Wednesday, May 28, 2014

It's been awhile!

I started this blog back in August with the intention of using it to plan the setup of our Montessori Preschool at home. And then life happened! Now it is May and DJ is 2.5 years old and what a difference. His language skills are amazing and it makes it so fun to be able to communicate with him.

In the past few months, I've acquired a large portion of the Montessori preschool materials and was lucky enough to get most of it on Craigslist for a STEAL! In a couple of cases, I purchased the materials in a group, so I got duplicates or more than I needed and I was able to sell the excess for what I paid for the whole lot, making some of my materials free!

I still have more to buy, mostly in the math curriculum that doesn't come until much later anyway, but we have everything we need to start now. I'm still not planning any formal preschool schedule until next September (sort of the beginning of the "academic year"), but DJ has access to all of the beginning Practical Life and Sensorial materials on his shelves and he does his "work" whenever he wants to. In the coming weeks, I'll do a "school room tour" so you can see the preschool set up (in our living room) and begin to show you his work as he does it.

Most of the work DJ does these days fall under the Practical Life category of Montessori.  As the name implies, these are all tasks that are important in living day to day.  He's learning to dress himself, brush his own teeth and use a potty.  In the kitchen, he knows how to wash his hands, wash a dish, put some dishes away from the dishwasher, pour his own water from a dispenser in the refrigerator, get his own fruit and snack, and... make his own breakfast!

With my help, DJ can crack his own eggs for scrambled eggs in the morning.  He does the cracking and I hold the skillet, making sure the egg is always above the skillet (which is why I never get a picture of this task!)  Then he adds some cheese, gives it a stir and steps back while I turn the heat on.  On other days, he'll pour his own packet of oatmeal into a bowl and add milk (with my help still).  The hardest breakfast option is pancakes because that requires measuring a certain amount of pancake batter and water, and then smashing a banana to add some sweetness.  I still do most of that with just a little of his help to be sure the measurements are accurate.  He can also make his own toast in the toaster, except ours is currently broken... *sigh*

Practical Life "on the shelf" in Montessori usually involves tasks to hone the fine motor skills of his hands and fingers.  Some of DJ's favorites in this area are:

Flower Arranging: Fake flowers in a vase
Stringing Beads: (note, he didn't do the
yellow/blue sequence, he's not quite there yet)

The Lock Box on the mat next to him is a
freebie I got on Craigslist.  He loves it and it
definitely falls into Practical Life to know
how to do all those latches!

Button Snake: a ribbon with a small button on
one end and a large button on the other.  The
shapes each have a button hole in them.
Thank you, Grandma, for the shapes!
Clothespin Color Wheel: Great workout for the
fingers!  The clothespins are colored and the side
of the wheel he's looking at has colored pie
pieces to match. When he's ready the "back"
can be matched to numbers.

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