Casa North Update: Sept. 22-26 2014

“It was lovely to get to know all of the new parents in our classroom through the parent meetings,” said Casa North guide Dylan. “Last week, we also enjoyed a LONG end of summer hike through the neighbourhood and along to Spencer creek. The weather cooperated so we were able to see, hear, and feel the last sounds of summer. We’ll do it three more times to compare the seasons together over the same path.”

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Working independently on cursive writing.

“The boy above is working towards writing on blue paper,”said Dylan. “Blue paper is for writing words. The succession is: pinks paper’s for writing sounds, blue paper’s for writing words, red paper’s for writing sentences, and the books are for writing stories.”

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Working on cursive writing with Shalyn.

“With Shalyn here, he is working on the formation. Sometimes, say with the letter “d”, children will put a circle and then a line and two dashes, whereas they are supposed to form them in a certain way.”

Montessori children learn cursive writing and work to master keeping the pencil on the paper while writing.

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Caring for the environment is an important part of Montessori.

As for the picture above, Dylan points out that there seems to have been a flood and hence his sock is quite prominently on display.

As for the fish and the child, “He’s taking care of the environment, both the physical environment and living things,” Dylan said. “Caring for the environment in Casa helps children take ownership of the class, their environment. It translates to care of the environment at home too, it’s a good example for the other kids, and it makes them feel good.”

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Adding tiles to the Addition Finger Board to help learn math facts and to begin to see numeracy patterns.

The boys above are working with one of the later Montessori Addition Finger Boards (see the Casa East update for an example and explanation of the progression).

“The one flipped over on the table is the control,” explained Dylan. “When they’re finished they flip it over to see how they’ve done. The board they’re working on is blank so they check to see if the tiles they’ve put on are correct.”

They are working on memorizing addition math facts.

“The earlier we can get the memorization the better,” said Dylan. “We’re doing it in song too. That way makes it easier for them.”

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That “Tongue of Concentration” is a common sight in Casa environments, here while constructing the Roman Arch.

“Self-construction while learning construction,” said Dylan. “The Roman Arch is a sensorial activity. It helps them have some critical thinking. They realize ‘Wait, this doesn’t fit, I should turn it around, or I should find another piece.’ It helps them learn there’s an order to things. There’s a control of error as well. When they pull out the piece under the arch, if the whole thing falls apart, they didn’t build it right.”

Self-correcting materials are important in Montessori so that children do not have to be told they are doing something wrong; it is obvious to them when mistakes are made and they work towards correcting them naturally.

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Montessori threading activities develop manual dexterity focus on detailed work.

“Threading beads is a fine motor, practical life activity,” Dylan explained. “It’s early work and what ends up happening is, the fun thing that the kids don’t think about is they have to turn it over and carefully unthread the beads back into the container. At first, the beads tend to scatter all over the table and the floor.”

Working at such things over time is an important part of learning to persevere and master tasks and skills.

“We call such materials purposeful toys, but she thinks she’s just having fun making a necklace. Meanwhile, a lot of other things are in play.”

Casa North has also lost a friend for a week on a grand adventure:

“One of our friends has left for Scotland for a week with her family,” said Casa North assistant Shalyn. “This was a wonderful opportunity to spark conversations with the children about Europe, airplanes, history, and distance. This will continue, of course, when she returns with stories and pictures.”

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