Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Wishes

I just wanted to take this time and wish everyone a very Happy Holiday and Merry Christmas from my family to yours :) I look forward to what is to come in my classroom in the new year!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas in my Classroom :)

Here are only a few pictures I took of my favourite Christmas work in Practical Life and of my bulletin board.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

December is in the Air!

I have been so busy with school as well as having a new toddler running around the house. So I must start off by apologizing for being MIA these past few weeks. And now I am so excited to tell you about all the activities we've been doing in the classroom with the students.

First off, we just concluded our "Colours" theme for the month of November. The children enjoyed making rainbow caterpillars out of construction paper and learning black and white are not colours. We even had a special day called, "Don't Wear Colour to School" day. The students had fun trying to figure out what that actually meant, but they quickly caught on. One parent on the other hand, before leaving the classroom at the door, asked her daughter, "does that mean you come to school naked?" I hope she filled her mother in about our lessons on black and white.
At the end of November to wrap up our "Colours" theme and prepare for the next month's theme, "Christmas Around the World", I did a very simple and neat craft for the students to help me prepare the classroom bulletin board. We each painted white Christmas bulbs brown to make Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer heads with red pompoms glued to the tips of the bulbs for the noses and glued on googly eyes to make his face. We also added brown pipe cleaners for the antlers (wrapped around the gold part of the bulb) and added ribbons so each student could hang their Rudolph on the Christmas tree. And when the reindeers were finished, I cut a large Christmas tree out of green Bristol board and attached it to the bulletin board for us to decorate with our Rudolph ornaments. The students were very excited and had so much fun with this.
In preparation for Christmas, I have been busy going through all the Christmas material boxes and sorting items for the shelves. I found some great things that I know the children will love, such as: Christmas themed erasers for sorting, stamps, Christmas tree decorations to decorate a small tree and Christmas sequencing boards with objects. As the month unfolds I will take pictures of our activities to post on this blog.
I look forward to the next three weeks of learning about "Christmas Around the World", where we will learn songs from other countries, what children in other countries call Santa, what Santo looks like in other countries, and what other holidays are celebrated during December in various places around the world.

Friday, October 28, 2011

October News!

The month of October has gone by so fast!
The theme of the month was Trees and the kids have really enjoyed it. We collected leaves and pine cones and checked a book to see what tree the leaf or pine cone belonged to. We also studied the parts of a tree: branches, leaves, trunk and roots. We used our "Parts of" cards and puzzle which is something the children work on all year round. The children now know the difference between coniferous and deciduous trees. So much so I have quite the collection of leaves and pine cones in the culture area. Every day one of them tells me something about the trees in their yard. It is so nice to see the joy they get from learning new things about nature.
As part of our tree theme I have the children make Family Trees, which were a big hit with the kids and parents. This was an activity I have done in the past and it has always gone well, so I knew everyone would be excited about it. Each child was to bring in pictures to cut out faces of their family members. I only had the children bring in parents and grandparents (both maternal and paternal). We glued the faces on leaves and then glued the leaves to the tree branches. The child's picture went in the middle of the tree.
This last week of October has been very exciting. Two of my younger students (who have just turned 4 years old) made their first words with the movable alphabet, so they are well on their way to reading! It was wonderful to thrill their parents with the big news when they came to pick their children up at the end of the day and share their enthusiasm with the kids. The older children have been working hard with incredible attention on some more challenging Practical Life activities this month, like the tying frame. I have never seen so much concentration going on while working on a piece of work!
Today was our Halloween party at school. We had the party today instead of Monday the 31st because we know that sometimes if the children wear their costumes to school for the whole day, they do not want to wear them any longer when they go home to go trick or treating with their friends and family. The party was a great chance for the kids to take a break from all their hard work on areas of the classroom and enjoy. We played Halloween games (Witch, witch, ghoast, musical chairs and hot pumpkin), watched a Halloween movie and went for a nice walk outside.
Overall October has been a great month in my classroom, and I’m looking forward to next month’s theme of “Colours” hoping it will be just as successful as “Trees” has been. I’ve got some exciting things planned so stay tuned :)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Happy First Birthday Baby Boy

Last week was pretty crazy. My baby turned 1 years old on Friday! I can't believe I no longer have a baby boy, but a little man. And personality this kid has :)
This post doesn't have anything to do with Montessori, however, I wanted to acknowledge Noah's birthday. I am so proud of him and I know he will always make me proud no matter what he does in the future.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Around My Classroom

I can not believe the month of September is almost over. Where did the time go?
My class has been very busy working on "All About Me" posters or drawing self portraits. I am in the process of receiving baby photos for our "Guess the Baby" game, in which I will display pictures of the children as baby's and they will guess who is who. The children are very excited to see one another as babies. And the parents are having a lot of fun trying to find pictures of their child so that the other parents can't tell who is who.
I had planned on doing family trees as mentioned in a previous post, but, time does not permit. However, since the theme for October is "Trees", I have decided to move the family trees to next month.

