Threading Activity

Threading Activity: There are a lot of practical life activities that have multiple layers and purposes to them. Threading is one of them. One of the most important lessons to be learned is independence and self-confidence. Let's see what's at work.

Materials: String, and an assortment of multi-colored, and shaped, beads.

Aim: To thread the string, with the beads, often in sequence.

Results: Refinement of fine motor skills, the development of concentration and confidence.

Observations: Practical life activities, like this threading activity, are vital to the Montessori classroom. They allow children to work independently on tasks that they've seen their parents accomplish, allowing them to gain both confidence and independence.

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Materials: String, and an assortment of multi-colored, and shaped, beads.

Aim: To thread the string, with the beads, often in sequence.

Results: Refinement of fine motor skills, the development of concentration and confidence.

Observations: Practical life activities, like this threading activity, are vital to the Montessori classroom. They allow children to work independently on tasks that they've seen their parents accomplish, allowing them to gain both confidence and independence.

Individualized Education

One of the many things that makes Montessori so enticing for prospective families, is the fact that their child will receive a one-on-one education. What does this mean?

Actually, this means many things. First, it means that your child will have a curriculum developed specifically for them, based on their individiual needs. Of course, we're here to follow the interests of the child, but this doesn't mean that we don't introduce them to new activities. On the contrary, we carefully observe what is working for them, and constantly look for ways in which to help improve and strengthen their education. Second, it also means that if your child has any specific challenges, challenges that may go unnoticed in a traditional school, we can work together to overcome them. Let's give a very concrete, practical example.

Take, for instance, a student who would like to continue to improve his writing skills, and his ability to utilize the necessary three fingers needed to write. We find creative solutions to have them work on tasks they more than likely don't associate with reinforcing their writing skills. Above, the boy wanted help mastering his ability to write. Ms. Wood, instead of sitting him down and making him practice writing his name, over and over, as might be deployed in traditional school, developed an innovative approach. She employed the cylinder blocks, which are specifically designed to refine those fine motor skills need to write, and created a fun and interactive little excercise to engage those three fingers with the cylinder blocks, and then writing!

Another way to say the same thing: Montessori utilizes direct and indirect preparation to develop the senses and the physical necessities for literarcy and for other abstract concepts, preparing the mind and the body to do things necessary. Montessori also gives resources to the teachers, especially if the initial prepartions don't completely latch on. Each child is treated individually, based on their own needs. There's no punishment, as if someone lagged behind, or had a problem learning. Instead, we introduce a new activity, in a new way! It's an entirely different approach to education.

A Guide to the Pink Tower

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The Pink Tower: When you think Montessori, you think many things. One of the first things that usually comes to mind is the Pink Tower. What is the Pink Tower?

Materials: The pink tower is composed of ten solid wooden cubes. From 1x1x1 cm to 10x10x10 cm.

Aim: To build the graduated, three dimensional blocks.

Results: To understand sequence and order, develop visual discrimination and an awareness of dimension.

Observations: Watch as the depth and complexities of this seemingly simple activity come alive. This may be the single best video explanation of the pink tower. Ginna Sackett, the teacher trainer of the Montessori Institute Northwest, trained our very own Charlotte Wood.

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The pink tower develops visual discrimination and helps develop an awareness of dimensions. This is particularly relevant, to the size and shape of the child's environment. They have a model for comparison. The pink tower also helps reinforce eye-hand coordination, and strengthens small muscular movements. Additionally, the pink tower introduces children to an appreciation of math concepts, such as smaller and larger, and also serves as a preparation for the decimal system, with ten units in the activity.

Sewing a Button

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Sewing a button: Montessori students learn a number of unique, practical and challenging tasks in the primary classroom, one of which is, most certainly, how to sew a button. Yes, how to sew a button!

Materials: Thread, needle, fabric, scissors and a button.

Aim: To sew a button.

Results: Fine motor control, the development of concentration, the execution of a task, the process of sewing a button, and so much more.

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Observations: In these wonderful photos, note the concentration, and the meticulous, careful, and deliberate nature of her movements. She's highly aware of the fact that she's working with scissors, which are sharp tools used to complete the activity, and an equally sharp needle, which she understands and is careful to draw her own attention to as she cuts, and then sews. Also, note the order of the activity, and how the materials are positioned just so on the table.

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