School is starting back!!!!

Are you homeschooling this year? Are you sending your child to a public school, a charter school, a private school? Whatever grade, preschool to high school, it is a very busy time of year. Parents and students are scrambling to get supplies and sales, and teachers are doing the same as they buy the necessary things to decorate and design their classrooms. We need to make sure that during these crazy moments we still try to slow down and appreciate what we have and the fact that we can give our children a great education, and to enjoy the moments and excitement before they grow up. I am an early childhood educator, and here is my thoughts on this subject: My pinterest page for back to school theme has many activities and ideas to help provide lessons or to supplement education: Welcome to School There are other blogs and people that I follow that also have great back to school information!

Montessori focuses on a couple of very small group times or circle times, and a large work period (generally around 3 hours for the 3-6yr olds, but you know your child’s attention span, and if they are not ready for that then start with 1h 30mins). The work period is when you have trays of activities that they can use and manipulate to help them learn and grow, and you give small lessons on the activities; all of the activities should have a control of error though so that the child can see what they need to correct without an adult doing it for them. Teach them to be able to do it themselves! If you are new to Montessori, or your children are new to the way that it works then you can start by having a few activities out to help get started. Try simple trays and activities.

Welcoming Circle Time
For the beginning large group time I love being consistent and starting with a song or poem, and there are many online about back to school. Here are a few suggestions (repeat songs too):

Getting to know you – this is a great song
Inka dinka doo
Pick yourself up
Sunny side of the street

Those are fun songs that the kids really enjoy – by John Lithgow – I love starting my day with prayer and asking the kids what they want out of the day. “Let’s start our day with prayer! Today I want to have a good day where I can relax and read a great book, and I thank God for my family and I hope they have a good day too. What do you want today? Let’s close our eyes, bow our heads, fold our hands, and pray: Dear God, let us have a good day, read great books, relax, let our family and friends have a good day too, and …..”

Calendar – kids don’t necessary understand time at this point and a great way to explain the calendar is to show that every time it gets dark and the sun/light comes back it becomes a new day and every new day has new things that happen. Use a calendar and show an event that is coming up soon, and count the squares (night times) till that day will happen. Doing that everyday will show the kids how important a calendar is as it tells you what will happen. Later on we can discuss days of the week, months of the year, etc; right now let’s focus on what a day really is.

Weather – kids understand that there are different types of weather, but not how it arrives or gets above us. Show them a moving weather map (like on the weather channel website) and the weather that will be arriving in a few days as it travels around the earth (another focus on what a day is). Then look at where you are on the map and see what weather it shows, then listen or review the forecast for the day. Make a hypothesis (explain that it means a prediction, a guess) of if that weather forecast will come true.

Bible story – talk about the Bible and how it is God’s word. Talk about who God is and how he is the one who made everything (creation lesson is following week). Talk about how God made our days so that we know what is happening and he tells us what we need to know in the Bible. I love this website for Bible stories: so for this week focus on (one a day is a suggestion, and it can continue onto following week as well or study on weekend):

Work Period
This is where you give small lessons and you allow your child to explore the activities. You can have a do-it-yourself snack option or a pick-up snack option available during the work period so that they can work undisturbed, and during a break grab or make the snack. In Montessori the focus is first only on the letter sound, not the name of the letter; we focus on lower case as children are expected to write 95% only in lower case so capital is not worth learning until lower case is mastered in my view, plus there are so many parents who teach their children to write upper-case for teachers to then have to un-teach that. This week you want to start simple with activities. Here are suggestions for the activities/trays:

  • Practical Life
    • Hand Transferring: Set up a tray with two containers (bowls), and put pencil cap erasers in one bowl. The kids will use their fingers to grasp and transfer from one bowl to the other. Set it up with the full bowl on the left so that they are learning left to right, and when done they turn the tray around.
  • Sensory
    • Tower: try to have 10 blocks of descending size to stack up. starting at the bottom and getting to the top, then gently putting them back down.
  • Physical Science
    • Light to Dark: Set up a tray or basket with a small simple flashlight and a card on how to take it apart and put it together. The kids will learn how many parts make one whole thing, and cause/effect of putting it together and it working or not; they will also learn light/dark. Add a book about flashlights or pictures to look at to enhance their learning.
  • Language
    • Matching letters of name: On a tray put a bowl with cubes or something similar that you wrote letters on or has letters on (lowercase) with the letters of child’s name. Make a card that they can match them too, to learn how to spell their name. If they are able to do it easily, see if they can do it without the card.
    • How to handle a book – lesson on how to turn pages
  • Mathematics
    • 1 to 1 Correspondence: On a tray put an: Get an ice cube tray (10 or 12 spots) and a bowl with 10 or 12 pencil cap erasers. They put one eraser in each slot on the tray one at a time. It helps them recognize the quantity of one, and they learn the difference between having nothing left and having something left. One at a time they then return the erasers to the bowl. Put the bowl on the left and the ice cube tray on the right
  • History
    • Biblical History: have a children’s Bible on a tray for them to explore

Shopping ideas: (since you are using the erasers with two separate activities, use one color on one tray and one color on the other tray) Back to School List

Closing Circle Time
In the morning you discussed the day and our Bible studies, so now we will finish off the class time with the theme or subject of study.

Again let’s do a song to start off the group. Sing one of the songs listed before or one you can think of.

Read a story, here are some suggestions: Back to School Books

Discuss theme and favorite activity. Give a lesson if there was a struggle with an activity, or really discuss the in-depth information.

Activity (choose one):

  • practice a simple pattern (ABABABAB) using two colors of pencil erasers, count the erasers
  • make a circle using the pencil cap erasers
  • sort the colors of the pencil cap erasers
  • make the shape of child’s first name initial and talk about sound

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