of equipment. They have many uses other
than just tracing the basic shapes.  The connection
to the geometric cabinet and solids is the most
apparent. Montessori was congruent in her
approach, wasn't she? I have seen  pink or red and
blue,yellow and blue,yellow and green or
yellow and purple sets depending on the vendor.
Pink and blue is the most common set seen in North America.
Language insets come in other materials than just metal
which can be heavy and have pointy-pokey edges. While I do
own the metal ones, I also have a couple of sets of the
plastic ones made by Invicta out of England.
A plastic set is available at:
An Acrylic set is available here:

A nifty inset stand is available here:
or here:

Patterns for making your own from whatever
material you like are here:
(foam,colored tag board,mat board, balsa wood, polymer clay etc
are some choices).
Ideas for lessons and extensions for the insets are here: