“If the idea of the universe is presented to the child in the right way, it will do more for him than just arouse his interest, for it will create in him admiration and wonder, a feeling loftier than any interest and far more satisfying.”
– Maria Montessori
The beginnings of the Montessori Elementary start with the Great Lessons. Quentin’s thirst for knowledge led him into these lessons long before he reached the Montessori Lower Elementary 6-9 year old classroom. You can see him here using the Waseca Biome Cosmic Story Mat for the first half of the First Great Lesson which he absolutely loves to this day. And so when Waseca Biomes contacted us to let us know they had graciously slipped their new Solar System Mat into the mail for us, we were thrilled.
It’s a massive multi step material. As with any of the Waseca materials, it comes with a well laid out Guide to Presentations. This gives step by step instructions for the teacher to use. It also comes with so much more!
As with all Waseca Biomes materials the paper materials that accompany the vinyl mat and wooden discs are beautiful, filled with information for all different levels of learning and perfectly fit on a Montessori work mat.
Sixty six fact file cards come with this set. So many more than we could fit into these photos! They have information from the objects in the solar system to concepts like orbits. The lessons that can stem from these cards are adaptive and can almost be limitless. There is also a three level fact finding game set much like with the other Waseca mats. Quentin enjoys moving the space station, meteor and other objects around the mat, researching new ideas and much much more.
The paper materials come in a storage box similar to the Tree of Life Mat. Easy to pack everything up and put it back on the shelf when the lesson is over.
We are so in love with this set! It is perfect for our space loving child in my classroom, my students have loved aspects of this work as well.
You can find it here on the Waseca Biomes website!
I love the feel of clay in my hands. The simple way it moulds into new forms and the meditative way you can roll it in your palm.
Process art is extremely important in Montessori especially in the early developmental years. It strengthens so many aspects of the newly developing Prefrontal Cortex region of the brain and helps children learn to regulate emotions. Process art that allows a child to expand all of their fine motor movements is even better as it also refines the sensorial input areas of the brain and aids in concentration.
And so when we were contacted by Simply Playful offering to gift us their Clay Kit found here , we were thrilled.
It comes neatly contained in a lockable clear carrying case and is a kit designed for four users which we love. It’s fully stocked with everything from round placemats (not shown in the above pic) to metal buckets, tools, accessories like sequins and sparkles and of course enough clay in the primary colours plus white to allow four users to work easily.
It includes the book “Mix it Up and some idea cards which as luck would have it included a penguin.
This beautiful set invites the child to work and the easy open containers keep everything sorted by accessible. Quentin loved settling in after a long school day to quietly work with the cool clay. Right before bed this was the perfect wind down activity.
We love that this Canadian company understands the value of open ended process art and we love all of their different invitations to create found on their website here!
This set is perfect for children ages 3+ who no longer put things in their mouth.
Spring is finally catching up here on the west coast of Canada and that means we are rummaging through our book shelves and rotating in all of our spring favourites.
This book is absolutely stunning. We first purchased it in the Autumn, but Spring is one of my favourite seasons and I couldn’t help but share it now.
We love the visual beauty of a well done pop up book. This one has so much to offer as well as some Montessori compatible text that adds to fostering a child’s curiosity.
We also love adding some of our Schleich animals to create a small world open ended play scene at a nature table or on a mat.
How are you rotating in materials into your space to fit with the changing seasons?
This is a gorgeous new book from the best selling author of The Word Collector.
Say Something by Peter H. Reynolds was released at the end of February and it has become one of our most valuable books I use in my classroom.
It’s pages are done in the same simple style that showcase a number of powerful ways children can make their voice heard.
We love that it is easy to read and can be shared with the youngest preschooler although this is an excellent book for opening dialogue with elementary students.
This is a book that can be used both at home and in schools or communities with young children to empower those who may have trouble expressing themselves or don’t feel they belong or fit in. We especially need to show these children that they are loved, their voices matter but most importantly that they can make a difference.
“The exercises of practical life are formative activities, a work of adaptation to the environment. Such adaptation to the environment therein is the very essence of a useful education.”- Maria Montessori
We absolutely love the independence a Montessori Child’s kitchen provides.
Although Quentin mostly uses the regular height countertops of our home’s kitchen now at almost seven years old, he still uses his little kitchen for food prep.
Of all the juices we have pressed over the years, grapes are his favourite. Here he is at 3 years old pressing them.
And here he is today with the same little juicer that’s been going strong all these years.
