Landforms are first introduced in the Montessori preschool environment. This has some ideas for elementary children that includes map skills, language, social studies, environmental studies and human geography. I would adapt the lesson for your children or philosophy of teaching.

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Don’t say NO

I’ve been reading The Magic Years by Selma Fraiberg. I am amazed by the effects of negative feedback when children are learning to talk. Saying “no” too much can be a stumbling block to learning. The author writes about a 4 year old, Barbara, who has a vocabulary of a dozen words or so. Her IQ tests indicated that she should be functioning at a much higher level. This is what is observed-

When Barbara entered my playroom she ran around a giddy and distracted fashion, pointing at every object that attracted her attention and crying shrilly, “NO! NO! NO!” She could not even be encouraged to handle objects and recoiled each time I offered her a toy or one of the desk objects he admired. For many reasons, none of them simple, Barbara had never made normal contact with objects. The grandmother who cared for Barbara while mother worked had severely restricted the child’s contacts with objects through stern prohibitions and punishments.

The solution was to let Barbara build loving, human relationships as well as letting her touch objects. Touching objects is “the indispensible phase that leads to language.”

I’m always amazed at Montessori’s knowledge of early learning experiences. She made a child’s world very touchable, and encouraged the joy of discovery. If we can make the preschool years enriching for all children, the educational world would rock!

What is an educational toy?

I was asked what I thought was an educational toy. The person believed that most toys could be educational. I had to agree. You can make almost any toy educational if you present in an learning context.

I think non-educational toys do much of the essential movement and thinking for learning, like battery operated toys that move and do the job for your child. Montessori believed preschool children used their five senses to learn. Hands-on, concrete experiences are considered the best educational experiences for this age group. Many Montessori schools don’t allow preschool children use computers and electronic toys because they skip over the concrete learning children achieve by using their hands and senses.

I do like many traditional toys. Dolls, puppets or stuffed animals can be used for fun language activities. My children loved giving little plays or skits using their favorite dolls or stuffed animals. Puppets always seem to do some nice “talking.” In a sand box your child can transfer sand or beans with a small shovel or spoon into a bed of a toy dump truck. When its full, dump the sand, and do it again. This was a first practical life spooning activity for my children. They loved it!

Montessori and toddler discipline

I was recently asked how to discipline a 14 month old using Montessori’s theory. Here are some ideas about what to do.

Montessori discipline evolves into an internal discipline. Of course, a 14 month old is not there yet! Discipline in a child starts when he or she develops a sense of order, sef-care, manners, & care of the environment. This is learned by doing practical life skills-here are some ideas, links and pictures- Using hands in a constructive and meaningful is the beginning of discipline.

At this age, I redirected my children and try to keep them out of tempting situations-like running around in a china shop!
By keeping the environment as kid friendly as possible, you have less discipline problems. Micheal Olaf has some good suggestions about discipline too.

Starryskyranch has some great ideas-There’s nothing like a mom’s wisdom!