Max's first year was spent learning the basics at home and attending story times and play times at the library. His second year (this past year) was spent learning through flashcards, reading and educational toys. And recently, while he still seems entertained with me at home (and yesterday surprised us by counting to ten by himself) I've decided to begin a more formal method of home pre-schooling incorporating Montessori techniques. Maybe I'm a nerd, but I can't quite describe how much fun I've had developing a curriculum of activities and participating directly in his education. The rewards are his gleeful interest and watching him stick his tongue out as he concentrates deeply on the activities (he never does that with toys). It's been one of the most fun aspects of mothering to date.
Since I work full time hours from home, adding home pre-schooling to the mix is a balancing act, but it's turned out to be easier than I imagined. I will post more on this aspect tomorrow once I create a spot in the side bar to dedicate to home pre-schooling.
The Montessori preschool method places a lot of emphasis on teaching children to do activities that require concentration, carefully ordered sequence and aim to engender self-sufficiency as well as building all of the foundational academic skills. Activities range from sensory to reading, writing, math & geography to self-care. Inspired by Zozie & his Mama and books by Maria herself, like this and this, I've set up 14 exercises as a start for Max (now 25 months) to work on. Most of the exercises I made myself using materials from Alison's Montessori, Woodworks, various art supplies, and household items. I will post them each here. And once I'm back on my feet again I'll try to post videos of Max working on the activities!
MONTESSORI TUTORIAL: SOUND BOXES
The aim of sound boxes is to build your child's concentration, focusing and matching skills by teaching them to differentiate between sounds and sort them accordingly. You can buy a set like this or make your own for less.
WHAT YOU'LL NEED
1) 12 small boxes (like these)
2) A small tray (like this)
3) Materials that produce different sounds (grains, bells, sand, washers, etc.)
4) Elmer's glue
5) (Optional) Sticker dots or paint in 6 different colors
6) (Optional) Modge Podge
HOW TO MAKE IT
STEP 1: (optional) Paint the outside of each box with a coat of Modge Podge to protect the wood from use and give it a subtle shine.
STEP 2: Fill each box with materials, as in the photo at the top. To duplicate the sounds in each box pair as closely as possible measure the contents exactly (for example, if you put 8 beans in one box, put exactly 8 in it's twin). Test each box pair carefully to make sure it has a sound that can be distinguished from the other box pairs.
STEP 3: Apply a small ring of Elmer's glue around the top of the box before replacing the lid. This will prevent your little one from removing the objects placed inside. This is especially important for children under 3.
STEP 4: (optional) Place sticker dots or paint dots of color on the bottoms of the boxes so that each pair has matching dots. These dots will allow for self-correction each time your little one has completed the exercise.
STEP 5: Place them on their tray and introduce them to your little one using the Montessori Lesson Presentation method.
[Photos and tutorial by bonbon mini]