Since we were studying winter birds last week, I let Dora practice pouring bird seed for a practical life skills activity. She just loves pouring activities, which is nice, because there are not many things that she will do by herself for any length of time. I gave her an assortment of cups and bowls to pour into and pitchers to pour from.
I also presented the zipper dressing frame to Dora. She knows how to unzip, but even then, needs to be reminded to hold the fabric if the zipper snags at all. I was hoping that she would really take to the dressing frames as she seems to have very little interest in learning to dress herself. Unfortunately, she had zero interest in the dressing frame. I guess I am supposed to take this as a sign that this is not the appropriate sensitive period for her and put the frames away for awhile. Sigh, adhering to one’s philosophic principles can be frustrating at times.
Dora caught me opening the package with the metal insets in it and then insisted on working with them. I was amazed at how well she was able to do the work. Above is a photo of her very first attempts with using the insets. On the left, you can see where she used the outer frame of the inset to trace a near-perfect oval. On the right, she used the inset, itself, and you can see at the top, the point where she had to figure out how to navigate around her hand that was holding the inset. Her solution was to let go of it, which caused the inset to move around. Obviously, we’ll need to work on that.
How did we afford all of these new Montessori materials, you ask? I’m glad you asked! This year for my birthday (I’m now 43, if you must know), I asked for Montessori supplies for Dora. I’ve become extremely passionate about the Montessori method of education. It is ironic, because I actually attended a public school Montessori kindergarten way back in the 70’s. My parents were so underwhelmed by the school, they pulled me out of public school and sent me to private school until they were able to move to an area with better schools. I well remembered the school and agreed with their assessment, so had never, for even a moment, in the last nineteen years, considered using Montessori methods in our homeschool. Then I started reading blogs and finding fun activities to do with Dora and wouldn’t you know it, they were Montessori inspired? So I did some research and have come to the conclusion that the school I attended just did a really, really, really bad job of implementing the Montessori method.
Every time I find myself saying, “Well, I like it all, except for this or that…” I end up realizing that the only parts of the Montessori method that I don’t like are the ones that I don’t understand. For instance, using all the beads in math seemed silly to me, until I started reading more about them. Now, I realize that these materials will help Dora to not only learn her math facts, but to be able to do things such as truly visualize quantities and many other math concepts (by visualizing quantities, I mean that if she sees a group of four marbles, she doesn’t need to count each marble to know that there are four).
At this point, my only complaints with the Montessori method are that I didn’t use it with my older children, and that it is so hard to find resources that teach me how to implement the method. I have neither the time, nor the funds, nor the desire, to become a certified Montessori teacher. I just want a crash course in the basics to use with Dora. I learn a lot from reading other blogs and I have found a few books that are helpful, but thus far I haven’t found the perfect guide for me. So many of the books are either geared towards convincing parents that Montessori works or helping parents make Montessori supplies at home or are written for parents of babies/toddlers. I have many of the real supplies, even if they aren’t the fanciest version, but I just need to know how to use them. Thus far the most helpful book that I have found has been Basic Montessori: Learning Activities For Under-Fives.
As always, I am linking this post to the one of the best Montessori blogs out there (if not THE best), Living Montessori Now, from whom I have learned so much.
Disclosure: Some item links in this post are affiliate links. I will make a small amount if you click on them and make a purchase. All opinions expressed, however, are 100% my own.