Friday, September 16, 2011

What's the Point of Practical Life?

In today's post I will discuss the concept of Practical Life
in the Montessori curriculum. Practical Life is the first
curriculum area taught in the Montessori program and is often the
most popular area with students. The main purpose of Practical
Life is to develop skills that prepare a child for reading, writing
and arithmetic. Therefore activities are designed to develop hand
eye coordination (when holding a spoon or sewing a button),
concentration when repeating sequences (with matching or folding
socks), and independence (by learning to pour themselves a
beverage to drink), to name a few .

Practical Life is divided into smaller sections:
1) Control of Movement which includes cutting paper, sorting an
array of items and transfer activities.
2) Care of Environment, which is their classroom. This involves
washing windows, watering plants and washing a table.
3) Care of Self, which covers learning how to button, zip, lace and
velcro clothes and tie shoes and washing hands.
4) Grace and Courtesy, which teaches children how to greet people,
prepare foods and serve them to their friends

In Montessori teaching, every lesson in Practical Life and
Sensorial prepares the child for further development in reading,
writing or arithmetic. This is accomplished by what we call,
"direct" and "indirect" aims. Indirect aims mimic aspects of
advanced cognitive skills. For example, in spooning, children
move items from the left bowl to the right bowl, mimicking reading
patterns and therefore indirectly preparing for the complex task
of reading. The direct aim in spooning are things such as
developing independence and developing concentration. One may
look at it in simpler terms as direct aims being those goals we can
not see because they come from inside the child (for example,

I'd like to share an example of how children have the need and
desire for Practical Life activities in a Montessori classroom and at
home. I had a little boy in my class one year who's mother said it
drove her "nuts" because all this child wanted to do was roll
everything in sight, including the bathroom mat outside the shower
and she had no idea where this came from. This parent attended
our information night on Practical Life and Sensorial and it was
then that she found out we roll our mats the children use to do
floor work. We practice this on a daily basis with the children
so they can master this skill. It turned out to be his favourite
thing to do :)

I'd like to finish my discussion on Practical Life with a quote from
Maria Montessori:
"If teaching is to be effective with young children, it must assist
them to advance on the way to independence. It must initiate
them into those kinds of activities, which they can perform
themselves. We must help them to learn how to walk without
assistance, to run, to go up and down the stairs, to pick up fallen
objects, to dress and undress, to wash themselves, to express
their needs and to attempt to satisfy their desires through their
own efforts. All this is part of an education of independence".
(The Discovery of the Child, pg 56-57).

Monday, September 12, 2011

Practical Life at the Beginning of School Year

Here are a few pictures of what my Practical Life area looks like so far. Practical Life at the beginning of the school year is very different than Practical Life at the end of the year. I always start off with very simple lessons to accommodate the new and young students. As you can see to the right, my Practical Life is minimal however, that will change in October where I add more to the shelves and change a few things around. I like to start with the basics to remind students how Practical Life lessons are to be completed correctly.
Below is our simple transferring lessons.
Next comes the lacing, sorting, and fine motor lessons.

The last two shelves are cutting and care of the environment. The students are in charge of most of the cleaning up.

Our theme "All About Me" is officially underway and I will have examples of what the children are working on in the next few days

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

First Day of School

After 18 months off on sick and maternity leave, it's finally time for me to go back to teaching. It has been a bittersweet transition for me, though teaching is my passion and I love working with the other children, it's tough to be away from my own baby all day while I'm at work. But when I return home at 4:15, the moment Noah and I see each other is the best feeling in the world. Today when I arrived home Noah would not stop kissing me :)
I had a good first day. Since Montessori schooling teaches that the classroom is t he responsibility of the children, and my role is simply to direct them through activities and tasks, it is the children that keep the classroom in order and tidy. So on our first day together we went over the rules and routines of the classroom to remind them what is expected of them all.
I only have a few new students this year; most of the children are returning students who I have worked with before, so we have been spending time doing activities getting to know each other again and having fun. And I look forward to the days and weeks to come when the class settles into routine and normalization occurs.

