Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Going to school!

After months of searching for a Montessori school for Froggy Boots to attend, (that was able to work within our budget) I finally found Doughty Montessori School!   The school is in an old train station near downtown Ann Arbor -- complete with a real red caboose on the playground for the kids to play in!  I wish I had a picture of the caboose to share, but I don't.  Maybe in the future I will think to take a picture and post it.

The school accepts children from age 2 1/2 to 6 years old within traditional Montessori multi-age classrooms.  And, yes, this means that the 2 1/2 year old's are in the the same classrooms as the 6 year old's!  But, many of you probably already know that.

So, Froggy Boots turned 2 1/2 in December and was able to start at Doughty at the beginning of January, after the winter break.  She has been doing really well, except for the actual getting ready and going to school part.  After she gets in the door at school, she is fine.  The separation from Dad (who drops her off) is a little rough still -- but getting better.

This week my school is closed for mid-winter break, so I decided to spend the week with Froggy Boots at her school!  Parents are always welcome at Doughty, unlike some other Montessori schools.  Today was my first day at school with her!  Yesterday the school was closed for Presidents Day.  Needless to say, since Froggy Boots knew I was going to school with her, she had no separation issues this morning. 

My husband dropped us off at the school so that I did not have to deal with trying to park in downtown Ann Arbor.  Thank goodness for that, because when we got there at 9am, there was no parking left close to the school. 

Froggy Boots was so excited to be there with me!  And, I was really excited to be there as well!  Surprisingly, though, I was actually a little nervous at first.  I guess I was surprised that I was nervous because I teach at my own school every day already.  But, I guess it was just because it was a different school that I am not used to yet.

I couldn't wait to see what kind of work Froggy Boots was going to do!  However, today the teachers decided to take the kids outside first because the snow was going to be turning to rain later in the day and they wanted to make sure the kids got outside.  So, I had to wait a little bit to see her working.  But, we did have fun out on the playground!  We even ventured into the caboose!

Once we got back inside, we got right to work!  Here are some pictures of the work Froggy Boots did today:

She started out in the Math area doing several counting works:

Numbers and jewel counters.  The control of error was the color of each number and matching jewel counters.  So, for example, there were 5 pink jewels for the pink number 5.
The bead stair hanger.  We worked on this one together.  But, she seemed to get the idea!
These are egg shaped number puzzles.  The control of error is in the different way each egg is cut apart.  The numeral is on the bottom half of each egg and there is a corresponding number of dots on the top portion.
Froggy Boots took a break from the math work to try out some animal matching puzzles.  They were to easy for her, so she stopped after the first three matches and moved on to something else.  She did have fun making animal noises for the pig and the cow, though!

And then she moved on to some Sensorial work:

She did the pink tower (cubes) first.
And then added the brown stairs!
For her final work, she did some wet pouring:

As you can see from the wet table, there was a little over pouring that happened before she got the hang of it.  But, after the initial spill, she really did an amazing job pouring the water!

Not only did I get to see Froggy Boots do lots of wonderful work today, I also learned that she can put her coat on all by herself!  Recently she had been coming home, taking off her coat, hanging it up, and then taking off her boots all by herself.  But, I had no idea she could put her coat on all by herself!  She's not zipping it up yet, but she can zip other things, so that will not be to far off I don't think.

It was a great morning at school!  And, I get to go again tomorrow!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

On Valentine's, a special day...

Despite many efforts to update my blog weekly, I have not succeeded.  I would love to one day do daily posts, but I need to conquer the weekly updates first!  Enough about that!

The month of February has very few actual school days for my preschool classroom.  Between parent/teacher conferences and a week long mid-winter break, we really only have just over 2 weeks of school.  So, that makes my job easier as far as coming up with themes.  For the month of February we focus mainly on Valentine's Day -- with the addition of a short theme on pets after Valentine's Day and ending the month with a theme about night time.

Below are photos of Valentine's Day related work:

Practical Life Work:

Heart lacing
I found this awesome Valentine's Day tree and heart ornaments at Target in the dollar section!  The kids hang the heart ornaments on the tree.  This has been a big hit with the boys and the girls!
Valentine's Day flower arranging.
Putting pennies into a piggy bank.  I found the Valentine's Day piggy bank at Kroger grocery store!
Spooning plastic hearts into an ice cube tray with heart shaped ice molds.
Tweezing plastic hearts into a Valentine's candy box.

Sensorial Work:

Sensory table with rice.  For Valentine's Day I added fake rose petals from the Dollar Store, plastic hearts from the Target Dollar section, plastic X's and O's from the Target dollar section, heart shaped pasta from World Market, and strips of soft red fabric I just happened to have saved from something else.  The kids love the sensory table!
Here is a close-up of the inside of the sensory table.
This is a pattern block heart from Making Learning Fun.
This is a heart shape puzzle from Making Learning Fun.
This is a light box (for looking at x-rays at a doctors office) with clear colored magna tiles -- not Valentine's Day related, but the kids love it!  The picture looks like it was taken in the dark, but it wasn't...
Art Work:

Homemade heart stamps.  I used foam hearts and glued them to film canisters and these other clear plastic containers I had in my cupboard.
Heart shaped pasta
Cut-out paper hearts
Sticky-back foam hearts left over from another project
Valentine's Day stickers

All of these items are out on the shelf as free art materials to be used as the children wish.

Math Work:

Counting hearts into a Valentine's candy box.  There is a different number in each space -- the numbers are not in order.  The child counts the correct number of hearts into each space.
Number order puzzle (numbers 1-10) from 2 Teaching Mommies
Number order puzzle (numbers 11-20) from 2 Teaching Mommies
Hundred Board Heart extension activity from Lil Country Kindergarten
Sweethearts graphing from 2 Teaching Mommies (of course, this was a hit because the kids could bring the candy home after they graphed it)
Heart number matching cards from Confessions of a Homeschooler with plastic heart counters from the Target dollar section.
Adding Kisses addition cards from Making Learning Fun.  I took the cards out so that you could see them.  But, they are normally inside the heart basket.
Conversation Heart count cards from Making Learning Fun.  Again, the cards are normally kept inside the heart basket.
Language Work:

Heart alphabet matching (upper to lower case) from www.prekinders.com
Valentine's beginning sound clip cards.  Unfortunately, I do not remember where I found these.  If you happen to know where these are from, please let me know so that I can give credit to the person who made them.
"Hearts Everywhere" interactive book from Chepel Hill Snippets
Valentine's Songs:

(to the tune of BINGO)

On Valentine's, a special day, I give each friend a heart.
I give each friend a heart!

Love Somebody

Love somebody, yes we do.
Love somebody, yes we do.
Love somebody, yes we do.
We love ______________. (fill in child's name)

I am linking up with Montessori Monday through Living Montessori Now:

Montessori Monday