One of the reasons we love this juicer so much is that it is completely useable by even the youngest child. The hand crank and the plunger keep little fingers out of the way and the fact that it’s see though means you can observe every step of the juice extraction.
The pulp exists at the end of the cone an we love examining that as well. The children in my 3-6 Montessori classroom are always fascinated by the entire process and lots of questions arise.
“Why doesn’t it taste like my juice from the store” is the most common one I get in the classroom. It always makes me smile because I remember back to that day of a little apron clad Quentin in the kitchen and his own oh so distinct Quentin answer:
“Mine doesn’t taste like the one from the store, mine just tastes like grapes. I guess cause mine doesn’t have any garbage in it.”
We purchased our juicer all those years ago from here. If your child is hesitant about new flavours, hand pressed juice is often a favourite even if you mix two flavours together.
We have been waiting for this book for what seems like forever!
If you have never explored this series you ought to. Based on an amazing and diverse group of powerful, world changing women the latest book in the series showcases the woman who’s teachings we have built our own lives around.
The pictures are done in the same style as the rest of the series and the text is perfect to share with children 3 years and up.
It follows Maria’s life timeline and although we wish it showcased more, we think it’s perfect for the age group it was intended for.
Perhaps the best part of the book is this time line in the back with more facts for the adult or older child reader. This timeline pairs perfectly with this set from Diamond Montessori!
It’s been a weekend full of sunshine and the promise of Spring here. And so I was thrilled to pull some gorgeous new language materials out of the postbox this weekend!
If you follow us on Instagram you’ll know that we love following beautiful, hard working creative small businesses and Hobbs Farm is one of our absolute favourites.
It’s even more wonderful that they are Canadian and they can be purchased here in Canada!
I’m going to frame these beautiful alphabet cards to use as art in my 3-6 Montessori classroom’s Language area.
Wishing you all a beautiful end to your weekend!
This week as we prepare to partake in Canada’s Pink Shirt Day, we are continuing our book list of anti-bullying books that we love!
My Secret Bully by Trudy Ludwig is an important book for not only elementary children but also their caregivers.
Often we recognize bullying as loud, in your face, and clearly mean. But this isn’t always the case. Far too often relational aggression is at play with the consequences being just as harmful for the target.
This book is perfect for reading at home or with students in the classroom. The watercolour illustrations compliment the story without taking over. The text is clear, easy to understand and empathize with for children beginning at 6 years of age.
It focuses on the emotions felt by the target and the importance of a child listening to their body. It also touches on the importance of a target seeking help from a trusted caregiver and the important role the caregiver plays in ending the bullying.
Books like this are perhaps difficult for an adult to read to a child, but children will often enjoy listening to them and love forming discussion groups about the topics portrayed in the pages. These are often the easiest way to reach out to children on both sides of bullying. The conversations that can be built on after reading these kinds of books hold within them a value that will last a lifetime.
Listed in the end pages of this book are some excellent American organizations, global websites, and recommended readings for adults and children that all focus on relational aggression.
During this upcoming week of Anti-Bullying we will continue to showcase books and activities that focus on empathy, acceptance and friendship.
If you have a particular favourite resource please share it in the comments. We would love to feature it here or on our social media.
February in Canada holds Valentine’s Day, Family Day and also Anti-Bullying Day. So many opportunities to continue conversations with children about empathy and continue our work in Peace Education.
We’ve written about some of these titles before but today we wanted to focus on one we discovered by chance at our local library.
This book was a delightful surprise. It is absolutely perfect for the 3-6 year old crowd.
It’s simple text hides big conversation starters.
We love the diversity within its pages and its powerful message.
It’s the perfect sharing book for a group of children in a classroom or just simply with our own children at home. It explains that we are who we are, it’s ok to be who you are and that the feelings we feel are also what other people feel. This is an important first step in fostering empathy with young children.
What books are you sharing with children in this month of love and kindness?
When this book was featured to be released I knew we simply had to have it. So much so that when I found it wasn’t going to released here for a while I ordered it from overseas.
We are big Shirley Hughes fans and I can remember being read her books as a child. This one didn’t disappoint.
The end pages say it all. Her beautiful realistic artwork and simple yet rich text grab the reader right away. This book has the perfect mix of interesting ideas to make, as well as some lovely stories and poems.
We used to make these simple paper lanterns when I was very young.
As with all Shirley Hughes books they have a distinct British feel with simplicity at the heart of the text. This book can easily be lovingly tucked away each year, ready to bring out the next year to awaiting little ones.
We hope you are enjoying a peaceful and restful weekend.