I must stop typing as I am falling asleep at the keyboard. Good night everyone :)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Music for Montessori

I have always had a passion for music. In fact in university, in addition to my primary focus of Sociology, I also minored in Music. And fortunately I have been able to apply my skills and love of music over the past 10 years at both of the Montessori schools I have worked at as the school Music Teacher.
In a previous post discussing the annual conference for the American Montessori Society, I briefly mentioned my excitement when meeting Frank Leto and how I was so impressed by him that I purchased all his CDs to bring back to my school and play them for the children. As many of you may know yourself, from searching online and in bookstores as I have, Montessori music is very hard to find, so this was a wonderful opportunity for me to get more teaching resources for my music programs at school. Click here for Frank's site.
All of my students absolutely love Frank's music, and I appreciate his work very much because Frank Leto is a Montessori teacher himself and I now model my music classes on what I have learned from him. He takes music elements and translates them into simpler versions for the age group 3-6. He makes music more hands on rather than sitting at your desk learning what a "whole note" is. He gets the young children involved which makes it easier and more fun for 3-6 year olds.

My son, Noah loves to watch Frank's Youtube videos, click here to see his favourite . Every morning he gets very excited pointing to indicate he wants to watch Youtube with me, and then he sits dancing on the spot for a good half hour listening and watching Frank perform. It is a joy for me to watch him. I hope this is a sign of things to come. Perhaps Noah will love music just as much as his mommy! Will I have a new concert partner one day? he he he :)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

One Month Left...

Very soon I will be going into my school to set up my classroom for the upcoming school year. It will be a big new challenge this year being a "working mom" for the first time, but I am ready to be teaching once again and very excited to share my new ideas with all my future students.
I am planning on holding a "Guess the Baby" contest during the "All About Me" unit and children at our school. It is always fun to see the parents match baby photos and discuss the photos with the teachers. I will include a picture of myself and of my son (just to throw them off a bit). But it shouldn't be too tricky, as most parents already know my son from extra events held by my school over the past year. Even though I have been off on maternity leave, I still enjoyed attending our school events, such as the Winter Concert and Family Fun Day.
I have also decided that another fun activity for my students to do as a part of "All About Me" will be to build a family tree. They will bring in pictures of their immediate family members (up to first set of maternal and paternal grandparents), cut the faces out and paste them on a tree with no leaves and then label their names. I have done this activity with students in the past with much success! And will post pictures of their works of art once school gets under way.
Until then, however, I have 4 weeks left of summer to enjoy some time sitting by the pool, entertaining friends and family and most importantly, treasuring my time with Noah.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Up and coming year

As my maternity leave is coming to an end I am busy getting things ready for my classroom and enjoying my little guy before he spends more time with grandma!
I have all my themes picked out (my school has a monthly theme), which I am very excited about and can not wait to share with all of you once school gets under way :)
Every three years I like to start the year with the theme, "All About Me". Since Montessori children are in the same classroom for three years, this ensures that my oldest children do not repeat any themes throughout their schooling. Starting with "All About Me" is a great way to get to know the new students and know the older children better. The students love learning new things about each other, as do the teachers. By getting to know my students on a more personal level it helps me when giving lessons, especially those that a child is having problems with mastering. I can gear the lesson towards something they are interested in. The best way to interact and learn about each child is to go around the circle and discuss with them events, their likes and dislikes that are currently going on in their lives.
As for material on the shelves, I have a fair bit for this theme, and every three years the homemade materials increase. I always get the older children to make a little book about themselves. The younger ones make a house out of construction paper and place the people in their family on the windows of the house. It is funny because some of them make up people in their family. Even though I know a new baby does not exist I still let them place them on their house. It is always fun to see the parent's expression :)
In the current school I am teaching at, we try and put materials on the shelf that are theme related each month in each curriculum area. All About Me is a little challenging, however, I make it work. For September we do not really put out a lot of materials on the shelves because we like to discuss and practice classroom basics, for example, tucking in chairs, folding mats, washing hands, ect.
Once school starts I will post pictures of the materials I have created. I will be going into the school in August to set up and get all the materials for each theme being done for the whole year ready. Each month I will share what my students are doing with each theme.
Now it is time to go for a swim (39 degrees out there, it is hot!!!)

New ideas are always welcome, please share your thoughts!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


As I am sitting here waiting for Noah to wake up from his nap, I am thinking of ways to improve my Montessori blog. I would love to turn to all of you for ideas and help on how to get more followers and/or more exposure out there in the blogging world. I am not exactly a computer genius so any suggestions would be appreciated (keep in mind you may have to comment in detail how to do your suggestion to my blog).
Please comment on how I can make my blog more enjoyable or more beautiful. Thanks in advance!

