Even with my Montessori background, surrounded by beautiful wooden equipment, I still like plastic. It’s not wrong to use good quality plastic dishes or toys. Legos and capsela are self-teaching toys made from plastic. My children made wonderful machines on land and in the water with their capsela sets. I first bought my 2 year olds the large Duplo legos and then progressed to the smaller legos using a lego building plate. Legos are even used in robotics classes at our local university.
If you have only plastic pitchers for pouring exercises, just use them. The activity of pouring without spilling is the object of this practical life activity. Respect for your child comes from your attitude towards him or her, not what type of dishes or toys you use.
The Absorbent Mind by Maria Montessori is a wonderful book. I refer to it all the time. It covers the periods of growth, language development, kenetic learning of the hand, social development, three levels of obedience, and much more. I would get a copy if you don’t already have one.
My son loved using cuisenaire rods instead of the bead stair. The fraction activities were his favorite. You can buy either wood or plastic rods. The plastic rods fit nicely into each other and are easy to use for the fraction activities.
Why does my child bite other children?
This is a commom problem for toddlers, but older preschool children sometimes have a problem with this too.
I know that this can be really embarrassing for parents. Many times the child who bites is the victim and not the aggressor. A child who is being overpowered by other children physically often times bites in self-defense.
Also, when language is delayed a child may bite out of frustration. Lastly, children teach each other to bite.
The best thing to do is to absolutely forbid biting. If your child is being bullied you may want to talk to the teacher, send your child to karate, or if there’s lack or supervision, change schools. Often times children bite because they have difficulty expressing themselves. You can help them express themselves. Phrases such as “I don’t want you to do that”, “I don’t want to play right now”, or any “I” message will help empower you child. He or she won’t feel the need to bite.
Sometimes children, especially older preschoolers, just feel like chewing or biting. Biting and chewing waxed lips, sugar free gum, or even a mouth guard can help with the desire to chew or bite.
The Challenger Learning Center in Colorado Springs is where you can fly a shuttle simulation into space. You can work from Mission Control or the International Space Center. Launch a probe into deep space or do space experiments. This is high tech, “Montessori”, hands on equipment. The Center is open to families, students and even senior citizens. You can find your nearest Challenger Learning Center near you with the zip code location finder.
A simple practical life skill that you can do with bread from
different countries is to slice bread.
Cutting a piece of bread from a loaf can be done by preschool
children. Your will need:
A safe (not too sharp) serrated knife
Loaf of bread-french or baguette are usually easiest to cut.
A cutting board
Optional- topping to spread on bread
A plate for the cut bread
When cutting bread, it is sometimes easier if you place the bread on
its side. The side of the bread is usually stronger.
Place the bread on the cutting board. Firmly hold the middle of the
bread. About 2 inches from front of the bread slowly cut back and
forth until a slice is cut off. Put the bread on a plate and spread on
your favorite topping. I use a sponge and a small dust pan to sweep up
the cumbs from the cutting board. Put the board and bread away.
Let your child cut the bread next.
You can do an easier version by letting your child cut a piece of
bread in half, thirds, or fourths.
Also, you can use a cookie cutter to cut a shape from a piece of bread.
Some Montessori Schools introduce several countries and their cultures each year. It is a great way to teach about the world and different people, cultures and environments.
A tasty way to study a country’s culture is to study bread from different areas. This lesson helps your child identify bread from different countries. Breads and Other Cultures gives a brief history of bread and other great ideas. Flat bread is a part of many cultures. I love Norwegian Kavli flat bread and lefse.