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Montessori Pathways' News

February, 2013

Montessori Kindergarten School in Crystal Lake, Lake in the Hills


Notes from Miss Alena


        February brought several new friends to our school. Welcome Andrew, Vivek, and Vishrut to our Montessori Pathways family.


Montessori Elementary School in Crystal Lake, Lake in the Hills         Thank you to all of our friends who joined us at Story Reading/Craft family night this month. Kids were so excited to come to school after the school day was over, wearing PJ’s and brining their favorite stuffed animals and blankets, laying down and listening to a story about Chinese New Year, then making Chinese New year Lantern, drinking milk and eating cookies, and getting fortune cookies in the end.


        Thank you to Ms. Ambreen and Ms. Katy for the preparation of this wonderful evening. Also, thank you to our Elementary students, who researched, prepared and read additional information about Chinese New Year to our younger friends and parents in the East room. It was their first public presentation!


        Montessori Preschool School in Crystal Lake, Lake in the Hills “Thanks so much for having story time. We really enjoyed the story and craft. It is very important to teach our kids about cultures and customs from around the world. The book was wonderful too. I especially liked that it taught caring, sharing for others and respect for the elderly (Grandma).                Thanks again!"                       Sally J.


        One day, on the way home, I was talking with my son Alex about what interesting things happened during the day, what he learned today, etc. Alex told me that Elementary and Kindergarten kids created a new game “Monster trucks race” during the recess. If an Elementary child won, than the elementary class has one more score, if a Kindergartener won – the Kindergarten class can add one more score.


        What was interesting in this story for me, was that Alex was not discussing what class finally won. (I should say that in the Montessori environment, we do not encourage competition between kids. We explain to our children that all people are different and you cannot compare them: who is better, who is not. But what you can do is compare yourself with yourself and encourage yourself to do something better than you did before.)


        Instead, Alex told me that the elementary kids are winning more often because they are practicing a lot in running and he was surprised why kindergarteners are not practicing.


        That conversation made me think that our elementary kids finally came to the conclusion that practice makes perfect. (Before we would hear questions like this: “Should I read every day? Why are we writing a lot in Elementary? Why should I work with addition (subtraction…) problems again?)


        I am sure that our kindergarteners will come to the same realization very soon, Alex.


        Miss Alena




Working with Montessori materials:

 The Metal Insets as a preparation for writing




       In any Montessori classroom around the world, a core component of the Language section consists of a pre-writing tool called The Metal Insets. This material has two sloping stands that hold five geometric shapes each.


Montessori Preschool Elementary School in Cary, Lake in the Hills         There are a total of ten metal red frames with blue, knobbed insets that fit in each: the square, circle, triangle, ellipse, rectangle, oval, pentagon, curvilinear triangle, quatrefoil and trapezoid that are carefully traced and replicate proper letter writing formation.


        Typically, a child accesses paper specifically cut to match the frame and selects a frame starting from top, left to right (also designed for reading/writing discrimination). Holding the frame with one hand, the focus is to trace the shape from the top, down and around with the pencil against the inset. We usually encourage the use of three or so different colored pencils to create the final product.


        After completing the outline of the geometric shape, the inset is removed and the direct aim of this material is to control the fine motor pencil stroke to color in/shade the result either up and down or left to right.


        Some extensions of this work are to create different patterns within each shape such as stripes, polka dots, zigzags, or to create a theme book of insets like animals, flowers, etc. Each shape is then matched to its proper label/name as well as written by the child.



     Miss Christine