Friday, June 24, 2011


I will be honest, Observation class was not my favourite in Montessori training. However, 9 years later I find myself very content sitting either beside Noah or across the room watching his every move. Right now he is trying so hard to crawl. Today I observed him moving his knees and moving only once in a crawl. It seems his knees give out and he falls onto his stomach but without prevail, he tries again. The child has perseverance! I could just sit all day long (if the hubby didn't want to eat ) and watch Noah explore and learn!
Observing has now become my favourite thing to do :)
What is your favourite thing about Montessori?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Having fun with Montessori

It is almost time for me to go back to work at a Montessori school. At first I had mixed feelings about it. I absolutely love my job. In fact, I don't really call it work because I am loving what I do. I just do not want to leave Noah right now (or in 3 months time when the first day of school happens).
I have been thinking a lot lately about school and I am getting very excited about going back. I am looking online for different ideas for my classroom and love reading about what other teacher's are doing in their classrooms. I have come across an excellent website that I find myself looking at everyday. They have a ton of useful information and lots of fun materials to browse through. I can't wait to get out the laminater and start making new materials for my class. It is going to be a fun year for us all.
Noah and I attended my school's Family Fun day over the weekend and when the owner announced to the parents that I will be returning in September, they all cheered about my return. It was so nice to know that I am appreciated and wanted back :) One father said to me how glad and excited he was because now his son will be better behaved once I return to the classroom.
In closing, I have kept you in suspense long enough regarding the best Montessori website EVER! :) Please visit I promise you will not be disappointed!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Montessorians ReUnite!

Yesterday was a great day!
I got together with my great friend Melissa, who I first met in our Montessori training (you have read about her before). We spent the day in Toronto with our two babies. Not only was spending time with her yesterday great fun, but it also gave me a chance to reflect on how far Mel and I have come as friends and as people since we met 10 years ago. When we first met Mel was dating her now husband, Chris, and I was still trying to find a partner. Look at us now! Both married and with kids.
Mel has two gorgeous children and I have a very cute little boy. It was so nice to spend the day together and it always brings back so many memories from years ago: reminiscing about the other people from our class, remembering how nervous we were before our final exams and laughing about all the fun times we had during our training.
It is so great to be able to talk to someone
who knows your career, can help you come
up with creative new ideas for classroom
activities, or can help with any questions and
or concerns.

Melissa and I live so far apart and are so busy
nowadays, we don’t get to see each other
often or talk every day. But each of us holds
an important part in the other’s life and
that kind of friendship is truly special.

I have said it before, and I will say it again: if
it weren’t for Montessori, I would never have
met this great friend and teacher!

Mel: it was great seeing you and Leah again
yesterday and I cherish every minute we
spend together.
Montessori for Life!!

Monday, March 28, 2011

So Sorry

Sorry everyone for the delay in blogs. Noah is keeping me very busy these days. As he is getting older, his needs increase so I have been busy with him. I apologize for the delay in new and exciting posts. But I promise, there will be more, keep checking back in periodically.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Montessori Conference

Three years ago at my current school my boss and I decided on a whim to attend the American Montessori Society conference. At the time we had no idea where it was held. The only thing we knew was that it was in the USA. So after looking online we were super excited to find out that year it was being held in Orange County, California. It was 4 fun filled days of Montessori fun. I have never been so excited to walk around the exhibits and go to the seminars all day long. We each went to different seminars and over dinner shared what we learned that day. We had a blast. To all you Montessori teachers, owners, administrators, I highly recommend the AMS conference no matter where it is held.
Last year I was unable to attend due to a medical emergency and boy was I depressed about it. The year before I had met a Montessori music teacher (in all the schools I have worked in I was the music teacher as music was my minor in university and my passion). The music teacher I met was amazing. He has a lot of children CD's out and between the two of us we bought most of them. My boss talked to him last year and told him how much I loved his work and how I could not be there and he taped a message via my boss' blackberry video camera and said hi and he hoped I got well soon. That made my whole year!!! Any of you teachers looking for great children CD's to teach songs to your class, I highly recommend Frank Leto. I played him everyday for my students and they love the songs and music!!
Attached to my post are some photos of sample pieces of materials for the classroom that we learned at our conference.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone! May 2011 bring everyone health and happiness. Sorry for the delay in the posts. Noah has been sick with a cold since Christmas. But I am happy to announce he is on the mend, thank goodness.