Monday, September 19, 2011

Here We Go: The First Week of Preschool

I  usually come up with a title for each of my posts before I start typing them.  But, today, I am at a loss.  Since the Montessori Makeover is complete, I'd like to leave that title for the time being and use something else.  I'm hoping by the end of this post I will have come up with a catchy title!

So, today was the last day of my first whole week using the Montessori-based curriculum in my preschool classroom.  The week has gone better than I could have imagined.  The kids are taking interest in all of the materials I have brought into the classroom.  And, they have fallen into the new routine very easily.  I couldn't be happier!

I started off the week thinking that it would take the whole week just to get the routine down -- using rugs and table mats, etc.  But, much to my surprise the kids caught on so quickly that I was able to start introducing materials the second day of each of my classes (3's & 4's).

I am doing the material presentations a little differently in the 3's class than the 4's class.  After much contemplation I decided that in the 3's class, for now, I would need to introduce most of the materials to the whole class at the same time so that there would not be any issues with kids pulling things off the shelves that they had not yet been introduced to.

In the 4's class, however, I am introducing materials to the kids when they ask to have them introduced -- and sometimes I go around and ask kids if they would like a lesson on a specific material.  I put the materials on the shelf, tell the kids at Circle Time what the new materials are and where they are located, and then wait for the kids to ask for lessons.  For the most part, this is working out really well!

Here are some of the materials I introduced this week:

Whole Hand Transfer Activity

Pink Tower and Brown Stairs

One-to-One Correspondence -- balls into egg tray
Classmates 3-Part Cards

 Here are some pictures of the kids using the new materials:

Pink Tower --check out her concentration putting the last cube on the tower!

Working Together

Pink Tower -- stair stepping the smallest cube.
Classmates 3-Part Cards -- I gave him a lesson, he finished it and put everything away.

 I was not able to get pictures of the Whole Hand Transfer activity.  I honestly almost skipped this activity all together because I thought it might be a little to easy for this group of kids.  But, there was one student I wanted to have the chance to use it, so I decided to put it out anyways.  It was not a very popular activity, although a few kids did try it.

The One-To-One Correspondence with balls & the egg tray, on the other hand, was very popular.  There were several kids who took turns one after another on the same rug.  However, I did not manage to get a picture of anyone using it.  Oh well!

During Circle Time, along with doing the calendar, weather, music & movement activity, and reading a book, I am also introducing many of the Grace and Courtesy lessons.  This week we learned how to roll and unroll rugs, carry a rug, walk around a rug, roll and unroll a table mat, ask to work with another child, stand, walk, walk on the line, the Silence Game, and Walking on the Line to music (which we turned into a freeze game as well).  All of these lessons went very well!

Here is a picture of the 4's class Walking on the Line to music while playing the freeze game:

The adults you see in the picture are the assist parents that work in the classroom with me.  My preschool is a cooperative, which means that the parents take turns assisting me in the classroom.  I am lucky to have a wonderful group of parents!
After such a successful first week of school I am really excited about the rest of the year!  I feel like I am really doing what I am supposed to be doing.  I have so many more opportunities to work with the kids on a more individual basis than I ever did before.  For the past 11 years I have been teaching preschool I was limited to teaching the same things to all the kids at the same time.  Now, although all the kids are using the same materials, they are not all using the same materials at the same time.  They are using them when they are ready and interested.

All in all I feel such a sense of accomplishment!  All of the literally hundreds of hours of work I put into this transition have paid off in full the first week of school.

I am linking up with Living Montessori Now and One Hook Wonder for Montessori Monday!

Montessori Monday


  1. Yeah for you! I am so glad that your week has gone well! I am always amazed when kids seem to take to Montessori activities right away! I have started an Atrium for our Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program at church (this is a Motnessori based faith formation program)and to start we have a ton of practical life work. The kids love it! They take turnes, put things back, and everything!!!! Sure there were a few beans on the floor, but that's what learning is for! :) Happy Schooling Mieke!

  2. That sounds like a lot of fun Stephanie! I was looking at the Catechis of the Good Shepherd info. online and would love to do something like it with Froggy Boots. The only thing is that we are not Catholic (we go to a Reformed church, which is run more like a non-denominational church)and so quite a bit of the program would not be relevant to her. I am wondering if there is something similar that would work better for us?

  3. Congrats!

    I love your classmates cards. I did the same thing with family photos last week to help the children with name recognition.

  4. I love the whole hand transfer. Perfect orientation with the left to right, top to bottom. Nice first week!!!

  5. Mieke,
    Try looking into Godly Play. It is based off the Catechesis but its more bible work then liturgy. Hope that helps!

  6. Thanks Stephanie! I will check that out!

  7. What a wonderful first week, Mieke! Well done - and I love your classmates 3-part cards!

    I read your comments about Catechesis of the Good Shepherd and Godly Play. I was trained in both. Godly Play does work well for any Christian denomination. I have a number of posts about it:

  8. I forgot to mention that I featured your post at the Living Montessori Now Facebook page: I'm so glad you've been linking up with Montessori Monday ... it's fun to watch the development of your Montessori classroom! :)

  9. I really like following along with your classroom, and have put some of your ideas into practice for my daughter at home. Just curious- where did you find the little egg tray that you used for the 1 to 1 corres activity? (is it plastic or glass?) Thanks! :)


  10. Sarah,

    Thanks! The egg tray is plastic and I found it at a thrift store. I would think you might be able to find one at a store like Target or Walmart maybe, but I don't know for sure...

  11. Deb,

    Thanks, I will look at your posts about Godly Play!

  12. Hey I am going to start following your site. I taught preschool for a while (we used Abeka) and then we I decided to home school/preschool my boys. I am using Abeka - since I already am similar with it and was able to get my hands on the material for really cheap! However I am starting to get into this Montessori thing as well. I have already started making some things like the felt fractions, sorting noodles, scent bottles, sensory tub, etc. my 4 year really loves the tub I think it’s his fav so 7 month old likes banging the felt fractions on the floor lol :). I posted some pics of the things we have made so far... feel free to check them out. Have a Blessed week

  13. Kim,

    Thanks for following my blog! Finding my way to Montessori has been quite a journey! I think that as you find more and more Montessori-inspired ideas, the more you will come to love it! I know that is definitely the case for me :) If you are interested in learning more about the Montessori method, I highly recommend Karen Tyler's online class through World Wide Montessori Online. I am taking it right now. I believe she has a new one starting up in December. It is more than reasonably priced for what you get -- she includes 13 Montessori teaching albums in the course! Check it out if you are interested!

  14. Kim,

    I love the felt fractions that you made! I will be making something similar this year some time I imagine, so it was nice to see how you made them!