27th April – Birds theme

So this week’s learning suggestions are all about birds – there are so many around at the moment making so much exuberant noise!! The children could bird watch & make a note on how many birds they see & what different types – as the swallows are returning for the summer from Africa this could bring in geography & migration (http://www.askaboutireland.ie/…/…/feathered-friends/swallow/); listen to the different bird songs & try to identify them using either of these links (https://greennews.ie/know-your-birdsong-click-through-our-…/ or https://www.theguardian.com/…/home-birds-how-to-spot-20-of-… ); draw a picture/collage of a bird; make bird feeders using empty milk cartons & peanut butter & oats or various combinations (https://happyhooligans.ca/32-homemade-bird-feeders/ ); look at the bird’s life cycle; do yoga poses pretending to be a bird; learn songs about birds…🐦🕊️❤️

Using Montessori ethos at home

Dear families, we hope you’re all keeping well! Apologies in advance for the long post….😬We at The Children’s House have been discussing what’s the best way to keep in contact with you & the children – during these weeks at home with your children, we are not going to be sending you ‘work’ for your preschoolers to do – that would be against the ethos of our school, where the lessons are individually planned by following the children’s interests and abilities. We’re also very aware that we don’t want to be putting *any* pressure on anyone in these strange times, we know a lot of you are already working from home/home schooling older children, or ‘just’ trying to keep everything going while keeping well & healthy, but we’d also like to keep in touch to whatever extent suits you, as it seems we might not see you for a while yet.

To this end, we’re going to put up a weekly theme with songs, activities & links to Montessori exercises etc that you can do at whatever level suits you & your children, or not at all – it’s just ideas if you would like to use them. I’ll put up this week’s suggestions later on, but I just wanted to say that even apart from this you can easily adopt the Montessori ethos in your home by simply involving your child in everyday tasks – our main aim is to support your children to be confident and competent learners, happy in being the amazing individuals that they are, and to this end we encourage their independence in every way we can.

So for example you could ask your child to help sweep the floor, peel carrots/potatoes for the dinner, polish shoes, clean tables/windows, pour water, help in the garden…the list is literally endless, & all these tasks reinforce Practical Life skills such as developing gross & fine motor skills & hand-eye coordination.

In order to support Maths development, associate numbers with quantities, e.g. your child could count out how many crackers do we need so everyone in the family has one? They could pour drinks from a jug into beakers, thereby both using counting and division. Involve counting in all tasks you can like closing buttons, laying plates…ask your child to bring you 2 pencils, 5 buttons, 4 dinosaurs. Sing songs with numbers e.g. counting backward songs like 5 little ducks, 10 green bottles.

For Language development, play ‘I Spy’ using phonetic sounds (I can post a list of how to pronounce the letters phonetically). For name recognition, practice joining dots of letters in the child’s name, tracing name & letter shapes in sand/ plate of grains. Nursery rhymes, memory games are excellent for developing memory recall skills.

To support Sensorial development, encourage children to use their senses e.g. smell flowers, candles, spices, shower gels; close their eyes & name/match smells; feel rough & smooth surfaces ‘can you find me something rough/smooth’; reinforce the colours that are in their environment; grade objects small to large.

In the area of Culture – look at a globe or map, discuss the world, parts where relations live, discover which continents their favourite animals live; gardening, baking & cooking – these also use practical life skills such as measuring, sieving, mixing, pouring & science skills – liquid to solid, raising agents. Discuss how to recycle & reuse materials in the home.

These are only some brief ideas to give an overview, but linking their learning to the child’s environment helps to reinforce it, so use what you already have around you! Take care & keep in touch!!